World time attack 2017
with every year heating up in terms of competitors and aero designs, The World Time Attack Challenge is always a event that will deliver to extraordinary levels.
I attended this years WTAC with a fresh eagerness since I followed a few of the builds over the off season. Sydney is always a lovely city to visit, with near perfect weather it made sense that this incredible event would still be held here at the famous Eastern Creek Motorsport Park.
Weather was forecast for sunny with some over cast skies on Saturday which just meant shade would be needed. Heading to the track and seeing the amazing cars along the way attending as spectators it made me realize just how big this event is in Australia let alone the rest of the world. This year we saw the introduction of The Low-Down car show and shine, which, on top of the amazing race cars included a dedicated hard park for some of Australia’s best built cars. Looking at the screening process that went on prior to the event, I was massively excited to see the displays as well as the 3 cloaked cars that were to be revealed on Friday night.
Come morning for the start of the competition, and I am fizzing. Weather is sunny and I can say that Sydney Motorsport Park is a beautiful track to visit early in the morning watching the sun rise above the hills and lighting up the circuit. Cars warming up and the smell of ethanol rang through the paddock with most competitors looking to perform a few shake down laps before going for it to set some lap times before the track gets too hot. Dot rated semi slicks, rattle guns and fast paced crews all combined to set these competitive teams out on track and with that I saw the Open Class and Pro Am class go for gold with their respective drivers pushing while the track offered optimal grip. Toned down aero for Open Class all the way up to Pro Am class meant these cars still resembled factory produced chassis albeit modified to extract as much grip as possible.
Pro Am class saw a hugely promoted face off between Mighty Mouse the defending champions and the new comers named Audi R8 1:1. Battles were expected to heat up as the day went on and while Might Mouse put down the pace and was the crowd favorite, the Audi was blisteringly fast down the straight which posed a threat. Fast forward to the day where every time mattered, the Audi R8 team set an incredible 1.29 which considering was their first international outing, was impressive. Mighty Mouse pushed hard with Rob Nguyen to ensure their winning streak was not taken away, and with the R8 team setting a blistering pace, Mighty Mouse fired back with a 1.26 to secure the outright win and have no risk of anyone else coming close. Rob has hinted that this will be the last outing for the famous and revered Mighty Mouse on the international stage, while it will still compete at local interstate competitions, as sad as it is to hear this, I can only commend him on bowing out on a massive high and proving that anything is possible with determination and incredible workmanship.
Pro class featured a caliber of car development not found anywhere else, with aero being the biggest key to winning. Under Suzuki was back to claim his first spot win which had eluded him for a few years of attending so far, and after setting an impressive 1.21.79 with his refined chassis, Andrew Brilliant’s magical aero and GPS guided NOS application, it looked like he might have finally done enough to secure his podium top spot..that is until the Porsche RP968 came along and set an incredible 1.21.48 leaving Tim Slade left to show us how its done or settle for a lower podium spot. Amazingly, Tim set an outright flyer with a 1.20 to both secure the number one spot and silence anyone that doubted him.
I can say with no hesitation, WTAC 2017 delivered on atmosphere and excitement relating to those who came for the grip side of things. Fast forward to the Low-Down show and shine and I can say without a doubt, it was the best show and shine I have attended so far. Show quality was just incredible with the caliber of builds showing just how insane the Aussie guys can build show cars! Two cars stole the show for me which were: Roland’s incredible “SENNA” Honda NSX and the feature car revealed which was the RX7 wearing a full Re Amemiya kit which looked the business making it stand out from the crowd. Walking along the hard park and one thing that struck a chord with me is the fact that everyone there just appreciated the builds on show, not a single negative comment was heard and I can relate that back to walking through the Japanese hard parks where appreciation was abundant which just shows such an appreciative culture.
Legendary Keiichi Tsuchiya was in impeccable form bringing his famed AE86 track and showing the crowd what a highly tuned AE86 is capable of in the masters hands, aside from the incredible AE86. Ian also managed to get the legendary 767B Mazda in for some screaming laps that echoed around the whole park. While I am sure the spectators enjoyed both of these impressive machines, GT300 cars were brought out to show boat around the park for the crowd too! A GT300 restored FD RX7 and a GT300 Silvia were driven around the track trading places and producing some incredible noises much to the delight of everyone watching.
Overall I can say that while I have attended WTAC for 3 years now, each year has gotten better and more impressive. Ian and the team behind this event have created a beautiful harmony between getting the spectators involved as much as he can while ensuring the competitors had brilliant racing conditions and facilities. I can say without any hesitation I will be back next year and will continue to be blown away by both the new levels of builds these teams come up with and with the incredible show Ian and the team some how always manage to nail.