Best Moments of 2017: Optima Invitational Makes Street Car History

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All-wheel drive competitor took top spot for first time ever, and the non-stop action made this fast & furious event one of the best of the year.

Everyone has their own opinion on what makes a regular ol’ car a badass street car. Certain drag-racing circles make the interpretation as loose as a car that has street-legal tires, even if they are essentially slicks on a tubbed and back-halved car. Road racers may define it as a car meant for canyon carving and autocross duty but with no A/C or radio. Show-car fans need a full interior with the latest electronics and full amenities to make driving comfortable while scraping pavement. Then there is the Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA) and its Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), which took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada this past November.

Determining the Ultimate Street Car

Instead of solely judging a car by its looks and features, the USCA and OUSCI put their cars through the paces as well as looking at the design and engineering inside and out. One of the must hit events to take home the OUSCI title is to go through the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering Challenge. Not only do the judges look for the safety aspect of a vehicle inside they also look at the creature comforts and how well the entire vehicle was put together. This includes lights, trim, horn, and twenty-three additional areas of criteria. There is also one other catch: How you present the vehicle at the Lingenfelter D&E is how you are to drive it for the rest of the OUSCI, including the Lucas Oil Road Rally.

There are performance tests for every OUSCI entrant as well, so again, this isn’t just a look over. Drivers must run in the Detroit Speed Autocross, the Powerstop Speed Stop Challenge, and the final event of the weekend: the Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial. “This event was born out of the desire to give the vehicles on display at the SEMA show floor an opportunity to showcase what they’re really designed and built to do: perform,” said Cam Douglass, director of marketing at OPTIMA Batteries.

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