This year marks the ninth season of OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car presented by Advance Auto Parts, and the season opener atop Charlotte Motor Speedway offered a first look at some new changes for the series. For the first time ever, the series will run alongside SpeedTour, which is highlighted at many stops by the Trans Am Series and vintage SVRA racing, but also includes International GT and Formula Regional Americas championship racing, between other events.
This means that when you come to see the ultimate street cars compete in 2022, you can also be treated to thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing action from other professional series, as well as incredible vintage cars and a car show quite important organized by the people of Hagerty. The alignment with this new series has necessitated some changes to the format of the Ultimate Streetcar Series, particularly with regard to the time on the big track of the Falken Tire Road Course time trial, which is now held over three days. , with the novice racing group. leading on Friday.
The other racing groups then have a qualifying session, followed by two more timed sessions. The best times from these two sessions are added together to determine the score in this segment, so consistency across multiple sessions is key. The QA1 Autocross and Peak Performance Challenge formats remain unchanged, as does the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge and the Lucas Oil Road Rally which complete the competition’s five segments.
A new class has also been added for the 2022 season – the Downforce Motorsports GTR class for reproduction and replica cars. These vehicles must be a replica of a vehicle that was produced by a major automaker, and they must be officially licensed by that OE manufacturer, so Lamborghini tribute cars built at home on a Fiero chassis are not allowed. However, Superformance GT40 replicas are licensed and two showed up in Charlotte, drawing crowds all weekend.
Since GTR is a new class for the 2022 season and no one is quite sure how these cars will fare in this series, this class, like the Speedtech Lucky 7 Outlaw class, will compete for its own class championship and its own championship cup. class in Las Vegas later this year. Speaking of the Outlaw class, its format has also changed. Although it is still a “competition within a competition”, seven competitors will receive invitations to Las Vegas, based on their top two finishes in qualifying events this season.
For other classes, they will continue to award Vegas invites to class winners at each event, but entries that were based on points accrued throughout the season will now be based on their best two results. The series has really expanded, taking place six times from Portland International Raceway to Charlotte Motor Speedway, so even doing two events plus the SEMA Show and the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) at the end of the year will require a lot driving, no matter where someone lives.
So far, the response appears to be overwhelmingly positive, as all events except Portland have sold out for competitors before the season has even started. There’s always room for spectators, so be sure to check this series out if it visits a track near you. If this is your first time hearing about this series, you can also catch up on past seasons by adding the OPTIMA Network on Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire for free. You can familiarize yourself with the rules of competition in the series and other relevant information by visiting www.DriveOPTIMA.com.
2022 Optima Race Results for Charlotte:
GT Class (after 1989, 3,200+ lbs, two wheel drive sedans, four-coupes, trucks, etc.)
- Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Ford Mustang
- James Thomas, 2016 Ford Mustang
- Tim Schoch, 2016 Ford Mustang
Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class (pre-1990, 3200+ lbs)
- Joe Gregory, 1964 Chevrolet Corvette
- Jason Bottenfield, Chevrolet Camaro 1969
- David Schardt, Chevrolet Camaro 1970
GTS class (after 1989, 3200+ lbs, two-seaters and all-wheel drive vehicles)
- Bob Sobey, 2013 Nissan GT-R
- Mike Gallagher, 2016 Ford Focus RS
- Richard Forsythe, Chevrolet Corvette 2008
Downforce Motorsports GTR Class (OE licensed replicas, minimum weight 2350 lbs)
- Dan Long, 1966 Superformance GT40
- Dennis Olthoff, 1966 Superformance GT40
Holley EFI GTL class (non-compacts under 3200 pounds)
- Garry Walsh, Chevrolet Corvette 2004
- Rob Edmonds, 2001 Chevrolet Corvette
- Stephen Watkins, 2002 Porsche Boxster
No Limit Engineering GTT Class (trucks and SUVs over 3200 pounds)
- Jesse Vaughn, 1978 Chevrolet C10
- Brian Finch, 1970 Chevrolet C10
- Stephen Dorrick, 2005 Nissan Frontier
GeauxMoto GTC class (two-wheeled–compact, wheelbase 107 inches or less)
- John Laughlin, 2007 Honda S2000
- Douglas Wind, 2004 Dodge SRT-4
- Dayton de la Houssaye, Mazda MX-5 2006
Speedtech Lucky 7 Outlaw Class (relaxed aerodynamic rules, professional pilots allowed)
- Anthony Palladino, 1969 Datsun Roadster
- Angela Payne, Chevrolet Corvette 2016
- Bob McKeever, 1995 BMW M3
Summit Racing Spirit of the Event Award
JB Granger, 1967 Chevrolet C10
OPTIMA 2022 Find the Ultimate Tram Schedule
Charlotte Motor Speedway March 18-20
Sonoma Raceway from April 30 to May 2
Portland International Raceway July 15-17
VIRginia International Raceway October 7-9
Utah Motorsports Campus October 14-16
OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational LVMS November 2-7