September 6-7, 2018 – Lincoln, Nebraska
In September of 2017, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) announced a brand-new autocross class for the 2018 season named the Solo Spec Coupe (SSC) class, based around the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ platform. In addition to the SSC open class, an accompanying ladies-only class, the SSCL, based on the same driving platform was created. The new classes were designed to offer an affordable option for competing, while the minimal amount of allowable modifications helps level the playing field and place the emphasize on driving skill. With both regional and national-level events, the first season of SSC competition came to a climactic finish the week of September 3-7, 2018 at the annual SSCA Solo Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In the past, the SCCA Solo Nationals were held near the SCCA headquarters in Topeka, Kansas. But for the past several years now, the “Solo Nats” have been held at the Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska. Four days of competition decided the National Champions from the 1,300 competitors across numerous pro and amateur classes. With roughly 65 cars in the open SSC class, and around a dozen women competing in the SSCL class, there was quite the battle for the honor of being the first-ever Solo Spec Coupe and SSCL national champion.
The first day of SSC competition was Thursday, September 6 on the first of two tracks, known as the East Course. Lincoln was pummeled with rain on Tuesday and Wednesday that week, however, Thursday turned out to be dry, overcast, and around 70 degrees. It was a great day for setting down some fast laps. With each competitor allowed three runs, their fastest run was used to decide how they finished each day, and overall.
Newcomer Adam Benaway from North Carolina came swinging right out of the gate, setting a blistering time of 69.721 seconds. He would go on to improve on his second run finding a bit more time with his winning 69.543 lap. Adam was more than 0.4-second faster than his closest competitor Matt McCabe, who drove a 70.003 on his first lap. Kevin Dietz, a favorite to win at the Solo Nats, took Third on the East Course with his time of 70.181 seconds on his second pass.
The competition was equally fierce in the SSCL class, but it was Teddie Alexandrova who came out on top. Teddie’s first lap was fast, but her third lap was just a hair quicker at 71.742 seconds. That was again over 0.4-second faster than Second place Jennifer Bedell whose second run was her best of the day. Bringing up Third place on the East Course was Megan Solinsky who improved with each pass earning herself a 72.717 best time.
The next day, Friday the 7th, SSC and SSCL drivers took to the West Course to try and set a fast pace to decide who would earn the Champion’s jacket. It was again Adam Benaway who ran away with the lead, ahead of Matt McCabe by 0.8-second, with Kevin Dietz bringing up third only 0.01-second behind McCabe. Benaway, who only just finished his car, took a decisive win in Lincoln earning the first-ever SSC championship.
The ladies switched it up a little on the second day of competition. This time it was Jennifer Bedell who took a massive lead with a fast time of 63.188 on her third and final run. With Teddie Alexandrova over 1.4 seconds slower on the West Course, it was enough for Bedel to move into first overall and take the home the champion’s jacket. Much like the day before, Megan Solinsky improved with each run and it was enough to ensure she maintained Third place overall.
In the end, it was an excellent finish to the SCCA’s first season of Solo Spec Coupe competition. The SSC drivers were spared from extreme weather, only having to contend with a light mist on Friday morning. With Adam Benaway and Jennifer Bedell recently crowned the first SSC and SSCL champions, they’ll get the honor of defending their title in a second season of competition, which is sure to attract more drivers and become increasingly more competitive.