Very little is known about LIC Motorsports in the Time Attack world, only competing in 3 events over the last 15 months. LIC Motorsports is a maintenance/performance shop located in Novato, CA. In addition to our general day to day operations LIC Motorsports also runs a race program for various events like NASA, Redline Time Attack, and the upcoming Super Lap Battle.
3 months ago the judgment call was made to redesign the shops 2004 STi (from its previous configuration as seen at last year’s Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout). When approaching this daunting task we sought the expertise of Crawford Performance in Oceanside, CA. Crawford was a good choice for LIC Motorsports as the working relationship goes back 5+ years, being a dealer, running the product previously, and the countless happy customers with their products. Besides, what better way to support the product you sell than by running them for oneself.
After careful detail was given as to what events we anticipated attending we came up with a calculated plan to get ourselves on the path to qualify for the prestigious Super Lap Battle (known as the super bowl of Time Attack). In order to qualify for Super Lap Battle you must place in top 3 at a NASA TT (Time Trial) event. With advice and path laid out, we went on our way to making the NASA TT event at Cal Speedway in Fontana, CA; which was the last chance to qualify (before needing to go out of state). The event was to be 07-31-09 to 08-02-09 and this was our chance to qualify. Knowing we would be up against a lot of great teams we sat down and calculated out what it would take to place top 3 and attempt to break the “Modified AWD Class” record, which was 1:47.60 from the previous year. How great would it be for a little company/team to come from nowhere and pull that off? This is what we aimed for and kept motivation to charge forward.
The first step we took was to fit larger tires under the car; this meant we needed fender flares and address the clearance issues that come with it. The largest tire that could fit last year was a 255 Toyo R888, knowing that we couldn’t compete on a racing level with that small of a tire, we sought the advice of LIC Motorsports fabricator; whom is an affiliate shop located in Northern California. But not just any fender flares would be allowed, never would some rubber mounted slammed on hokey looking part be okay and acceptable; we wanted a show quality functional piece that would be easily fixed if damaged and would still be light weight. Its one thing to only think of function but it’s another to spend the time, money, and energy to build/design a show quality piece of functional art work. This was the task handed to the Fabricator and a daunting one at minimum.
In addition to the fender flares we wanted a switch panel for push button start and auxiliary fuel pump, lights, etc… On top of that list, a mounting solution was needed for the newly purchased APR widebody wing (the mounting brackets provided were not as efficient as wanted, as we wanted the energy to be forced onto the chassis of the vehicle not on the trunk as the brackets provided would do). If that list wasn’t large enough, we also needed a solution to front/rear and underbody Aerodynamics. After hussling to make an insane deadline, the car was given back to LIC Motorsports with 3 weeks before the NASA event.
Upon getting the car back to LIC Motorsports, it was now time for Motor build/assembly and mock up of additional components with some special attention to detail being added in. When we decided on doing our motor build we had the option of a complete stroked race motor (as seen in most the competition we would be up against) or more of a street orientated/everyday package; one that more of our customers would/could afford. With customer service and product placement always in our mind, we choose to go with a Crawford S3L-I short block and factory STi heads w/ supertech valvetrain (and utilizing the factory STi cams). In addition to this platform the decision was on the power proven Gymkhana 1 GT35R setup. This would sustain the abuse and is capable of the 500whp mark for consistently as well as for longetivity purposes would be a good fit for the goal of the car. Seeing the need for some more show quality and functional items, we decided on the Crawford Surge/Air Oil Separator tank setup (as seen in Gymkhana 1 and 2). Knowing we were going the e85 route for fuel, we needed more fuel delivery than before, so we called upon the good guys over at Deatschwerks Injectors. These guys are a true professionals and top notch, they made us a custom set of injectors and had them overnighted and in our hands within 48 hrs from request.
Arriving at the track a little late and missing the first 2 sessions and sitting out the 3rd, we set the car up to run the 4th session of the day (Friday was just a test/tune day, not a TT event).
First lap out the car makes a pass across start/finish looking really strong, the driver whom had been suggested to us and we agreed for shakedown was Dr. Russ Warr; a local favorite and a very accomplished driver and a resume to back it all up. Russ was no rookie, taking it easy to get a feel for the car, being that he does this often he completely understood and was very much appreciative to be given the opportunity in the LIC Motorsports STi. After making through the warm up lap Russ pulled in for a vibration that he felt/heard. Upon careful inspection the assumption was the new aero on the back of the car was catching air and banging around a bit, with that conclusion Russ was let back on track making a decent pass across start/finish again when he heard/felt the noise/vibration again; at this point Russ was flat out in 5th gear at 7000 RPMS when he lifted off throttle and BAM the aluminum driveshaft snapped in half.
After being towed in the damage was accessed...immediately the work began to source a OEM driveshaft (and ironically it was off Russ’s personal STi). Gathering the parts late at night and getting back to a much needed hotel room we turned in for the night and for once it was only around midnight. No rest for the weary, 6am it was time to roll and get back to the track as the gates opened at 6:30am and I had a driveshaft to install before the 8:40am 1st session rolled out.
With driveshaft installed and gear fluid changed it was time to hit the track for some actual testing; bummer is all of Friday was lost and now these sessions were being timed. Not being discouraged the team rallied on in hopes for a brighter day. First session, Russ was able to turn 3 laps and turning out a best time of 1:52.213, apprx 6.5 secs off the fastest car of the group and capturing 4th place for the session. Session 2 a turbo hose blew and the session was lost due to time constraints. Session 3, with fixed turbo hose Russ was able to knock out a 1:48.457, shaving darn near 4 secs off his fastest lap thus far. Session 4 some adjustments were made to the camber and toe, and incorrect they were, a 1:50.071 was turned and the car had developed one heck of a push (understeer) leaving the LIC Motorsports car in second place for class. Now onto Sunday, this would be final day of the event.
Sunday was set for high hopes, seeing that the ability to go even faster and possibly break the previous track record for class was on the fingertips of the team, the guys aimed high and set standards at nothing less than capturing the record (Record to beat again was 1:47.60). Prior to the first session out a series of adjustments to the camber, toe, ride height, and doing everything to ensure the hose did not pop off again under pressure was dealt with. Session one for final day had begun. 3rd lap out Russ turns an amazing 1:46.110 and breaking the track record set by him the year before….the team was elated and felt there was even more to be done but Russ still had a complaint of a terminal push with the front end as he was pushing harder and hotter into the turns. More adjustments were made to the suspension to soften it up and get some more weight on the front to keep it planted.
Session two had begun and with an impressive line up; Crawford Performance’s 08 orange STi was gridded 1st, LIC Motorsports was gridded 2nd, and driver for Harman Motive JC Meynet was gridded 3rd…3 subarus all going for it.
Coming around the track on lap two Crawford Performance lays down a 1:39.15 (time was not official due to Crawford just testing the car for time purpose and not running tires that were allowed under Super Lap Battle rules but were under NASA rules), LIC Motorsports lays down a 1:45.699 @ 158.4 mph (yet breaking the record again), and JC Meynet laying down an impressive 1:44.641…what an impressive finish as 123 were all Subaru’s and none of the cars lost position but JC was able to make up a second on the LIC car on the oval, only after the session was over did we learn of JC wining the 2nd place spot (1st in Modified/Limited AWD Class) and new lap record for classification.
What an amazing moment and a great feeling for the day. Subaru’s are in so many of us folks blood that it was a memorable moment none the less. Session 3 had arrived upon us and the LIC Motorsports car had lost some ground as the ambient temperature had raised 6 degrees to a sweltering 96 and the track tarmac was at 126 degrees, the best the LIC Motorsports car could pull off in the heat soak of mid afternoon was a 1:47.001, still fairly impressive for conditions. With session 4 arriving upon us, Noah of LIC Motorsports called it the day and didn’t want to push the car anymore as the goal of earning the way to Super Lap Battle 2009 had been obtained. With motor running strong and feeling good about what had been accomplished; the crew packed it up and headed back to good ole NorCal for some much needed R&R
LIC Motorsports would like to thank its sponsors for being instrumental in getting the car up and running and sticking behind the team over the last year.
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Most Articles are written by Noah Levy.