Firstly let me just say that, despite what some internet forums may have you believe, the guys from Sierra Sierra and the Cyber Evo team have nothing but the utmost respect for each other.
These teams are both right at the very top of their game and you do not get there without some sort of passion for what you are doing. Both teams are as passionate about winning this event and often people will react with some sort of irrationality in the heat of battle. Having said that they have also both worked long and hard and travelled from across the world to get here and if they think that they are not playing on a level field they are certainly entitled to say so.
The first point that needs to be brought up is the so called “nitrous oxide protest”.
The series of events went like this. I get a phone call from Tats Kano (from Yokohama Australia) claiming that Mr Takizawa the owner “suspects” that the Sierra Sierra team must be using Nitrous oxide as there is “no way” that they could achieve that speed down the straight. I then go to the Cyber team garage to substantiate the claim but neither the Unlimited Works team members nor the Voltex guys know what I’m talking about.
I then located Mr Takizawa who told me he suspected this may be the case and was it possible for me to have my scrutineers to have a look. I replied that I would take my scrutineers up to the Sierra Sierra garage and “ask the question”. I then went up and had words with Richard Raeder (SSE) and Eric Hsu (Cosworth) and explained the situation. Both parties then said “go for your life, there is nothing to find. We are not using Nitrous.”
We have inspected the Sierra Sierra inlet system to see if there was anything we could see and there certainly was not. I am going to make this very clear that there was NO FORMAL PROTEST and Sierra Sierra was well within their rights to say “No, if you want to lodge a protest go for it but until then you are not looking at anything” but they did not do this, as clearly they had nothing to hide.
As Eric Hsu later said to me with a smile on his face “That’s Cosworth power for you mate! People often mistake it for Nitrous!” and once again I will make perfectly clear there is absolutely no animosity between any of these teams. You can check Eric Hsu blog “beyond the dyno” here for a more detailed explanation.
The second point that needs to be clarified is the use of special “WTAC” tyres by certain Yokohama teams.
The fact is that there were several Pro Teams using this “WTAC” special tyre. This tyre is a soft compound 295/30R18 A050 that was made due to passionate requests from many Aussie teams at last year’s WTAC. All PRO / OPEN class teams who were contactable were notified about the availability of 295/30R18 A050 back in April, however the devastating earthquake in Japan delayed the production of the tyre and Yokohama Japan were still producing the tyres when the vehicles left for Australia by sea meaning the 295/30R18s for the event had to be air freighted in by Yokohama Tyre Australia.
This also meant the Aussie teams had access to the product before the Japanese teams and were able to do pre-testing (however not many Aussie cars were actually finished at that time!). Both Scorch and Cyber used 295/30R18 A050 for the first time on Saturday. The tyres they brought over in the containers with the cars were all 265/35R18 A050 (Doubters can check their carnets). Pro Teams on the 295/30R18 A050 were CyberEvo, Tilton Interiors, Scorch Racing, Hi Octane R34, Mercury MS R35 and Pulse Racing.
Yokohama management assures me they are all from the same batch sourced and fitted by our local motorsport dealer at trackside. (none of the tyres supplied to Scorch or Cyber were marked). This same 295/30R18 A050 tyre is available through any of the Yokohama Motorsport dealers but I must add that this tyre is currently available “In Australia ONLY” such is the demand for this size after WTAC! I guess you could say that makes it a “World Time Attack Special” tyre.
The third and final bit of controversy regards the tube frame in the Garage Revolution car.
In 2010 we made the decision to “open up” the rule book and allow tube frame cars into the Pro Class despite many people claiming it was “not in the spirit of time attack”. To us this is a tuner car put together by a workshop and as such is well within the 2011 rules.
In fact, it still has a fair way to go if it is to catch either the Cyber Evo or Sierra Sierra (both monocoque construction). Two seconds may not sound like much but in the world of time attack racing it is an awful lot.We believe that the face of time attack is continually changing and our fans want to see the latest and greatest cars from around the world that until now they may have only read about.
In the future we may separate “tube” and “monocoque” classes but at present there is absolutely no need. What we will be introducing for next year though is a fastest Pro RWD class trophy as this is one area that is no doubt set to grow exponentially with the Silvia and RX7 tuners.
Hope this clears things up.
Superlap Australia/World Time Attack Challenge