Autoclub Speedway Redline Time Attack and Live Sockets Circuit Battle

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The Redline Time Attack series has been growing steadily since its inception a few years ago. The events follow a format similar to the qualifying portion of a typical race -- essentially fastest time wins. Redline events have been the stage for several exciting top lap time battles, such as one between James Sofronas (of SCCA Speed World Challenge fame) piloting his GMG Porsche GT3 against XS Engineering with their R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R (of Speed's Street Tuner Challenge fame). Recently we caught up with the Redline Time Attack series at California Autoclub Speedway to see what sort of competition Southern California could stir up. On top of the normal schedule, the event featured the first Live Sockets Circuit Battle competition. Circuit Battle differed from Time Attack in that it paired two cars together for a lead and chase race over 3 laps for best average time. Hit the jump to find out some of the results and check out all the photos in the gallery below.

The top time of the event went to Gary Sheehan driving the GST Motorsports Subaru Impreza when he lapped the course in 1:38.395. The time was secured during the final lapping session of the event, after a tire change and boost increase. Despite turning slower laps most of the day, Gary gained the confidence to win after beating Tyler McQuarrie's Brian Crower Honda S2000 in a head to head match during the Circuit Battle session.

Top Gear USA co-host Tanner Foust was also in attendance tossing the Crawford Performance WRX STI to a time of 1:42.327. It was good for a second place class finish behind Sheehan, even though the engine was experiencing some serious rod knock.

Update: The Crawford Performance STI was not experiencing engine issues after all. The noises emitting from the vehicle's engine bay were chalked up to the weirdness that is the flat 4 configuration. Tanner was having to fight unruley brakes however, leading him to limp the car around the course at times. They also happened to bellow smoke whenever the STI was parked in the garage after an intense track session, thus fueling speculation that the engine was experiencing troubles. Crawford will soon have a video up on their website outlining more details of the event.

Another competitor of note was drag racer turned road racer, Chris Rado, driving his unlimited FWD class World Racing Scion tC. It clocked a very quick 1:47.309.

Spectre Performance hosted a muscle car class showing that Time Attack also works for those with more than six cylinders. They brought out some fine examples of old school road racers.

A couple spanking new BMW 135i's even took part in the fun, turning lap times in the mid-pack range within their respective class.

One big reason the event drew our attention was the Circuit Battle pairing of the Focus Auto R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R (of Ultimate Street Car Challenge fame) against Cobb Tuning's JDM R35 Nissan GT-R. Cobb's mildly modified GT-R was sure to be an interesting match for the substantially altered previous generation of Nissan's halo car. Through their ECU voodoo magic, Cobb was able to remove the GT-R's speed limiter, which would have been an extreme hindrance on the section of the course utilizing a portion of the speedway's banked oval. The R35 even went on a diet, losing over 200 lbs by ditching air conditioning along with swapping seats and wheels. The changes weren't enough to turn laps quicker than the R34 however. Veteran driver Billy Johnson regularly pushed the R34 to times better than the R35 GT-R, never mind that the R35 never looked like it was out for more than a calm Sunday drive. Even still, Cobb Tuning pulled out a win in the Circuit Battle after Johnson's lack of brake pads saw him overshoot turn 1.

[Source: Redline, Live Sockets]

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