Photography: Mike Morrow
We are all familiar with the crazy SEMA builds that we seen for the last month. Quite often we wander if most of those cars are nothing more than just trailer queens or if their monster engines also perform as good as they look. In most instances we will have to keep wandering, but for a select few car builders there is the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters which showcases top SEMA cars that are really built for speed and not just to look good behind the camera lens. The idea came about 6 years ago when OPTIMA Batteries decided to gather a small group of cars from SEMA and put them one against the other regardless of the modifications, year, make or model- Genius!
As of now, there is a full national schedule of events including TV coverage and basically tests cars and their drivers in hot lap, autocross, stopping and design. Although at first sight it might seem unfair competition with no basic categories where 1960’s muscle cars could in theory compete against modern super cars, it truly is a test of build quality, workmanship and overall engineering. As this year shows, appearances are deceiving with a 1965 Corvette being the overall 2013 champion. Go figures…
1965 Corvette Wins 2013 OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Title
Despite Incredibly Intense Competition, Brian Hobaugh is Named Overall Champion
November 9, 2013 (PAHRUMP, Nev.) – The Sixth Annual OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters, successfully hosted a full field of 58 participants driving the world’s best street vehicles, in front of the largest spectator crowd the event has ever seen. A day full of amazing vehicle performances, impressive lap times and surprising finishes made for the most memorable display of competition in OPTIMA Invitational franchise history. Ultimately, Brian Hobaugh was crowned the overall winner, driving his 1965 Corvette to top finishes in the Ridetech Street Challenge Autocross as well as the Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge. The competition was very close, with defending champion, Mark Stielow driving a 1967 Camaro and former OUSCI Champion, Danny Popp piloting his 2010 Camaro, built by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.
The 2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational top 10 overall finishers are listed below. The individual event results and complete scores for all participants can be found on the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational website at http://www.optimainvitational.com/.
Top Ten Overall Finishers
Brian Hobaugh, 1965 Corvette
Mark Stielow, 1967 Camaro
Danny Popp, 2010 Camaro
Brian Finch, 1971 Camaro
Karl Dunn, 1968 Camaro
Todd Earsley, 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII
Steve Kepler, 2013 Nissan GT-R
Kyle Tucker, 2012 Camaro
Bret Voelkel, 1933 Ford Coupe
Larry Woo, 1968 Camaro
Tight Finish in the Top Three
Brian Hobaugh secured the win by a solid ten point margin over last year’s champion and second place finisher Mark Stielow. Only one point separated second and third place with Danny Popp completing the top three.
“The drivers pushed their cars as hard as they possibly could, and their lap times show it. All the participants were fantastic, and all of the spectators at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club were able to witness a truly exciting event,” says Cam Douglass, director of product development and marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “It was a terrific example of how capable and entertaining street-legal cars of all makes can be. All three of the top finishers proved their cars are truly exceptional performers, delivering outstanding results in each of the various driving challenges.”
Twin-Turbo Mercedes-Benz Sets the Pace
The BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge was once again incredibly popular with both drivers and spectators. The pace-setting lap of 1:50.8 was set by a 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon driven by 4-time SCCA World Challenge GT Champion Randy Pobst. The potent 577 horsepower twin-turbo Wagon also served as a camera car, following competitors as they made their laps and acquiring footage to be seen on an upcoming episode of the recently-announced OPTIMA Batteries Search for the Ultimate Street Car television series airing on MAV TV in 2014. Check www.ultimatestreetcarassociation.com for more details on the Series and the television air dates.
2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Event Sponsors
The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational is presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters. This year’s event sponsors are BFGoodrich Tires, Detroit Speed and Engineering, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Ridetech and Wilwood Disc Brakes. And finally, associate sponsors include Magnaflow Performance Exhaust, The Roadster Shop, Centerforce Performance Clutch, MAC Tools and Jet-Hot Coatings.
About OPTIMA® Batteries
OPTIMA® YELLOWTOP®, REDTOP® and BLUETOP® batteries are available through leading battery distributors globally. When looking for OPTIMA Batteries consumers should look for the unique, colored-top and SIX PACK™ design which OPTIMA is known throughout the world. In 2012, OPTIMA added to its product line with the innovative OPTIMA® Chargers Digital 1200 Battery Charger for all automotive and marine batteries. To find out more information or purchase OPTIMA products consumers may visit www.optimabatteries.com. Consumers can also call 1-888-8OPTIMA (1-888-867-8462) for additional information.
About Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Johnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicles. Our 50 manufacturing, recycling and distribution centers supply more than one-third of the world’s lead-acid batteries to major automakers and aftermarket retailers. Through our innovations we are building the advanced battery industry for hybrid and electric vehicles. We were the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass-production hybrid vehicles. Our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.
About Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 168,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2013, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit www.johnsoncontrols.com.