Turbocharged Mustang Takes Top Honors at Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge

Photography credit: Ken Neher

VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, ALTON, Va. (July 31, 2020)—Fast, faster, fastest. Forty-four of the country’s fastest track cars descended upon Virginia International Raceway July 31 for the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge. After a full day of shedding blood, sweat and perhaps a few tears, Brian Faessler took top honors in his turbocharged Ford Mustang GT350R. His top lap time of 1:47.507 would have put him near the top of the IMSA GTD field. 

The Knockout Finals presented by Aeromotive Inc., a post-event, winner-takes-all race featuring the event’s top cars, was won by Clayton Eley in a Ligier JS P3, an LMP3-class prototype racer powered by a Nissan V8 engine. 

Clayton Eley's Ligier JS P3 won the trophy for UTCC Knockout Champion presented by Aeromotive Inc.

Other standouts included Ferrari 458 Challenge driver Sandro Espinosa, who won a $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate for posting the top time on DOT-approved tires, and Dodge Viper ACR pilot Gary Wimble, who claimed another Tire Rack prize for recording the event’s fastest times on 200-treadwear tires. 

Sandro Espinosa's Ferrari 458 won the trophy for Fastest Car on DOT-Approved Tires; the prize was a $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate.

Gary Wimble's Dodge Viper ACR won the trophies for Fastest Car on 200-Treadwear Tires ($1000 Tire Rack gift certificate) and Fastest Rear-Wheel-Drive Car on 200-Treadwear Tires.

The Ultimate Track Car Challenge is an annual competition held by Grassroots Motorsports for the sole purpose of finding America’s fastest track cars. Anyone can join with any type of car. The event has been hosted at VIR for the last 14 years.

Grassroots Motorsports magazine is celebrating 35-plus years of publication. To enjoy full coverage of the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge and many more events, subscribe to Grassroots Motorsports magazine today. Complete UTCC coverage, plus race results, will highlight the November issue. 

The 2020 Grassroots Motorsports Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge is presented by Tire Rack in association with Wilwood Disc Brakes, with trophies from BimmerWorldFalken TireHoosier TireSPA TechniqueAeromotive and Mach V Motorsports.

The Mid Atlantic Region of the National Auto Sport Association, run by Chris Cobetto, sanctions the event. NASA has been the market leader for amateur road racing in the region for many years.

For more information and results, visit the official event website: ultimatetrackcar.com.

Ed Bernard's Subaru WRX STI won the trophies for Fastest All-Wheel-Drive Car (Open Tire); Fastest All-Wheel-Drive Car on 200-Treadwear Tires; Fastest on Falkens presented by Falken Tire; and Fastest Subaru presented by Mach V Motorsports.

Charles Harding's BMW M3 won the trophy for Fastest BMW presented by BimmerWorld.

Vinnie Lima's Audi RS3 LMS won the trophy for Fastest Front-Wheel-Drive Car (Open Tire).

Reg Williams's Porsche GT3 R won the trophy for Fastest Production Car.

Max Gourley's Subaru WRX STI won the Safety Setup Award presented by SPA Technique.

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Comments
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nocones
nocones UltraDork
8/3/20 9:56 p.m.

Dang an LMP3 car showed up and didn't win.  That is a FAST mustang.  

I'm going to need more pics of the Ligier.  

Congrats to everyone that went.  Hopefully next year for me. 

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
8/4/20 5:51 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

You can buy a $500,000 racecar, but you can't buy talent! J/k that mustang is a beast!

rustomatic
rustomatic New Reader
8/4/20 9:35 a.m.

Love what those guys (Paul's Automotive Engineering) do with turbos--their '65 Mustang is quite the inspiration.  I've got the GM article bookmarked . . .

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/4/20 9:39 a.m.

The Mustang was fastest overall?!  Damn, Sam. Just don't let him take that thing to a Cars and Coffee.

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
8/4/20 10:21 a.m.

Congratulations to the Faesslers from the rest of Cincinnati land.

appliance_racer (Forum Supporter)
appliance_racer (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/4/20 11:54 a.m.

I know there's some science in the mustang that the Faesslers may not want to share but.....any chance we can get a tech article on what it took to make an S550 GTD fast?

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
8/4/20 1:01 p.m.

I believe a story on that Mustang is already in the works!

 

getfast
getfast Reader
8/4/20 1:17 p.m.

Fun day. Nice to see you guys again as always!

Taylor Johnson
Taylor Johnson
8/4/20 1:37 p.m.

Thanks for letting me drive the photo-truck! It was a dream come true. 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
8/4/20 4:05 p.m.

How is a Porsche GT3 R a "Production Car"?

Yeah, it's factory-built...but it's a factory-built race car.  Like most GT3/GT4/TCR cars these days.  Not capable of being licensed for street use.  What am I missing?



 

redtug
redtug New Reader
8/5/20 9:07 a.m.

In reply to Dave M (Forum Supporter) :

Okay to be fair..I am the owner of the LMP3 and your right I cant buy talent I must gain it/learn it.  I have only started driving HPDE a little over a year ago and since then have gained my competition licenses thru NASA and have only raced two events with my 220hp GTS2 BMW.  I bought the LMP3 for a fraction of what you stated above as I thought it would be a durable car for club events.  The engine is a natural aspirated 440hp detuned Nissan VK50 (5.0liter truck engine) with a top speed of 165mph.  Unlike the Mustang that has +-850 whp and does over 180 on the back straight at VIR.  I agree the Mustang is a phenomenal car and he is a great driver but the two car are very different and approach the track differently.  The mustang can pull off a couple good laps and then must cool down and rest.  The LMP3 will do it all day long.  Case in example he didn't enter the final SHOOTOUT as he cannot do lap after after lap of his pace but is good for a one or two off and that it.... as I won it and my shoot out time beat his Hot Lap time of 1:47.507 as I turned a 1:47.224.  I have driven the LMP3 at five events and I am still learning the car and I hope to gain the "Talent" to improve over time...I just want to have fun and compete... I have a fraction of the money in my LMP3 compared to whats in the mustang and I am already down to a 1:46 as a "newbie" to the racing game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXVJWDXNrNU

redtug
redtug New Reader
8/5/20 9:13 a.m.

In reply to redtug :

O and my tires are 2018 Continental tires from Hoosier Discontinued tires that cost $99.00 each!  https://shop.hoosiertire.com/index.php/discontinued-tires/325-710r18-rear.html

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
8/5/20 9:23 a.m.
redtug said:

In reply to Dave M (Forum Supporter) :

Okay to be fair..I am the owner of the LMP3 and your right I cant buy talent I must gain it/learn it.  I have only started driving HPDE a little over a year ago and since then have gained my competition licenses thru NASA and have only raced two events with my 220hp GTS2 BMW.  I bought the LMP3 for a fraction of what you stated above as I thought it would be a durable car for club events.  The engine is a natural aspirated 440hp detuned Nissan VK50 (5.0liter truck engine) with a top speed of 165mph.  Unlike the Mustang that has +-1,000 hp and does over 200 on the back straight at VIR.  I agree the Mustang is a phenomenal car and he is a great driver but the two car are very different and approach the track differently.  The mustang can pull off a couple good laps and then must cool down and rest.  The LMP3 will do it all day long.  Case in example he didn't enter the final SHOOTOUT as he cannot do lap after after lap of his pace but is good for a one or two off and that it.... as I won it and my shoot out time beat his Hot Lap time of 1:47.507 as I turned a 1:47.224.  I have driven the LMP3 at five events and I am still learning the car and I hope to gain the "Talent" to improve over time...I just want to have fun and compete... I have a fraction of the money in my LMP3 compared to whats in the mustang and I am already down to a 1:46 as a "newbie" to the racing game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXVJWDXNrNU

Thanks for the info.  Sounds like a blast.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/5/20 9:26 a.m.

In reply to redtug :

That's super impressive on 440hp. What you're talking about reminds me of watching a TransAm Camaro (tube frame car) and a Radical battle it out at a NASA event one time. Completely different ways of making speed and quite the odd battle to watch. 

I applaud you for driving an awesome car in anger. 

1LapSRT
1LapSRT New Reader
8/5/20 10:49 a.m.

Why didn't John Finstrom win Fastest Production, Fastest AWD and Fastest Subaru?   Just curious...

 

 

1LapSRT
1LapSRT New Reader
8/5/20 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

We need incar video with Data!  :-)

 

Found it!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIpYK2ENdu8

 

 

pfaessler
pfaessler
8/5/20 2:13 p.m.

In reply to redtug :

To clarify a few points.

Our Mustang's hp was 850, not 1000+ and weighs 3300#.

Our top speed at VIR was 180, not 200

Our car will run all day long (as long as our 22 gallon fuel cell lasts), After 3-4 laps our water temps stabilized at 210, and oil at 230, in the 93 degree temps at VIR.

Last season Brian led every lap of all (7) 40 minutes races, including the NASA Super Unlimited National Championship.

We did not run the shootout because we had already won the UTCC (our reason for coming to VIR) and putting needless wear on our equipment for a fun race is not in our budget.

Our car was dreamed up, fabricated, and built by Brian and I, and developed over the last 5 years. 

Also our Mustang is street legal, tagged, registered, insured, and does safely drive to Cars and Coffee on occasion .

Thanks again to Grassroots Motorsports for putting on a great event.

Paul Faessler

redtug
redtug New Reader
8/5/20 3:33 p.m.

In reply to pfaessler :

My apologies about the top speed and heating up issues...can't believe everything you hear at at the track!  Great job driving and hopefully look forward to crossing paths again and I should  have a little more experience under my belt and bump up my power another 20hp to 460hp!  Also just amazing its a "street legal" with all the catalytic converters and stuff like that.  I agree Grassroots Motorsports did a great job putting on the event!

 

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/5/20 4:13 p.m.
1LapSRT said:

Why didn't John Finstrom win Fastest Production, Fastest AWD and Fastest Subaru?   Just curious...

 

 

John changed cars at the last minute, and actually drove a Staudacher S12 to that time. 

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
8/5/20 4:28 p.m.

I'm so pissed I missed this event. I would have been dead last, of course, but I really wanted to participate.

That's the problem with an odd-ball car. When something breaks, it takes forever to find parts and get everything sorted again. 

RacingComputers
RacingComputers Reader
8/5/20 6:49 p.m.

Did the two Hendrick  Camaros take part?

 

Thanks

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/6/20 5:26 a.m.

In reply to pfaessler :

"We did not run the shootout because we had already won the UTCC (our reason for coming to VIR) and putting needless wear on our equipment for a fun race is not in our budget."

let me get this straight?

you ran the fastest time in the UTCC so you didn't want to win the whole thing and race the shootout because  you had no interest ??? it would put wear on your car??? and it wasn't in your budget?????

you where already there!!!

How could you not be interested?????

 
Listen I tip my hat to you for winning the UTCC and pushing a full body "street" car around VIR that fast. that is quite a feat in itself

 you won the UTCC and  the Prototype turned a faster time and won the Shootout  which in the years that I have raced the UTCC the shootout was considered the "Top Honors"? 

anyway You and your car really are great and I for one applaud you for your accomplishments. 
 

 

 

 

 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/6/20 9:36 a.m.

Hey Taj, let's not insert a vein of negativity here.

ross2004
ross2004 Reader
8/6/20 9:41 a.m.
Tajgarage said:

A bunch of nonsense.

Nice first post. 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
8/6/20 12:49 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

Hey Taj, let's not insert a vein of negativity here.

because I can't submit more than one thumbs up

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/6/20 1:41 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

No hard feelings 

i was genuinely complimentary 

and impressed 

but facts are facts 

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/6/20 1:42 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

He actually did look at his times

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/6/20 3:01 p.m.

you ran the fastest time in the UTCC so you didn't want to win the whole thing and race the shootout because  you had no interest ??? it would put wear on your car??? and it wasn't in your budget?????

you where already there!!!

How could you not be interested?????

Spoken like a teenager.  If someone got the trophy, made their point, and wanted to save the additional wear and tear for another event, who are we to say no? I know a guy who completed a test-and-tune in his racecar, went out for a few fun laps, hit a spot of coolant and stashed it into a wall at 105 MPH. 

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/7/20 5:57 a.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

I've been racing for 60 years starting in carts At the age of 9 

I've been building tube cars for almost 40 of those years 

I've raced warbirds at Reno, speedway bikes at Ascot, sailboats in the Chesapeake and offshore boats in Miami. The highest license I've held in auto racing is a CART License (the one you need to race INDY) and currently hold a unlimited NASA racing license. 
I have won many championships and records in my years of racing and building race vehicles of all kinds. 
I know what you went through to get your car to those times at VIR (it's my favorite track in the entire country) and as I said in the first post "I Applaud You" (that's a compliment)

so I'm not speaking as a teenager when I say what I said.  
take the compliment and enjoy

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/7/20 7:29 a.m.

Just popping in as a mod to remind everyone to chill a bit. Good thread, neat cars, great event. Don't want to muck that up with words that aren't helpful to the conversation at hand. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/7/20 7:32 a.m.

In reply to Tajgarage :

Are you related to someone with a huge Jaguar addiction?

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/7/20 9:51 a.m.

The UTCC is In my opinion the coolest event in the sport of auto racing. I've been fortunate enough to be picked to compete there multiple times. 
I enjoy this  event so much that I am currently building a car from scratch for the sole purpose of competing in this race. Hopefully there will be many competitors like the mustang and the prototype where guys and girls have figured out how to get that last little bit of power, speed, grip and focus out of themselves and their machines to battle it out to the end for Top Honors.  
That's what I live for. 
It truly is the clash of Titans for the average Joe like me and I can't wait until next May to compete.  
See you in May.  

Tajgarage
Tajgarage New Reader
8/7/20 10:15 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Not sure what that means so apparently not

redtug
redtug New Reader
8/8/20 8:07 a.m.

In reply to Tajgarage :

Well said!!

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