Tag: gareth lloyd

The stars in the cars

Pro-Podium

Over the years Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge has evolved into an extremely competitive event attracting high profile entries from all around the world.

While Clubsprint and Open Classes are still seen as a proving ground for tuner cars, the top tier Pro Classes now comprise extremely complex, high tech builds that involve serious engineering and even more serious budgets.

These classes are the domain of professional aerodynamicists working alongside racing engineers, fabricators and composite manufacturers with a very liberal rule book to build what is without question the fastest production based tin top vehicles in the country and probably the world. All of this while retaining the “street” nature of time attack racing and running on a street legal tyre.

It’s not surprising that with this type of investment many of the top teams often seek the best possible drivers for their cars. This year’s line up is particularly impressive so we decided to give you an introduction to some of the stars of WTAC 2015.

1. Shane Van Gisbergen

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This guy needs no introduction. The Tekno V8 Supercar driver has become seriously hot property over the past year or two and has managed to score a factory drive with McLaren in the WEC, taking a victory at Silverstone in only his second drive.

Shane also finished inside the top ten with a Porsche team in the Daytona 24 hour. But the biggest deal for SVG over the past year has been the Bathurst 1000 that he was poised for the win in 2014 having nabbed the lead in the dying stages of the race only to suffer a starter motor failure in pit lane that ultimately cost him the race. No doubt he will be looking to make amends in 2015.

A week after Bathurst 1000 he will debut the insane and much anticipated “full carbon” S13 Silvia of Queensland-based Pro Team MCA Suspension at WTAC. MCA Suspension are one of the red hot favourites for 2015 and they certainly have an eye for talent with SVG’s predecessor, Earl Bamber, going on to win Le Mans outright in 2015 for Porsche!

Showing his diversity, SVG will also compete in the Hi-Tec Oils Outlaw Drift Shootout during the Midday Mayhem.

2. Jack Le Brocq

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The Erebus Mercedes Enduro  Championship driver will be driving the Notaras Motorsport Evo. This is a clean sheet build with aero by Andrew Brilliant and a clear directive of function over form in every regard.

Le Brocq previously drove Andrew Brilliant’s American-built Eclipse in 2014 and is looking forward to getting behind the wheel of an AWD Pro Class contender in 2015.

Le Brocq was a former Australian Formula Ford Champion who will be competing for Erebus Motorsport the week prior to WTAC alongside youngster Ash Walsh and like SVG will be looking to snare a double victory of Bathurst and WTAC all within 7 days!

3. Garth Walden

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In his previous employment Walden was, for many years, the manager of the Sydney Motorsport Park based Radical operation and it is often said he has done more laps of this circuit than any man on earth. These days he is keeping himself busy with his Garth Walden Racing enterprise, running cars in many classes around the country including an SLS GT Mercedes, a few Porsches in Carerra Cup and a bunch of Radicals.

He is also the reigning WTAC champion and with back to back wins in the insanely fast Tilton Evo, is without question, the guy to beat in 2015 and certainly starts the event with a big target on his back.

4. Tomohiko “Under” Suzuki

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All the drivers we have introduced so far can be aptly described as “seasoned professionals”. That’s not the case with Under Suzuki. Here is a guy who works full time at a pharmacy and after hours tinkers away on his beloved s15 Silvia, garaged in the corner of his friend’s workshop on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Not only does Suzuki build (or helps to build) every part of his car but he also drives it, being a true believer in the “owner-driver” philosophy.

To anyone with even a passing knowledge of time attack racing he is a legend.His knowledge and driving skills have improved to such a level that he finished runner-up in 2014, only four hundredths of a second behind the professionally built and driven Tilton Evo.

No doubt the DIY crowd worldwide will cheer him on this year as he sets his sights on the top spot.

5. David Wall

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Two time Australian GT champion and V8 Supercar driver for Volvo GRM will be making his WTAC debut in one highly anticipated build.

A car code-named RP 968 is rumoured to be a no-compromise, high budget Pro Class build.  Some of the best minds in the business have banded together to put together a race car that is bound to be the yardstick the next generation of pro cars will be measured by.

With a full dry carbon body and aero by ex Toyota F1 engineers it will certainly throw a cat amongst the pigeons. If the team can get enough testing done prior to the event, Wall will have a very capable ride for his Pro class assault.

6. Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada

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Over the years Yamada has successfully raced in many categories including JGTC, Japanese Touring Car Championship, D1GP and also time attack in Japan, USA and the UK.

He is the only Japanese driver to have competed at every single WTAC since 2010. He has driven everything from the Cyber Evo (back to back victories in 2010 and 2011), the stunning Esprit Honda NSX and most recently the 1000+hp GTR of Top Secret.

In 2015 he will be back behind the wheel of the Revzone Evo chasing the Open Class victory.

7 . Steve Glenney

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Australian tarmac rally ace and former Mazda factory driver Steve Glenney has an impressive racing resume. He finished runner up in 2015 Targa Tasmania in an R35 GTR after mechanical gremlins robbed him of a certain victory and most recently won the first Australian Extreme Rally cross event outright.

Glenney is not stranger to time attack with multiple WTAC Open Class victories behind him. He is back in 2015 driving two very competitive cars.

The Dominator Evo (that he drove to victory back in 2012 in Open Class) now competing in Pro Class and the Insight S2000 in Open Class. Being an ultra competitive and capable driver, we are sure Glenney will be pushing for both trophies.

8. Cole Powelson

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Whilst he may not be a familiar name in Australia, we reckon he will be after WTAC 2015! As the owner of LYFE Motorsport and driver of the crazy USA built R35 GTR, Powelson is actually the first ever American to ever drive at WTAC.

Whilst we have had American teams here before, the cars have not been driven by Americans. The Sierra Sierra Evo was driven by Canadian Indy car ace David Empringham and the ARK Design GTR was driven by Australian Steve Glenney.

9.  Gareth Lloyd

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Former UK multiple Saloon Car champion is on his second trip to WTAC.

Gareth has certainly been the guy to beat in the UK with SVA Imports smashing lap records at numerous circuits. With a thoroughly tested and proven car and a very experienced and capable team behind him, Gareth will be a serious threat in October.

10. Steven Johnson

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Another former V8 Supercar driver making his WTAC debut this year is Steven Johnson.

Steven will be driving the WBT backed R33 GTR in Open Class. A serious build by GTR maestros Hi Octane Racing, featuring a 700hp dry sump engine and a sequential transmission will certainly throw him straight into the mix.

Apparently Steve is eager to see what all the fuss is about and the word on the street is that his father Australian motor racing legend Dick Johnson will also be trekking down to check it all out and offer some friendly advice!

Also starring…

Andy Forrest is a guy who, like Under Suzuki, does everything himself in his hometown of Scotland. Andy has wiped the floor with the competition in his local Superlap Scotland competition so anything is possible here too.Without question one to keep a firm eye on!

Andy Duffin is the reigning GT2 Champion in New Zealand in his 3 Rotor Racing RX7 and he has transformed it into an elite level Open Class car and will be looking to give the Aussies a bit of a hurry up.

Also from New Zealand leading V8 Supertourer driver Simon Evans will be piloting the Hell Racing Evo in Pro Class.

Victorian ace wheel man and reigning Open Class champ Dean Lillie has re-signed with both Steve Ka and Denis Resi in the two Powertune GTRs.

Dean Lillie

After winning Open Class back to back Dean Lillie will return with both Powertune GTRs for 2015.

Former Australian Formula 3 Champion Tim Macrow has been listed to drive the IS Motor Racing Evo.

Then we have the ultimate dark horse. A quietly spoken mining engineer from Queensland who has built one of the most stunning cars ever to compete at WTAC and a guy that proved last year that neither the car nor himself are “all show” finishing in top 3 outright. His name is Mick Sigsworth and his car is a full carbon fiber masterpiece known as the “PMQ Evo M”.  This car and driver combo could provide the biggest upset ever if they won outright from the Pro Am Class.

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Japanese driver Shimaya competed in 2013 and will return with Team Endless in Pro Am competition.

Last but not least we have all the usual suspects that make the annual pilgrimage: Chris Alexander, Rob Nguyen, Luke Ryall and Jason Wright will be doing their best to keep Endless star driver from Japan Atsushi Shimaya at bay in the Pro Am Class.

Nik Kalis, Rob Gooley and rally ace Adam Casmiri are all returning in heavily upgraded vehicles in Open Class and “Mr Time Attack” himself, John Boston will be back behind the wheel of the “MotiveDVD Jet 200” Silvia and the RTR Evo X.

With the field across all classes that strong, all the bets are off come October. We can’t wait!

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And while we are on the subject of Stars in Cars, they do not come much more “been there, done that than Kiwi legend Rod Millen. We are honoured to have him and his Celica along in 2015. Bring it on!

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arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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SVA Imports smashing lap records in UK

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The SVA Imports team continues to stamp its authority on the UK Time Attack series with another outright win and time attack lap record at Oulton Park in Cheshire England last weekend. The countless hours these guys put in behind the scenes certainly appear to be paying dividends with Gareth Lloyd steering the Evo 6 to a time of 1.21.004, a full second clear of the nearest rival.

The team have being putting some work into the aero and Gareth says it’s making a huge difference: “The aero is now so effective that I am having to fight my instincts to brake or lift off the accelerator. If I don’t do that, then I am probably leaving time on the track”

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The aero is so effective I am having to fight my instincts

to brake or lift off the accelerator!

What is even more impressive is that they believe there is a whole lot more left in the car. “That was with no anti-lag and no nitrous on only moderate boost setting” said Lloyd “we tend to save all the bells and whistles for the final sessions but unfortunately the rain spoilt our party”.

What is worth mentioning is that even on a damp track with slick tyres the SVA Evo clocked a time only one second slower than a dry track. There is no doubt the aero is working and working well!

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“We now have a couple sets of the Yokohama AO50 tyres in our possession so we will commence setting the car up for this tyre” said SVA boss Raef Davis “we are happy with where the car is at and we still have a fair bit more to dial in before we leave. We will not be coming all the way to Australia just to make up the numbers I can assure you of that.”

Producing such impressive results early on will certainly help the SVA Team in October when they will represent not just themselves but also their country!

Helpful Links

arrow  Want to live it up at WTAC? Check out our VIP Packages
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
arrow  Need further convincing? 10 Reasons to come to WTAC
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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SVA Imports Evo to represent UK at WTAC 2015

Fresh from an outright win at the UK Time Attack event at Snetterton Circuit last weekend, the SVA Imports team are proud to announce their entry in the 2015 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge with their Pro Class Mitsubishi Evo VI.

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Anyone following the UK Time Attack series will agree this is one of the, if not the fastest car in UK. Photo: Aron Vickers

This car is without question one of the fastest, if not the fastest time attack car in the UK right now. Any notion of this being untrue was hit out of the ballpark last weekend when the team reset the Snetterton Circuit lap record despite the conditions being far from perfect.

The car will be driven by the very experienced Gareth Lloyd who has been instrumental not only in driving the car throughout the UK series but also the ongoing development throughout the years.

SVA Imports are at the top of their game. We are certain we’ve got the right team representing UK – Ian Baker. Photo: Rich Sams

“It would be fair to say that the UK has never had a fair go at the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker “but I can confidently say that should all change this year.”

“Sure Redbrick Racing made the trip out in 2012 but a bunch of niggling problems and a couple of off track excursions put them out of contention before they had a chance to lay down a proper lap time. SVA certainly seem well equipped to give the whole thing a proper go in October. We are certainly confident we have the right team coming!”

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This ain’t no beauty contest, SVA’s Evo is all business. Photo Rich Sams.

“This is really important this year because, and I will have to the the cat out of the bag to tell you this, in 2015 for the very first time we will have the fastest cars from no less than FIVE separate countries across four continents represented in the Royal Purple Pro Class.”

“So of course finding the fastest car to represent each region is absolutely paramount. We are confident these guys are exactly that.”

We ventured down to SVA Imports and  caught up with team principle Raef Davis at their base in Dover, Kent UK last week to get the lowdown on their plans and a bit of insight into what is without question the fastest Evo 6 on the planet!

We need the fastest cars to represent each region.

SVA Imports Evo VI is exactly that.

The car started its life as an Evo VI RS but quickly turned into a full blown time attack machine. Photo: Aron Vickers

WTAC: It is a fantastic news that you guys will be heading down under in October. You must be excited?

Raef Davis: Everyone here is extremely excited to be coming to WTAC 2015 with the chance to compete against of the worlds fastest time attack cars.

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WTAC: We hear the car started its life as a weekend racer?

RD: The car was originally an Evo 6RS though as you can see it’s moved on a fair bit since then. We started with the original car three years ago with the idea of just having some fun and not getting to carried away. That’s how these things start…”

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WTAC: What’s lurking beneath that bonnet?

RD: The engine is a 4g63 stroked to 2.4ltr which makes 940bhp without nitrous and the transmission is a Drenth sequential that we have adapted to a paddle shift.

We are currently working on a new engine that addresses the weaknesses of the 4g63 motor and will allow us to reliably run more power. We are aiming to have it finished and tested before we ship the car to Australia.

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WTAC: Your driver, Gareth Lloyd has competed here before in 2012 with Red Brick Racing so this will obviously be a big help?

RD: Gareth is a very experienced driver who has been working with for the last couple of years. In 2012 Red Brick Racing suffered from numerous issues so Gareth never really got a chance to get a proper lap in. Having said that, he certainly does have some prior track knowledge (not as much as the locals though) and he is very good at adapting to different tracks and conditions. And most importantly, he is very fast.

Gareth Lloyd is not only a very experienced driver, he is also familiar with the SMSP track having competed there in 2012. Photo: Rich Sams

WTAC: What events have you been competing in and who are the strongest competitors in your region ?

RD: We competed in some of the European time attack last year as well as the UK Time Attack series. We are the current European Time Attack Masters and hold the lap records at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Snetterton, Zandvoort and Assen. We plan to run the full season of UK Time Attack this year before we ship the car to Australia. 

Our closest rivals and friends are Roger Clark Motorsport with their extremely fast Gobstopper 2 which we had some great battles with last year.

Not many cars can lay claim to being faster than the famous Gobstopper 2. This is one of them. Photo: Rich Sams

WTAC: We can assure you that the whole of the United Kingdom fan base will be cheering you on when you arrive here in October. We can’t wait to see what you guys can do!

RD: We can’t wait. See you there!

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SVA Imports would like to thank our sponsors who make all of this possible:
• Spec R
• Nitron racing systems
• Hel performance
• CR turbos
• Clutch masters
• Motul
• Miltek exhausts
• Kelford cams
• Ross sport
• Syvecs
• Magnus Motorsport
• Alcon

And of course the team who work so hard giving up their weekends time after time.

Helpful Links

arrow  Want to live it up at WTAC? Check out our VIP Packages
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
arrow  Need further convincing? 10 Reasons to come to WTAC
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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Practice Spotlight: Redbrick Racing

Today’s practice session has seen the event’s sole UK competitor, Redbrick Racing, getting a lot of track time with the team hard at work dialing the car in for the Eastern Creek track.

The crew are working with the Yokohama Advan team to get the car set up for the new tyre choice, which is quite different to what they have run on in the UK.

“We are just working with the Yokohama engineers to sort out the temperatures the cambers and things like that” – Redbrick Racing driver Gareth Lloyd

“We are slowly getting into it and the times are slowly coming down and we are just finding out how to get quicker” says Garth Lloyd. “The competition looks really strong, and I’m sure there’s more to come. It looks like a nice strong field this year.”

Watch our full video interview with Redbrick Racing driver Gareth Lloyd below!

Redbrick driver scopes out Eastern Creek

Redbrick Racing driver Gareth Lloyd made the trip down to Sydney ahead of the rest of the team. We caught up with him at the official WTAC launch at Parramatta about his experiences so far at Eastern Creek, the Redbrick team and the competition.

Superlap: You’ve had a look at the Eastern Creek layout – what is your first impression?

Gareth Lloyd: The track is great ! It’s the sort of track I really like, with the over crest and compression turns and the turn 1 – I love it !

SL: Do you think the track suits the Redbrick Racing car?

GL: I think we should be well suited, can’t wait to get started!

SL: With the entire Pro Class announced how do you feel about the competition?

GL: The Competition looks very strong this year. Some great teams and drivers.
We’ve been preparing for this event for a while now and I’m looking forward to seeing how we fare.

SL: Does being the only UK team in the competition add to the pressure? It’s almost like you’re representing Great Britain in an Olympic Sport!

GL: Yes it sort of does feel like it, being the only driver / team from the UK. Countries like Australia or Japan have numerous teams and I’m sure it helps them to pull together, but we are a strong team and we relish the competition!

SL: What was the preparation for WTAC back in the UK like?

GL: I’ve had a busy time testing with Redbrick over the past few months. We’ve actually won the first round of the UK Time Attack Championship in preparation for this event!  The biggest change for us was the tyre. The UK series used to have a control street tyre and then moved to slicks, at WTAC we’ll be using Yokohama A050s.

SL: Thanks Gareth and good luck next week!

Gareth Lloyd is a bit of a racing celebrity back in Europe, having won some impressive titles including Le Man 24hrs and the UK Time Attack series in 2010. He has been competing in big horsepower 4wd cars for many years and for those that know this sport this is something not to taken lightly. As an everyday test driver for Bentley, McLaren and Mercedes he certainly is very adept in providing the team with quick and accurate feedback.