Notes from Adam Gordon. Photography by Elliott Powell (@_elliottpowell_)
A look into the racing careers and campaigns of time attack’s most popular power couple.
When discussing a couple that is equally successful, you often hear the term “power couple,” and that is the perfect term to describe the duo behind Apex Garage. One half of the team is Kevin Parlett, the driver of the 650 horsepower #44 Time Attack Infiniti G35, who was born into drag racing and spent time as a kid building and racing RC cars. The other half is Savanna Little, the driver of the 500 horsepower #916 Endurance Nissan LS350Z, who went from show jumping horses internationally, to being a model, to a race car driver. Believe it or not, the two met a the track during the first Global Time Attack Pro Series race in New Orleans in 2015. At the time, Little was just about to start her build process on the Z, and wanted to come check out the racing to see what she was getting into first hand. Parlett ran into Little as she was checking out his car in the BC Racing both and the rest was history.
Fast forward to the spring of 2018. In an effort to build their program and provide the best possible outlet for their sponsors, Parlett and Little created Apex Garage. Apex Garage serves as their umbrella for all the various race cars and programs - essentially a grassroots effort at building a brand around their racing endeavors. “We have always been very honest and open about our racing program, which has humanized us quite a bit, and has created a trust with our fans that most pro teams don’t expose themselves to, say the couple when asked about Apex Garage. “This allows us to share the good, the bad and the ugly with our fan base, and really gives a true perspective of what we do. We post a lot about technical things on the cars, what we are doing between races, how-to videos, and of course race-recap videos for each event.”
Little chose the 350Z as her platform because it was the more affordable alternative to the 370Z, the car that she once worked alongside as an umbrella girl with the Nissan 370Z racing team. During her time as a model, Little fell in love with motorsports and wanted to learn to race, but couldn’t afford to pay someone to build a race car for her. Because of this, she had to learn to be as self sufficient as possible, and after working at HP Logic for a while, and following the owner and mechanic around, she started to learn to wrench on her own car. This experience over time taught her to solve her own problems at the track. From day one Little knew that she wanted to build a sleek Japanese sports car with a cammed V8 producing around 500 horsepower with a lot of aero, a lot of tire, and with no driver aids, and that is exactly what she did.
Parlett, on the other hand, decided to go the Infiniti route. What started originally as his daily driver G35 coupe in college slowly grew to become an autocross car, and eventually a full time attack car. He knew that he wanted to stay true to the VQ power plant, and ended up building a single turbo version of the VQ35DE Rev-Up engine. While running Ignite Racing Fuel 114 octane, the car makes around 650 horsepower. Parlett also knew that it would be a challenge to run the G35 at the highest level of competition, as its weight at 3,075 pounds was still considered heavy when compared to competitors that were running much lighter cars with similar power figures, but he knew what he wanted to do and didn’t back down. This build has truly been a grassroots effort since day one and still is to this day. Parlett has never had a crew, or fellow friends that lend a hand in the garage or at the track. It’s has been a one man show for many years, but now with Little by his side it’s a two-car, two-person show.
As a racing power couple, Parlett and Little have taken different paths in their careers, but the similarity in their passion and drive is undeniable. Parlett has done this for quite a while, and in that time has come to enjoy the crew chief aspect and wrenching just as much as the racing. His experience working for pro race teams in PWC, IMSA and Trans Am have taught him a love for the sport beyond just driving. Little’s career has had a trajectory seldom seen in any form of motorsport. Her drive to get faster every weekend mixed with her unbelievable marketing prowess has skyrocketed her from building her daily driver three years ago to becoming one of the most prominent names in the sport!
Together, their determination is unparalleled. Any single privateer team or even shop-based time attack team would struggle to collectively travel to more time attack races than Apex Garage. Just this past season alone, they put over 43,000 miles on their truck towing to races. The entire Apex Garage team is just the two of them - no friends, no family, just a two-person, two-car operation every weekend. Typically they both drive for twelve hours a day, and sleep in their trailer at rest stops just to make it to as many races as possible. These two are as die-hard as it gets.
Before we concluded our time with them, we had to ask one final question: Who is faster? Obviously this is a hot topic between them. “Kevin thinks he’s faster than Savanna, and Savanna know’s she’s faster than Kevin - and we are both right,” they answer, laughing. “Kevin’s G35 is faster, and therefore, in the results Kevin is faster. Having said that, if you look at the data - which we do non-stop - Savanna is clearly getting more out of her car, and driving it better than Kevin drives his. Now having said that, we go kart a lot, and we are almost identical everywhere we go with Savanna often edging Kevin on the fastest lap, but with Kevin usually finishing ahead. But 2019 will be the year where we really find out, as we will finally be driving the same car on the same weekends with our new two-car program in the American Endurance Racing series. So, you may have to follow up with us at the end of the season for a decisive answer!”
Of course, we will be following up with the Apex Garage team whenever possible. If you’re looking to see the inner workings of Apex Garage, or what it takes to plan and maintain a full season of competitive racing as a duo, be sure to check out Apex Garage on social media channels, or check them out on the grid at various time attack events! We wish you both all the best.
Kevin Parlett and Savanna Little are featured in PASMAG #154. Click HERE to order.