Hammer Down At The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational 2021 In Las Vegas

10 min read

Hammer Down At The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational 2021 In Las Vegas

10 min read

Early November is a great time to be a gearhead in Las Vegas. The weekend before the SEMA Show kicks off, the NHRA Nationals roar at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a full spread of drag machines, from Comp racers through the Top Fuel classes, go to war. Then you have the SEMA show itself, which brings thousands of visitors to the Las Vegas Convention Center to preview new products, new customization trends, and of course new builds. If you were attending the show, you had the opportunity to make your way over to the Bronze parking lot, where the cars selected for the 2021 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) were sitting, cleaned up and prepared like gladiators just before they entered the Colosseum. And that's not too far from the truth of what OUSCI is all about.

In 2008, a select group of vehicles that had attended the SEMA show were invited out to Spring Mountain Motorsports Park in Pahrump, Nevada to see if they could drive on the street and perform on the track. The interest garnered from that inaugural event snowballed quickly. In 2014 OUSCI saw major changes take place, with the venue switching to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a qualification series (Optima's Search for the Ultimate Street Car) adding ten events, and invitations to OUSCI are handed out at certain events and at the SEMA show to vehicles deemed worthy of competition.

OUSCI 2021 Chevrolet C10

This year, 98 invitees were invited to OUSCI to run in one of the seven classes:

  • GT (17) - 1990-newer 3200-pound minimum weight 2wd sedans and 4-seater coupes (Mustang, BMWs, etc.)
  • GTS (17)- 1990-newer 3200-pound minimum weight factory two-seat sports car and any AWD vehicle (Viper, Corvette, Nissan GTR, Mitsubishi Evo, etc.)
  • GTV (23)- 1989-older 3200-pound minimum weight RWD (Vintage musclecars, GM G-bodies, Fox Mustang, etc.)
  • GTC (11)- N/A or forced induction 4-cylinder or 2-rotor engines, FWD or RWD, front-engined, maximum 107" wheelbase, 95% of factory curb weight. (Dodge Neon SRT-4, Toyota FR-S, Miata, etc.)
  • GTT (12)- Front-engine, single rear wheel drive or AWD truck, SUV, or van with a minimum weight of 3200 lbs., built on a factory truck frame and marketed as a truck from the factory. (GM C/K, Ford F-150, etc.)
  • GTL (11)- Any vehicle under 3,200 pounds operating at 95% of their factory curb weight (For example, a vehicle originally at 3,000 lbs. curb weight can weigh 2,850 lbs.)
  • Outlaw (7) - Ran as a distinct class of their own. Minimum weight of 2,600 pounds. Tube chassis ok. Must meet all OUSCI safety requirements, Must be registered and street legal, must meet OUSCI's "spirit of the event" judgement.

The Invitational is composed of five sections that competitors earn points in, with the maximum score being awarded the title of overall winner:

  • Design and Engineering - This section scrutinizes the construction and modifications made to the vehicle itself. All functional street-car components are expected to be intact, sport a quality fit and finish, and overall should work out to be a pleasing package.
  • Road Rally - The street-driven test. No support vehicles allowed. Anything a street car can do, the OUSCI racers should be able to do.
  • Autocross - Two-second penalties for any cone knocked out of it's box, DNF for not stopping in the stop box.
  • Road Course - Time trial format, three run groups, multiple sessions based on driver experience.
  • Acceleration/Braking Challenge - A down-and-back course with a stop-box finish.

With the competition completed and the points tallied up, Jake "The Kid" Rozelle walked away with the victory in his 2003 Chevrolet Corvette. Rozelle has won in the GTV class numerous times at USCA qualifiers and took the GTV championship in 2016. The C5 Corvette he uses was put together before the season opener in 2017 and was his daily driver before that. Sporting a Lingenfelter-built LS7, the Corvette's ability to maintain speed and grip are crucial to Rozelle's success.

Click here to see the full results from the 2021 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational


288 Posts


42 Posts