Ligier Sports Prototype crowned winner at Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge

Staff
By Staff Writer
Oct 5, 2021 | UTCC, Ultimate Track Car Challenge, VIRginia International Raceway, Tire Rack

Photography Credit: Ken Neher

VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAYALTON, Va. (October 4, 2021)—A field of over 35 of the country’s fastest machines on four wheels took to the track at Virginia International Raceway October 1 for the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge to answer one simple question: Who has the Ultimate Track Car?

After a full day of drivers pushing their cars to the limit–and in some cases, beyond–Clayton Eley took the win in his 2018 Ligier JS P3, achieving a top lap time of 1.47.727. Besides a full feature in Grassroots Motorsports magazine, Clayton receives a $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate.

Saturday’s Knockout Finals presented by KW Automotive, a post-event, winner-takes-all race featuring the event’s top cars, once again saw Clayton Eley take the win and receiving a $500 gift certificate from KW Automotive.

Honorable mentions go out to the following competitors:

Clayton Eley, LIgier JS P3, 1.47.727

  • Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car presented by Tire Rack: The fastest car gets a big trophy, $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate, and tons of ink in Grassroots Motorsports.
  • Fastest RWD, open tire presented by Mantic Clutch: The fastest rear-wheel-drive car wins a trophy and a prize from Mantic.
  • Fastest on Hoosiers presented by Hoosier: Trophy and a gift certificate for four free Hoosier tires.

Jackie Ding, Toyota Supra, 1:55.23

  • Fastest Car on 200tw Tires presented by Tire Rack: The fastest car running 200tw or higher tires gets a $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate.
  • Fastest RWD, 200tw tire: The fastest rear-wheel-drive car running tires with a minimum manufacturer treadwear rating of 200 wins a trophy.

Trevor Degioanni, Honda Civic Type R, 2:02.955

  • Fastest FWD, open tire: The fastest front-wheel-drive car wins a trophy.
  • Fastest FWD, 200tw tire: The fastest front-wheel-drive car running tires with a minimum manufacturer treadwear rating of 200 wins a trophy.

Arul Angamuth, Audi RS3, 2:24.161

  • Fastest AWD, 200tw tire: The fastest all-wheel-drive car running tires with a minimum manufacturer treadwear rating of 200 wins a trophy.
  • Fastest on Falken presented by Falken Tire: Trophy and prize from Falken Tire. 

Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178

  • Fastest Production Car presented by HP Tuners: The fastest car with a substantially unmodified firewall and floor pan wins a HP Tuners MPVI2+ as well as merch and apparel worth $500. Holes for suspension links, roll cages, etc. are allowed.
  • Fastest Car on DOT-Approved Tires presented by Tire Rack: The fastest car running DOT-approved tires gets a $1000 Tire Rack gift certificate.
  • Fastest AWD, open tire presented by XClutch: The fastest all-wheel-drive car wins a trophy and a prize from XClutch.

Devin Jones, BMW M4 GTMore, 1:58.753; Runner up was Roberto Crescencio, BMW M3, 2:00.039

  • Fastest BMW presented by BimmerWorld: Trophy and $250 BimmerWorld gift certificate.

Kendall Samuel, Subaru Impreza, 2:02.956

  • Fastest Subaru presented by Mach V Motorsports: Trophy and $250 gift certificate from Mach V Motorsports.

Patrick Kite, Camaro ZL1

  • Safety Award presented by SPA Technique: Trophy and prize from SPA Technique.

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 15 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 February issue. 

The 2021 Grassroots Motorsports Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge is presented by Tire Rack in association with Wilwood Engineering, HP Tuners, XClutch, SPA Technique, KW Automotive and FCP Euro with trophies from BimmerWorld, Mantic Clutch, Falken Tire, Hoosier Tire 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.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more UTCC, Ultimate Track Car Challenge, VIRginia International Raceway and Tire Rack news.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 9:58 a.m.

"I can do this all day. Literally."

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/4/21 10:11 a.m.

It's good to see the category awards. Otherwise it's a little silly running street cars on street tires against all-out racers on track slicks.

I imagine that it's a pretty entertaining event.

 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 10:59 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

It's good to see the category awards. Otherwise it's a little silly running street cars on street tires against all-out racers on track slicks.

I imagine that it's a pretty entertaining event.

 

I find it incredible that a GT-R is less than 1.5 seconds behind that Ligier 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 11:00 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

It's good to see the category awards. Otherwise it's a little silly running street cars on street tires against all-out racers on track slicks.

I imagine that it's a pretty entertaining event.

 

I find it incredible that a GT-R is less than 1.5 seconds behind that Ligier 

Let's check back at 3 AM and see how it's doing.

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/4/21 12:23 p.m.

Meh. Calling that a "car" is like calling the space shuttle an "airplane". 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/4/21 12:26 p.m.

I'm disappointed.  I was expecting something like this:

 

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/4/21 12:57 p.m.

Yeah after looking at the results, it looks like Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178  Was the fastest CAR there. Nice job. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 12:59 p.m.

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 1:11 p.m.
Junghole said:

Yeah after looking at the results, it looks like Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178  Was the fastest CAR there. Nice job. 

I was gonna ask what makes a Supra a car but not a GT-R? cheeky

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
10/4/21 1:20 p.m.
Junghole said:

Meh. Calling that a "car" is like calling the space shuttle an "airplane". 

First I find out the Ridgeline isn't a truck and now this.



I just don't know what to believe in anymore.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/4/21 1:29 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

It's good to see the category awards. Otherwise it's a little silly running street cars on street tires against all-out racers on track slicks.

I imagine that it's a pretty entertaining event.

I agree.  That gave me a lot more context, even though it'll be a bit before we get the full write-up.

also, makes me curious what nocones' challenge car is capable of, eventually

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/4/21 1:47 p.m.
Junghole said:

Yeah after looking at the results, it looks like Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178  Was the fastest CAR there. Nice job. 

It's the ultimate TRACK car challenge, not the ultimate suburban commute challenge.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/4/21 1:50 p.m.
dculberson said:
Junghole said:

Yeah after looking at the results, it looks like Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178  Was the fastest CAR there. Nice job. 

It's the ultimate TRACK car challenge, not the ultimate suburban commute challenge.

echo this, what nonsense. Four tires and get around the track as quick as you can. No bonus points because it weighs 2,000 lb more.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/4/21 1:51 p.m.
dculberson said:
Junghole said:

Yeah after looking at the results, it looks like Kyle Carrick, Nissan GT-R, 1:49.178  Was the fastest CAR there. Nice job. 

It's the ultimate TRACK car challenge, not the ultimate suburban commute challenge.

Meanwhile I'm thinking "I wonder what South Carolina would need to put plates on that".

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/4/21 1:57 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

Can't be any more strict than Florida, TBH it's a wonder there's not one of those running around here with plates already.  It has functioning AC, can't say that about a third of the cars in the state. cheeky

EDIT: Looks like one of those Gumball rally blokes did it back in 2013 with a rebellion/ultima GTR chassis https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1084077_rebellion-r2k-street-legal-race-car-for-gumball-3000

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/21 2:16 p.m.

It was done a few times with 962s as well IIRC.

And in the pre-prototype days with GTOs, GT40s, blower bentleys, etc.

Since Le Mans was originally a road car race, there used to be a requirement to be able to carry luggage. And of course, motorsports being what it is, there is a standard official FIA suitcase dimension. Cars over 2000 cc had to be able to carry two, cars under 2000 only needed room for one. I'm not sure when (if?) it was removed, but it stuck around for a long time.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/4/21 2:24 p.m.

Didn't a Riley-chassis Daytona Prototype enter last year (or year before)?  Specifically this one:

So, what's the problem with the Ligier again??

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/4/21 2:26 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I went on a tear reading up on the first... 10-ish years of Le Mans races... written up on wikipedia, earlier this year:
Category:24 Hours of Le Mans races - Wikipedia

apparently the second or third year, they required the driver to put up/down the soft top as part of one of the stops (at the start)... to prove that it was functional, and improve the ease of those mechanisms.

jb229
jb229 New Reader
10/4/21 8:48 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

The Ligier US guys were at the F4 race at VIR a few weeks ago (they do the chassis for that particular F4 variant), they're based in NC.  You could always call and ask for a laugh!

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/5/21 7:42 a.m.
jb229 said:

In reply to tuna55 :

The Ligier US guys were at the F4 race at VIR a few weeks ago (they do the chassis for that particular F4 variant), they're based in NC.  You could always call and ask for a laugh!

Someday I'd love to have the dollars needed for that, just for fun. I know these would make terrible street cars, but it would be the most delightfully terrible thing.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/5/21 7:42 a.m.
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

Didn't a Riley-chassis Daytona Prototype enter last year (or year before)?  Specifically this one:

So, what's the problem with the Ligier again??

My, this is a pretty car.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
10/5/21 11:15 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It was done a few times with 962s as well IIRC.

And in the pre-prototype days with GTOs, GT40s, blower bentleys, etc.

Since Le Mans was originally a road car race, there used to be a requirement to be able to carry luggage. And of course, motorsports being what it is, there is a standard official FIA suitcase dimension. Cars over 2000 cc had to be able to carry two, cars under 2000 only needed room for one. I'm not sure when (if?) it was removed, but it stuck around for a long time.

It just would not fit in the Cobra so the body was modified slightly.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 11:56 a.m.

Legend has it that the first set of those dimples was created by a mechanic slamming the trunk on the Official Suitcase. True or not, it fits the Cobra mystique.

It's fun looking at the luggage of the classic Le Mans cars.

GT40:

Another version of the GT40:

 

Another.

917.

Rover turbine car.

Jaguar D type

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/5/21 1:23 p.m.

The Luggage requirement was part of the GT1 regulations of the late 90's as well, it seems Porsche and Mercedes incorporated the "trunk" into the rear clamshell deck lids, Toyota for the GT-One thought more outside (inside) the box to meet the spec. 

Quoted from the Wiki article:

"Second, Toyota learned about a loophole which Mercedes-Benz had exploited. All GT based cars were required to have storage space, capable of holding a standard sized suitcase, in order for the car to be considered not only production based, but usable by the public. Mercedes exploited this by putting a small cubby hole into an unused area underneath the rear bodywork, although it was not as easy to access as a normal trunk. Toyota, in their interpretation of the rules, were able to convince Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) officials that the car's fuel tank, normally empty when the car is scrutineered before the race, was allowable as a trunk space since it could, theoretically, hold a suitcase."

There was at least 1 road going version of the cars in that class as well, some of which never left the manufacturer like Toyota.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/5/21 1:26 p.m.

So, what's the problem with the Ligier again??

I don't think that anyone said there was a problem. If Ferrari and Audi showed up with their fastest race cars, all the better. I was just saying that it's nice that there are some prizes for the guys who stand no chance of winning overall.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 1:41 p.m.

Participation trophies for everyone :)

Seriously, though. Of course classes are necessary on something like this, otherwise nobody would show up. And it's always fun to see how the little guys stack up to the purpose-built, top of the heap cars.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 1:48 p.m.
adam525i said:

" Toyota, in their interpretation of the rules, were able to convince Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) officials that the car's fuel tank, normally empty when the car is scrutineered before the race, was allowable as a trunk space since it could, theoretically, hold a suitcase."

That is some fast talkin' on the part of Toyota. I can't believe the scrutineers bought it.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/5/21 2:08 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I guess the ACO never specified the car had to carry the suitcase and fuel at the same time.  Must have had their lawyers on speed dial for that one!

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 3:31 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

No tube chassis. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/5/21 3:32 p.m.
Junghole said:
Keith Tanner said:

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

No tube chassis. 

So what do you call it? A quadracycle? It's a race car, but it's still a car.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
10/5/21 3:39 p.m.
Junghole said:
Keith Tanner said:

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

No tube chassis. 

I'm pretty sure that doesn't make it a boat.


So many rules that have nothing to do with what a car is...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 3:40 p.m.
Junghole said:
Keith Tanner said:

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

No tube chassis. 

It doesn't have a tube chassis. It's a carbon fibre monocoque, which is fundamentally not that much different than a unibody. It's hard to come up with a definition that separates it from an Alfa 4C if you're looking at chassis construction. The 4C has a carbon tub with aluminum subframes at each end. The Ligier has a carbon tub with subframes at each end, although I'm not 100% sure if the subframes are steel or aluminum.

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/5/21 3:48 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Well, then it has to be able to carry a regulation sized suitcase!

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
10/5/21 3:50 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Expanding on that theme; many road going cars of the past were tube chassis cars, so where does one draw the line?

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
10/5/21 3:51 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Arbitrarily, it would seem.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 3:53 p.m.

I think we're at the "I know it when I see it" level of definition here.

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 4:09 p.m.
Cooter said:
Junghole said:
Keith Tanner said:

What is your personal definition of a CAR? The Ligier has AC :)

No tube chassis. 

I'm pretty sure that doesn't make it a boat.


So many rules that have nothing to do with what a car is...

So a Boeing 727 is also a car? Seriously though, what if I entered a biplane? It can have four wheels. I take off on the front straight, land on the front straight. And as long as I "don't exceed track limits" I'm completing a lap right? 
 

wait, why not just take a Miata and strap it to a helicopter? Even easier. 

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/5/21 4:15 p.m.

In reply to Junghole :

No, Boeing 727's have six wheels.  They are aircraft. laugh

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 4:23 p.m.
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Junghole :

No, Boeing 727's have six wheels.  They are aircraft. laugh

 

They also don't carry a small number of people, which I think makes them a bus :)

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 4:30 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

So now we are saying buses arent cars? Who put you people in charge of judging what is and isn't?

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 4:34 p.m.
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Junghole :

No, Boeing 727's have six wheels.  They are aircraft. laugh

 


check. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 4:36 p.m.
Junghole said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

So now we are saying buses arent cars? Who put you people in charge of judging what is and isn't?

Hey, I'm just going by the written definition provided by Cooter :)

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 4:41 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Fair

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 5:22 p.m.

This discussion reminds me of when the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge (aka "let's see if your SEMA queen actually works") was introduced. All the cars have to be "street cars". But what constitutes a street car? It ended up being "it is if we say it is". A caged rally Miata is not a street car even though it may be actually road registered and driven thousands of miles on public roads. A SEMA refugee pro touring build that has armor all on the tread is a street car as long as it can make it over the speed bumps on the required surface street loop. It gets tricky to draw the line.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/5/21 5:27 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Junghole :

No, Boeing 727's have six wheels.  They are aircraft. laugh

 

They also don't carry a small number of people, which I think makes them a bus :)

That's a Boeing, not an Airbus :)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 5:37 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Well, it's still on the ground, so it's not an airbus YET :) But soon it will be a Boeing airbus, just not an Airbus airbus. Or a car.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
10/5/21 5:47 p.m.

Road vehicle: A vehicle designed solely or principally for transporting persons, goods or animals by road.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/5/21 5:58 p.m.
Junghole said:
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Junghole :

No, Boeing 727's have six wheels.  They are aircraft. laugh

 


check. 

They are even both monocoque construction, and have wings.. Touche' ..  wink

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
10/5/21 6:28 p.m.
Junghole said wait, why not just take a Miata and strap it to a helicopter? Even easier. 

As long as it stayed on the road, you should be fine.

But I don't know how that would make it faster.

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 6:31 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

What would happen if you lifted off, "flew" the course, and landed before the finish though? The track limits are technically horizontal, not vertical, right? Or have I never read that rule?

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
10/5/21 7:33 p.m.

In reply to Junghole :

It wouldn't be a car.  

Now, commonsense would say because it wasn't road going anymore, but in your case, it would be because the helicopter has a tube frame.

Junghole
Junghole SuperDork
10/5/21 8:12 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

cheeky

wake74
wake74 Reader
10/5/21 8:18 p.m.

Is there in car footage with data of the Ligiers lap?  I'd like to just humble myself yet again that I don't have the talent or testicular fortitude to run a sub 1:50 lab at VIR.

randyracer
randyracer New Reader
10/5/21 9:14 p.m.

That was a very entertaining discussion, Humorous Fellow GRM Fans.  And so civil.  I'd argue that Grassroots should stick to cars based closely enough on road cars and or homebuilt lower dollar specials than a pure IMSA prototype, even if driven by one of my favorite people.  I drove one, too.  Not a lot of power, (450?), but the downforce, ohhhhhhh

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/5/21 9:50 p.m.

In reply to randyracer :

It's not the "cheap track car challenge," it's the "ULTIMATE track car challenge."

@Junghole: You still haven't said what you'd call the Ligier. Until you come up with a plausible name that doesn't have car in it and isn't a totally tortured usage of our fine language, I'll assume you're just trolling at this point.

Helicopter indeed. Pshaw!

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/21 9:54 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

I'd call the Ligier "fast".

Russ McBride
Russ McBride New Reader
10/5/21 9:59 p.m.

I suppose open wheel, single seat formula cars could run in this event, too, since people take ex-F1 Ferraris to the track for fun.  Has anyone done that?  Seems there'd be an even bigger groan than about this Ligier.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/6/21 7:26 a.m.

Should move the event closer to the American F1 Race and see if you can get some of the F1 Teams to join the fun.  

Justjim75
Justjim75 SuperDork
10/6/21 4:12 p.m.

I think if I'm honest, we don't want to call them cars because we can't afford one.

The "we'll know it when we see it" comment did it for me.

I think if we all had Ligier money and wanted to win we wouldn't be concerned with whether it was a real car or not, as long as it's within the rules and passes tech.

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