The 2017 Powerstop Bondurant Cup Champions.


Thoughtful design and a capable driver is the winning combination at #GRIDLIFE

Abrin Schmucker - Time Attack Director

Deep into the winter off-season, the four 2017 Trackbattle champions are enjoying the spoils of a successful season with a week of on-track training at the Bondurant Racing School, courtesy of our partners at Powerstop Brakes. Now is the perfect time to talk about what drives the competition at #Gridlife. 

2017 saw the development of Trackbattle into a full 5 round racing series.  In this inaugural year of the 5 round format, we saw roughly 25 drivers opt in for the full season campaign. With so many entries, drivers collectively raised the bar for the level of competition taking place within each class. Every class record for Gingerman raceway was re-set during the 2017 season.  Consistently, we see that new class records can only come from talented drivers at the wheel of cars built to their full potential within the rules. To that end, we wanted to highlight the drivers and cars that were at the top of the podium at the end of the season. These builds should serve as a template for success for all of those considering a campaign in the 2018 Gridlife Trackbattle season.

Charles Miller - 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX - HPDE+

Charles "Spaz" Miller set a personal goal at the end of 2016, to come in ready to dominate the class beginning at Round 1 - Mid-Ohio.  However, the HPDE+ class was highly contested in 2017. Competitors new to Gridlife brought the heat, and Spaz had no choice but to bring the performance.  Battling Eric "Dewey" DeWitt all season was definitely good for tightening the nut behind the wheel, and Charles improved his personal best at Gingerman by 2.6 seconds compared to his time from 2016.  While not the winner at every event, consistent performance and a reliable car made for a consistent threat at every event, and once won him a signed dollar. 


Expectedly, this build is modest in order to fit into the HPDE+ class. Spaz might be able to make some small changes for 2018, but dialing in components, and more drivermod is gonna be the difference maker. Here are the details on his Evo:

AMS lower intercooler pipe
Buschur Racing 3” turbo-back exhaust
3-port Mac Valve EBCS
Walbro 255HP
RS Motors tune

Evo 9 trans with Evo 8 4th gear
Exedy HD Twin Disc

Stance Suspension XR1 coilovers - Swift springs and custom rates
Whiteline roll center kit
Whiteline 24mm rear sway bar
Megan Racing adjustable rear toe arms
Agency Power adjustable rear camber arms
Various bushings in various places

Raybestos ST-43 pads, front
Hawk HP+ pads, rear
Centric blank rotors
Rays Volk CE-28N Time Attacks 17x9 +35
Hankook Ventus R-S4 255/40/17

300whp / 3350lbs


Graham Gaylord  - 2011 Subaru WRX STI - Street Modified

Graham was new to Trackbattle in 2017, but that didn't stop him from a quick start.  At Round 1, it was clear that a step-change had occurred in the Street Modified class when compared to the field of 2016.  Great power, combined with some basic aerodynamic improvements proved to be an unbeatable combination for the year.  Graham set SM-AWD records at every track, often by a second or more. The attention to detail on build quality really sets this car apart compared to many in the field. Every component has been meticulously pondered over, and only high end components were chosen.  Nothing looks "racecar" quality, even all of the additional wiring to accommodate the trick fuel setup is close to OEM quality as you can get.  Seeing this car in person really is the only way to truly appreciate the amount of work that went into it's preparation.  In fact, Graham rarely had any mechanical difficulty during event weekends. To my memory, the first issue to speak of was at round 4. Some bolts/studs backed loose off of the turbo up-pipe and blew out the gasket to the turbo. Taking some time to find some parts for an easy repair, he was at the top of the podium again by the end of the weekend.  At round 5, Graham's engine lost oil pressure in the infamous 7-8-9 complex.  This set of corners has been an Achille's heel for other fast cars on street tires and has written off plenty of LS motors in the past. To address the possibility of failures in the future, Graham is hard at work this off-season installing a dry-sump system into the car. Probably a wise decision since I don't expect that his laptimes will be getting longer anytime soon.


Graham's build is a great example of the potential of the turbo AWD platform in the Street Modified Class.  While their may be some additional development opportunity within the rules, huge chunks of time will likely be difficult to find in 2018. Look for some additional aero development and weight reduction as keys to success this season.

Outfront Motorsports V3 Closed Deck block CP 9:1 CR Pistons Wossner H-beam rods ARP 1/2" head studs 12mm oil pump Stock crank, King Bearings GSC +1 valves, springs, S2 272 cams

Stock 6MT transmission Competition Mini Twin Disc clutch

Turbo. Intercooling, Manifolds:
Borg Warner EFR 8374 Twin Scroll 1.05 a/r housing Twin TiAL 38mm wastegates Full-Race Motorsports twin scroll turbo kit Extreme Turbo Systems 4" core Front Mount Intercooler Subaru 2.5i N/A Intake manifold w/ Boomba Throttle body Tomei Ti titanium catback Fuel system: Radium Engineering in-tank hanger w/ Walbro 485 pump Radium high volume surge tank Fuelab Prodigy 42401 Pump Fuelab Digital FPR Fuellab 6 micron filter Outfront Fuel -6 AN fuel rails Flat 4 Motorsport Fuel lines Injector Dynamics 1700cc injectors Flex fuel kit ECU and Tuning: OEM ECU COBB Tuning AccessPort V3 Speed density, Flex Fuel, Fuel Pressure Monitoring Engine and Oil cooling: CSF Racing radiator Setrab ProLine COM dual pass oil cooler Power steering cooler Miscellaneous upgrades: IAG Performance Competition series air/oil separator

Fluids and Fuel::
E85 pump fuel (70-85% blend as found) Motul Sport 5w-50 oil Filtered water + supercool additive Motul RBF 600 brake fluid

Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers Swift 550# rear springs Whiteline 22mm front/rear sway bars, end-links, roll center adjustment, anti-lift kit Whiteline misc bushings

Wheels & Tires:
Rays Gram Lights 57DR 18 x 9.5 Bridgestone Potenza RE71-R tries 255-35/R18

DBA 5000 T-slot front rotors Hawk DTC-70 Front/Rear pads Stainless steel brake lines

APR Performance GTC-300 rear wing and front splitter

540 whp / 3350 lbs

Tony Fuentes - 2009 BMW 135i - Track Modified

Tony Fuentes was another newcomer to Gridlife in 2017, but this isn't his first rodeo. Tony might spend more time at the racetrack than any other driver in our field. He and his team at SoloMotorsports brought out a new build to Round 1 Mid-Ohio.  While the team was outmatched by a formidable effort by the V8 gang from southwest Ohio, consistent improvement throughout the season lead to impressively fast times in the Track Modified class for the remainder of the year.  It seemed like every event, the team had something new that was being developed to create a better balance in performance on this highly affordable and accessible chassis. Impressively, the setup on this car is far from finished.  2017 used a stock long block with an EFR8374 turbo kit to make monster power with a touch of throttle input.  In fact, it may have been this instant torque response that made this car so tricky to wheel around the track.  The in-car video from his record setting lap for Round 5 at Gingerman is anything but confidence inspiring. Still using the stock ECU at 620whp, this car will hugely benefit from a standalone with boost by throttle position. With seconds left to gain by continued development, I fully expect to see Tony and the rest of the pointy end of the field in track mod to be nearing the 1:30 mark by the end of 2018. Approaching 800whp for this season, I'd say anything is possible.

Fuentes Motor.png

Tony's winning recipe for 2017 wasn't complicated.  Simplify, add lightness, push the limits of the stock block with a big turbo, and put it in the hands of a good driver. The build spec sheet for 2018 is more developed and shown below.

Motor : 
Arsenal motorsport sleeved n54
Cp pistons
Carrillo rods
Stock crank
Super tech springs / retainers / valves .
Stock cams 

Turbo setup :
Efr9174 super core
Turbo smart wastegate and
Doc race manifold
SMS inhouse down pipe and exhaust 

Fuel : 
Black market parts port fuel kit and fuel pumps 

Suspension :
MCS 2 ways w/ remote
Custom spring rates
Full SPL control arm kit
Eibach sway bars 

Wheel / tires :

Custom arcane race wheels and roti form
19x 11 front
19x13 rear
295/25/19 kumho v720 acr
355/35/19 kumho v720 acr

Aero : 

Apr gt1000 wing and custom front splitter

Brakes :
Wilwood 6 pistons front and 4piston rear
St47 pad front
St43 pad rear

Cooling : 
Csf radiator
Csf oil cooler

Diff : 
Osgiken custom spec

~800whp / 3150lbs

James Houghton - 1999 Acura Integra - Unlimited

James battled for the top spot against Unlimited class rivals all year. At that level, it's pretty clear that the drivetrain delineation that we have is basically meaningless.  Depending on the track layout, any configuration may be battling for the top spot overall. James brought his A-game this year with new aero developments from Professional Awesome improving an already capable time attack weapon. While the aero was doing its job during the twisty sections, a lack of horsepower and torque (relatively) made it challenging to contend for FTD at big power tracks like Mid-Ohio and Road Atlanta. That never seems to stop him from having a good time though. Once the track goes cold, you can find him hanging out and having a good time with the rest of the Gridlife family. Not one to take himself too seriously, you might see him in the paddock drinking from the watermelon half in his hand, while also wearing one on his head.


This is the kind of build that it takes to be competitive in the Unlimited class. Pulling out all the stops is critical to be at the front of the field. Tuned to the absolute limit, these teams put all their effort into a few choice laps to preserve the health of the car throughout the season.  If conditions aren't perfect for a record setting lap, it's typical to see the unlimited drivers save the cars for prime time.  With an exhaustive build list like this, its no wonder that drivers choose to make sure their laps really count.

Tsx motor k24a2, cp Pistons (11:1 comp), Brian crower 625+ Rods), supertech valvetrain, 4piston “pro tsx” ported head, in-line pro head studs, k20a2 “type s oil pump” moroso oil pan, k-tuned intake manifold, k-tuned 90mm Tb , id1700 injectors, k-tuned fuel rail, fuel filter and pressure regulator, walbro 450lph fuel pump,k-tuned “big tube “ k24 header, Lavigne Motorsports custom 3” door exit exhaust, garrett intercooler core with custom back door end yanks by “unit 2”, turbosmart blownoff valve, hondata kpro ecu( Haltech elite 1500 in 2018), Jackson racing supercharger kit with rotrex c38-91(c38r in 2018)

Exedy hyper twin clutch, driveshaft shop 2.9 axles, ppg 1-4 synchro gears and straight cut final drive, ktuned billet shifter box

K-tuned k2 Pro Circuit 2 way coilovers with 26kg front springs and 22kg rears, mixture of ktuned and kingpin machine sphericals, eibach 26mm front sway bar and 25mm rear

Wheels and Tires:
Konig wheels 18x10.5 front and 17x9 rear with 285/645/18 Pirelli ds slicks in the front and 225/45/17 Hoosier a7’s in the rear 

Stoptech “time Attack” brake kit based around the str43 caliper with 300x32 rotor. Gloc pads r16 compound in the front and r8 in the rear 

Lavigne Motorsports 8 point cage(to shock towers) , sparco pro adv seat, racepak iq3 logger dash(as well as racepak smartwire in 2018), lavigne Motorsports custom chassis wiring harness 

Aero/Chassis Design:
Professional awesome designed aero kit including , c3 composites carbon front splitter, apr gt1000 rear wing, custom flat bottom, Trackworx rear diffuser, under wing spoiler, sideskirts and cooler ducting, professional awesome fender vents and hood vents, Boersma racing carbon roof

598whp, 2200lbs wet