After GST Motorsports set a new AWD record at GTA Superlap Battle this year, Factor X Motorsports Development will be back Dec 6-7 in an attempt to improve on their time of 1:37.520, set last year.
Last year’s lap resulted in a little controversy, with some other websites opting to not even mention it, giving the overall to GST’s 1:38.9. There are two reasons for that- one is where and when it was done, and the other is the tires they used.
As far as the “where” goes, this record did not happen at Redline Time Attack, Superlap Battle, or the relatively new Global Time Attack results. All three of these events have pretty similar rule structures, inspection, and enforcement, and recognize results from the other events. Instead, FXMD’s fastest lap was done at an event called Extreme Time Attack. They have rules and inspection based off RTA and are ran by one of the old RTA organizers. FXMD might have gotten a short session to themselves on track, which is definitely an advantage, but I have been at plenty of events where you could get lots of open space if you were paying attention. As the semi-official time attack record keeper, I’d rather see them do it at SLB, but it’s good enough for me, and they have their reasons.
As for tires, SLB has always required DOT approval tires. Australia and Japan time attack are similar. Redline (and ETA), however, have generally not cared what kind of a tire unlimited class cars used, and so qualifying race slicks found their way into time attack. The Yokohama A005 super soft for example is popular, and many of the current time attack records at other tracks were done on these or other similar tires. In my opinion you can’t count some records on a tire while dismissing others. Additionally, the current GTA rules seem to allow any type of tire so I don’t even understand why this is an issue. On this website the time definitely counts. In any case, FXMD will be going out on the newest Hoosier A7 dot-approved tires this time around, which are allowed at Superlap, and last year they did manage a 1:38.5 on the A6.
With or without special sauce slicks, The FX team expects to improve this year. The car has had help from two of the best aero guys in the business, with Simon Macbeath providing some new input (he wrote a book about this stuff and has a column in Racecar Engineering). A dual element wing will reduce drag while maintaining the downforce levels of their older massive single wing. The splitter is bigger, the front end is more streamlined, and the suspension has been further fine tuned. The engine is more reliable than ever, and with a Borg Warner EFR 9180 is capable of a huge amount of power, although at regular boost the numbers are not as wild as one might think.
There’s one other change: Buttonwillow was re-paved this year and SLB results seem to indicate it’s a good amount faster than before. Sure there’s some charm to bumpy, dusty old buttonwillow, but it’s either this or let the place fall apart.
My prediction: 1:35
Here’s hoping things go well, and also that they consider a superlap appearance next year. Or even better, a trip to WTAC in Australia.
Oh, and here’s video of that 1:37.5, plus a gallery of some recent pics around the shop: