Super Lap Battle is the crown jewel of the North American Time Attack world. In its 12th year since it’s inception by Super Street Magazine, it has played host to some of the worlds fastest and most iconic time attack cars ever built. The event is held at Buttonwillow CW13 and is located in the middle of nowhere California, surrounded by farms and tiny towns… which is obviously the perfect place for the benchmark time attack track on this side of the hemisphere. Makes sense right? I joke about the remoteness of Buttonwillow, but it is a difficult and relatively technical track that is nothing like the flowing east coast tracks the #44 BC Racing / Z1 Motorsports Infiniti G35 usually races on. But since we were first in points in Limited for Global Time Attack Pro, had great sponsors backing us, and the car fresh off a win at NOLA; we were ready to go cross country to Super Lap Battle / Global Time Attack Pro Rd. 3!
After learning from my poorly planned SLB trip in 2013, I made sure I had scheduled a ton of time to get out to California from our shop in Maryland. Also this time instead of finding a friend to tag along last minute, I had a great group of guys that I have known my entire life tag along. Only problem was none of them knew anything about cars, or how to drive a trailer (needless to say they learned quick). With plenty of time to spare and Justin, Aaron and Drew on board for the long haul, we took advantage of the trip and what Americas highways had to offer. We stopped in cities like Nashville and went out on the town, taking in the music, food and of course the booze. Drove through amazing scenery that constantly changed around us, culminating to the beautiful painted landscapes of New Mexico. And capped off the trip with driving on Historic Rt. 66 and stopping for lunch in frozen-in-time Seligman, AZ. We experienced the cross country American road trip thoroughly, well at least as best we could with a 28’ trailer. Even after the event we headed to Global Time Attack headquarters in Southern California and spent the night in Redondo Beach to celebrate our successful cross country trip to the Pacific Ocean. It was a blast to experience this trip with my best friends and I can’t thank them enough for everything they did. Now on to the race recap itself!
Buttonwillow is a unique track on the Global Time Attack Pro Series schedule, and combined with the prestige of Super Lap Battle, it is one of the most important events of the year. It requires a completely different setup on the BC Racing Custom Coilovers #44 G35 compared to what we normally run on tracks like Road Atlanta or NJMP. We made what we thought would be some good setup adjustments leading up to the event, to help make us faster than 2013 right out of the box; and boy was that the case. In the morning practice/seeding session on day one we ran fast enough to get seeded with some really quick cars in the middle of the B Group, and had broken in to the coveted “Sub 2’s” on our first hot lap on fresh Hankook Ventus TD tires. With the lead in championship in our hands and the NOLA win just a few weeks prior, I was ready to do work and see if we could get on the podium at SLB.
After trying to learn the track in Session 1 and get a feel for the new setup, the car was feeling good and I was confident. Unfortunately, on our first hot lap in Session 2 we ran into an issue that I thought was resolved from NOLA, and overheated badly halfway through the lap, leaving me to limp back to pit lane. We detuned the car a bit on the top end thanks to remote guidance from Jon at Z1 Motorsports, and luckily the small tune change did the trick. Leaving the engine running strong and cool the rest of the event. In the third session of Day 1 I knew we had to get a good time under our belts if I wanted to go to sleep that night in a good position. After clearing some traffic on my first hot lap I went for another one and managed a 1:56.xx lap time, with the tire pressures through the roof and sliding all over the place. I was happy with the time and knew I had a lot of room for improvement, but unfortunately as I crossed the finish line I realized something wasn’t right. I began to get a fair bit of smoke in the cockpit and it didn’t smell like a normal fluid or fire. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and I was able to bring the car into the pits and put it out with a quick burst of extinguisher. With Buttonwillow’s tight turns and abrupt elevation changes we had the only soft section (6 inches at most) of the power steering assembly moving a bit too much and hitting the down pipe. Causing it to melt, then crack, and then catch the fluid on fire on the downpipe and surrounding area. It was a simple enough fix, that could have been a lot worse, but it finished our day either way. After day one we were in 3rd place and mathematically still leading the championship for the Limited Class, albeit not by much.
Going in to Day 2 of Super Lap Battle we had high hopes that we could get the #44 BC Racing Infiniti G35 into the 53’s with some more seat time and some small suspension adjustments. I was ready to rock and roll but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be from the second we woke up. The weather was about the coldest I’ve ever seen it in California, and by the time the first session rolled around it was barely 40 degrees. Knowing we had some small issues, and following suit of many of the other teams, we skipped the first session for fear the cars and track would be far to cold for quality times. This ended up being a good call but when Session 2 came around we were ready to go. Unfortunately, we didn’t improve our time with traffic but I learned more about the track and made some more small changes for Session 3, which was anticipated by most to be the fastest of the event. Session 3 started off great and my predictive timing on my Aim Solo was suggesting a 53/54 second lap time but half way through the lap the car once again had a power steering line failure and another fire, this one worse than the first. The same issue had reared its ugly head and left me stranded on track, causing a red flag and inevitably the ending to our event. It was certainly not the way I wanted to finish the event but our 1:56 was a pretty decent time, and apparently makes us the fastest G35/350Z to ever pace a lap there. Sadly, the 56 was not good enough for a podium and we ended up 4th in Limited Rwd. With our poor result in the final race we unfortunately lost the Limited Class overall championship to our insanely fast buddies at Professional Awesome by only 6 points. Don’t worry, we will get it next year!
The 2015 season has been absolutely amazing and I was glad to finish it off at one of the best events in the country, with some of my closest friends from home, and at the race track. Global Time Attack is truly a big family of some of the best and fastest motorsport enthusiasts in the world. Thank you to all of the amazing sponsors who have made this season by far the best one yet with the #44 car. Thank you to all of my friends, family and specifically my dad for all the support on and off track. And last but not least thank you to everyone who is reading this; for taking the time to read through my usually-way-to-long recaps and articles. I can’t thank everyone enough for 2015 so I will just say this; lets go get them in 2016!!!