2017 Super Lap Battle Preview

Every November brings the largest meal of the year and the largest Time Attack event in North America. Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow Raceway Park brings the fastest, wildest, and experienced competition in North America. If you win here you have huge bragging rights as well as a hell of a lot to be proud of. To give you an understanding of the level of competition there has only been 2 Amateur drivers to win the overall (first being Cody Kishel and then Mark Jager). This is a serious competition that will push driver and car to their utmost ability in order to pull off the victory. Currently the overall time to beat is held by GST Motorsports in their Subaru L with a time of 1:38.967, does anyone have what it takes to crack that?

First let’s take a look at Enthusiast class, they run on 220TW tires and appear stock in form but pack a bit of a punch. The AWD category is filled with Subaru’s which is to be expected. They are piloted by Chris Hain, Morgan Nichols and Jamie Moreno, with Jamie being the outsider coming from Utah. The others will have a slight advantage with track knowledge being they are from the area.  The question I have is which will come out on top Chris or Morgan? They have to beat a 1:56.325 that was set by Craig Peyron (although this was set when the tire rules were 200tw so they are at a huge disadvantage) in order to break the record.

Enthusiast RWD has GTA regulars such as Scott Boatright, Bret Nicoletti, Mike Kang and Ariel Salazar. This group is really showcases the diversity within the classes with such vehicles as a BRZ, Mustang, and Miata. Now which will be prove to be the fastest? Experience is on the side of Mike Kang but Scott has some power with the Mustang that may prove to work in his favor. We will have to wait and see which Miata can come out on top. The incredibly fast time to beat is 1:55.518 set by Dominic Bautista in his Honda S2000.

Enthusiast FWD is a Ford vs Honda battle with a Cobalt sprinkled in. Efrain Flores has shown that he can drive the wheels off his Fiesta but his competition Elton Lo and his the Honda Civic Type R will push him harder than ever. Gabriel Ronquillo will try and take the win for Honda which if you watch F1 you know they could use some help. Julio Gorge comes from the CSG camp so he should have a well setup car and hopefully that translates to solid lap times. The last entry is a Cobalt driven by Jamil Fields and will be at the largest disadvantage coming all the way from Michigan, so he will have to adapt quickly to the new track. The FWD record is owned by Pradana Ping Wilianto in his Acura CSX with a time of 2:01.314.

Now we move to Street class which always confuses people. This class isn’t for cars driven on the street or it must be street legal or crap like that, it simply means that they are on street tires aka 200tw. These cars are given a bit of aero and unlimited power to get them around the track as fast as possible. Competition really starts to heat up in this category with entrants from all over and a lot of them.

In Street AWD Markos Mylonas is coming off an amazing season with GTA Pro Am setting numerous records in his WRX so we know he will be on the hunt for the hard to get BRP record which is currently held by Cody Miles in his STI with a 1:49.864. Johnny Hernandez has been hot on his heels all year and has made a few upgrades to his STI in order to prepare for SLB so we shall see if that pays off. Another familiar face within GTA is Sally McNutty who is coming off a shunt at Road Atlanta and wants to get back in the seat and prove she has a short memory. A third Snail Performance member with Jaime Jacquez in his STi could try and make it an all snail podium but not is some GTA veterans Bob Apodaca and Tony Szirka can say anything about it. Bob will be out in his Evo 10 and Tony will be riding dirty in the GST Motorsports Subaru Outback.

Street FWD brings us Cooper Pierce with his Honda Civic and Chris Hofman in his Chevy Cobalt which have both been running with GTA for quite some time. This is anyone’s guess as to who will take it but Chris has a slight advantage of track knowledge and he has been honing his car all year just taking the GTA Pro Am Street FWD championship. They have the hefty task of trying to best Chris Boersma’s record of 1:52.122.

The large field in Street RWD are all gunning for the overall Street class record held by Tony Fuentes in his Honda S2000 with a time of 1:48.802. This record will not fall unless someone shows up with an amazing setup and even better driver. The class is once again full of variety with Honda, Chevy, Mazda, BMW, and Ford all making appearances. It is hard to say who will come out on top here but I think we are going to have some very close times throughout the entire class. Ken Xu’s beautiful RX7 is a joy to see on track. Jerome Silvers is bringing the American muscle with his Chevy Camaro along with Shilun Wu in his Ford Mustang. The Miata crowd just can’t stay away from Time Attack with 3 showing up in this class driven by Tim Schoeppner, Brian Goodwin, and Dan Howard. Could we end up with an all Miata podium? Two Honda S2000s are in this party as well driven by Brandon Kado and Son Vo. Lastly we have the lone BWM driven by Alex Bernstein will he be the man to beat?

I have been around Time Attack for a while now and this field of Limited Class drivers is simply amazing with 32 cars in the field. Limited class lets the teams bolt on 100tw tires and lets them start to really start pulling weight out of the cars and of course whatever power they want.

Photo by: Yia Lor

In Limited AWD apparently it’s cool to have a GTR because the field is packed with them. Roy Narvaez, Ernesto Bustamante, Steven Chan, Peter West, and Mike Chang are all bringing them. Now we have the age old rivalry of STI vs EVO with Daniel Albrecht, Cody Miles and Matthew Coon. Photo by: Motolyric

The oddball of the group bring the Porsche 911 Turbo driven by Hessam Toudiee. Now with all these amazingly fast cars they still have an unbelievable record to chase set by the man the myth the supermodel Jeff Westphal at a 1:42.694 (although this was set when Hankook TDs could be used as well as a complete flat bottom). This is another class very hard to tell what will happen we all know Evasives Mike Chang will bring out a very well sorted car. Steven Chan and Roy Narvaez have been battling it out all season in the Pro Am. Daniel is just off a fresh rebuild along with many other changes so he will be working hard to get the car dialed in to lay down some quality lap times. Cody is new to the game in Limited but he holds records in street class across the country and has a solid car even if it is underpowered compared to many others. I have heard some grumblings of an old man showing up in a sick classic car… we shall see if old man Meynet makes it out. So let me hear what you think the positions will be.

Limited FWD has Chris Boersma coming back to defend/destroy his own record of a 1:49.834 with a notable competitor on the roster being Dai Yoshihara in a Civic Type R. Jonathan Lugod has his OS Giken Ford Focus to give everyone a run for their money. Again we have an assortment of makes coming out such as a VW Golf driven by Scott Speed, a Mini Cooper driven by Nick Bocchicchio, and a few Hondas driven by Cory Wells, and Tyler Mikesell. I believe the competition between Chris and Scott will be one to watch throughout the day especially after seeing Scott’s car at SEMA.

This RWD Limited class is just insane!!!! We have Roy Narvaez in his Viper to see if he can repeat from last year although I don’t think his time of 1:51 from last year will hold up to get the victory so he better be able to find more speed. Photo by: Yia Lor

Let’s start with the gang of S2000s with Ken Pham, Khanh Hoang, and Dustin Dessero, we all know that the S2000 is a capable chassis but it will be interesting to see what they all did to meet their power goals. Next up we have a pair of Miata’s driven by Ryan Passey and Daniel Tran, Ryan has had some experience so I expect so see some good things come from him. BMW’s decided to come out to play in this field with very different models with very different mods. They are driven by Joshua Haddox, Tony Fuentes, Amir Bentatou and Vin Anatra. I personally cannot wait to see the battle between Amir and Tony play out as they are both highly skilled drivers in very capable cars. If you didn’t catch it Amir’s BMW has an LS in it while Tony’s 135i is turbocharged with a Borgwarner EFR Turbo. If I had to bet someone getting close to the RWD record held by Cody Kishel with a 1:44.456 it would be one of these two. Some other interesting competitors are Sonny Watanasirisuk in his Ford Mustang, we know Sonny knows his way around a Miata so it will be interesting to see the level of prep the Mustang brings and what times he will be able to put down. Then we have an Acura NSX driven by Kevin Panter and a Nissan 240 piloted by Daniel Leavitt, with not much known about them I don’t know what we will get but the chassis sure bring a lot of potential. We round out the competition with Clint Boisdeau bringing out a Porsche which shouldn’t be a surprise being he is an instructor at the Porsche facility here in So Cal.

We now move on to the extremely high horsepower, huge aero, wildest cars these guys can come up with class called Unlimited Class. The records here don’t fall all that often but Will Au-Yeung did just that last year in his Vibrant Performance/PZ Tuning Civic putting that record down to 1:43.365 for the FWD guys. Will plans to be back but his record setting Civic can’t make it due to their recent event World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney Australia. He plans to bring out his Acura RSX and see what he can do. Now this leaves the door open for both James Houghton and Dai Yoshihara to try and claim this prize as well as the overall for the event, wouldn’t that be mind blowing! A FWD car taking the overall at Super LAP!?! We all know that these cars are fast but which will be fastest of all, the battle was intense last year and I don’t expect anything less this year. Hopefully James was able to repair his car completely from his incident at Speed Ring and Dai was able to get some improvements to the Spoon Sports Civic.

Unlimited RWD is huge with a 13 car field although will any of them have enough to get close to the long standing record set by Billy Johnson in the FXMD NSX back in 2012 with a 1:40.379. Again we see a flood of Mazda Miata’s although it shouldn’t be too big of a shocker being they are the most tracked sports car ever. Now the interesting aspect is that in general many people have said the Miata is a terrible time attack car so it will be interesting to see if any of the four will be able to prove that wrong. Photo by: Yia Lor

We definitely see some heavy hitters when it comes to the chassis with Moti Almagor, Emillio Cervantes, Aaron Hiar, and Cuong Tran. As well as a constant of Mazda we also have another 4 BMWs coming out in unlimited. Gabriel Shadid, Jeff Bader, Bassam Michiel, and Rocco Bocchicchio. Cameron Rogers is bringing his RX-7 out and Corey Brand and Kyle Schick is going to bring a pair of 350z’s. Last but not least we have the sleeping beauty himself Jason Sharek bringing his beautifully made Mercedes. Photo by: Yia Lor

This is another class to watch as it will be a class that anyone can win.

If I had to bet my money on where the fastest time of the event will come from it would be this one. Unlimited AWD currently has the Fastest lap at Buttonwillow which is held by GST Motorsports with Jeff Westphal at the wheel with a time of 1:38.967 back in 2014. Now don’t just think any of these competitors are going to be able to jump in a car and beat this time, this is incredibly fast and difficult to get it all together at the right time. Tadd Rigsby is a new comer and will have a lot of work ahead of him in this insanely fast field. After that we have a field of cars that are proven to do deep into the low 1:40s. The question is who put in the development or made those critical changes to get their cars into that elusive 1:30 category. Remember in all of Super Lap battle only one car has ever accomplished such a feat. Photo by: Yia Lor

David Haagsma will bring his SP engineering Nissan GTR which has been dominating the Pro Am series all year including a 1:42 earlier this year at BRP. Andy Smedegard has had some impressive laps in his Evo in the limited category with 1:49 so we will see what he can muster with his new turbo upgrade and in the Unlimited class trim. Professional Awesome is going to bring their Evo out with Dan O’Donnell piloting. They have made significant improvements to the car and coming off a big win at Speed Ring as well as already going 1:42 at last year’s event. They are a definite contender with the big updates such as their new APR tri element wing and sequential transmission. The last driver in the field is last year’s overall winner Mark Jager and the Yimi Sport Tuning Subaru STI. Last year they finished with a 1:41.309 and they just like everyone in this field has their eye set on that GST record! The Professional Awesome team and Yimi Sport tuning have been battling for years and it has been a back and forth of who comes out on top. This could be the most exciting battle to date and if you aren’t there to see it you will be missing out!

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