The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational is an event that was born as a way to bring SEMA cars to life. It was started as a way to give the vehicles on display on the SEMA show floor a chance to show what they’re made of by getting out there and do what they were intended to do, perform. The competition has evolved so much over the years in every way. People who have been following along will note an uptake in the quality, and quantity of the competitors competing for the title of the Ultimate Street Car, as well as a major increase in spectators over the years.
At the recent 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, drivers were tasked to run their vehicles through a series of challenges. These challenges include the Lucas Oil Road Rally, Detroit Speed Autocross, Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial, PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge, and the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering Competition. Points were awarded to each competitor based on their performance in each challenge and then added up to create the final score to determine winners in each category; the highest possible score is 500.
The overall winner who took home the title of Ultimate Street Car is one of our personal favorites, Ken Thwaits as he manned the steering wheel of a 2006 Mitsubishi Evo. This is the third year he has run the car, but first time its won a race. Thwaits is already excited to be back next year, and we can’t wait to see the champ compete to keep his title.
The top five winners are:
- Ken Thwaits 2006 Mitsubishi Evo 488 points
- Austin Barnes 2010 Dodge Viper 485 points
- Mike DuSold 1967 Chevrolet Camaro 482 points
- Brandon Ranvek 2006 Mitsubishi Evo 480 points
- Danny Popp 2003 Chevrolet Corvette 478 points
To round out the classes, here are the winners of each:
Matthew Scott’s 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
Scott Budisalich’s 2006 Honda S2000
Larry Woo’s 1968 Chevy Camaro
Franklin Road Apparel GT Class
Bryan Johnson’s 2013 Chevy Camaro
Recaro GTS Class
Austin Barnes’ 2010 Dodge Viper
Holley EFI GTL Class
Ken Thwaits’ 2006 Mitsubishi Evo
Each class winner was awarded a Class Cup and free entry into a qualifying event for the 2018 search.
Shawn Henry is a Texas native who has spent the majority of his career building and selling F-Bodies and Corvettes. Now studying journalism, he is taking a new direction with his love of performance vehicles.