Super Lap Battle: The Post-SEMA Cleanse
From Vegas To Buttonwillow

Less than seven days removed from the crowds, hype and general insanity that is the annual SEMA Show, it’s refreshing to shift gears into a different mode.

That’s why I always enjoy the annual Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle event at Buttonwillow Raceway.

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With SEMA in the rearview mirror, there’s no better way to switch things up than by watching some of the fastest time attack cars in North America take to the dusty racing circuit in Southern California.

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And they aren’t just doing it for fun. The teams and drivers come here in hopes of putting a dent in the record books on Buttonwillow’s CW13 layout, the birthplace and long standing proving ground of time attack in the United States.

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As a casual follower of time attack, it’s been interesting to watch this event change over the years; what started as a small meet hosted by Super Street magazine later becoming part of the nationwide Global Time Attack series.

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Ten or 12 years ago, the Buttonwillow Super Lap played host to some of Japan’s most famous time attack cars including the HKS CT230R and the Garage HRS Cyber Evo as they were joined by other tuner cars built by America’s top shops. I’ve got very fond memories of skipping class in college to drive to Buttonwillow and catch the action every November.

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The event has changed over the years, opening itself up to more types of cars and developing its own unique American identity. But it’s still one of the best places for car builders and drivers to prove their stuff.

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And while Super Lap Battle never became the huge spectacle that is Australia’s World Time Attack Challenge, I actually like the fact that it’s a low-key event – especially after a week of dodging crowds in Las Vegas.

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There’s really no better way to follow up the extravagance of the SEMA Show than with a bunch of cars built to do nothing but lap race tracks very quickly.

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Considering it’s almost the middle of November, many were expecting the pleasant coolness of a fall day in California, but it seems summer isn’t quite ready to leave yet. It was hot out!

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Temperatures on Friday climbed into the mid-80-degree range and in the sun it felt even hotter than that. I’m not sure what effect this had on the cars, but I suppose it’s better than trying to set lap records in a November rain storm.

Super Lap Evolution
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And speaking of records, all eyes were on the Unlimited class, watching to see if anyone had anything for the GST Motorsports Impreza and its record 1:38.9 lap time set back in 2014.


There would be no track record set at this particular event, but Mark Jager in the Jager Racing/Yimi Sport Impreza posted a 1:41.309 for the quickest time this year.

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As an interesting contrast, the Impreza’s lap times were right in the same neighborhood as this Lamborghini Super Trofeo that was running in the Pro/Comp class for specialty vehicles. When all was said and done, the Subaru was about three tenths quicker than the Lambo.

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There was a lot of interest in the other classes as well. After a record-breaking performance in the Spoon Sports USA Civic Type R last year, many were wondering if Dai Yoshihara would be able to set another record in 2016.

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But when the dust cleared it wasn’t the FD2 that stood atop the podium, it was the Vibrant/PZTuning Civic Si driven by William Au-Yeung. William drove the Honda to a new FWD record with a scorching 1:43.365 lap time.

Sights & Sounds

While the hardcore time attack junkies kept their eyes on the scoring sheets looking to see which cars were putting down the fastest times, I began to find myself more interested in soaking up the diverse array of machinery that was lapping the track.

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While the Evos, Imprezas, S2000s, GT-Rs and other Japanese cars have always been a big part of time attack, they are now joined by a wide variety of machines from all over the world, each with its own distinct personality.

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Take the Essa Autosports Mercedes-AMG C63 for example. This one-time luxury machine is now a serious time attack competitor running in the Unlimited RWD class and making an incredible roar from its blown V8.

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You can always catch some of the newest toys at Super Lap Battle, and this year there were a few drivers out there in the new Focus RS. Could the Ford hot hatch join the Evo and Impreza brigade as the next time attack favorite?

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Despite the fact that it looked stock, this GT350 Mustang was one of the most enjoyable cars to watch thanks to the incredible exhaust note of that flat-plane crank V8. Pure music.

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That’s not to say the more traditional time attack cars weren’t equally fun to watch. From a pure aesthetics point of view, the Novak Racing Impreza was hard to top thanks to its Coors Light-inspired livery.

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And then there’s Cody Miles’ Air Lift Performance-equipped Impreza which finished atop the Street AWD class. Stay tuned for a full feature on this one.

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Being the car geek that I am, I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of other cool cars I found parked around the paddock, like this lovely Mercedes-Benz 500E.

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And this Chevy SS that’s been rebadged as the Holden Commodore that it’s based on. As cool as the SS is, I’ve seen but a handful of them out in the wild.

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From the madness and show cars of SEMA to the raw sights and sounds of America’s fastest time attack cars scorching across a barren landscape, this is what being a Speedhunter is all about.

For a detailed breakdown of all the classes and lap times be sure to check out the Global Time Attack website.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia

More Time Attack related stories on Speedhunters



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Only one tiny error. The FX Motorsports Development NSX holds the CW 13 record with a 1:37.520...


y0vinny this doesn't count cause is not an official event


Do many/any international cars make the trek over for this event?


Was that SS purple, or is it just a trick of the light?
Very cool to see someone out there playing with one, highly underrated cars in my opinion.


MTDatsun yes it's purple! Alchemy Purple


3nigm4 lots of cars came from Canada


It was an official time attack, it just wasn't done during SLB. But SLB does not recognize times from other series.


KenSuen y0vinny Would Under Suzuki's time on Tsukuba not count if it wasn't on a competition day? As long as there are witnesses to the time and footage to back it up, I would say it counts. Cherrypicking times by event is terrible. Whoever laps it fastest, holds the record. Period.
I wonder if Time Attack would ever implement a Bonneville-style timing, i.e., you have to back your record up with a similar run? That would be an extremely difficult bar to raise on these guys.


Awesome shots of some awesome cars! Thanks Mike.


I am inspired that someone able to earn $10230 

in 1 month on the internet .............


The rolling/speeding shots like the yomo sport subaru are truly amazing. Idk how to explain it.... just look at how the wing lines up with the backdrop. picture speaks a thousand words I guess




The Chevy SS looks good but I really miss the Pontiac G8, too bad GM decided to end Pontiac...


that lambo is being driven by a 13 year old


EvolveWRC Agreed. Still had a lot of potential for that brand.


johnbezt Thanks! Unfortunately Buttonwillow isn't the most scenic track, but it's wide open spaces are quite good for panning shots.


90nissanS13@my350z Thank you!


3nigm4 Not many cars from Japan recently, but it's seen some cool ones in the past.


D1RGE KenSuen y0vinny It's an interesting argument. On one hand a lap time is a lap time but I can also understand how you'd want everything recorded on equal days with equal conditions etc.


EvolveWRC SS is better than the G8 is every way. Look is subjective, but the fit and finish(G8 had a horrible plastic-ky interior along with the fact they didn't bother to do the LHD conversion properly), equipment that comes on it, the almost legendary drivetrain and more


No days, weekends, or sessions are "equal". Especially when cars blow up and people drag piles of dirt on to the track. The animosity between SLB, ExtremeSpeed & RTA is part of what killed TA in the first place, among poor management and pissing off all of the competitors.
TA in the US has become far to "clicky" and exclusive rather than the inclusive grassroots vibe which made it take off in the first place. It's a sad shadow of what it once was.


No days, weekends, or sessions are "equal". Especially when cars blow up and people drag piles of dirt on to the track. The animosity between SLB, ExtremeSpeed & RTA is part of what killed TA in the first place, among poor management and pissing off all of the competitors.
TA in the US has become far to "clicky" and exclusive rather than the inclusive grassroots vibe which made it take off in the first place. It's a sad shadow of what it once was.


Sweet coverage! Currently building my machine to tackle GTA's SLB within the next year or 2. It's a great opportunity to see what the current teams are doing in terms of aero without having to travel hundreds of miles to be there physically. Thanks for this!


Mike Garrett , seeing the Chev SS rebadged as a Holden made me smile. It's reversed down here in Australia, approx 1/3 of Holden sports vehicles sport Chev badges thanks to their owners.  :p


Matboy_Au Mike Garrett I feel the exact same way... It's refreshing and I'm not even really a fan of Holden. It was just nice.


Billj747 XtremeTraffic/RTA is run by a bunch of monkeys...especially Joel...horrible person to deal with


I'm in shock that a mom can make $5437 ..

in a few weeks on the internet 

more details   


Billj747 Not clicky at all. I'm in enthusiast RWD class (one of the slowest cars). Drive my car to the track park next to the big teams and receive nothing but help and advice. GTA is on big family and everyone is welcome just don't be a jerk and can take a joke and have the best time you will ever have at the track. I have been racing in GTA for 2 years and always pass down what I learned to the next new person.


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@driftmotion - you can say that about every TA organization. Your comments back up the "clicky-ness".
@MazdaBret. I've been in every TA organization since 2005. It's nothing like it use to be in terms of car count, quality, or inter-series respect.


I'm stunned that any body can get paid $8640 in 4 weeks .................


like Kyle said I am shocked that you can get paid $4264 in a few weeks .............

more details 


Matboy_Au because it's not a damn Chevy. And I hate the Chevy badge.


Nice coverage!
Wish you guys posted an additional photo gallery as you've done in previous years.


my neigbour recently purchased Infiniti FX SUV 

just by part time work from a ...................

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my best frend got a nearly new yellow BMW 6 Series Convertible 

by working part time .............



EvolveWRC The car didn't die with the G8, the commodore still exists. They just decided to stop rebadging it. The G8 is a VE commodore while the SS is the next generation, the VF commodore.


I am not a fan of driving fast, but I adore to watch them, especially in the fights that occur between the best professional drivers where they make you feel impressed.