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Event Report

An Immaculate 1951 Ford Takes the 2016 GT Awards' Best in Show

LAS VEGAS, USA (November 5, 2016) – The 14th Gran Turismo Award SEMA took place this week in Sin City, as part of the festivities during the SEMA show (Specialty Equipment Market Association). Now an annual tradition, the GT Awards recognizes the best custom-made vehicles displayed at the show. For 2016, the Best in Show honors went to former race driver Bruce Levens’ 1951 Ford, and like all previous top prize winners, this impressive vehicle will be featured in a future installment of Gran Turismo.

Taking full advantage of his racing heritage, Levens created a classic racecar with a European spirit. You can see the attention he paid to the details on the car’s leather fixture belts inside the elegant interior, and the exquisite bodywork of the exterior. He spent more than 10,000 hours of work on his creation, with a lot of those hours shared by skilled craftsmen. At the awards ceremony held at the Marquee Club inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Craig Wick, who also worked on this car, accepted the trophy on the owner’s behalf.
Before the big announcement, the judges selected five class winners, which were the finalists for the Best in Show award. They are:

Best Truck / SUV: 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 (Owned by Mike White)
Best Domestic Car: 1965 Ford Mustang (Owned by Chris Marechal)
Best Asian Import: 1975 Datsun 280Z (Owned by Chris Forsberg)
Best European Import: 2008 Audi R8 (Owned by Ravikumar Ayyagari)
Best Hot Rod: 1951 Ford (Owned by Bruce Levens) *

Let’s introduce the category winners for 2016:

Best Truck/SUV: 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 (Owned by Mike White)

This monster truck, nicknamed “The Hellfire,” came powered with a 775-ps 6.2-liter Hellcat engine. With ceramic brakes and lightweight racing wheels, this vehicle marked the spiritual return of monster pickups, which to this day, has a loyal following of fans around the world.

Best Domestic Car: 1965 Ford Mustang (Owned by Chris Marechal)

This mean Mustang’s V-8 engine has a supercharger and a turbocharger, helping it to spit out 1000 hp. All this power is transferred to the ground via a 6-speed sequential gearbox, and thanks to its height adjustable suspension and ceramic brakes, it can also carve corners. And if that’s not enough, the car’s bright red interior will motivate you to charge like a fighting bull.

Best Asian Import: 1975 Datsun 280Z (Owned by Chris Forsberg)

The popularity of tuned first-generation Datsun Zs are definitely on the rise, but very few are as impressive as this 280Z by drift champion Chris Forsberg. Under its hood is a RB25DET with upgraded turbochargers and a reinforced drivetrain. A G nose front bumper and large wide fenders make it look as mean as it goes.

Best European Import: 2008 Audi R8 (Owned by Ravikumar Ayyagari)

The flagship sports car of Audi, the R8, has been modified into something that looks just like a GT3 machine. The body panels and front/rear bumpers have been replaced with unpainted carbon parts, and the large rear wing and diffuser provide gobs of downforce. The large diameter wheels add spice to what is already a very mean-looking exterior.
【GRAN TURISMO AWARD Previous Winners】
2003 Buick Special
2004 HPA Motorsports Stage II R32
2005 AEM S2000
2006 ArtMorrison Corvette '60
2007 HPA TT
2008 Infiniti G37
2009 Ford Mustang Trans-Cammer
2010 1969 Chevloret Camaro
2011 1971 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Custom Ford Mach 40
2013 1967 Chevy Nova
2014 GoPro “Rampage” 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
2015 Datsun 240Z “Fugu Z”
2016 1951 Ford Coupe