To say that last weekend was a successful one for COBB Tuning at Super Lap Battle would be quite an understatement. It seems that when it comes to time attack racing at Circuit of The Americas….figuring out how to team up with COBB in at least some small way was the secret recipe for success.
There were 12 podium spots up for grabs, and 7 of them had some affiliation with COBB!
Enthusiast Class – One podium spot (the biggest one)
The Enthusiast Class was the smallest group but one of the most competitive. The difference between first and third place was split by only about two and a half seconds. As much as I love to admire the insanely overbuilt machines in the unlimited class, it’s also nice to see cars with modest modifications that are attainable by the average Joe competing on the same track.
Zachary Sober made the short trip over from Houston with his orange special edition Subaru STI. He drove to a first-place finish with a 2:41.480, a time quick enough to beat out at least one car in each of the higher classes and only a few seconds behind the middle of the pack in the Street Class.
His car is tuned on an Accessport by our buddies and authorized COBB Protuners at Kozmic Motorsports. Zachary also followed a trend of the weekend by borrowing some parts from COBB Tuning in a last second pinch. At the end of the first day of racing, the brutal braking conditions of a premier F1 track cooked the seals in his front calipers and might have ended his weekend prematurely. But luckily, we happened to have a spare set of barely used STI brakes in our shop that he was able to bolt on overnight in order to safely send the car back out the next day. Needless to say, we felt like proud Papa’s watching him take home the class victory!
Street Class – Almost a clean sweep, missed it by…that much!
The Street Class is where COBB truly shined.
If you’ve been around the COBB Tuning family for long enough, the white hawkeye STI pictured above may look a bit familiar… because it used to belong to us. We affectionately refer to it as the “Clock Car”. It’s missing the old golden timepiece livery but it’s the very same 2006 STI that used to compete in time attack under the official COBB Tuning banner. Click Here for a video of it on the dyno back in 2010.
The car is now owned and maintained by Chris Johnson, a former COBB Tuning employee. Chris is a talented mechanic that now works at Harris Hill Raceway and has a long history of building 2JZ engines on the side. He teamed up with an experienced driver in Ryan Schimsk who pedaled the car around COTA in 2:23.209. A time fast enough to win the Street class and would have placed them 5th in Unlimited. Which is very impressive for a Subaru still running on a stock location bolt on turbo.
Johnny Hernandez also brought along a white COBB Accessport tuned STI, but this one is a hatchback with a GT30R stuffed under the hood. He had a slight power advantage but couldn’t quite catch Ryan, landing in second place with a 2:24.070.
The third podium spot was taken by Brian Tyson in his JST Performance Camaro ZL1. His time of 2:26.388 was quick enough to keep COBB Tuning’s very own Billy Brooks just out of arms reach, which prevented a sweep of Accessport Tuned cars in the Street class, but there is a silver lining. JST Performance is a COBB Authorized Protuner that does great work on the Ford EcoBoost platforms. So if we are going to miss out on a trophy by one spot, we can’t complain too much when it goes to someone in the COBB family.
The COBB Tuning 2017 991.2 Carrera S and Billy “Badass” Brooks
Normally finishing 4th place would be more of a frustrating result than a cheerful one, but considering the circumstance, we’ll take it.
COBB Tuning planned to attend Super Lap Battle in a mostly supportive role for the many Accessport tuned cars competing but we made a semi-last minute decision to gain some valuable experience and data by entering one of our development cars into the event. As with most of our shop cars, we can’t modify them too heavily as they need to remain close to a stock configuration for our software and engineering teams to test the vehicles in a way that is similar to how most of our customers use their cars on a daily basis. As a result, the Porsche we brought to the racetrack was very lightly modified compared to the rest of the Street class. The only changes made compared to the original factory setup are:
- Accessport ECU Tune
- Ohlins Coilovers
- Akrapovic Exhaust
- AMS Intercooler Kit
- A set of Forgeline wheels wrapped in some RE71R rubber
If you ignored the racing seat and harness, you’d barely know it was modified from the inside. Speaking of which, prep time came right down to the wire as we bolted in the last of the safety equipment the night before the car had to be delivered to the track. All of which is a testament to the quality of the car, the parts, the tune, and the man behind the wheel.
The car and tune performed so well that it was able to consistently stay on track during sessions while most of the far more heavily modified cars had to pull in due to heat issues or for quick repairs and adjustments to their cars. By the end of the second day, Billy managed to chip away at the clock and eventually slipped into the sub 2:30 range. His best time of the weekend was a 2:29.866, netting 4th place in Street and 19th overall out of 46 in one of the least modified cars in the field….not too shabby.
Limited Class – One podium and AWD Drifts
This is where the cars start to get really fast.
It was a big day for a couple of Chevy platforms. A 2:18.588 from Feras Qartoumy in Corvette z06 claimed first prize and Scott Dollahite and the R Stands for Race team came in just a little ways behind for second place with a best of 2:19.819.
But our definitely biased opinion is that the coolest car in the Limited class was the 2010 GTR owned and driven by Mike McGinnis. That car has a long history with COBB Tuning but I’ll save you most of the details…because I already wrote them in a previous blog post you can check out HERE.
There is a little more of the story to tell though. Mike is currently a senior calibrator at COBB Tuning but has a notable history in the time attack realm. Several years ago when still living in Buffalo, New York and self-employed with his own tuning shop, Innovative Tuning, he had a super fast highlighter yellow Subaru known as “Voltron”. The car has made some public appearance of a sort since moving down to Austin Texas, but it seems it’s racetrack days are in the past. Mike took a few years off from competitive track driving but the occasional HPDE day wasn’t enough to scratch the itch.
So once Mike got his hands on the old COBB R&D Nissan, he went to work preparing it to assault the asphalt and to look really good doing it. Super Lap Battle at COTA was his first official event in over 4 years and he made the most of the chance to represent for COBB Tuning at our “local track”. Some wider fenders, wheels, and rubber along with 800+ wheel horsepower blasted around the circuit in 2:21.156 to claim the final podium reward in the Limited Class. Only about a second and a half back from second place, the car certainly has a 2:19 in it but the tires didn’t. Their life had already been shortened by a couple shakedown days at Harris Hill before the event. So trying to keep up with a couple very fast GM cars on new sticker tires simply wasn’t going to happen, but Mike at least took the chance to impress the crowd. There was more than one audible “Ohhh!” echoing in the grandstands as the slippery car dramatically drifted around the final turn late on Sunday afternoon trying to scramble for ever last second, sliding a time attack car is less than ideal, but it’s fun to watch. Mike and his red wheeled Godzilla will be gunning for first in the near future, but third isn’t a bad place to start.
Unlimited Class – Basically two podiums (warning: potential satire ahead)
Okay…so we cheated a little bit in taking credit here…but you gotta drag on somebodies coattails, right?
The winner of the Unlimited class and by far the fastest car in the entire event was the Lyfe Motorsports GTR…it’s basically a space ship. The orange and black Nissan cruised to a stupidly fast 2:07.181 around America’s premier race track. To give you an idea of how quick that is, the next fastest car was James Houghton’s awesome K-Tuned Integra Type R that ran a 2:11.811. He had no chance of matching pace on the massive circuit despite being roughly 5 seconds ahead of the 3rd fastest car of the entire weekend. For a little more reference of what a GTR can do when you stick all the wings and horsepowers on it…professionally piloted 1000cc sport bikes run similar times and the fastest McLaren P1 around COTA would cross the line 10 seconds behind.
Jenson Little’s crowd favorite “NC Hammer” Miata embarrassed pretty much everyone else in the field until the little fella flexed so hard it had to retire due to some danger to his manifold, but not before he slapped down a 2:16.311. Which earned him the final podium slot in the class and 3rd fastest overall. So yeah…Jenson built a Miata that is faster around an F1 track than a P1…lol.
By the way, the Lyfe Motorsports car may be running on a stand-alone ECU, so it’s not tuned by COBB. But you know those little nostril looking ducts that come on all GTR hoods? Well, they had to borrow one of those ducts from our 2012 development car that lives at the COBB shop. On top of that, Jenson and his team shared good ole paddock number 7 with us on both days. So, our good luck must have rubbed off on them as well. As far as I’m concerned, we deserve at least 75% credit for their success. I mean, I’m not sure either would have even completed a single lap without us totally bailing them out with those super crucial parts and friendly emotional support.
Sooo, Accessport tuned cars won the Enthusiast Class, took home first, second, and fourth in Street, landed third place in Limited…and if you ignore a few “minor details”, we were practically responsible for first and third in Unlimited.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend of competitive racing and we’re already looking forward to doing it again next year!
And there were skidz
If the spectors ears weren’t already deaf from the sound of engines roaring between the grandstands, they could take a short hike to the middle of the track and enjoy the sound of squealing tires to finish off their eardrums.