Super Lap-GTA 2013 Euro Competitors Details:
- Tyler McQuarrie in the Platte Forme A.G. E46 M3 resets Buttonwillow's Limited RWD record, has fastest lap of the day
- M3 lock up 6 podium spots total including the entire Enthusiast RWD top 3
- E92 M3 took first in Enthusiast RWD, second in Street RWD & third in Limited RWD
- Forge Motorsports VW Mk1 GTI made its U.S. competition debut in Unlimited FWD
The 2013 Super Lap Battle (SLB)-Global Time Attack (GTA) season finale presented by Continental Tire at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California November 14 was a virtual rout for the inimitable M3. Taking to configuration CW13 of the famous North American road course, the event saw some 60-plus competitor cars of several makes and models registered to beat the clock across a dozen classes, and from that mix no fewer than six podium spots wound up occupied by BMW 3-Series Ms, among them the Platte Forme A.G. E46.
Driven by professional drifter and racing instructor Tyler McQuarrie, the Platte Forme M3 has been to this event before - sporting traditional Laguna Seca Blue - and in fact set the previous Limited Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) class record in 2012 with a 1:50.755 lap at the hands of "Tarzan" Yamada. For the 2013 event, it came rocking a new look, a unique John Player Special gold wrap, and new driver, McQuarrie, who's no stranger to setting records at the track, having done it at least twice previously (in the C-West Honda S2000 and the FXMD Acura NSX).
He started off the day on fire, smashing the Limited RWD high mark by over two seconds with an orbit of 1:48.472. Unfortunately, the day got a little rougher after that, when the M3 suffered a drive issue and had to be towed off course. In that normally innocuous process, Buttonwillow safety managed to pull the lowered coupe over some raised curbing, a bone-headed move that basically led to the BMW's front bumper cover and splitter getting ripped off.
The team spent the third of four timed sessions thrashing on the car, getting it drivable for the group's final go-around. When McQuarrie climbed in for the last session, he remarkably produced another record-breaking flyer, this time an orbit of 1:48.038, clocking the fastest lap of Limited RWD and of the entire 2013 event. For the feat, McQuarrie scored 600 bucks plus 250 for setting the record, a Meister watch and a QStarz GPS lap timer for the overall fastest lap of the day.
"Right now, with the times we're doing, we're right around 550, 600 horsepower, so we can turn up the boost a little bit more," McQuarrie told us about the E46 after the first session of the day. "The car [the team has] set up is awesome to drive, pretty easy to drive. We lost the diffuser in the first session, but other than that it's been pretty simple."
In Enthusiast RWD, M3 didn't simply own the top spot - they claimed the entire podium. Rif Dagher won the group in his E92 with a 1:58.239, just edging the 1:58.458 put down by Amir Bentatou's Stanceworks E36. PoWei Huang in the AutoLogic Bob's Donut E46 M3 lapped in 2:01.680 for third place, putting three generations of the beloved M on the Enthusiast RWD podium.
E92 also took second in Street RWD and third in Limited RWD, but they weren't the only Euros to represent at the year-end time trials. Platte Forme also campaigned a Z4 roadster in the event, while outside of the BMW sphere Angel Robles piloted the Forge Motorsports VW Mk1 GTI in Unlimited FWD. Owner and usual driver Chris Hamer shipped the Volkswagen to the States from the U.K. - both for the time attack and the SEMA Show in Las Vegas a week earlier - but wasn't able to make the SLB/GTA finale, which is why Robles stepped in. Unluckily, Robles had an off-road excursion in the car after entering a turn too hot, incurring enough damage to take himself out of the running.
After a handful of off years, this was the biggest turnout for one of these things in some time, certainly the biggest since America's two premiere time attack bodies joined forces last year to stage the event. We wouldn't be surprised if this was the beginning of an upswing for the SLB-GTA finals, and expect even more racers to show up next year.