For the first time in the modern incarnation of One Lap of America, a Japanese car has claimed the top spot. After a grueling 3,400+ mile, nine racetrack odyssey around the United States, veteran "Lap Dog" Steve Rankins and "Lap Puppy" Will Taylor captured the overall trophy in their 2009 Nissan GT-R this weekend. The victory marks the first for a Nippon car since the event's 1986 running, when rallyist Karl Chevalier's Toyota Celica beat out fellow racer John Buffum's Audi 5000S wagon. OloA's timing and scoring procedures were markedly different at that point, however, as from 1985 to 1991, One Lap was essentially a time-speed-distance (TSD) rally.
With five-time defending champion Mark Davia and Drew Wikstrom taking the year off in their Porsche 911 Turbo, a new winner was assured, but for quite a while, it looked like another Stuttgart powerhouse would take the podium, as the 996 GT2 of Peter Lier and Ian Stewart held down the top position for much of the event. In the end, the consistency of the #3 Team Cannonball GT-R outlasted all comers – including the green #2 GT-R of Derek Whitis, Tom Long and Mark Pombo, which fell by the wayside when it was beset by gremlins (faulty boost controller pushing the ECU into limp mode, overheating, etc.). Along the way, the #3 GT-R was a consistent performer all week long, setting OloA's best-ever wet skidpad performance, a tidy 0.953g and winning events at Turfway Park, Talladega Grand Prix Raceway, Daytona International Raceway, Carolina Motorsports Park, and the BMW Performance Center. While stockpiling that many victories may make this year's race sound like a walk-off, tight competition from Lier and Stewart's 996 GT2 and the aforementioned #2 GT-R meant that the issue was in doubt almost until the very end.
Check out the high-res gallery below for more shots from this year's event, the full results here, and comprehensive wrap-up coverage courtesy of Motor Trend here.