The name itself makes you question, what do they mean? I thought about it and figured I’ll look into it later, but surely “The Speed Ring” has a nice tone to it. For me it was a short notice and last minute decision since we were just at the same Auto Club Speedway Fontana venue the weekend before. But with Time Attack mainly in our sights for the past months, we found out that many Global Time Attack Drivers were going to race at this event, along with many others I haven’t seen yet. Even better, the GTA and Formula D staff were collaborating on making this event worth coming attending.
HKS and Motovicity joined forces to bring this event together, a kind of first of its kind, and to get the ball rolling they offered a $20,000 cash up for grabs to whomever could beat the Legendary Nobuteru Taniguchi aka N.O.B. (meaning No One Better). Now it had to be a GTR in order for anyone to get that $20k and after going up and down the pit garages, there was the HG Motorsports contender driven by Jason Cappelli, the Lyfe Motorsports GTR by Cole Powelson, the Jamacor GTR with Mario Barrera, and Time Attack brethren local Mark Jager piloting the Narvaez Racing GTR. What looked like a possible over all win with NOB and the HKS GTR, session after session the numbers didn’t get any better. NOB continued to dominate the track and consistently run 1:33’s and 1:34’s, and after issues from a tire, to other things the LYFE GTR was the only car that stood a chance.
The other Time Attack cars in the field ranged from an EF Hatch that normally runs in the N2 class of VTEC Club, to a Porsche Cayman driven by Pro FD Driver Mike Essa in the Unlimited RWD category. With everything in between, it looked like a great set of cars going out to run the day. But of course the eyes kept going back to the GTR Class, and one would say that the LYFE GTR looked to dominate the rest of that class from its exterior mods. But if you have been following Time Attack, you’ll know that their GTR wasn’t truly complete for this event. At the end of the day one more session was in line and with a valiant effort, Cole hit the 1:32.534 to be exact. With enough minutes left for NOB to give it another shot, the HKS GTR went out and came so close at a 1:33.386 which gave him a podium, but first place went to LYFE Motorsports along with the briefcase of money!
So was the event worth it? Absolutely! With hopes of the next one to come, we can expect the crowd to develop more, and the overall event to be bigger. Wonder which Japanese Driver or out of country Driver will they invite next? I may be thinking too far ahead, but what about someone from the Australian Series? Shit, maybe a former F1 driver like Sebastian Buemi piloting a car from another team, lol. I know that maybe some wishful thinking, but what the hell, it’s great ideas like this that made the “The Speed Ring” possible.. -Rommel Estrada #racingregime