S2K Challenge Series: Willow Spring International Raceway Results

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Article by Edward Lee (600rr_rocket)

After a very successful first event at Buttonwillow Raceway, the 2nd S2000 Challenge race was held on February 8, 2009 at the famous Willow Spring International Raceway, affectionately known as the, “Fastest road in the west”. The 2.5mile course consists of 9 turns combines speed with turns and elevation changes to offer a unique challenge. The track has been in existence for more than 50 years, and was recently declared as a California Point of Historical Interest. It is most famous for Turn 8: The lead in to this turn is the fastest section of the racetrack and coupled with the turn itself – probably the most critical for a good lap time. It is also the fastest turn on any racetrack west of the Mississippi River. The top S2000 Challenge drivers were hitting 120mph+ on this turn.

The track is home to many auto and motorcycle racing series. There is a prevailing stereotype/mindset that states (for some odd reason) that S2000’s and other lower horsepower cars are not suited for this track. Absolutely not true! Youtube “Honda Cup” and you’ll see S2000’s battling Civic’s around WSIR. Look up at lap time records for Spec Miatas and Lotus Elise/Exiges and you’ll find that these lower-horsepower can hold their own against their larger-displacement cousins. Redline Time Attack is holding one of their events this year at WSIR in May 2009; Certainly very curious to see how the S2000/Elise/Miata/Civic contingent will perform.

Weeks before the event, potential participants were eying the weather forecast…with rain predicted for most of the weekend. It did end up raining pretty hard on Friday and Saturday, and a few showers on Sunday morning. The temperature on Sunday ranged from 35 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit with wind speeds up to 21mph…which meant it was cold! Throughout the day, we experienced an interesting weather phenomenon that Aaron coined, “micro systems.” For example, it would be sprinkling rain on Turn 2 while completely sunny and dry on Turn 8! The cold temperatures were an overall plus however, with less stress on our tires, engines, brakes, etc. and the ability to put down faster lap times.

There were 5 qualifying sessions throughout the day: The S2000 drivers (many of them new to the track) slowly built up their confidence and decreased their lap times session after session. During the driver’s meeting before the dedicated S2K Challenge Time Attack session, Aaron from Speedventures explained the rules. Drivers will grid based on qualifying lap times, fastest guys in front. Cars will be sent off one by one, with around a 10-15 second gap between each. There is a warm-up out-lap, first hot-lap (green flag), second hot-lap (white flag), and cool-down in-lap (checked flag). If a car is to go off track, the driver will be disqualified from the competition. Also, if a driver catches up to another car, they have the option of redoing their timed laps. The fastest of the two timed laps count toward the final standings within each of the respective classes.

Si Tang, was an early favorite in the Modified Class, coming in with the fastest qualifying lap time. In his first time attack lap, he clocked a blistering 1:33.704 (on street tires!) and spun-out on Turn 1 on his second hot lap, perhaps trying too hard to break his record. This caused Emilo Cervantes to re-grid, and he ultimately took first place in Street Class with a 1:35.398. The most impressive feat of the day was Charles Ng’s performance. He just purchased an S2000 three days before the event, and entered into the competition with absolutely no modifications whatsoever. He clocked an amazing 1:38.452, a WSIR record for a “bone-stock” S2000. Tim Kuo took first in Unlimited Class with a 1:34.0; he was testing new suspension and able to clock a 1:32.X with different coilovers last summer!

At the end of the day, an awards ceremony was held. Podium finishers were given Speedventures gift certificates. Congratulations to all the winners!

A breakdown of the event results and current series standings:

February 8, 2009 – Results

Street Class:
1st – Emilo Cervantes (949racing) – 1:35.398 – 10pts
2nd – Charles Ng (No screenname yet) – 1:38.452 – 8 pts
3rd – Nam Yoon (VitaRenovatio) – 1:43.285 – 6pts

Modified Class:
1st – Si Tang (nsxtasi) – 1:33.704 – 10pts
2nd – Mark Tsai (colakitty) – 1:35.767 – 8 pts
3rd – Kangwoo Park (ted park) – 1:37.238 – 6pts

4th – Yuyen Huang (jaku) – 1:37.422 – 5pts
5th – Edward Lee (600rr_rocket) – 1:38.000 – 4pts
6th – Alex Peng (momofoolio) – 1:38.763 – 3pts
7th – Michael Tsay (dipstick) – 1:38.851 – 2pts

Unlimited Class:
1st – Tim Kuo (stinkytofu) – 1:34.000 – 10pts

The 2009 S2K Challenge Current Standings are:

Street Class:
Emilo Cervantes (949racing) 20
Nam Yoon (VitaRenovatio) 9
Dino Antonov (antonov) 8
Charles Ng 8
Kevin Lui (terahertz) 6
Dustin Dessero (ddess) 5
Kenny Tuey (innovation) 4
Filip Craciun (kinchu007) 2
Jason Paul (jp555sovl) 1

Modified Class:
Mark Tsai (colakitty) 18
Si Tang (nsxtasi) 15
Yuyen Huang (jaku) 13
Michael Tsay (dipstick) 8
Edward Lee (600rr_rocket) 8
Kangwoo Park (ted park) 7
Blue Santamaria (-outkast-) 3
Alex Peng (momofolio) 3
William Chen (bellwilliam) 2

Unlimited Class:
Rylan Hazelton (krazik) 10
Tim Kuo (stinkytofu) 10
Robert Burch (rob.ok) 8

A warm welcome of our Sponsors!
Tony Fuchs Racing
Mike’s Ultimate Dent Removal

Lastly, the next S2K Challenge event will be held at Streets of Willow on March 6, 2009…see you there!

Signup for next race:


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