Like Germany and the Nurburgring, the United States is quickly seeing Buttonwillow Raceway's clock-wise configuration #13 become the circuit of choice for lap time bragging rights. While Buttonwillow does not have luxurious surrounding establishments or exceptional facilities, it does provide a variety of corners, is close to a major city (Los Angeles) and open year-round. Recently, media outlets Super Street and Eurotuner hosted their annual Super Lap Battle Finals (previously referred to as Time Attack). This event has helped to establish Buttonwillow track records as coveted titles. The winner of the event, fresh off a boat from Japan, was HKS's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII dubbed the CT230R and driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi to a time of 1:43.523. The carbon beast not only bested the competition, but destroyed the event record of 1:48.906 held by Tarzan Yamada driving Sun Auto's Cyber Lancer Evolution and the track record of 1:48.766 held by Tyler McQuarrie driving JIC's S15 Silvia in the process. There is more on the event and the Evo after the jump.
[Source: HKS USA]
For comparison of the complete dominance set forth by the HKS CT230R, check out the 2005 and 2006 Super Street/Eurotuner Time Attack results. If it still isn't apparent enough, then the Car and Driver comparison test utilizing the same track configuration might give more of a clue. If you still need to see it with your own eyes, then check out the YouTube video embedded below.
HKS's CT230R Evo is far from your ordinary rice burner. It was meticulously constructed in HKS's special projects workshop. The chassis has been significantly reinforced to reduce flex. The driver's seat is pushed back even with the B-pillar for better weight balance. The body is completely lightweight dry-carbon. Plus, the 4-cylinder 4G63 engine outputs 550 HP with the help of an HKS GT3037S turbocharger. According to Options Magazine, the whole package weighs in around 2,200 lbs making for a rather favorable power to weight ratio. The Japanese tuners must also know something about the benefits of balancing unsprung weight versus the amount of available traction, as they all seem to prefer rather narrow tires. The CT230R performed its record breaking run on 265-wide Yokohama A048 DOT tires. More details can be found in Turbo Magazine's feature article on the Evo.
The Buttonwillow track record was not the first title secured by the HKS creation, either. It was specifically built for Japan's famed Tsukuba Circuit Super Lap event. There it broke the 54-second barrier to the tune of 53.589 on the 1.3-mile track. In comparison, a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup racecar completes the loop in 57.667 (according to Best Motoring). Options captured the record on video and we happened to find it on YouTube.
More information on the Super Street Time Attack Series and the Super Lap Battle Finals can be found by visiting SuperStreetOnline.com.