The Ultimate Power Source ™

OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: Sep 24, 2014

Brian Hobaugh's 1965 Chevy Corvette

It isn't often we have guest bloggers here on the Power Source blog. In fact, it's never happened before. However, when we have a 100-car field headed to the SEMA Show and the 2014 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), packed with iconic musclecars and an insatiable demand from fans of this event for as much information on these cars and drivers as possible, we make exceptions. Suzy Bauter is up to her eyeballs in the Pro-Touring and Motorsports world and calls many OUSCI competitors friends. In addition to our own coverage leading up to the event, we asked Suzy if she'd be interested in interviewing several of the competitors and sharing their stories here, which she has graciously agreed to do-

If you’ve spent any time at all on social media or reading car magazines, you’ve seen one of Brian Hobaugh’s beautiful cars. Sponsors routinely take advantage of Hobaugh’s works of art, in shamelessly promoting their stellar products online and in magazines worldwide. This year, Hobaugh comes to the OUSCI with his deep Crimson 1965 Corvette, that is just 170 pounds north of 3,000.

Hobaugh is no stranger to racing or the OUSCI and you may recall seeing him take the high podium spot last at last year’s event with this incredible Corvette or his previous runner-up finish in 2012, which came in his bright orange 1970 Camaro. There is no denying that Hobaugh is fast with podium finishes in each of his three prior consecutive OUSCI events.

Racers on the West Coast, who routinely see him pull into weekend club races up and down the state of California, will all tell you that Hobaugh and his Dad are a force to be reckoned with on the track. For Brian, racing is a family affair; his father, Steve, is a seasoned veteran of racing with about 40 years of seat time of his own to brag about. When asked about his experience, Brian himself has to go back to 1975 when he was six years old, riding shot gun with his Dad at the wheel of a new 1974 Camaro and not able to even see over the dash. Brian attributes his time spent with his dad and some of the greatest autocrossers there have ever been, with his love and passion for the sport.

Interesting to note: Brian started autocrossing at 16 in the very same Corvette that will run in the OUSCI this Fall. When asked about the car’s provenance, Brian explained that the car had been an autocross car since it was first purchased in 1965, showing up at SCCA and club events all over the San Francisco Bay Area (Where the Hobaugh families still reside), with Steve Hobaugh purchasing the car in 1983 as the fourth owner. Watching either Hobaugh race this car, it’s hard to fathom that the car wasn’t built for the two of them specifically; the car and driver appear to be one in the same when you see how they flow through a complex autocross like a kid on a waterslide. The car’s customization and one-ness with its driver, is no accident, Brian states with enthusiasm that his family and racing are his life.

Just about everything I do is around my cars and racing. It keeps my father and I in constant contact,” Brian explains. “We live ten minutes from each other and he stores the cars in his shop at home…we are communicating about what to do next all the time and I go over and help work on the car.” Last year, Brian’s daughter Jennifer (in addition to being a straight-A student and star of her high school soccer team), started autocrossing at 15. Brian purchased a 1993 Mazda Miata for her to start in, with the intention that once she gets the basics down and increases her confidence, she will start driving both the Camaro and Corvette.

We now have three generations racing at the autocross,” Brian comments. “ So this is really a family sport for the Hobaughs.” We wanted to gain some perspective on what a multi-time OUSCI competitor learns from the event and Brian was kind enough to give us the insight that he felt each year, it became easier to focus on the driving and car preparation. “The event can move at a very high pace and the more relaxed I became, the better I performed,” Brian explained. This is remarkably sound advice coming from a guy who tends to be very focused on performance and driver skills even at a weekend event with nothing at stake. Even with 30 years of driving experience, it’s remarkable that a great driver still has things to learn.

Knowing that Brian is well-known at autocross events everywhere, we were genuinely curious what is favorite aspect of the sport is. Brian’s response was much like that of many of the terrific people participating: “The great people involved all over the country. We all have the common denominator of the passion for our cars that brings us together. Once we are together, we have really nice people involved, who enjoy each other's company and we will all do our part to help anyone make their cars better, repair their car, and help them become better drivers.”

Finally, Brian has a few parting words of advice: “The great thing about being involved in autocross is that I am always learning something new and improving as a driver. It takes a few years to become very good, but you will never master it. To get on top and stay on top, you must continually update your car, even if just a little. Push yourself and find good competition to measure your performance,” says Hobaugh. We agree Brian and we cannot wait to see what this year’s competition brings to Vegas.

General Information:

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

-Original Fuel Injected car that was ordered in 1965 for the purpose of autocrossing.

-Original engine has been replaced with a computer-controlled TPiS fuel injection system with Accel management.

-364 cubic-inch small block

-Brodix Track 1 aluminum heads

-Harland Sharp roller rockers

-Crane roller camshaft

-Scat lightweight crankshaft

-Crower connecting rods

-7500 RPM redline

-525hp/500 lb-ft, torque

-Muncie four-speed transmission

-Wilwood Disc Brakes six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, Wilwood Spec 37 rotors with aluminum hats

-JRi ST-08 Shocks

-Aristo Collection 18x12 wheels

-315/30/18 Falken Azenis RT615K

-Royal Purple fluids

- 3170 pounds

Other reading viewing:

Chevy High Performance

Popular Hotrodding

Spectre Performance

Big Muscle

Interview with Rob Kibbe on The Muscle Car Place

JRi Shocks video

Wilwood 2013 OUSCI video

Fuel Magazine

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