JDM Yard’s Civic took everyone by surprise when it won Open Class last year. It came well prepared to defend its title this year but so did the challengers.
We knew the battle for supremacy in the Link ECU Open Class was going to be a spectacle. We expected the times to go sub 1:30 but even with those high expectations we were still blown away but the determination, skill and grit displayed by the competitors.
Matt Longhurst set the pace early, smashing JDM Yard’s class lap record and claiming the bragging rights as the first Open Class car to go sub 1:30 with blistering time of 1:29.81
Steve Glenney in the Insight Motorsports Honda S2000 was half a second behind and putting on the pressure but couldn’t better Matt’s time. He finished Day 1 in the second place with 1:30.30.
The familiar “Spartan” Evo of Nik Kalis was driven by Nathan Morcom this year. From the very first session the car looked solid and fast, climbing quickly to the third spot – just 0.3 seconds behind Glenney.
Andy Duffin and the 3Rotor Racing team brought their improved RX7 back for another crack at the Open Class title and were also consistently fast from the word go.
Last year’s class winner, Adam Casmiri came very close to matching his 2015 best at the end of Day 1 with a 1:30.81 lap time.
It looked as if the pecking order had been established for 2016. But Day 2 brought with it a bunch of suprises.
Matt Longhurst was unable to match his early pace but managed to hold onto his first place position going into the shootout on his Day 1 time.
Nathan Morcom was consistently fast all day but it was during the shootout when he played his trump card and snatched first place from Longhurst, recording a new Open Class record in the process. Watch Nathan Morcom’s amazing 1:29.295 lap in the video below:
Nick Ashwin appeared from nowhere and posted a super quick 1:30.26 lap time. A massive six seconds faster than his 2015 best and the third fastest time in the class. While the Pro Class might have been dominated by RWDs in 2016, it was AWDs that dominated the Link ECU Open Class.
Steve Glenney finished just outside the podium in the Insight Motorsport Honda S2000 with a time of 1:30.308.
Fifth was NZ’s Andy Duffin with a lap time of 1:30.486. Andy beat his last year’s best by over 2.5 seconds and pushed hard right up until the very end. Top effort by the 3 Rotor Racing team.
2015 Open Class Champions JDM Yard managed to improve on their last year’s best, but their new PB of 1:30.657 was only good enough for the sixth place in 2016.
Matt Cole was another driver that recorded a new PB of 1:30.657 shaving almost three seconds off his last year’s best.
Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 team struggled with mechanical issues early on and overheating on Day 2.
Still, Tetsuhiro Kurokawa managed to put down 1:32.25 which, considering this is the first time these guys ever raced outside Japan is a pretty good effort!
Tarzan Yamada struggled to find his pace in the 2014 Open Class runner-up, Lightning Resi. His best this year was 1:32.307.
Berry Polovic in Team Mascot Mitsubishi Evo 8: 1:31.561.
Josh Hunter in Worlds Best Technologies Nissan R33 GTR: 1:32.17.
John Richardson in Topstage Composites Nissan S14: 1:32.349. The fastest S-chassis in Open Class this year.
Kim Tai in MiniDisc Race Division Mitsubishi Evo 9: 1:32.766.
Robert Gooley in Keeley Motorsport Evo VI: 1:33.762.
Dean Lillie in Nuline Racing Ford Falcon: 1:34.497.
Drew Hall in Croydon Racing Developments Nissan R34GTR: 1:35.549.
Paul Henshaw in CCC Racing Datsun 240Z 1:37.221.
Aidan Miller’s 2016 campaign ended prematurely when his car hit a wall on Day 1. Fortunately Aidan escaped relatively unscathed and was back, albeit as a spectator, on Day 2.
NZ’s Kat Benson in the Burger Fuel Evo 7: 1:39.759.
Jarrod Scott’s Team Ignite Subaru suffered from a multitude of mechanical issues. This is a big budget build completed only days before the event so we’re expecting its lap times to tumble once after some more track time.