WTAC is probably the only event in the world where near-stock cars compete on the same track, as part of the same event, with cars costing several times as much and clad only in carbon fibre.
It is testament to the openness of the event that something as totally wingless as this 86 above…
…can compete only a few hours before and after something like Under Suzuki’s Scorch Racing S15.
But that’s the beauty of time attack racing in general. Run what you brung, huge budgets be damned. Take John Richardson’s R33 GTS-T, for example. I know for a fact he runs with very little cash, and what little aero he has is added bit by tiny bit, as money allows. Yet despite that, and constant niggles over the weekend that only allowed a few hot laps, he still turned in a 1.42.059 to take fifth in the Clubsprint class.
Of course, there are those at even the lower levels who have relatively large sponsorships, but as John Richardson proved, you don’t need them to get results.
WTAC 2013 was broken up into four classes: Clubsprint, Open, Pro-Am and Pro. Clubsprint was the lowest level, essentially road-registered cars with some mods, like the R34 and other cars above.
Open stepped things up considerably, allowing some pretty serious aero and tubbing of the wheel arches, along with multiple other changes. Not that everyone took advantage of the regs, though.
While the Bachuss Energy Drink IS-F at the bottom of the picture, driven by none other than Nobuteru Taniguchi, had some serious carbon work; the Ric Shaw FD3S driven by Hayley Swanson, and Topstage Composites 260Z, piloted by Jeff Blakely, were bereft of anything but a few vents and a lip spoiler or so.
Speaking of Taniguchi, he didn’t enjoy the best weekend, but managed to get the Lexus round in a time of 1.38.056. Again, not the fastest, but geez did the V8 engine sound glorious. Raspy and buzzy like nothing else there, it always turned heads as it passed.
The fact it looked badass didn’t hurt, either.
The amazing thing in the Open category was how fast the best FWD competitors were. BYP’s DC2 Integra has been one of the fastest non-Pro time attack cars in Australia for a while now, but it shocked the crowd at WTAC with a 1.32.680 – a time that would have put it tenth in the Pro class last year. Staggering. It’s probably fair to say this is one of the fastest FWD time attack machines on the planet right now.
Moving on, Pro-Am, a new category that allowed owners of Pro and Open class cars to run anything up to a Pro-spec car with an amateur driver, also had its fair share of FWD cars. Tilton Interiors, who won the Pro class, brought their hugely bewinged Civic along and while it only laid down a 1.37.069, it looked amazing doing so.
Of all the FWD cars at WTAC this year, this wonderful Daihatsu Charade may have won the most hearts, though, thanks to its tiny size, huge aero and 440whp B18C turbo. At 920kg dripping wet, it was a weapon, and I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to seeing it again next year.
Irrespective of class, though, all competitors pushed hard. Some kept it on the track…
…while others ran a little bit wide in the search for those final tenths and hundredths.
Sometimes, it ended in tears.
It wasn’t just the RTR Evo, either. Friday saw the destruction of the Gorilla Industries Supra, one of Australia’s most beloved street cars. Judging by the video, it was already a bit loose coming out of turn five, but the drop onto the concrete on the outside sealed its fate. Let’s hope something can be salvaged.
More tragic in many respects, though, was the complete engine meltdown of this ex-Jimmy McCrae Metro 6R4. Apparently, on the final lap of the Turbo Legends lunchtime show, its motor started to smoke as it came into turn one, and very soon was on fire. Due to a lack of fire marshals in the area, the driver just had to stand and watch it burn for a minute before anyone arrived. So sad.
Thankfully, its Group B Audi stable-mate (they are owned by the same guy) survived unscathed, wowing the crowds with its speed and brutal looks and sound.
Checking it out in the pits the next day, I couldn’t help but be struck by its raw beauty. For something that is now 30 years old, and looks as if it was almost entirely designed with a ruler, the S1 remains one of the best-looking rally cars made.
The fact this one had such provenance only enhanced its appeal.
Yup, I could definitely go one of these.
Or one of these. Either, really. To be honest, I think half the crowd came just to see the F40 up close and personal. Both days, people swarmed around it as it sat in the paddock, waiting to sing its mellifluous V8 turbo song.
Wandering the paddock also brought other interesting sights. For those of us lucky enough to be able to walk the hot pits, we could see beasts like the Pulse Racing Evo showing off its tasty bits.
Or marvel at the beauty of something as simple as this R32’s fuel pump set up.
Away from the serious side of things, you got to see stars like Mad Mike hanging out with his fans.
And of course, he brought the Madbul with him.
As well as this beauty from his engine builders at PPRE. Apparently it was attached to a car. Not that anyone gave much thought to that. By the way, the only thing I’ve heard louder than this revs to 18,000RPM and sits in the back of an F1 car. Insane.
Other cool things in the paddock included this GT40 MKII replica…
The Car Mods GC8 STi…
And one of the most anticipated debuts in the world, the Engineered To Slide Hilux Ute. Sadly, it managed to break its gearbox on Thursday’s practice day, as well as do some engine damage, so it sat unmoving for the two public days. Still looked the goods, though.
As did this incredible S2000 participating in the Show and Shine competition. It’s rare a car is done this right, so congratulations to the owner for keeping it clean.
The two other standouts in the Show and Shine, at least to my eyes, was this pair of KE classics. Street machine styled, the yellow KE30 came with a bit of a surprise…
… an S2000 engine under the bonnet. Cue cries of, “Blasphemy!”
I’ll finish up with a little bit of car park spotting, as nothing illustrates the fans’ passions more than their rides. My two personal favourites were parked right across from each other. Firstly this Chaser, which is easily the cleanest example I’ve ever seen, either here or in Japan…
And finally this immaculate Honda Beat. Given Honda is about to reintroduce this model, I thought it apt to end here. It’s a perfect illustration that big or small, WTAC is for everyone.
Keep your browsers pointed to My Life @Speed for coverage of the Tectaloy International Drift Challenge coming soon!