During the fourth round of the 2020 USTCC season, Edgar Lau really was in a class of his own. In his hands, the AR-G Motorsports E46 M3 was dominating the Super Touring class. However, that didn’t stop one competitor running a BMW E92 in the higher-ranked GT Class from making Lau’s life a little difficult.
Lau’s E46 M3 didn’t have the same straightline speed as the 530-horsepower E92, which, compounded by Buttonwillow Raceway Park’s narrowness, made overtaking a little risky. Lau was undeniably quicker over one lap despite the power disparity, but the aggressive positioning of the more powerful car and some questionable defense forced Lau to take some risks which most drivers wouldn’t in the early stages of a race.
After noting the obvious speed disparity as they approached The Bus Stop (0:57), Lau realized this would be the ideal place to pounce the following lap. Lau was happy to admit that he was taking it reasonably carefully at this stage; taking the way the driver ahead struggled through Buttonwillow’s technical sections as evidence of fatigue.
Much of Lau’s confidence was based on the assumption the race would last the normal twelve laps. However, this particular race’s length was chopped in half due to technical issues with the TV team, which left Lau shocked when he saw a waving white flag on only the fifth lap. He couldn’t bide his time any longer.
The next time the two approached The Bus Stop, Lau stuck his nose in carefully while keeping the big picture in mind (2:52). “It was a gamble to take him at The Bus Stop since it’s the narrowest point on the track, but seeing the white flag left me with no choice. If I had forced the issue, I would’ve crashed into him, so I backed off. That didn’t upset me—what really ticked me off was the unsportsmanlike move at Sunset. If I had something more to gain than getting my maiden overall race win, I would’ve stood my ground, but it was more important to have a car working for the race the following day,” he elaborated.
Lau kept his head down and looked for another opening. When the opportunity did present itself with the E92’s laughably slow exit from Turn 12 (3:50), Lau clawed back under braking and exited precariously alongside the E92 down the front straight.
Knowing the habits of the driver beside him, Lau sensed there were two ways to finish this race, and neither were very satisfying. However, finishing second would feel much better than finishing the race with dusty, Dukes of Hazzard-style photo finish and the damage that comes with it.