- Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: MJ Digital.
The 2011 World Time Attack Challenge is in full swing at Eastern Creek International Raceway! Conditions on day one were perfect, and competition has been fierce with several Pro Class teams showing the potential to take top spot tomorrow. We have some great content to come, starting with this selection of photos from pit lane at Eastern Creek today.
The PanSpeed RX-7 from Japan is a crowd favourite again this year. The team’s livery grabs you by the retinas, and the noise from the rotary motor soon follows. It’s a whirlwind of bright yellow excitement.
Garage Revolution are newcomers to WTAC, but their FD is one of the frontrunners in competition. It spent most of day one in first place with a 1’30.616s lap time early on.
At the end of day one, Garage Revolution have finished in second, and it’s tough to say whether they can reclaim that elusive peak podium finish.
The locally built Hankook WRX was one of the most interestingly engineered machines in the competition. Their front wing was added late in development in an attempt to keep the front wheels from lifting down the main straight. Sadly the team had to bow out due to engine failure.
Mercury Motorsports have brought from Queensland what could well be the best chance Australia has at the grand prize. Although driven by a Japanese driver (and last year’s winner), Tarzan Yamada, the Nissan GT-R is exclusively built here in Australia by Mercury.
Mark Berry’s R34 GT-R is a totally different animal to what we saw in 2010. The new aero seems to be working too, with Mark clocking a 1’31.905s today, over two seconds quicker than his best from last year!
Mark is currently the second quickest Australian, and holds down fifth place, one behind Garth Walden in the Tilton Lancer Evolution.
Garage Revolution have enlisted the services of Mitsuhiro Kinoshita to pilot their RX-7. Kinoshita-san raced here last year behind the wheel of the R-Magic FD, which unfortunately suffered mechanical problems. So far Garage Revolution are having a lot more luck!
Kouta Sasaki and Team PanSpeed sit in sixth place at the end of day one. Their quickest time of 1’32.045s is not too far off the pace.
Out in front, once again, is Tarzan Yamada and the Cyber Evo. Their fastest time today was 1’30.369 – just over two-tenths quicker than their winning time last year.
Track temperatures play a huge role in quick lap times, and teams pay very close attention to it.
All of the international Pro Class teams could squeeze out a winning lap, and we expect the early sessions tomorrow to be the most exciting before the track heats up too much.
The iconic Hankook colour scheme is so photogenic. We can’t wait to see the first and second place battle between Cyber and Garage Revolution tomorrow.
The sound of the Mercury R35 powering out through the gears is spectacular. The shift speed is truly remarkable.
One of the cars we were most excited to see was the Scorch Racing S15. It’s a proven performer at Tsukuba and could make a run for the podium tomorrow from it’s current seventh place standing.
The Cyber Evo was in fact retired after last year’s WTAC, but development was renewed in order to defend it’s title.
Nakijima-san from Voltex has been heavily involved in refining the Cyber Evo’s aero, which even included some time in a wind tunnel!
Although not racing, the HKS CT230R Evo is on display outside the pits at WTAC as a treat for spectators.
We chatted with two of the Cyber Evo crew members who are loving their time in Sydney!
Positivity is one thing the Cyber Evo crew have plenty of. They mentioned today that they “haven’t even gone fast yet.”
Alexi from Nori Yaro had to ask the Cyber team about the extra precautions they’ve taken to keep the car’s wing attached to the boot this year! There’s no chance of a repeat this time around.
Many of the Pro Class cars run extensively carbon fibre bodies, but none show it off quite like the Scorch S15.
At a glance the Pan Speed car looks largely unchanged from last year, but they’ve already lapped almost half a second faster than they did in 2010!
Sasaki-san needs to pull out all the stops tomorrow if he wants to hit the top three. Who will be the first to crack 1’29s?
Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada is quickly becoming an Aussie celebrity. In 2010 we saw him steer two of the Japanese entries to podium finishes, and he could do the same trick again this year.
Plenty of other attractions were available for spectators today including some fantastic vintage racers like this early RX-7.
Mazda brought out their famous endurance winning FD RX-7 for a series of exhibition laps in the intermission.
We were also lucky enough to check out Nigel Petrie’s drift ute in the metal which has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
All in all, pit lane is not a bad place to be! Keep your eyes on THE-LOWDOWN.com for more of World Time Attack Challenge 2011. Our comprehensive track-side coverage is still to come.