STL SCCA Event #9, Oct. 9, 2011 -- Bill -- Run 1, 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, #191 XP

Bill Luton drives the Isuzuperformance 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS. St. Louis Region SCCA Solo2 Autocross. St. Charles Family Arena, October 9, 2011, 11:52 AM to 1:15 PM.. Class: X Prepared, Heat: 2, Run: 1, Time: 45.587 seconds. (NOTE: Announcer states time incorrectly.) XP Class Results: 1st Place: Joe Floretta, # 91, 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, 43.622 seconds (Third Run). 2nd Place: Bill Luton, #191, 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, 44.255 seconds (Third Run). As a point of reference, the Blue 2008 Lotus Exige S Cup car (supercharged 240 HP with the AP brake package), which is seen in some of the video footage, was shared by three drivers, two in A Street Prepared class and one in A Street Prepared Ladies class. Two of these drivers are officers in the region club and are very experienced and very talented. The third is a novice who began racing this year. Their best times were 44.615 seconds (ASP Second Place), 51.33 seconds (ASP Fifth Place, Novice), and 46.658 seconds (ASP Ladies First Place). The event results are posted on the STLSCCA website at: Joe is a long time friend and fellow racer. He owns and races several cars including a Ford Mustang, a Lotus Europa, and a 2005 Lotus Elise. He is actively involved in both the Ford Mustang and Lotus Car clubs on both the local and national level. Joe has also been an SCCA member and active in autocrossing for at least ten years. Joe has taken the FSP Class Points Championship for the St. Louis Region, with his Ford Mustang, for at least five consecutive years, from 2006 through 2010. He switched to racing his newly purchased Lotus Elise in 2011, normally finishing at the top of the group of locally raced Lotus Elise and Exige cars. On the Friday before this event,. Joe's Toyota powered Elise was not running smoothly, and he asked to co-drive the Isuzuperformance Isuzu I-Mark RS. This I-Mark is prepped to meet the SCCA Solo2 D Street Prepared Class requirements, but the interior has been removed from the vehicle (due to water damage from previous owner) and it does not have an emergency brake, both of which move the car into Prepared Class. The vehicle has a coilover suspension, Wilwood brake package, header and cat-back Exhaust, aluminum pulleys and flywheel, performance clutch, LSD, and a bone stock 130 HP second generation engine. This I-Mark RS was originally equipped with a "Handling by Lotus" suspension, which was removed and discarded. However, the vehicle has a solid beam or torsion beam rear axle, which puts it at a severe disadvantage against vehicles with independent rear suspension, such as the later Isuzu cars. This I-Mark has taken the XP Class Points Championship for the St. Louis Region for three consecutive years, from 2008 through 2010. The car will finish Second Place in the region's XP Class Points Championship this year, due to taking the first five events to sort out the redesigned rear suspension setup. There simply were not enough events to win in the second half of the season, to make up the points lost during the first half of the season. For 2011, First Place will be a Factory Five Daytona Coupe driven by the owner, and Third Place will be the same Factory Five Daytona Coupe driven by the co-driver. With Second Place sewn up, the final event of the year became play time, and Joe couldn't have asked to co-drive at a better time. This event was the first time that Joe had driven an Isuzu made car. This was the first time that Joe had driven (raced) a front wheel drive car. And Joe's first run of the day, timed at a scorching 44.816 seconds, was the first time that Joe had ever driven this car. Joe's comments captured on the videos, both while he drove and while he rode with the vehicle owner, are quite colorful and telling. Most Lotus Elise and Exige owners know Isuzu only as the engine and drivetrain supplier for the FWD Elan M100, and the Isuzu cars with Lotus Tuned suspension. They do not have a high opinion of the Elan M100 and see Lotus' association with Isuzu cars as a liability to the Lotus image. Joe did not share that opinion before the event, and based on his enthusiastic comments captured in the videos, and the fact that Joe and the vehicle owner beat the time of every Lotus vehicle entered in the event (or rather all three drivers of the premium Exige model entered in the event), Joe became a real fan of the little Isuzu car. Joe later commented that the car would have easily knock another half second or more off the time, if he knew how to left foot brake, and would be even faster in the hands of a better driver (hint-hint: Andy Hohl).

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