New for this year was the Hankook WRX vs. EVO Time Attack held at Button Willow Raceway. This event was an invite only Time Attack run the day before Super Lap pitting WRXs against EVOs with a new twist, a 5 lap time attack battle backwards. The Element Tuning Time Attack STI made its debut as an “Unlimited” car this year running a new driver, me (LOL), and I’ve never driven this track before so I was expecting lots of surprises.
The weekend started out with lots of last minute changes unfortunately. With SEMA so close there wasn’t enough time to get our new suspension prior to heading to CA but Jon at JIC Suspension graciously worked on Sunday to get us the custom suspension we so desperately needed. All I can say is that Jon really knows his stuff and we analyzed our currently setup, discussed its shortcomings, and came up with revised settings.
With new dampers and springs rates I was skeptical but how can you question a team with so many “Ulimited” class Time Attack Wins? I went with it and we also installed a set of JIC rear trailing arms and lateral links to provide stiffness, response, and to allow for more adjustability in the future.
Some new front brake pads for the StopTechs and some fresh fluid had our brakes optimized.
Front JIC coilovers installed and new camber settings completed up front. A huge thank you goes to Dan at Prodrive America for working on the car and allowing Element Tuning to utilize their facility.
With the work completed we headed off to Button Willow Raceway. The 2007 Toyota Tundra is just an absolutely awesome truck and ran flawlessly the entire 6000 mile trip. The quote of the weekend was, “I can honestly say I have never pulled anyone over for doing 85 mph in the Carpool lane towing a car.” LOL! I guess that’s not allowed in CA.
With Hankook’s tire mounting machine malfunctioning we were left high and dry without tires to run practice. It was all up to me to wing it on a track configuration I had never driven nor seen on video. At least I was able to get 6 laps in the configuration run for Super Lap with my old Hoosiers to get used to the new setup. Since I hadn’t run that configuration either and we managed a 1.52.88 with 60 whp more available we were in high spirits for the next day’s race.
With no practice I lined up behind Russ War as I knew I can learn from his lines and pace off of him as long as possible for the 5 lap Unlimited battle. It wasn’t meant to be for Russ as he broke down on lap two black flagging the race. They gathered us back into the pits and it was up to Element Tuning to carry the banner for Subaru against the Works and RobieSpec EVOs.
With the Works EVO the entire front straight away ahead of us I set out to close the gap knowing if I did I would have the win. As the laps unfolded I could see I was closing the gap. With such a long time attack and another event to run the next day I was only running 23-24 psi leaving 100 whp on the table but since it didn’t appear I needed it I just kept knocking out the laps on low boost.
As every lap passed I started to learn the track and push harder. I was still however struggling in a couple of the fast and blind sections where I knew I should be going much faster. As the checkered flag waived we were within a couple car lengths of the Works EVO and I knew we had it in the bag….or did we?
I think we did more driving for this photoshoot than we did racing.
Chatting during the looooooonnnnggggg photoshoot:
Oh well missed another practice session for Super Lap. LOL!
Did Element Tuning win it for Subaru? No……hmmmm this will go down in history as the most creatively scored 5 lap race in history. They didn’t count my last two fastest laps but instead included my warm up lap and the black flag lap?????
Watch the video and you be the judge:
All in all I was happy to be invited and the Hankook tires are absolutely awesome. No doubt about it they are a very fast tire. A big special thanks has to go out to Armin Ausejo from World One Performance who captured the event with his incredible photos, Garret Alpers from World One Performance for his support of Element Tuning’s Time Attack Car, Dan at Prodrive America for all his hard work to make sure our car always made it out to race, and to Jon at JIC Suspension for all his incredible suspension knowledge and for taking time out of his Sunday to help Element Tuning.