Race Car Stars Of SEMA

While the SEMA Show is all about the aftermarket and the parts you can soon bolt on to your own car, many manufacturers will display race cars to help catch the attention of show goers. Some go so far as to introduce new teams and factory racing efforts, and others bring cars from the history of their brand’s racing dominance. Either way, these cars are the stars of the race tracks rather than the streets.

Here are just a few of our favorites…


OS Giken had a classic Hakosuka Skyline coupe to show off its refined cylinder head on a very interesting engine choice. The car itself is built by Z Car Garage and was being used in historic racing, specifically the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, with the original engine. But then it was decided to use the TC24-B1Z head on a L28D engine block.

Yes, you’re reading that right, this gasoline head is being used on a diesel block from a Nissan Maxima. It’s also making over 470hp to the crank on 91 octane gas.


Dino has taken a closer look at this build, so stay tuned for a standalone spotlight feature coming up next week.


Next up, this is the car that Ford got revenge at Le Mans against Ferrari with. When the prancing horse was looking for a new stable, Ford attempted to purchase the Italian marque, only to be denied when negotiations fell apart. So, Henry Ford II made a decree: beat Ferrari at its own game and in a race it had dominated.

That’s when the Ford GT40 was born. It took three years and a few changes to the design, but on June 19, 1966, this Mk.II was driven to victory at Le Mans by New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, Ford picking up a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium.


The car was also maintained by the famous Shelby American team, its massive 427ci (7.0-liter) V8 producing 485hp and 475lb-ft of torque. Combine that with the Lola chassis the fiberglass body rides on and you had a high performance endurance car that took out Ferrari. It also put the world on notice that Ford was serious about road racing.


As if showing off both of its Le Mans-winning cars wasn’t enough, Ford also debuted the Mustang GT4 at SEMA. This is a factory-ready race car based on the winning GT350R-C, a car that won the Continential Sports Car Challenge GT class.


The GT4 is designed to be raced in IMSA’s Continential Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class, the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class, European GT4, and any other series that runs to GT4-spec rules.


The 5.2-liter V8 remains, but a dry-sump oiling system is installed for consistent lubrication in high-g runs. The transmission is a Holinger 6-speed with paddle shifts along with a ZF twin-plate clutch. Multimatic provides the dampers, stabilizer bars, and rear lower control arms. From the factory, you get 16×11-inch Forgeline wheels on Continental racing slicks and a Bosch Motorsport MS6.0 ECU and M4 ABS controller for the engine and brakes. Data is translated to the driver by the way of a MoTeC dash logger.


This Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, built by Showtime Motorsports, is a streetable race car built to run in the Ultimate Street Car Association and the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational that takes place after SEMA.

It’s a 2.3-liter stroker version of the 4G63 with a BorgWarner EFR7163 turbocharger for 508hp and 511ft-lbs. This is actually an evolution of this car as it was redone for the 2016 season of the USCA and the OUSCI.

These events challenge the best street cars in the nation to time trial, autocross, speed-stop challenge, design and engineering, and a road rally. The fastest cars may not be the ones that end up winning as design and engineering ensures that every car that competes is a true street car; the emphasis is on maintaining or improving the creature comforts, the drivability, and the use as a potential daily driver. That’s why this car sports a full, custom interior and still has A/C.


From the road course to the quarter-mile, this is one of two cars that helped bring drag racing to the mainstream thanks to the grudge match and Hot Wheels. It’s the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda funny car of Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme known as Snake II, and it was on display at the Barrett-Jackson booth. This is one of three cars to be auctioned off at the upcoming Scottsdale event.

From 1970 to 1972 this car and The Mongoose driven by Tom ‘The Mongoose’ McEwen brought people in droves to drag strips around the country, and kids would even challenge each other in similar match races with their Hot Wheels kits. You couldn’t pick a better promotion.


This chassis was built by ‘Lil’ John Butera to race in the AHRA (American Hot Rod Association) and the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association), with the latter where Prudhomme set a national elapsed-time record at the 1973 US Nationals at Indianapolis – a 6.35-second ET at 226mph. While that might seem slow by today’s standards, this was an insane speed at the time.


Another manufacturer to debut a GT effort at SEMA was Acura with the 2017 Acura NSX GT3. It’s not for sale yet, but it’s expected to be approved for homologation this fall for a 2017 season launch. The NSX GT3 uses full carbon bodywork and aerodynamics which include the deck wing, underbody diffuser, and hood vents. The engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that is similar in design to the version that will be seen in the production NSX along with the twin turbo layout. It’s being designed and tested in Marysville, Ohio, while the engine is developed and built in Anna, Ohio.


Even crazier was the trailer it was sitting on. It was built in collaboration of Acura Design and Jimmy Shine Workshop just for the NSX GT3. It features “design elements” of the 2017 MDX – which it was attached to for ‘towing’ duty – and the GT3. The wheels are for sure inspired by the MDX and the lattice work is very roll cage-ish like the GT3, but what inspired the lift and lowering bed of the trailer? Honestly, this trailer was just as impressive as the NSX was.


Finally, Vaughn Gittin Jr. is getting serious about his off-road racing after his impressive effort at this year’s King of the Hammers event. So much so that he’s decided to make his own Ultra4 Rubicon Express Modified 4500-class racer; this is the Brocky. It’s a Jimmy’s 4×4 4500-IFS chassis with a ’70s Bronco body, but instead of a solid front axle like the original Bronco, this one features an independent front suspension setup.

Power comes from a 600hp Ford Performance Z427 V8 engine. The Nitto Tire Trail Grapplers wrap around the American Racing wheels with King Off-Road Racing Shocks to control and plant the truck to the rocks of Johnson Valley, CA.


Not only did Vaughn give rides at the show in the ‘RTR Takeover’ of Ford Out Front at SEMA, but he also showed off the new 1:8th and 1:15th scale model versions of the Brocky made by New Bright R/C. Both the full scale and small scale versions look great and we can’t wait to see it in action in February for the 2017 King of the Hammers Every Man Challenge.

Justin Banner
Facebook: racerbanner

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto



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I never liked the new NSX, I wish the Japanese designed it instead of Michelle Christensen .


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RoughIdea It's not that bad as a generic sports car, I just don't see NSX when I look at it.


+1 Everyone's cars look similar these days, plus they've all gotten bigger, heavier, and way more expensive. Used cars for life!!!


Any chance the new Lexus GT3 was there anywhere? I can't wait to see the Lexus and Acura going head to head with the rest of the GT3 field next year :).
Also really liking the new Mustang GT4. The world needs more GT4 racers...I wish Crystler would make a GT4 Challanger, and Chevy a GT4 Camaro that was a little more in line with the spirit of the catagory.


I wanna borrow Bronco and do donuts in my stupid neighbor's yard. Mariachi band in backyard at 3AM....eat ****. I'm salty today BC of a lack of sleep.


Really agree, at best it's meh. It looks like the they mashed a lfa and an r8 together then replaced all the accessories with bits off a tsx and bondo-ed the aggressive lines smooth.


Justin and Larry, I like the combination!


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"onestly, this trailer was just as impressive as the NSX was" I think this quote sums up everything wrong with the new nsx lol.


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RoughIdea The problem with the new NSX is that the previous NSX exists. That car changed things, this new version does nothing new or innovative. Which isn't to say that it isn't a great car, it is in fact a great car. But it doesn't inspire the awe that the original did and people that base their judgements off of the original car will not feel as moved by this car. If someone wasn't privy to the previous car, then this car would appear to be exceptional, especially as a Honda product.


The Mustang's 5.2L engine is a bit different.  No more flat plane crank in the GT4.


I'm so on board with the GT4 Mustang, it's not even funny. I've hated mustangs all my life and I want one of the newest ones so bad I feel like I'm betraying myself every time I see one. And I really want to see that Acura do good in WEC.


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D1RGE Except that this isn't for WEC. The New NSX GT3 races in GT3-class events like SRO Blancpain GT, International GT Open, and other continental/regional series that adopts GT3 spec.

You probably mean IMSA's United SportsCar series, whose GT Daytona (GTD) class use GT3. WEC does not have GT3--their GT class is split between Pro teams (GTE-Pro, where factory teams play) and Amateur teams (GTE-Am, using last-year-spec GTE-Pro cars).


UWerqxTeam_MJ D1RGE I figured if they were gonna build it got FIA GT3, it can compete in WEC. Oh well, I hope they get there after a couple years.


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D1RGE UWerqxTeam_MJ WEC has no class for GT3 spec cars.


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