OUSCI Participant John Condren's 1991 Porsche 965
With the conclusion of the 2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters, we like to reach out to everyone who was in the event, to get their post-event analysis. These recaps help answer a lot of questions OUSCI fans have about their favorite cars and also give some insight into what future competitors may want to think about, as they prepare their vehicles.
Our first story is on John Condren and his absolutely beautiful 1991 Porsche 965, which had OUSCI competitor Larry Woo and several others talking for most of the week at SEMA. As we mentioned in the preview of John's Porsche, Condren has a background in professional racing in both the Trans Am and NASCAR Whelen Series, which automatically places him in an exhibition-only class, as we have done with other drivers with pro experience, including Tanner Foust and Paul Tracy. Randy Pobst reminded us this year of why we don't allow pro drivers to compete in the OUSCI, when he sliced five seconds off the best time Bret Voelkel recorded in his '33 Ford, the first time he got behind the wheel.
Even though John was in the exhibition class, we were really excited to have him participate and were very impressed that he embodied the spirit of the event by driving his Porsche from and to his home in California. He also did quite well for having never participated in an event like the OUSCI before and having no prior experience on the track at Spring Mountain. Those two factors alone put him in a small minority in the field.
Overall, Condren ran mid-pack in every event, which is pretty good considering his prior experience in autocrossing and the Wilwood Speed Stop Challenge (zero). John tells us the experience was a lot of fun and he really enjoyed the runs, even though he expected to do better. What he didn't expect was the performance level of the other cars in the field, which was as impressive as any we've witnessed in past OUSCI events.
Condren's Porsche ran flawlessly throughout the day, although he indicated his rear engined, turbo-powered car accentuated understeering conditions, combined with turbo-lag on three courses that favor torque. When we asked John what, if anything he might do differently, if he had the chance, he gave us one of our all-time favorite responses, "Bring an 800-horsepower, fully race-prepared GT1 race car, insert some headlights, then hang a license plate on it. Really," said Condren. That certainly speaks to the level of preparation some of the OUSCI cars had and what John felt it would take for someone to be competitive.
John really came away impressed with the cars in the field, calling them, "amazing pieces of mechanical motorsports creativity," although he felt there were probably only a handful of cars he would personally consider to be legit street cars. One of those was John Lazorack's 1988 Chrysler Conquest, which Condren felt was the most-legit street car in the field (it is Lazorack's daily driver). John was also amazed at the audacity, resources and creativity that went into the 1969 Ford Mach 40 created by David Eckert.
Condren was surpised the event finished ahead of schedule (so were we) and his advice to future competitors is fairly straightforward- don't bring a knife to a gunfight, but don't go to compete or win either. While John understands the OUSCI is a competitive event, his approach of going with the mindset of having a great time is what we hope everyone gets out of their experience. Whether they win anything or not, we want all OUSCI participants to have a great time and we thank John for being a part of it!