If you missed it, Mr. Danny Popp and his ’03 Corvette Z06 captured a third Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) title in a row to end the 2016 season. The folks at Optima Batteries were anxious to spice things up a bit, and have decided to add a new series and a new class for 2017. The new series–Optima World Championship–will be a series within a series, which is strictly autocross. Meanwhile the new class will be called “GTC,” which is for compact, 4 cylinder cars only.
GTC will be for front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive compacts such as Miatas, Hondas, BRZ/FR-S, Golf, Mini, etc. All-wheel drive is allowed in a separate class. The maximum wheelbase allowed will be 107 inches, which excludes Porsches and Lotuses. Rules are still being developed to finalize this class, but the general framework will mirror the other classes.
The new GTC class will compete in all five segments of the Ultimate Street Car series (as well as the new autocross series): Lucas Oil Road Rally, Lingenfelter Design Engineering Challenge, Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial, Detroit Speed Autocross, and Powerstop Speed Stop Challenge. There are seven total events in 2017 plus the ninth annual OUSCI in Las Vegas to conclude the series:
- March 17-19: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- April 21-23: NOLA Motorsports Park
- June 2-4: National Corvette Museum
- July 7-9: Pikes Peak
- August 25-27: NJ Motorsports Park
- Sept 1-3: Autoclub Speedway
- October 7-9: Road America
In case you are wondering, these events have no chance of being rained out. At New Jersey Motorsports Park last year, the show certainly went on. “This was downpour rain,” stated Jim McIlvaine, eCare Manager at Optima. “You could see the reflection of the car on the autocross, and it was fun. Nobody banged up their car or anything. They even went out on the road course the next day, and it was not like a downpour but it was wet and they ran well. Everybody had a lot of fun out there. A lot of guys don’t get a chance to run in the rain. It’s a streetcar event, they are all wearing 200 treadwear tires or better so if it rains you better be ready to run.”
As for the Optima World Championship Autocross, there will be four events to run along side the Ultimate Streetcar events as well as a fifth championship race to conclude the season. “We will actually have a cash purse involved with it,” stated McIlvaine. “It will be six figures handed out between the variety of classes. Both of those series will be televised nationally on MAV TV and the Optima Roku channel.”
For the full rules of the new class and event updates, head to OptimaBatteries.com.