The racers, team players, and engineering madmen behind the vehicles of the World Time Attack Challenge, which ran October '15 at Australia's Sydney Motorsport Park, are not only singularly focused on speed and consistency. Those at the sharp end of this rapidly growing discipline take it to the ragged edge—110 percent. It's now been running for five years on the circuit—formerly known as Eastern Creek—and has become a chance for teams across four classes to test their time attack machinery, year-on-year. Not only does WTAC attract the very fastest cars from around Australia, it hauls them in from around the world. Like any form of racing with a benchmark factor like this, the tendency is for things to escalate quite quickly. Competing tuners, engineers, and drivers all want to do better than last year—and preferably do it faster than anyone else.
The hero class—Pro—is home to the most serious machinery, with extraordinarily complex body kits, super-lightweight materials, and NOS-fed engines putting down in excess of 1,000 hp. There are few restrictions, but running DOT-spec tires is mandatory and a factory floorpan is a major, influencing the design of the cars and keeping space frames and monocoque setups off the table. This doesn't alter the fact that the outright hardtop lap record around Motorsport Park is held by Tilton Interiors Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Garth Walden, and finishing the first day right up top of the leaderboard was a signal he wanted to win again.
The most serious challenges to the Tilton's winning ways were MCA Suspension's fire-breathing Nissan Silvia S13, the ill-fated Scorch Racing's S15, and a rogue Porsche that looked that like it could have been a Le Mans Prototype–class sports car in a previous life.
Australian weather was also pretty keen to keep a handle on laptimes as well—track temperatures at warmest were knocking around 122 degrees Fahrenheit at their warmest, half that at their coolest. This drastically reduces the chances of finding a middle ground that makes for a suitable thermal compromise for both tires and turbos—and then there's what the "wrong" wind can do to aerodynamics.
The other three classes—with restrictions added to engine outputs and much, much, more—are slightly more immune to the dramas that a bit of Sydney's random weather patterns can throw out.
Possibly the purest class is Clubsprint, essentially a street car class, taking Time Attack back to its roots—a bunch of guys and girls putting the hammer down for a bit of a glory. This is the largest, and obviously the cheapest, class to get involved in.
When you consider that half a million Aussie dollars has been spent on some of the Pro campaigners, the attraction of Clubsprint is obvious. Next up the power pile comes Open, which allows aero kits, up to 15 percent weight reduction, carbon-fiber panels, and more. It's another large class, as the benchmark isn't akin to a low-flying F22 as with ProAm, the next level, or the wild and wicked Pro.
But the class sticker on a rear quarter-window certainly doesn't dictate how serious your Time Attack ambitions are—one of the true revelations of the weekend was a Honda Civic that, according to rumor, has been possessed.
Japanese superstar Tarzan Yamada, piloting the beautiful RevZone Evo, was a GT-R fighter in the popular Open class, but even he was outpaced by the JDM Yard Honda. The Civic's staggering lap chewed up rear- and all-drive machines with a brilliant setup and drive, taking the class with a 1:30.7010 and edging out the famous Tarzan by one hundredth of a second.
This is the sort of close racing that gets the crowd pumped—in fairness, time attack isn't the most spectator-friendly of motorsports, and it's the UFOs in Pro that tend to get the crowds really excited.
There's one viewer bonus, though… In the dying hours of the second day, when the track is starting to cool, the top five cars from each class have one "Hail Mary" run to try for a podium place. Superlap Shootout is riveting car abuse—three laps, one to sight the circuit, one to turn the boost up and go as Ricky Bobby as possible, another to let the car cool down. The "nothing left to lose" factor does wonders for some drivers; for others, it's just too much pressure. For some turbochargers, it's just too much pressure. Sadly, that wonderful Sydney weather proved again that you can't always throw a shrimp on the barbie, the heavens opening for the final Superlap Shootout timeslot. Earlier times stood, but the crowd was treated to some wet weather sideways action from those keen enough to get out there, including New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen—a top V-8 Supercars driver in Aussie, as well as being a D1NZ drift competitor giving it all in the MCA "Hammerhead" Silvia.
With no chance left for a dry course, the opposite lock action was over and all was said and done. Garth Walden had added another World Time Attack Challenge to his résumé, Tilton Interiors' Lancer Evo by seeing off the MCA Silvia duo by smashing over a second of (his) previous record with an untouchable 1:23.777 (last year 1:24.8412). After the event, Walden pointed out that it was the last Attack for the Evo—it will be amazing to see what this wonder team will come up with, building on its extensive, big-winning experience on the WTAC battlefield.
|Open (30 total competitors)|
|1||JDM Yard||Adam Casmiri (NSW)||Honda Civic||1:30.7010|
|2||RevZone EVO||Tarzan Yamada (JPN)||Mitsubishi EVO 9||1:30.7170|
|3||Powertune||Dean Lillie (NSW)||Nissan R34 GT-R||1:31.4558|
|4||Evolution Industries||Paul McKinnon (NSW)||Porsche 944 Turbo||1:31.5680|
|5||Insight Motorsport S2000||Steve Glenney (NSW)||Honda S2000||1:31.7330|
|6||Team Sparta||Nicholas Kalis (NSW)||Mitsubishi EVO 9||1:32.8070|
|7||3 Rotor Racing||Andy Duffin (NZ)||Mazda RX-7||1:32.8180|
|8||Road Track Rally||John Boston (VIC)||Mitsubishi EVO 10||1:32.8380|
Open class is regarded as one of the most exciting fields to watch with 30 tough competitors and a 'lil less restriction than Clubsprint. The '15 class saw its first FWD car in history take the gold as the JDM Yard/Hardrace Civic piloted by Adam Casmiri defeated a field of Skylines, Evos and other AWD/RWD cars - even faster than 'Tarzan" Yamada in the RevZone Lancer Evo IX! It's claimed to be making 550hp using a supercharged K24.
Paul McKinnon in a 400+whp Porsche 944 Turbo on the ass of privateer Robert Gooley's Evo. The Porsche finished 4th in its class while Robert improved by two seconds from '14 to a 1:34.584.
Music to our ears with a 20B triple rotor, 3 Rotor Racing's RX-7 from New Zealand posted a 1:32.818 on their first outing at WTAC.
Recording a 1:34.548 best lap, V-Sport plans to do better this year with its 86. With 500hp via built FA20, Borg Warner turbo, plus a sequential six-speed and Varis widebody, it ought to!
A look at second place finisher RevZone with its Lancer Evo IX piloted Eiji 'Tarzan' Yamada. Amazing a FWD Civic was able to scoot by 'Tarzan' by a mere hundredth.
Fifth place belonged to Steve Glenney and his turbocharged S2000.
Rounding out the Top 10 with a 1:33.459 lap is this 605whp 13B turbo RX-7 from MC Towing driven by Matt Cole.
Competing for the first time was the Integrated Motorsport GT-R that finished 18th. The R34 featured a TOMEI RB28 block, HKS turbos, MoTeC standalone and custom aero, we expect them to finish stronger later this year.
|Clubsprint (36 total competitors)|
|1||BYP Racing||Daniel Meredith (NSW)||Honda Civic||1:39.4470|
|2||Tunehouse||David Lord (NSW)||Subaru WRX Sti||1:39.9400|
|3||SuperPro Evo||Jason Naidoo (NSW)||Mitsubishi EVO 8||1:40.0860|
|4||John Richardson||John Richardson (VIC)||Nissan R33 GTS-T||1:41.3110|
|5||Royal Purple/IS Motor Racing||Chris Tiqui (NSW)||Mitsubishi EVO 9||1:41.8820|
|6||Team EXE OTR||Jim Seng Tu (VIC)||Mitsubishi EVO 9||1:42.0230|
|7||Tunehouse||Josh Muggleton (NSW)||Toyota 86||1:42.3400|
|8||Keeley Motorsport||Scott Stewart (QLD)||Mitsubishi EVO 6||1:42.6160|
The Clubsprint class represented the largest class at WTAC. It had the most grassroots, entry-level field which consisted of many street cars that drove to the event. Our hats go off to Daniel Meredith in the BYP Racing Civic. The EK is powered by a K20/24, then boosted via a Rotrex blower making 450hp. Other highlights include a Hondata ECU, Brembo brakes, massive front 285-series tires and a curb weight under 2,200lbs with Daniel in the car.
|Pro Am (8 total competitors)|
|1||PMQ Racing||Michael Sigsworth (QLD)||Mitsubishi EVO 9||1:25.7570|
|2||CJA Motorsport||Chris Alexander (QLD)||Nissan R32 GT-R||1:28.2790|
|3||Mighty Mouse 101||Robert Nguyen (QLD)||Honda CR-X||1:29.5170|
|4||Pulse Racing||Fisher/McKinnon (NSW)||Mitsubishi Evo||1:31.0260|
|5||Autotech Engineering Hulk||Jason Wright (NSW)||Subaru WRX Sti||1:31.4470|
|6||Team ENDLESS||Atsushi Shimaya (JPN)||Mazda RX-7||1:32.9610|
|7||53Thirty||Luke Ryall (QLD)||Honda Civic||1:35.5090|
|8||Godzilla Motorsport||Nathan Townsend (QLD)||Toyota Supra||1:39.0150|
While not in winning contention, Luke Ryall and his 410whp B20-powered Civic cut two seconds from its previous outing to 1:35.509.
Nicknamed "The Hulk", Jason Wright's WRX was the lone Subaru in the Pro Am class. With a new engine and aero package, he shaved a second off his '13 time to place 5th with a 1:31.447.
Second place belonged to Chris Alexander and the CJA Motorsport carbon R32 GT-R. The team shed over four second from its previous outing.
Wasn't all good news for Team Endless Japan. We had high hopes for their 600hp FD3S, but driver Atsushi Shimaya experienced technical issues followed by a failed engine. This resulted in its fastest time being 1:32.961, but we still love how it looks though!
Pro Am is just a step below Pro Class, just with no pro drivers allowed. But these drivers and cars are still pretty much top notch as the podium only saw sub-1:30 lap times. The Pro Am class winner, Mick Sigsworth in the all-carbon PMQ Racing Evo finished third fastest overall behind Garth Walden and Under Suzuki.
|Pro Class (9 total competitors)|
|1||Tilton Racing||Garth Walden (NSW)||Mitsubishi Evo 9||1:23.7770|
|2||MCA Suspension||S. Van Gisbergen (QLD)||Nissan Silvia S13||1:25.3710|
|3||Scorch Racing||Under Suzuki (JPN)||Nissan Silvia S15||1:25.8476|
|4||RP968||David Wall (NSW)||Porsche 968||1:26.8000|
|5||Dominator Evo||Steve Glenney (QLD)||Mitsubishi Evo 6||1:29.2230|
|6||SVA Imports||Gareth Lloyd (ENG)||Mitsubishi Evo 6||1:29.9280|
|7||Lyfe Motorsport||Cole Powelson (USA)||Nissan R35 GT-R||1:32.4050|
|8||Insight Motorsport||Brad Shiels (NSW)||Holden Astra||1:38.3420|
While we have an Unlimited class in our Super Lap Battle Finals, the Pro Class at WTAC brings out the best of the best from the other side of the world. The most experienced and feared team is Tilton Interiors with its Evo 9 piloted b Garth Walden. Garth secured his third consecutive championship as well as set a new world record with a 1:23.777. Who will be able to take down their record?!
We're told this is a new build from the boys at MCA Suspension—a full carbon Nissan S13. Driver Shane Van Gisbergen pushed it hard to claim the silver medal with a 1:25.371 fastest lap time.
In December '14, Under Suzuki smashed the world record at Tsukuba Circuit with a 51.127, bettering the previous record held by Keichi Tsuchiya in the ATRA GT500 NSX. He had high hopes for WTAC but fell victim to a host of problems including a blown engine. His quickest lap ended up being 1:25.847 using a spare engine.
PR Technology brought out its "RP 968" for the first time. The carbon-bodied Porsche makes up to 900hp, and driver David Wall had a great weekend improving his times to 1:26.80, good for fourth place.
Representing England, SVA Imports brought out its 940hp Evo. Driven by Gareth Lloyd, the car put down a 1:29.928 before an engine fire cut their weekend short.
After competing at our Super Lap Battle in '14, LYFE Motorsport set their eyes to a new field of competitors at WTAC with its R35 GT-R. Unfortunately, some engine issues plagued them from improving on a 1:32.405 best time set by driver Cole Powelson. Better luck next year!