Author: ianbaker

Bigger, better and more awesome!

What can I say, I guess I knew we were truly in for a very special event when we showcased several million dollars worth of cars down on Sydney Harbour early last week and made it on the nightly news!

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This was merely a small indicator of what was by far the biggest event we have ever hosted. Sydney certainly turned on the weather and the fans from around Australia and around the world converged en-masse on Sydney Motorsport Park to be a part of what we refer to as “The Festival of Awesome”.

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It would be hard for me to put my finger on one single thing but there was a buzz around the whole event this year that I have not witnessed before. It may have been because we simply had so many cool things on offer but I think it was more than that.

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I sincerely believe we have succeeded in bringing an event to the people that they truly wanted to see and this has been a long time coming. Yes, the time attack racing is a huge part of it but these days it is so much more than that.

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Bringing the night drift back was something we considered a little risky but when 11,000 plus people filled the viewing areas it exceeded our expectations and I feel we not only put on the biggest drift show ever in this country but also the best.

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The Show’n’Shine was also on another level this year with the Lowdown crew bringing in many top interstate entries including many new unveils.

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The trade alley was also bristling with excitement this year and the effort brands put into their displays now is unprecedented. In fact, we had many spectators commenting this is the closest thing Australia has to a SEMA Trade Show!

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Highlights for me? Well, Tim Slade – what can I say! Stepping into a car you have never driven before when your two predecessors are Shane Van Gisbergen and Le Mans winner Earl Bamber means you have big shoes to fill. I am sure nobody expected Sladey to smash it this far out of the ballpark and eclipse the Formula 3 record in the process! Congrats to Murray and the MCA team – it has been a long time coming.

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The quality of all of the builds is also on another level. The engineering and construction of so many of not only the Pro and Pro-Am but also Open and Clubsprint and also the drift cars is truly amazing and a testament to the faith people have in our event.

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Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best events he has ever been to is truly humbling and the fact he told me he would love to come back is quite special also and something we will work on.

Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best

events he has ever been to was truly humbling.

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Having the engineer of the Nissan R88, Alan Heaphy call me on Saturday night to tell me how much he enjoyed the event and congratulate us on a true world class event. In his words: “You know my history Ian, you know I have raced all around the world including Le Mans. I’m telling you what you put on here is on par with anything I have ever seen.”

Once again truly humbling words and a testament to my whole team putting their heart and soul into this event.

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But most of all it is the fans that really make this event the success it is. Standing on the Drift Hill on Saturday night with current Formula Drift Champion Chris Forsberg and the fastest man in American time attack Cole Powelson from Lyfe Motorsport and a whole bunch of guys from Perth and Adelaide come up and tell us how they made the trip over and how amazing they thought our event was. This really drove home the enormity of it all. You love WTAC and WTAC is here to stay. And we are only going to get bigger!

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Finally, a big “thank you” to all those who were instrumental in helping this event become a success.  Firstly a big shoutout to all of our partners and sponsors. Destination NSW have been amazing and I can assure you they will be happy with the influx of people from around the country and around the world. We estimate this event injects over $40 million into the Australian economy with much of the money staying right here in NSW. Also a big thank you to our sanctioning body CAMS and in particular Scott McGrath who has been instrumental in ensuring our safety standards continue to improve as our cars continue to go faster.

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Yokohama Tyre who have been with us from day one and their tyres continue to set records under the gruelling conditions we put them under with an exemplary safety record.

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To all of the competitors exhibitors and fans who travelled from around the world to be here. You guys rock!

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Last but not least our operations staff headed up by the best in the business, our event director Renato Loberto. A few short years ago we ran this with a crew of ten now we have well over 100 people making it all happen. Thanks to every single one of them.

Lastly we wave goodbye to my good friend and our head of marketing from day one, Greg Lysien as he has taken on the role of marketing manager with our friends at Haltech. We wish him all the best in the future and we would like to welcome our new head of marketing – David Lysien. Name sounds familar? Yep, it is Greg’s son and he is excited to be taking on this role after many years of working with the event in the background.

Much love to everyone and bring on WTAC 2017 – Bigger, better and even more awesome!

Ian Baker
CEO – WTAC

Open Class Hero: Five minutes with Steve Ka

The V-Sport Open Class, is a melting pot of automotive talent. Pro drivers battle it out with privateers. Workshops face off against each other. Aero is restricted and the Yokohama A050 tyres are limited in numbers for this class to a maximum of three sets for the entire weekend. The focus is on mechanical grip, tyre strategy and driver ability.

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This is a class that many purists say

still follows the “true spirit” of time attack

This is a class that many purists say follows the “true spirit” of time attack, with sequential transmissions allowed but they must be shifted by a lever (no paddles) and big horsepower engines the absolute norm.

We have seen times tumble year after year in this class. The racing is close as well, with only 3 seconds separating the top 10 cars. It really is a class that any of the top cars could win on the day.

However, in 2014 there was one clear winner. Dean Lillie took the victory for the second year in a row, this time in Steve Ka’s stunning R34 GTR. We caught up with Steve recently to reflect on how they did it in 2014 and what the plan is for WTAC 2015.

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WTAC: Hi Steve thanks for taking some time out to talk with us. After all of your hard work, was it a big thrill taking the win in Open Class in 2014?

Steve Ka: Thrill? It’s like the type of thrill you get when you back a horse and it’s running last at the turn but somehow finds a way to win the race. The team put in so much work because we all wanted the win so bad!

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WTAC: Tell us a bit about your team. How did you decide on this?

SK: I traded in my previous GTR for a engagement ring, then came back to the modified car scene 5 years later. I realised that good honest help is hard to find. Unfortunately there are some questionable operators out there and people who will try things out on your massive investment. Which is not cool when all your hard earned money goes into a project like this.

I decided to go to Powertune for an engine package. They were the only ones in Sydney that would warrant a race engine package. I loved that confidence and their courage to back their own work. I’ve never looked back, they are like part of my extended family now.

And of course thanks to the sponsors who help out with supplying great products and support.
Haltech, Hypertune, Albins, Topstage, Performance Exhaust, V-Sport and Nulon.

It was good to have Dean in the race seat. He is a gun driver and easy to get along with. The team morale was certainly boosted in 2014.

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WTAC: Your relationship is as strong as ever with the Powertune guys. They obviously play a big part?

SK: Their commitment and expertise is second to none. They still give me full commitment without fail. When I asked Chea whether he prefers track work to the drag scene, he replied instantly “Track work all the way baby!”

This is great for me, he is a man who loves the challenges from a mechanical, tuning, and fabricating perspective. He is continually thinking of new ways we can improve the development of the car.

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WTAC: That motor must be making a ton of power?

SK: Engine wise, we are not running at max power. The 2.8l stroked combo has served its purpose well. Even though the power output was restricted at 33psi on the EFR 9180, it was good enough for 1st place in 2014. For 2015 I am super excited because Kyle from Hi Octane Racing found me a big daddy 1.45 rear Indy housing for the turbo. This will definitely see the power pickup as it will expel the gasses a lot better. Chea believes the engine will love this.

I will also be extending our relationship with Kelford cams and will be upgrading to the Mac Daddy of all RB26 cylinder heads. Complete 5-axis CNC porting with custom shim-less valve train and custom PowerTune/Kelford spec camshafts. If the fastest drag GTR in the world uses it, then it’s good enough for the Open Class title holder!

On the driveline front, it has been pretty boring actually. There have been no mishaps or breakages. Credit to Albins for producing such a high quality product. The inline sequential ST6 gearbox has been faultless all year. The box is coupled with Quaife differentials.

This is the sort of reliability from manufacturers that is required to ensure development of the car goes smoothly. We are very mindful that if we chase greater front torque, the transfer case and the front ring and pinion gear will suffer. These are the the weaker links in the GTR. Something we cannot improve on as it’s just a size to task scenario.

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WTAC: Calling in the very experienced Dean Lillie to drive must have been a contributing factor. He obviously knows how to properly set up a time attack GTR. What role apart from driving did Dean play?

SK: Dean has had a lot of experience with Open Class GTRs, having won the class in an R32 in 2013. So when he approached me about a seat in 2014, he still had the taste of champagne in his mouth.

Dean has been around motorsport for quite some time, so I believed that he would fit well into the team. He helped a lot with setup and testing for the car which made a big difference for 2014.

From driving, and then being able to interpret the adjustments needed to improve the car’s setup on the fly Dean’s help was definitely a luxury to have in 2014.

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WTAC: We hear you have an exciting new partnership with a very special suspension company. Tell us a bit about that.

SK: If you follow V8 Supercars then you know who Supashock are. I consider myself lucky that Oscar Fiorinotta has taken some interest in my car in mid 2014. His racing schedule is crazy and I’m glad he has made time to help develop our car further.

Although Dean has done a superb job thus far with the off the shelf BC coilovers that we used in 2014, even Dean admitted, this is an area we needed to develop further. It is also an area that you can be easily mislead in with so many people claiming they know what’s best. I personally believe there is seconds to be gained with the right advice.

We sent the car down to South Australia to do a full chassis simulation. We now have crucial measurements and data on the car to establish information on the car’s setup. This surprisingly goes against info that is currently believed on the GTR chassis that is floating around the forums, web and some workshops.

Good thing I like to learn and make informed decisions to ensure I’m not chasing my own tail.
We now run a full set of Supashock dampeners for the car, with correct valving and adjustments, custom sway bars front and rear. Crucial geometry changes to stiffen the car and custom brake pads.

All the above points are based on the car’s weight, power output and of course the Yokohama Advan A050 tyre which we also have data on.

Initial testing went great. We are definitely on track to be the first Open Class car to break the 1:30s around GP SMSP circuit.

I have set a team goal of 1:27s! Some people chuckle and think it’s a pipe dream. I say if you want P1 in Open Class of WTAC 2015, you will need to be running these times or pretty close to it. Outright top 5 would be awesome in Open Class trim (like a middle weight boxer mixing it with the heavy weights).  That is a big call and perhaps not this year. But 7th overall was pretty cool in 2014.

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WTAC: What other changes will you be making for 2015?

SK: Fine tuning the suspension over the next few months is our number one priority. Then upgrading the EFR turbo will give us more power and seeing us going even faster.

Powertune are also working on a new RB engine. It’s still in its development stages but I’m hoping it ticks all the boxes and we can use it this year. The engine will be seeing an engine dyno soon and might make 10,500rpm possible around the whole track!

Aero is also something we will be fine tuning. Even little adjustments can yield massive gains. Oscar is doing an analysis on the aero so we can just tidy it all up and make everything work efficiently.

I am also working with Scott from Haltech on expanding our data acquisition system. We are planning to put shock-pot sensors, wheel speed sensors, and a steering input sensor to improve our data on the car’s setup.

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WTAC: What are your long term goals for the GTR? Do you think you will ever compete as a driver one day?

SK: We have discussed a flat floor option and the introduction of nitrous into the Royal Purple Pro Class is very tempting! But it will all come down to how committed and eager the team is in the future. For this year, we will focus on conquering our goal of defending our title.

If you take a look at the top 10 in WTAC 2014, there is no way my part-time driving is good enough against these full-time professionals! I love steering it during testing and other low-key events, but come money time, I’ll leave it to the pros!

I am toying with the idea of a Just Car Clubsprint class GTR that I can pilot myself. We will see if we can get that together for 2015.

WTAC: Thanks for taking time out to speak with us. See you in October.

Useful Links

arrow Want to compete at the 2015 WTAC? Enter Your Car Here
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Drift Kid to compete in Formula D with XForce Ute

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Nick started competitive drifting in the Stadium Drift series at the tender age of 16.

The path for most youngsters who get into the sport of drift usually starts well after they have a acquired their road license. They usually attend an off street drift meeting somewhere around the country and often it progresses from there. This was certainly not the case for Queensland based Nick Coulson.

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As time went by Nick graduated from the original R32 Skyline to the much more competitive Holden Ute.

He started competitive drifting in the Stadium Drift series the minute he attained his learners permit at the tender age of 16. That was back in 2009 and he had already spent many nights at Archerfield drift training nights perfecting his skills so he hit the ground running and the name “DRIFTKID” stuck due to his tender young age.

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Nowadays Nick’s ute is a common sight at all national and local drift competitions.

As anyone that came up against him even in the early days would learn he was a fierce competitor then and is even more so now. As time went by Nick graduated from the original R32 Skyline to the much more competitive Holden Ute that is nowadays a familar sight at drift events around the country. This car has been in a constant state of development and for 2014 saw leading manufacturer Harrop supply a supercharger kit to push the horsepower even further up the scale.

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For 2014 Nick’s ute scored a Harrop supercharger and backing from XForce Performance.

“We have never been short on power” said Nick “the guys at Hi Torque Performance are the best in the business with the LS series engines and we already had a good aspirated combo, but now with Harrop coming on board with one of their high efficiency  superchargers it is in another league altogether. The torque and drive out of corners is just crazy.”

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Coulson may have moved up through the ranks but the team remains a tight family affair with father Martin overseeing the operation and his uncle Craig heading up the pit crew. He is one of the few drifters to compete in almost every major series around the country including the Australian Drifting Grand Prix (ADGP) where he finished in the runner up position behind Rob Whyte in 2013/14. Hi Tec Figure 8 series and the Stadium Drift Pro tour sees the team travel the country on a regular basis.

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“We have a commitment to sponsors to be at all the events” said Coulson “Our team is now known as TEAM X FORCE and we are factory supported by Achilles plus have many other partners so it is important we give them the exposure they need. It does mean I am away from home a lot but that is how it is.”

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Coulson currently holds a Formula Drift license after scoring a wildcard entry into the Calder Park round in 2013 where he made it through to the top 8. When we asked him who he really wanted to beat in 2014 he replied “Oh Fredric Aasbo for sure. He jut knocked me out of the top 8 last year in Melbourne in the RSR V8 Toyota 86. I would love to battle against him now we have a more powerful machine. He is just so good and a real gentleman but I can’t help but feel we have some unfinished business.”

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You can follow Nick on his Facebook page here or on his website www.nickcoulson.com

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Want to know what’s going on and when? 2014 WTAC + Formula Drift Schedule
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Evolution Porsche continues to amaze

The team at Evolution Motorsport are one of those teams that just seem to “get it” and burst onto the scene in 2013 with a very impressively constructed 944 Porsche that despite suffering teething problems throughout the World Time Attack event still managed to finish inside the top ten in ahead of many big name rivals in fancy all wheel drive machinery, in what is essentially a thirty year old car with some very clever engineering and just a touch of talent behind the wheel.

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It might be an unlikely platform for a Time Attack, but this Porsche 944 has no problem keeping up with its modern rivals.

Sharing the driving with owner Patrick Garvan, Evolution boss and former multiple Australian go kart champion, Paul McKinnon recently competed in Supersprint event at Wakefield Park where he stopped the clocks with what we believe is a new rear wheel drive semi slick record with an astonishing time of 60.07 seconds! This is only marginally slower than the time set by Rick Bates in the V Sport Evo at the NSW Time Attack round in 2013 of 59.97 and speaking to the Evolution guys there is a lot more to come!

“Since 2013 we have made some very minor aero changes which were noticeable straight away” said Paul McKinnon “we changed the fuel to cure our injector issues and upgraded the turbo to a latest spec Garrett GTX3582R which made a huge difference to our mid range and drive out of corners, and also had Phil Armour play around with the tune a little more.”

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Unfortunatly a broken engine mount finished the day early for the team.

“We went out in the morning and laid down a couple of 60.5 second laps on medium compound Ao50s then we fitted a set of used softs chasing that elusive sub one minute time.” said Paul “Looking at the Motec dash with one corner to go the predicted lap time read 59.6 but sadly on the last corner I blazed the tyres that cost valuable time and we stopped the clocks at 60.07. A broken engine mount finished the day for us but we now have confidence of the potential moving forward one step at a time”

From here we will focus on refining aero within the

Open Class rulebook as we believe that is where

the big gains will be made.

“From here we will focus on refining aero within the Open Class rulebook as we believe that is where the big gains will be made and return to Wakefield in May with our real goal being a podium at WTAC 2014, that will certainly stir the boys up in the late model all wheel drive brigade”

Looking at the results so far this is a real possibility!!

arrow  Check out more at www.evolutioncustomindustries.com

MCA S13 for sale – Perfect for Pro Am!

Firstly, we rarely offer a “classifieds” ad service on our website, but when you come second outright in the Royal Purple Pro Class you have probably earned that right.

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MCA have decided they want to have a crack at the “outright” title in a rear wheel drive vehicle and for that to happen they need to sell their existing vehicle. This car finished on the Pro Class podium for the second year running with Earl Bamber behind the wheel and an astonishing time of 1:27.367 around the Sydney Motorsport Park GP circuit

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This car would be ideal for  anyone wanting to run in either the Pro or Pro Am class at WTAC 2014 or for overseas time attack duties. You would be starting with something that has already proven itself on the world stage. Support package is also available for WTAC 2014 at additional cost. Car is available to view on the Sunshine Coast Queensland and a more detailed build thread is available here (this was in 2012 the car has had some upgrades since then)

Ready to go now!

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BODY: Full dry carbon aero manufactured by Lightening Composites, design by Barry Lock (Aero Advantage)

ENGINE: SR20, 2.3 litre, JUN Crank, Carrillo Rods, Forged Pistons, VE Head with modified Rocker and Oil System. Dry Sump lubrication. Garrett GTX3582 Turbo, Mazworx inlet & exhaust manifold and much more.

TRANSMISSION: Jim Berry Alloy Clutch, Holinger Sequential 6 speed GearBox, GTR Diff, 3.5:1 ratio, Custom ClutchLSD system

SUSPENSION: Custom F & R Twin wishbone, Alloy rear uprights, MCA 3 way Shock Absorbers remote canister

ELECTRICS: Fully rewired, Autronic SM4, Racepak dash.

HORSEPOWER: 720hp at the wheels at 32lb boost, 630hp at the wheels at 25lb boost

BRAKES: Brembo R33 GTR fronts and R33 GTS-T rears with Project Mu pads. 2 piece DBA front rotors and DBA rear rotors

WHEELS: Rays TE 37 SL – 18 x 10 + 20 (1 set)

FUEL SYSTEM: Custom Alloy tank. 2 x Bosch 044 Fuel Pumps. ID 2000 injectors. E85 fuel.

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This vehicle is offered for a fraction of the build cost: $75000AUD o.n.o

Will be sold as finished 2013 WTAC (may refund airfare to interstate or international buyers upon purchase) email mail@mcasuspension.com or call Murray or Josh Coote on +61 7 5494 8177 during business hours.

Message from the CEO

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The Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2013 is done and dusted and it would be fair to say that we have upstaged every previous event by a fair margin.

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Firstly, I would like to congratulate Kostinken Pohurokov, Garth Walden and the Tilton Interiors team on resetting the Royal Purple Pro Class record. This is the new benchmark but we get the impression they may have even more up their sleeve. These guys have been the mainstay of time attack racing since our very first Superlap event in 2008 and very few have displayed the dedication and commitment that this team has year upon year and to finally have the WTAC trophy in their hands must be something they are very proud of.

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It is worth noting that every single year this record has been reset from the previous year and the Tilton car is now the outright “tintop” lap record holder for the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit with a time of 1.24.85 and probably the only record holder to be running on “road legal tyres”.

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Also a big hats-off to Murray and Josh Coote in the MCA Suspension S13 Silvia coming in second position with a time of 1.27.36 with Earl Bamber behind the wheel. This time is mind numbing for a rear wheel drive vehicle and even more so when you realize this team does zero testing throughout the year and simply make their changes from the previous year on the fly throughout the event.

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Nemo had a troubled run but still managed to snare third place on their one flying lap with Warren Luff lamenting that there is still so much more in that car.  It just wasn’t to be this time around.  And the highest finishing Japanese team was Under Suzuki with a 1.27.95 in the fourth place overall. If we told you that a 1.27 didn’t guarantee you a spot on the podium a couple of years back you would have laughed at us but that is the fact in 2013.

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With our new rule set in place the new Garrett Pro Am class promised to be spectacular and it did not disappoint with Mick Sigsworth taking the win  with a time of 1.30.9 from the Sutton brothers immaculate S15 Silvia. Jason Wright took the 3rd in the Hulk WRX. The Sutton brothers had the car’s biggest fan, Nob Taniguchi continually peering into their garage over the weekend before saying “I really want to buy this car”, testament to the quality of the build. Pretty sure they do not want to sell it though.

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The Open Class was another nail biter with Dean Lillie in the BC Automotive “Monster” GTR making a late charge for the top spot with a 1.31.7 and taking the win from Rick Bates in the V-Sport/ Go Pro Evo X when the latter were unable to repair a damaged transmission in time. In 3rd place was the BYP Integra with Benny Tran pulling an “almost unthinkable for front wheel drive” time of 1.32.6. This time is comparable to the Pro Class GT Auto Carbon Fibre R35 GTR that Steve Glenney drove in 2011. Like I said – insane – and a clear sign of how much development has poured into these vehicles over the past couple of years.

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The Clubsprint Class had just as much going on with Jason Wright taking the win in his WRX from Benny Tran in his “street”  S2000 and Jason Naidoo rounding out the podium in his Evo.

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The lunchtime entertainment is always a hit with the fans and this year we introduced a new event called the Turbosmart Flying 500 that put the fastest tuner cars up the main straight in a show of anger. Think 1000 plus horsepower GTRs and Evos with a heap of other interesting things like the 6 rotor from NZ thrown in and the stands were absolutely packed for this. No doubt this event will grow and we will give it a bigger slice of the pie next year as this year was simply a trial run.

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An F40 Ferrari, Audi Quattro and Group B Metro joined the other Motul Turbo Legends before the drift guys lit up the entire track in one of the craziest demos I have ever laid my eyes on. Seeing the passenger’s face in Jakes Jones’ black S13 as he tagged the wall at 190km/h was a highlight for sure.

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The Tectaloy Drift Challenge moved to the South Circuit this year and with the beautiful spring weather the fans were out in force, something we feel is much more enjoyable than the freezing August nights we have endured in the past. The show was world class with the number one spot going to a guy many predicted it would – Daigo Saito. Mad Mike Whiddett collected second spot and Gaz Whiter rounding out the “all foreigner” podium for 2013.

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The whole atmosphere around the grounds this year was absolutely sensational and I lost track of how many people came up to me and personally thanked me for putting on this show. Another side note was that I think almost every good looking girl in Sydney must have been in attendance as I can never remember seeing so many beautiful girls in one place ever.

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On a somewhat more somber note I must mention the terrible fires that were burning around Sydney throughout the entire weekend and in fact our show’n’shine co-ordinator, Steve Gosbee had to leave early to defend his house from bushfire. Our heart goes out to the people that lost their homes.

The photo below, posted by one of the drift competitors, Levi Clarke shows just how close the fires came to the Sydney Motorsport Park.

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Finally I want to thank the following people who have put their heart and soul into making this event what it is today.

Firstly my little pocket rocket event manager Amy Boatwright who hardly slept in the days leading up to the event. Greg Lysien our marketing co-ordinator and his entire family who all step up to help every year. Our race director Jeff Boulous who has run every time attack with me from day one at Oran Park.

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Inga Whitman my financial controller, Daniel Farrand our Japan teams manager, Yukitaka Iriyama who was helping with translation, our amazing commentary team of Diggles, Mozza and Warren the Grumpy Ninja from NZ, our eligibility scrutineering team of Bruce Garland and Steve Stanley, the Cams scrutineers Scott McGrath and Peter Wilson, Ryan Lewis,  the team at ARDC.

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Also big thanks to my Hi Octane crew of Kyle, Chad and Moody, the drift judges Alexi, Takako and Gray Lynskey, Renato Loberto for organizing the Ferrari F40 (and a ride I will never forget) and Stewart Reid for organizing the Group B cars, Steve Gosbee and his Show’n’Shine crew, all of our amazing sponsors: Yokohama, Tectaloy, Royal Purple, V-Sport, Garrett, Just Car Insurance, Motul and Turbosmart, all the exhibitors, the media and of course the teams that travelled from around the country and around the globe to be here. And of course all the officials, volunteers and helpers who help us out every year. Without all these people we couldn’t have put a show of this caliber on.

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I’m sorry if I have left anyone out but there is one person that I want to thank more than anyone else. YOU. The guy that paid his money to come through the gate and see our show. You are the reason we do this year upon year and we plan on being back in 2014 BIGGER AND BETTER than ever!

See you all next year

Ian Baker
CEO
Superlap Australia Pty Ltd