– Words & Photos: Stefan Trajkovski
In the days leading up to Australia Day this year, Sydney’s erratic weather dampened the spirits of many. This wasn’t the case for members of Circuit Club. This group of dedicated car enthusiasts made the trek to Wakefield Park Raceway to enjoy a day of motorsport. Unlike the general public, some even hoped for wet weather – knowing that it would add an extra dimension to their track experience.
Nik Kalis brought along his legendary Evo still adorned in the same Piazza Doro livery it wore during last year’s World Time Attack Challenge. Nik has had great success at WTAC, topping the Clubsprint class in 2010, and then backing it up with victory in the Open Class in 2011.
Ovidiu enjoyed some success of his own last year, setting blistering times in the Advan Neova Cup. He was rewarded for his efforts with a couple of trophies at the inaugural award night held at Zen Garage. At this particular track day, Ovidiu steered his Evo to second fastest outright with a time of 1:07:0.
As is typical of any track day, the event kicked off with a driver’s briefing. Being the first Circuit Club event for 2012, Narada spoke of the year ahead before the track marshals gave an obligatory safety talk and warned drivers of the potential dangers when going flat-out in the rain.
Mark Linstead’s WRC-esque Celica GT-Four relishing the inclement weather.
Nick Strange’s Megane RS doing what Renault built it to do.
Circuit Club track days always attract a wide variety of cars. This particular event was no different. Despite the majority of vehicles faithfully serving their owners as street cars, the garages also revealed a few more unique rides. From Christian Hansen’s pristine Volkswagen Beetle, to an ultra-rare MNR VortX open wheel kit car, there was something to appeal to any car lover.
The MNR VortX is essentially a clubman; albeit, a rapid one. At its heart is a turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle engine, which apparently outputs upto 450hp. Luckily, it’s also fitted with Wilwood brakes, a serious suspension setup and in this example, slick tyres.
The MNR VortX also features a paddle shift transmission, roll-cage, rear diffuser and an appropriately minimalist-yet-functional cockpit.
With a kerb weight in the vicinity of 550kg, this would be one exhilarating track car.
Early on in the first session of track time, the weather was near perfect. Everyone proceeded to fully exploit the dry conditions, and set some quick times. But the looming clouds soon covered the track, and a downpour was imminent.
While some drivers welcomed the challenge of the wet track, others took the rain as an opportunity to take cover, fine-tune their rides and enjoy the camaraderie that the Circuit Club atmosphere provides.
XForce Performance Exhausts brought out a couple of cars to test their products, including this mean Ford Focus RS with its unique five-cylinder sound.
Once the rain stopped, the standing water on track was quickly dispersed. Ovidiu enjoyed getting his Evo sideways on exit from Turn 1 pretty much every lap for an entire session. It’s good to see such a keen competitor let loose and have a bit of fun.
Ian Faith’s R34 GT-T spat a few flames from its side-exit exhaust.
Damian Muzi’s unique Autech S15 Silvia was looking good, but we feel it’s probably just a place-holder if those GT86 plates have any significance!
Nik Kalis managed to pilot his Evo around Wakefield in a time of 1:04:10, the fastest lap of the day. Nik teamed up with fellow Evo owner, Ovidiu Zaberca, to offer other Circuit Club members their time as guest driving instructors.
His Evo presents extremely well despite its intended purpose as a track weapon. It’s foreseeable that you could spend a lot of time walking around the car in awe of its race-inspired details.
We have plenty more photos from the day below, but if you still want more click here! The next Circuit Club event will be held at Wakefield Park Raceway on 17th March, 2012.