The weather gods were kind. Drivers came out swinging. Vehicle limits were pushed. And, most importantly, records were reset.
After a two-year hiatus, finally, the World Time Attack Challenge has been run and won. Over Friday and Saturday, teams from all across Australia battled for their own page in the WTAC history books.
I’ll be back soon with a more rounded collection of cool stories and memorable moments from across the weekend, but after spending 33 of the past 48 hours Speedhunting, I’m going to keep this one short and sweet (like me).
While some records were set early on, the Final Shootout battles saw their fair share of action and drama unfold on Saturday evening under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park. The competition for class wins really did come down to the very last seconds.
Haltech Clubsprint Class
The Haltech Clubsprint class started as a battle royale of street cars from every corner of the globe in every size and configuration imaginable, but ultimately turned into a good old fashioned throw-down between age-old rivals Mitsubishi and Subaru.
Clubsprint’s five-year record was decimated by Jamal ‘Jimmy’ Assaad in his Evolution Racing Spares Lancer Evo VI, his 1.33:7 best lap shaving more than two seconds off the existing record.
Behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Melbournian Idin Ahangar dramatically ran his best lap of the event during the Final Shootout. After battling for the entire event, Idin’s 1:35.228 lap bumped him into second place.
Third went to Trent Grubel in the DC Jap Automotive WRX.
Plazmaman Pro-Am Class
The Plazmaman Pro-Am class rankings were locked in fairly early on, with Kosta Pohorukov and his Tilton Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX setting the benchmark.
WTAC debutant Jay Davidson’s WRX STI made a solid entrance, securing second position during an amazing lap in the Final Shootout that shaved seconds off his earlier attempts.
After many years of competing, Richard Perini secured his first-ever podium finish. The 991 Racing Nissan VR38DETT-powered Ginetta G50 held on to second spot in the class for most of the weekend, but was bumped into third by Jay’s heroic last-minute steer.
GCG Turbo Open Class
The GCG Turbo Open Class was the most hotly-contested category of the weekend. Tim Slade in the Xtreme R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R traded positions with Nathan Morcom’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, both cars laying laps down in the 1:27 zone.
Morcom’s run in the Final Shootout was wild. He received a hero’s welcome in the garages after managing to drop another four-hundredths off his best lap, edging out the GT-R and stealing the trophy with a 1.27.247 lap.
The Xtreme GT-R had held pole position for most of the weekend with a 1:27.379 lap, but it came at the expense of a dropped valve, forcing the car to retire halfway through its final run.
Benny Tran chased the duo closely, but his BYP Racing Integra’s 1.30.320 best ultimately wasn’t close enough to be a real threat.
Royal Purple Pro Class
The Royal Purple Pro Class was a smaller field than most years (cough, thanks Covid), but it wasn’t any less exciting. The PR-Tech RP968 team spent all of Friday eliminating mechanical issues, but on Saturday morning Barton Mawer came out all guns blazing for his first timed run.
A sensational 1:20.1 lap, just a fraction off the team’s current 1.19.277 WTAC record, instantly set the pace.
No one was writing off the double-entered Tilton Evo, now driven by Brad Shiels, when it clocked a 1.20.9 early on Saturday. However, luck ultimately ran against the team when during a Pro-Am session Kosta encountered some shattered carbon fibre on track from an earlier incident. The carbon shards blew a tyre out and left the front right side of the Evo in need of repairs a little more intensive than what an hour in pit lane could achieve.
The final podium position was picked up by another WTAC newcomer, the GotItRex team’s Extreme Subaru STI Type R, driven by Nathan Antunes. While the car was a few seconds off the Pro Class pace, they were unquestionably the most consistent team of the event, and possibly the only one to leave the pit garage every session.
The car looked strong early on in its Final Shootout lap, but unfortunately it needed a re-run due to accidental interference from the previous competitor on their cool down lap. While Nathan did get the opportunity for another lap, the first two sectors of Sydney Motorsport Park had already taken their toll on the fresh tyres.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what the new kid on the block can bring to the table next year, but before that happens, I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) long and deep sleep. Stay tuned for more from WTAC 2022 very soon.
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Cutting Room Floor