He hails from USA and lives in Japan but Andrew Brilliant also has a very strong Aussie connection. His time attack Eclipse now resides Down Under and is being tuned by GT Auto Garage with a number of local sponsors jumping onboard for his 2014 WTAC campaign. We talk to Andrew about his Eclipse, time attack and his goals for this year’s event.
WTAC: You’ve debuted the Eclipse at last year’s WTAC but we are told the car has had a long and colourful history back in the United States?
AB: What many people don’t realise is that this was my daily driver for many years and competed originally in land speed racing. I didn’t know anything about cars when I started and it turned into what it has very slowly. I think that is something a lot of people can relate to.
WTAC: What made you decide to try time attack racing?
AB: I always wanted to learn how to develop a car from beginning to end and I wanted aerodynamic freedom. Time attack seemed like the only form of racing where this was possible. Even with a GT car everything is developed at the manufacturer level, the teams don’t have their hands in construction, development or design.
In our debut Time Attack race we were elated to get second place, that’s competing against many factory cars! At round 2 we took out the entire street class, save one AWD car who later admitted to cheating. That was a FWD car beating close to 50 RWD and AWD cars! I think maybe that was the sweetest moment for us.
My goal is to have the quickest FWD car at WTAC.
I think we can rise to the challenge.
Later that year, due to the change of rules we were forced to move car up to the Limited class. So it was back to the drawing board but we worked hard and were rewarded with a Limited FWD title that year, followed by a back to back title next year and a track record!
WTAC: Coming down to Australia for WTAC must have been a bit of a challenge?
AB: I worked out a deal with GT Auto Garage to support the car in Australia. I had such a wonderful experience with those guys in the past on customer cars that I couldn’t have been any more keen.
WTAC: It looks like you have quite a few Australian-made parts on your car.
AB: Definitely, apart from GT Auto Garage we are also using MCA Suspension, Turbosmart and PWR products and ADE (Australian Diversified Engineering) have been a big help. We are also now running a full Haltech setup. I needed a solution that would let us control the power output of the engine in a very advanced way with a huge control range and multiple offsets and calibration factors and when I came across the capabilities of the Haltech ECU my eyes lit up.
WTAC: What are your goals for this year’s WTAC?
AB: This year I expect we will still play it conservative as we focus on reliability and putting the new ECU capabilities to work, but we have now opened the door to harness even more power in the future. After our first year at WTAC we had a lot of issues but we took everything we could from our time on track and one of the big lessons we learned was that when we are fighting with these lightweight Hondas such as Mighty Mouse that have lower power levels but are about 325kg lighter.
My goal is to be the quickest FWD car at WTAC. With the bar raised again last year there is little doubt that these are the fastest FWD cars ever constructed but I am quietly confident. With rules enforcing weight handicap of 200-300kg against our competitors we need everything to work that much better, but I think we can rise to the challenge.
WTAC: Good luck and see you in October!
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