This past Wednesday night, the Gran Turismo Awards put on its 11th annual award ceremony at the Haze Nightclub inside the Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada. Held during the SEMA Show, the 2013 GT Awards sought to find the best cars from five different categories (Best Truck or SUV, Hot Rod, Domestic Automobile, Asian Import, and European Import) by calling on experts from the automotive media and industry tastemakers.
In addition to the five categories, a People’s Choice award was introduced for the first time this year where fans had the opportunity to vote on their favorite car by liking posts on Gran Turismo’s Facebook page.
Hosted by C.J. Wilson, the All-Star pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and owner of a Mazda race team and dealership, the MLB athlete/car guy revealed all six category winners, as well as the overall Best in Show.
For Best Truck or SUV, Matt Farah from the Drive channel on YouTube and Smoking Tire selected the 1965 Ford Econoline back-up pickup truck owned by Dave Shuten. It’s called a back-up pickup because it’s a truck with its driveline turned around. It will do a wheelie, going backwards.
Alexander Stoklosa and Michael Simari from Car and Driver teamed up as judges for Best Domestic Automobile and picked the Factory Five 818R. The 818R is a track-purpose kit car that uses a turbocharged Subaru motor.
For Best Asian Import, Jonathan Wong from Super Street magazine picked a 2014 Scion FR-S with a 2JZ engine swapped in from a Supra turbo. Built by the aftermarket company Greddy, the small Scion now makes 750 wheel horsepower.
Alex Bernstein from European Car was on deck for Best European Import. Alex chose a 2001 VW GTI-RS from 034 Motorsport that’s been converted to rear wheel drive and makes 900 wheel horsepower.
Ryan Friedlinghaus from the car customization shop West Coast Customs picked a 1967 Chevrolet Nova owned by Chris Holstrom for Best Hot Rod. The Nova is equipped with a supercharged LS9 engine out of a 2012 Corvette ZR1 that makes 700 horsepower. The overall clean execution of modern engine in a classic chassis, helped the Nova take the Best in Show honors as well. Look for it as a playable vehicle in an upcoming GT.
As for the People’s Choice, the fans picked a 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray owned by Octavio Villafana. The C7 Vette features a custom widebody painted in a brilliant blue.
Go to www.gran-turismo.com/us for more info.