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OPTIMA’s 2016 Search for the Ultimate Street Car Begins at Thunderhill

Joe Escobar 1974 Ford Pinto DriveOPTIMA Thunderhill 3 209 Of 352 1

There are many roads to Las Vegas, but for those looking for an invitation to the 2016 SEMA Show and the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), the road began in Willows, California. It was there that the first OUSCI qualifying event was held at Thunderhill Raceway Park on February 27th and 28th. Now in it’s third full season, OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, saw a few significant rule and scoring changes over the winter months.

The GTL class for any vehicles weighing less than 3,200 pounds now has a minimum weight requirement of 95% of the factory curb weight. That change provides all four classes with a minimum weight requirement. It also helps minimize the chances of a competitor compromising the safety of their vehicle or street car integrity for the sake of performance gains realized through extreme weight reduction.

The points system has also been revised, with a perfect score in the five segments now being 500 points, based on overall finishing position in the entire field. As part of that change, the Lingenfelter Design Engineering Challenge score is now equalized with the Lucas Oil Road Rally and the three timed segments on the track. If that all sounds like Greek, don’t worry too much about how the series points are accumulated, just come out for a fun weekend at the track with a great group of people.

These events focus on a safe and fun experience, with competition being kept at the “friendly” level. Newcomers are also encouraged and the top finishing first-time participant will get their next event registration for free. Complimentary driving instructors are also offered for all competitors at each event and can help even seasoned track rats improve their line.

The next event will be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on April 16th 17th, so there’s plenty of time to get your car around and make plans to head out to the desert for some fun on the track. If you’d like to see more of these events, tune in to MAVTV on Friday nights at 8pm eastern to watch the TV series or see old episodes on demand on Roku, Amazon fireTV, AndroidTV or online at www.lucasoilracing.tv

GTV Class (pre-1990, 3200+ pounds)

1. Jake Rozelle, 1969 Camaro
2. Chad Ryker, 1968 Camaro
3. Efrain Diaz, 1969 Camaro

GTS Class (post-1989, 3200+ pounds, two-seaters and AWD vehicles)

1. Brian Hobaugh, 2003 Corvette
2. Carrie Willhoff, 2015 Corvette
3. Lynn Proctor, 2005 Dodge Viper

GT Class (post-1989, 3200+ pounds, two-wheel drive sedans, four-seater coupes, trucks, etc…)

1. Ken Thwaits, 2014 Camaro
2. Jordan Priestley, 2011 Camaro
3. Jordan Priestley, 2016 Camaro

GTL Class (anything under 3200 pounds)

1. Rich Willhoff, 2006 Corvette
2. Duke Langley, 2002 Corvette
3. Alexandra Zust, 2005 Lotus Elise

KN Spirit of the Event Award – Sean Fogli, 1968 Ford F100


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