Ever wonder what the fastest street car in America is? You don’t need to guess because each year, the Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car crowns a champion after an entire season of racing all across the country. In 2019, it was Mike DuSold in a heavily modified 1967 Camaro who took home the highest honors as the Ultimate Street Car in Las Vegas, where the season-ending Invitational event is held after SEMA each year.
The MAVTV televised series is a fun event to enter, and anyone with a street-legal car, a driver’s license, and a Snell SA rated helmet can come out and play. The rules are pretty simple: show up with your street legal, registered, and an insured car that you own (no pro drivers for hire in this series), have DOT legal, 200 treadwear tires on all four wheels, and then drive your heart out.
The series, run by the Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA), hosts seven different competition classes with podiums for each class at local events. Here are the classes and the basic breakdown of what cars fit into each category:
GT (Grand Touring)
1990 or newer vehicles that are two-wheel drive, four-seaters with a minimum weight of 3,200 pounds. Think a modern Mustang.
GTS (Sports Car)
1990 or newer vehicles, rear-wheel drive/two-seater, or any all-wheel-drive vehicle with a minimum weight of 3,200 pounds. Think Corvette or Subaru WRX.
1989 or older vehicles that are rear-wheel drive and a minimum weight of 3,200 pounds. Think 1969 Camaro.
GTC (Sport Compact)
Any year four-cylinder or rotary engine vehicle with a 107-inch maximum wheelbase, weighing 95-percent of stock curb weight. Think Ford Fiesta ST.
GTE (Electric Vehicles)
Pure electric vehicles (no hybrid) at factory curb weight. Think Tesla Model S.
Any vehicle under 3,200 pounds as long as the weight is within 95-percent of factory curb weight. Think Porsche GT3 RS.
Outlaw (Outlaw Class)
Unlimited — run-what-ya-brung and can have hired gun driving. Think outside the box.
For the full set of rules, points, and class designations, check out this link here.
The Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car is challenging because your streetcar has to compete in five separate events.
- Design and Engineering
- Road Rally
- Speed Stop Time Trial
- Road Course Time Trial
Not only does your car have to be street legal, but it also has to get through a tight autocross event as well as a high-speed road course event, which are two different animals entirely. Having a balanced car that can do lots of things well will help you be successful at Optima. It also helps if you can operate an automobile like a bank robbery getaway driver.
Events are scheduled at six different tracks across the country with the first one at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- March 14-15 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- April 18-19 – Atlanta Motor Parts Park
- May 29-30 – Willow Springs Raceway
- July 11-12 – Pikes Peak International Raceway
- August 14-15 – Road America
- September 19-20 – NOLA Motorsports Park
- End of SEMA – 2020 Invitational Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Registration for the 2020 season begins December 16, 2019.
To see how the events are run, some of the cool cars and personalities that come out to play, and some hard-driving, check out the mashup of the 2015 coverage from Rob’s team running a Z06 Corvette: