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News : 2010 National Championship

SCR Performance: 2010 SM National Champions


September 9-10, 2010, Lincoln, NE: It all came down to this, after an entire season of competition… the 38th annual SCCA Solo National Championship event. The best of the best came from across the country and even Canada to battle it out. Six runs—three tries on two different courses—would determine the champions in each class. After the tire dust settled, Christopher Mayfield had done it: he won the Street Modified (SM) class, earning the title of 2010 SM Solo National Champion.

Autocross is a motorsports competition where there is no practice. All of the drivers must rely on the strength of their experience and skill to extract their fastest times in only three runs per course. At this year’s National Championship, however, unpredictable external factors made it even more challenging than usual to triumph.

The Winning Setup

The car Mayfield drove—a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution owned by co-driver Hsun Chen—was well prepared to battle the competitors in the Street Modified class, arguably one of the most difficult classes, where no limitations are placed on horsepower or cornering grip.

Affectionately referred to by the team members as the “Evo of Doom,” the car had spent countless hours on the lifts and alignment racks at SCR Performance to optimize the car’s setup, which relied upon AST 5200 series double-adjustable shocks with external reservoirs and customized spring rates and damping.

Brian Tobia of Tobz Performance Tuning performed many dyno sessions to achieve the best combination of torque and top-end power from the car’s CBRD BBK turbocharger. A strengthened and rebuilt transfer case and transmission by Jack’s Transmissions were called upon to put the power down.

Day One: The Drama Begins

On the first day of SM-class competition, rain threatened, but the course remained dry for most of the drivers’ first two runs. By Mayfield’s second run, he had laid down a time that was about 0.7 seconds back from the top spot held by a veteran driver in an immaculately prepared BMW M3. Then things got complicated.

Towards the end of Mayfield’s third run, the Evo mysteriously lost traction on course, understeering uncontrollably off the line. As a result, he was unable to set a quicker time. After more than one car experienced traction issues, the source of the problem became clear: a competitor’s car had sprayed engine oil on the course.

The Street Modified competitors who drove their third runs on an oily course were allowed a rerun, but by the time the event staff got the oil cleaned up, rain had started to fall, lubricating the surface with water instead of oil. As a result, no one was able to best their previous times.

Day Two: One Run to Win

On the next day of competition, conditions looked even more ominous. As the SM class competitors assembled in grid, the event site was an unseasonably cold 55 degrees and 100 percent humidity. Before any of the SM drivers got their first runs, the dark skies made good on their threat, delivering a steady rain that drenched the course. Mayfield and his teammates made the decision to switch to wet-condition tires—the right choice, as by the end of second runs Mayfield had a lead of more than two seconds (even over the other competitors in AWD, rain-tire equipped cars).

As the third and final runs loomed, the rain was letting up and the puddles of standing water on course were quickly evaporating—should the switch back to dry race tires be made? Just when the decision to stick to the wets was made, another complication: oil had AGAIN been laid down on course!

This cleanup delay was even longer than the previous day’s, and by the time the course was safe again, it was clear that the dry-pavement tires would be necessary. That meant that every competitor in SM class would have ONE RUN to prove their mettle. Mayfield’s previous fast time in the rain now meant nothing, as everyone would be much faster on the now mostly dry course.

Mayfield knew what he had to do: set a superfast time, but without any mistakes or cone penalties. There would be no second chances. One run would determine the National Championship.

His time was very quick, and clean—i.e., without displacing any of the course markers. But the 2009 SM National Champ in the BMW M3 followed Mayfield, tripping the finish lights with a time 0.4 seconds faster. It appeared that Mayfield was resigned to a runner-up finish. Then, an announcement came over the event PA system: the driver of the M3 had a cone penalty! As a result, Mayfield took the number one spot in SM class in spite of his slightly slower time.

The Goal is Achieved

Mayfield described the experience like this:

“It was surreal. Everyone gathered around the car and congratulated me, even though I still couldn't really comprehend that I'd won. It was only later when I was instructed to get fitted for my National Champion jacket that it finally sank in. It was an incredible way to cap off the 2010 season, after all the late nights and hard work by everyone involved.”

Thanks to SCR Performance, Tobz Performance Tuning, AST Suspension, CBRD Speed Factory, and Jack’s Transmissions for providing their world-class components and intelligence throughout the 2010 racing season to back Mayfield’s perform-under-pressure driving talents.

Winning a National Championship is difficult enough to achieve when competing against nearly 1,200 of the nation’s best autocross drivers, but this feat is even more impressive considering 2010 was the first season of competition for the “Evo of Doom,” while the other top SM-class competitors have been continually refining and improving their cars for years.


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