Mazda pilots Charles Espenlaub and Kyle Mohan shine in Redline Time Attack season finale
The auto sport of time attack looks like it could have a gangbuster 2011 in America. The preeminent championship in the country, Redline Time Attack, has announced plans to next season expand its competition choices, as well as continue in its pursuit to become more of a sanctioning body, while a second and possibly third time trials series appear to be forming on the horizon. Additionally, Super Lap Battle continues to see its annual fall one-off invitational thrive.
Redline's season-ending Round 10 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., November 14 effectively closed the books on 2010 for a vast majority of the major time attack players, and again this year as in years past competitors in Mazda, the number-one brand in road racing, made an impact in a variety of classes.
Leading a trio of fast Mazdas was longtime touring car driver Charles Espenlaub, who has championed the brand in series such as Grand-Am and SCCA Pro Racing's World Challenge.
Espenlaub campaigned Round 10 in a Modified Rear Wheel-Drive (RWD) class, Tri-Point Motorsports-prepared Sparco Mazda MX-5 roadster and clocked a lightning 1:47.202 around the 2.88-mile, 21-turn combination infield road course and oval circuit (known also as the "roval").
The fast lap wasn't enough to win the class (that went to Jeremy Renshaw's 1:45.696), but Espenalub still earned runner- up in what was essentially his first time attack.
Club racer Isaac Schumacher also met the RTA season finale challenge, running Modified RWD in his privateer FD chassis Mazda RX-7. Schumacher produced a flying lap of 1:48.123 late in the day, finishing fourth and just missing the final spot on the class podium by 0.3 seconds.
A small but remarkably competitive field contested the Drift Class, and though Kyle Mohan finished third in the Spider Energy Nexen Tire MazdaTrix FC RX-7 with a lap of 1:52.766, he wasn't off the pace by much. Group leader Conrad Grunewald clocked an orbit of 1:51.660, and runner-up Adam Knapik a 1:52.266, placing the threesome within 1.1 seconds of one another.
Mohan has every reason to be proud, though; in addition to his bronze-finish in Round 10, he also claimed the 2010 Drift Class season championship after accumulating the most points of any competitor in the category. Mohan was no doubt helped by the string of Redline Time Attack Super Sessions he entered, the series' only side-by-side racing that occurred at the end of each weekend, awarded bonus points, and has now been scrapped for the upcoming year.