By Clint Simone and Carr Winn
SEMA Ignited—the official SEMA Show after-party that is open to consumers—will kick-off for the third time ever, Friday, November 4, immediately following the close of the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Also for the third year, SEMA Ignited will serve as the backdrop for “SEMA: Battle of the Builders® (BOTB),” hosted by Adrienne Janic and Chris Jacobs, during which the top three finalists will learn their outcomes.
Kyle Mohan, 2016 Mazda MX-5
SEMA News sat down with Kyle Mohan, a driver in the Formula Drift racing series who is entering his ’16 Mazda MX-5 into the BOTB competition. Mohan, a driver who has raced for years, brings a purpose-built racecar with a highly-custom version of Mazda’s famous rotary engine. The unique motor is the platform for Mohan’s 1,000hp drifting machine.
In addition to having tire-smoking levels of power, the Miata is also the shortest wheelbase car in the Formula Drift series. Mohan and his team widened the front track of the car to give the most stability possible when holding an extended drift during competition. Additions like the massive rear wing and racing bodykit finish off the package as a no compromises racecar.
While highlighting the special characteristics of his car, Mohan spoke to the BOTB competition and what it means to be entering such a diverse field of custom builds.
Big Mike, ’92 Honda Prelude
Big Mike grew up as an avid automotive enthusiast, specifically in the import/tuner culture. Drawing from this, he has built many cars over the years, including several that fit into the import category. For 2016, his project is a ’92 Honda Prelude, built for the Torco Oils booth. The super-customized Prelude includes an array of interior and exterior modifications, making it a unique interpretation on an import classic.
The Prelude is powered by a 2.0L Honda Accord engine that is boosted by a Honeywell GTX28 turbo with a V-band turbine housing, a TurbosmartUSA wastegate, an AEM fuel rail and other custom pieces. Beyond the powertrain, exterior modifications include a vented hood, custom side skirts, carbon-fiber mirrors and more. Lastly, the interior of the Prelude received a once-over as well, sporting Sparco front seats, an Aim Sports electronic dash, a Rywire engine harness and other advanced modifications.
There were more than 27,000 registered attendees for the 2015 event—up 20% from the previous year. Held in the Gold Lot just steps away from the Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA Ignited will feature automotive demonstrations, celebrity appearances, industry icons, food, music, cackle cars, Formula Drift action and a live taping of the 2016 BOTB competition that will premiere in early 2017 on the Velocity Channel. Vehicles from the SEMA Show will begin to parade out of the convention center around 4:00 p.m., and make their way to SEMA Ignited as thousands of fans line the streets of Las Vegas to catch a glimpse of the Show’s wildest rides.
Last year, 220 of the world’s best builders entered the BOTB competition, but it was Bobby Alloway who walked away with the top prize.