Gridlife has been high on my list of events I’ve been wanting to attend since it’s inception. Their motorsport-centric festivals are like a real life Forza Horizon - a full weekend of time attack, drifting, wheel to wheel, car shows, and parties. It’s an overused comparison but I can’t think of a better way to describe an event like this. It’s something everyone needs to check out at least once. This year Gridlife added Lime Rock to their tour so my chance had finally come to me! I tried my best to capture everything I could throughout the day from the track and from the show.
Gridlife at Lime Rock brought two special elements to this event. For the first time in it's history, LRP hosted drifting on it's main track. In the past there were drift events held here at the smaller autocross track within its grounds, but never the main track. Additionally, Gridlife partnered with Prime NYC of 7’s Day fame to curate a car show up on the hill overlooking the track.
Welcoming attendees to the show was this can't-miss RWB 993 covered in a Martini livery and sporting some Work Meister M1s with deep enough lips you could only see the face nearly head on.
RWB may have exploded in popularity in the past 10 years, but they're not the only tuner known for wide Porsches in Japan. Sunburst is another tuning house that's been crafting imposing 911s since the 993 was new and this 964 is the first I've ever seen in person. Their style is more a blend of traditional Japanese tuning and styling with OEM Porsche cues. The front bumper is Sunburst's 74RS type and the fenders are their RSR Type 3 offerings which come as a complete quarter replacement rather than a flare. Filling those flares are a very Japanese Work Meister S1s.
Alan of Function Auto wasn't driving today but still came by in his K-swapped, JTCC-inspired EG sedan.
Jorge brought out his incredible NA1 NSX running Mugen M7s for the occasion.
Loved this EG6 with a Back Yard Special wing and what I believe is also a BYS front lip but don't quote me on that. A clean and crisp interior and exterior highlight the Sprint Hart CPRs as a centerpiece.
Surprisingly, there were two WC34 Stageas on display. This Stagea had the de facto BNR34 front end swap. Advan GTs are a perfect wheel style for such a car and the gold color picked up on the warmer tone of the white paint.
If you prefer your Stagea to actually look like one, this one served as a great example of how good it can look when you keep the factory front end. Nismo LMGT4s were the perfect accessory to the look.
Loved this S30 running Star Road Glow Star wheels. The paint was such an excellent shade.
Always exciting to poke around a Lancia Delta Integrale!
These two simply styled AE86s made a good combo.
OEM aero, TE37s, a 4AGE, and ITBs - the formula for a timeless AE86.
I think this was my favorite AE86 in attendance. The rare Casablanca Mesh produced by Speed Star were perfect.
Crown Speed Lab brought their Voltex Circuit Version III S2000 and some Tsukuba vibes to the event.
The S-Chassis show out was pretty strong! Most of them were drifting but a few just came to flex.
A couple excellent, classic JDM street style Evos parked up together. The pair brought a solid Import Tuner Magazine 2014 vibe when JDM dream parts and the ultimate all rounder street machine were king.
The pits were like a car show as well! This 190E was a highlight of the event for me. It started as a basic 190E and now sports a Cosworth Evo II look over Rotiform monoblocks. Behind the wheels are six pot AMG front brakes and four pot rears off a C63. The brakes are foreshadowing the racing intentions of this build and the exciting power plant propelling it. The AMG theme spawned from the M133 2.0T from the GLA45/CLA45 mated to a 716.6 manual transmission from a W203. The M133 makes 375hp/350tq in stock form so the 400whp it makes now is hearty for the chassis but light work for the engine. The chassis features some interesting custom work to improve handling like W204 C63 control arms and knuckles, Bilstein coilovers, and an E46 M3 steering rack.
The homie George Ozmenkin of Select Speed Shop was getting ready to hit the track in his Origin Labo kitted, SR20 weapon. The exterior is stylish without being in your face and the interior is all business with behind the single bucket seat stripped of it’s interior except for the half cage to keep things stiff and safe.
This track was not an easy track to drift without power. The layout may have been simple, but the corners are long and sweeping. George’s S13 makes mid-400s with an SR20DET and a turbo manifold designed and fabricated by Select Speed Shop.
Yuki Wada brought out his ER34 sedan and used every ounce of his RB25 NEO!
Eric Peckham is an animal! His ballistic, big turbo Miata was blowing people away keeping up with all the JZ and V8 cars. It was weird seeing such a short wheelbase car hold steady with ease through such long, sweeping corners.
Style is great, aero is great, Panasport G7 C5C2s are enviable!
The North East has a thing for the X8 Cressida chassis that doesn’t seem to be shared in the rest of the country, and that’s a shame because they‘re an excellent chassis and look excellent too. With the prices of JZX90/100s going through the roof, it’s worth considering an earlier entry in Toyota’s sporting 4 door legacy.
PJ Prenderghast of Bosstown was driving his FC3S to it’s absolute limit. The roughly 250hp this 13B put down was probably the lower limit of power you’d need to link this track - or at least the more driftable first part. Between high temps and foot-to-the-floor driving, PJ dropped his front bumper and hood in hopes of increasing cooling.
Moments before disaster.
Jimmy Oakes was ripping in his 1JZGTE S13.
Jay Cyr’s ballistic kouki S14 is also 1JZ powered and was out turning tires to liquid.
You may notice something about this S15 looks off and that’s because it’s an S14 with an S15 front and rear. Because purity is cancelled, Mike Bouhabib also dropped in an LQ4 V8 and he was wheeling this concoction like a pro! In pursuit was Larry Chen in a MK5 Supra camera car.
Between drifting and time attack, Gridlife did a special showcase of certain special cars by having them run parade laps while announcers talked about them over the PA system. I missed most of it, but I did capture the Trust demo R33 GTR. This car was originally built by Trust when the BNR33 was new to showcase their line of parts for the chassis at Tokyo Auto Salon and achieve 300kmh at Yatabe. It was lost for quite some time after it left Japan until it recently resurfaced and was repurchased by Greddy/Trust.
One of the most fun groups to watch out on track were the Sundae Cup Honda Fits. All of them retained relatively stock L15s and simple chassis mods which kept competition close.
I was really obsessed with this GLA45 that was competing in Street Class. Maybe it’s the entry price, but the CLA/GLA45 is a great chassis with AWD, a potent 2.0T that makes huge power with simple bolt-ons, and killer handling and is not nearly as popular as it should be.
The other end of the Mercedes spectrum was this cool W201 on Evo II wheels. Not often you see these 80s/90s Mercedes out on track.
Eddy Segal was out ripping in his Acuity backed FK8 putting up the fastest FWD time in Street class.
This Z33 was both one of the fastest and one of the loudest cars on grid. Not much stock 350Z remained except for the mostly stock VQ35 powering it showing just how far weight reduction, aero, and chassis development can go.
If you read my coverage of Crown Speedlab’s Block Party you’ll recognize these two EKs. They both competed in Track Mod putting down competitive times and the following weekend were parked up at Wekfest. Function can be stylish!
Putting down what I believe was the fastest FF time of the day at 55.526 was Chris Boersma in his K-Tuned sponsored EK coupe.
S2000 representation was strong! The majority of the S2Ks on track were sporting an ASM livery.
Honda really dominated the time attack field as probably the most represented brand the whole weekend. It’s also exciting seeing the grid look a little better too. The north east lacked style when it came to time attack and HPDEs for a long time and it’s come a long way since!
The Honda brand was so dominating that it was even popping up in unusual places.
Lastly, the star of the event was Eric Kutil and the debut of his JTCC inspired EG sedan. This car has been fascinating to watch unfold on his Instagram where he’s posted a lot of in-depth information on the engineering and design that went into trying to replicate the Honda’s famed touring cars on a privateer level. Do yourself a favor and jump over to @eric_kutil_racing to study up on the intense craftsmanship!
This event was something fairly new for Lime Rock and we were all waiting with baited breath to see how this event unfolded and fortunately both Gridlife and LRP were stoked on the outcome and intend on returning. It’ll be exciting to see how the event evolves in the coming years!
Cutting Room Floor