From the February/March issue of Car and Driver.
In the 16 Lightning Lap events since 2006, there have been seven cars to hold the title of fastest front-driver. Early on, the front-drive title changed hands several times. At the first Lightning Lap, a Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged set the front-drive pace with a 3:20.6. A year later at the second Lightning Lap, the 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 established itself as the top front-driver with a 3:16.0 lap. Mazda didn't get to celebrate long as the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS arrived ready to run at the third Lightning Lap and turned a 3:13.0 lap. That Cobalt SS's time stood for a decade until the 2018 Honda Civic Type R came along and beat it by over nine seconds with a 3:03.9. A few years later, Mini's 301-hp John Cooper Works GP took the front-drive crown by a tenth of a second with a 3:03.8. That must not have sat well with Honda because the next year, the Civic Type R Limited Edition arrived wearing track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that helped get it across the finish line in 3:00.7. This year's Civic Type R—and its 2:58.8—is the first front-driver to lap VIR’s Grand Course in under three minutes, a feat no car, front-drive or otherwise, achieved at the first Lightning Lap.
Tony Quiroga is an 18-year-veteran Car and Driver editor, writer, and car reviewer and the 19th editor-in-chief for the magazine since its founding in 1955. He has subscribed to Car and Driver since age six. "Growing up, I read every issue of Car and Driver cover to cover, sometimes three or more times. It's the place I wanted to work since I could read," Quiroga says. He moved from Automobile Magazine to an associate editor position at Car and Driver in 2004. Over the years, he has held nearly every editorial position in print and digital, edited several special issues, and also helped produce C/D's early YouTube efforts. He is also the longest-tenured test driver for Lightning Lap, having lapped Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course more than 2000 times over 12 years.
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