Last weekend was the running of the inaugural World Time Attack Challenge at Eastern Creek Raceway (Friday 21 May - Saturday 22 May 2010), just west of Sydney, Australia. It was put on by the same crew that has done Super Lap Time Attack series over the last couple of years, but this time inviting competitors from around the world to come and pit themselves against the best from Australia and each other - all up over 90 entrants. The lead up to the event had a number of big hitters set to come down here, but unfortunately there was some attrition that took place. Given the logistics of bringing a car, supporting equipment and crew overseas and on the somewhat limited budgets of the teams, it was not unexpected, as least from my point of view. Having said that, those internationl players that did turn up, pushed hard and came away winners.
In those travelling from overseas were four cars from Japan, and 1 car from the United States. Japan being where many see as roots of Time Attack (placed fair and square at Tsukuba) we had the Cyber Evo Mitsubishi Evolution IV (driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada), the Tomei/Cusco Subaru Impreza WRX STI (again driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada), the Pan Speed Racing Mazda RX-7 FD3S (driven by Kouta Sasaki) and the Pro Staff R-Magic Mazda RX-7 FD3S (driven by Kinoshita Mitsuhiro). The lone gun from the United States was none other than the Sierra Sierra Enterprises Cosworth Mitsubishi Evolution VIII (driven by David Empringham), having recently beaten the long standing HKS CT230R Evo's record time at Buttonwillow Raceway with a 1:43.43, just nine-tenths quicker than the CT230R.
Being in Perth, the journey to WTAC 2010 started early on Thursday morning with a 4 hr flight to Sydney, jumping into a hire car and tackling for the first time the freeways and toll booths out to our hotel in Blacktown, about 5 minutes drive from the track. Friday had us out at the track nice and early (if not a little seedy from the shenanigans the night before). My overall impression of the event is one that was very well run, with the best trade section I've seen at such and event and a good selection of cars out in the show and shine section too. Being able to get up and close to the back of the pit garages was great, probably something the Japanese can't do at say their Time Attack events which are generally closed to the public. Know this was the first day, I wasn't expecting a great deal in regards to times, as there was still all of Saturday to bang some fast laps in, but gave us all a good chance to take a peek at the teams doing their hard work and see what was available in the trade stalls.
Here's the 1st days pics, note that I'm putting these up in fairly high resolution (1280x960) so you can get a better glimpse at the goings on.
The Advan/Hi Octane Nissan R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R was hyped considerably before the event with plenty of news and the occasional video released showing it go through its shadedown paces. Unfortunately the weekend would see it plagued with problems that would keep it from running to its full potential. Hopefully next year, with much more track testing under its belt, we'll see this monster pushing it to the limit.
The Pan Speed Mazda RX-7 was a consistent performer throughout the weekend, not to mention an absolutely stunning piece of automotive engineering who's presentation was a standout on the weekend second only to the R Magic Mazda RX-7.
The Advan/Hi Octane GT-R coming back into the pits after 1 lap out, this would be a common site for this car which the team did the hard yards troubleshooting the running problems.
This strange looking snake piece is the roof trim from the Cyber Evo, ripped off at high speed down the long Eastern Creek pit lane straight. It just goes to show what sort of speed Tarzan was doing.
The Option film crew was on hand to document the efforts of the Japanese drivers (as well as the others), here seen doing a quick interview with Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada in the Tomei/Cusco Subaru Impreza WRX STI in what I recall was the first session out.
David Empringham in the Sierra Sierra Enterprise is seen here being pushed back into the pit garage after a quick practice session, and I assume still in shakedown/tuning/setup mode.
There were some really nice Mazda FD RX7's out there, one being this black example from Rama Racing driven by Brad Trenwith, and wearing a beautiful widebody kit from Bodyform. The sister car from Rama Racing was a Silver example, both the cars wrapped in vinyl by D&S Auto.
The immaculately turned out Pro Staff R-Magic Mazda RX-7 FD3S driven by Kinoshita Mitsuhiro trundling down pit lane after a couple of practice laps. This and the Pan Speed car were two of the best detailed race cars I've seen, certainly not '12-foot' cars by any stretch (a '12-foot' car is one that looks great from distances 12 feet or more away, any closer and you start to see blemishes).
This is the Prep'd Motorsport Lotus Exige GT3 driven by Warren Luff (a YouTube video of a full attack on Eastern Creek). There was a little bit of controversy about the fact this was a GT3 prepped racecar and it being allowed to race against what are essentially modified street cars, but considering the essentially 'no rules' type of modifications that have been done to the other cars, I thought there was a bit of a overhype on the issue. The more the merrier I reckon.
Tarzan brings the Tomei/Cusco WRX back in after a couple of laps. Again, as with the other Japanese cars, this was an immaculately turned out vehicle. It even turned up on the Autosalon circuit throughout Australia after WTAC.
A rear view of the Rama Racing Mazda RX7. The Bodyform widebody kit really is a nicely put together and design kit with the front guards and side skirts really lending their design from the FD race cars to an extent. And although that rear wing puts a Hills Hoist to shame, it doesn't look out of place given the tool that this car is.
This is a mix of the Motor Magazine Open Class and Yokohama Advan Clubsprint Class entrants lining up for practice. Considering there was over 90 entrants, the variety of different makes and models made for some great spectating and trainspotting.
Being an S13 chassis owner, I was really pleased to see Wayne Sutton in his Nissan S13 180SX Type-X. For what is essentially a late 80's designed chassis (first S13 appeared in 1988), it did extremely well in its class (Motor Magazine Open Class) even beating some of the times set in the Wynn's Pro Class. Not to mention it was immaculate too, with a widebody bodykit and all the essential time attack appendages. Just wish I'd managed to get some better photos (more photos I found on NissanSilvia.com).
As well as the on-track action, there was plenty in the pit paddock to keep any automotive enthusiast happy, from club displays to drift cars, aftermarket parts stalls and shop displays. One car that did catch my eye was this white Nissan S15 200SX/Silvia. The engine bay was immaculate and very well thought out. One item that did peak my interest especially was the placement and piping configuration for the GReddy Type-R Blow-off Valve, an item that I run on SILLBEER, and the cold air box that's been setup to keep initial intake temperatures down.
A close up shows the intricate piping configuration. Present in this pic are the GReddy Type-R Blow-off valve, which has a short return/plumb back into the intake pipe (seen with the K&N Air Filter). Interestingly it's still running the original plastic power steering reservoir. I'm not entirely sure what the tank is behind the power steering reservoir, but the black teflon braided line comes from the cam cover (see above overall photo) and is going to a custom breather can, which itself also vents back into the intake rather than venting to atmosphere keeping this package very much within the Australian ADR engineering guidelines and apart from the aftermarket parts, essentially a factory configuration. Bloody beautiful work whoever you are.
Another item that caught my attention, being another SR20 engine, was this one with an SR20VE/T head conversion. The heads come from either the SR20VE in the Nissan Primera or the SR20VET in the JDM Nissan X-Trail GT and house Nissan's Neo VVL (Variable Valve LIft) - see more on the SR16VE/SR20VE/SR20VET. The conversion allows for greater revs and superior response given a larger than stock turbo.
Well that brings me to the end of the Day one wrap-up. It was a top day, and on the Friday night we headed out and interacted with the locals, with some interesting social interaction witnessed at a local super pub (super because of the 3000 people capacity). There's plenty more to come.