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OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: Oct 21, 2011

Renowned Guest Judges Announced for 2011 OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Invitational

OPTIMA® Batteries, the global leader in high-performance automotive and marine batteries, announced the lineup of guest judges for the 2011 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by KN Filters and Wilwood Brakes. The judges include Murray Pfaff, a hot rod and custom car designer, Larry Erickson, who has designed vehicles for brands including Cadillac and Mustang, Kevin Byrd, known to the industry as a passionate car guy and tech junkie who has also landed on top automotive shows including Rides and Overhaulin’ on TLC and Payback on SPEED, Colby Donaldson who appeared on the popular reality television show Survivor: The Australian Outback and has worked as a successful, self-employed custom auto designer and builder.

All of the judges come from an automotive design background and will critique vehicles for the Raybestos Performance and Design Challenge. Scores will be given based on body modifications, paint, interior, engine compartment, under-carriage, fit finish and overall appearance.

“We are honored to work with such talented judges for the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Raybestos Performance and Design Challenge,” says Cam Douglass, Director of Product Development and Marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “All of the judges have made a name for themselves within this competitive automotive industry and each will bring an expertise and valuable perspective to the judging committee.”

Meet the Design Judges

Murray Pfaff has an impressive resume of design experience. The hot rod and custom car designer has created designs for more than 300 cars in the six years since he founded Pfaff Designs, based in Royal Oak, Michigan. More than 24 of Pfaff’s cars, which range from concept cars to road machines to show cars, have been featured in past SEMA Shows in Las Vegas. Pfaff’s designs have been featured in automotive publications, including Super Rod, Mustang Monthly, Muscle Mustangs Fast Fords. Pfaff’s most recent project is a two-seat runabout called “The Imperial Speedster.”

Larry Erickson, who served as a vehicle chief designer at General Motors in the Chevrolet studio, worked for Cadillac styling, created the new generation of Mustangs and is currently a chief designer in the Small and Medium Car Vehicle Center (SVC) Design Studio in Dunton, England. In addition to production vehicle design, Erickson has been involved in hot rod design working with various hot rod shops across the globe.

Kevin Byrd started his professional career in advanced design in aerospace, yet made the transition to automotive work and moved to Motor City to work for one of the “Big Three” OEMs. Byrd is respected within the industry and has appeared on top automotive shows including Rides and Overhaulin’ on TLC and Payback on SPEED.

• Many know Colby Donaldson from his stint on Survivor: The Australian Outback. Prior to Donaldson’s reality show debut, he was a successful, self-employed custom automotive designer and builder living in Dallas. Donaldson’s face has popped up in Hollywood with guest appearances on Reba, Just Shoot Me, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and he is also the face of several Schick commercials.

The current list of vehicle qualifiers and invitees represents a variety of industry-leading muscle cars, pro-touring cars, and hot rods, from both import and domestic manufacturers. While the majority of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational participants have been selected, there is still one additional opportunity to qualify. At SEMA, a committee made up of OPTIMA and industry representatives will walk the show floor in Las Vegas, looking for the best of the best across all vehicle segments. OPTIMA® Batteries will hold a press conference at the 2011 SEMA Show on Thursday, November 3rd at 11:30 a.m. PT to announce the final group of drivers and vehicles selected to participate in the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational.

2011 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Details

The Invitational will take place at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, a state-of-the-art racing facility in Pahrump, Nev. during the first week of November. The Invitational brings in some of the top automotive talent, highly modified vehicles, credible racing veterans and fresh talent.

The main race activity of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational takes place on Saturday, November 5th and will offer something for every race fan with the BF Goodrich Hot Lap Challenge, Ridetech Autocross Challenge, Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, and the Raybestos Performance and Design Challenge. The Detroit Speed and Engineering Road Rally will occur the day before, following the close of the SEMA Show.

New this year, fans will be able to view the action from the front row for the first time ever. A limited number of spectator tickets are available for purchase. Spectators and fans can purchase tickets through November 4, 2011, or until sold out. Sponsors of the 2011 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational include the presenting sponsors, KN Filters and Wilwood Disc Brakes, and the race event sponsors, including BFGoodrich, Ridetech, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Raybestos, and Detroit Speed and Engineering. Additionally, The Roadster Shop, MagnaFlow, RECARO, Harman Kardon and Pioneer are associate sponsors for the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. For more information on the event, visit http://www.optimainvitational.com

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