Tag: hks

10 WTAC moments we will never forget


With six years of international competition under our belt we can confidently say that in that time we’ve seen many highs and lows. From heart wrenching terminal engine failures to last minute victories by hundrenths of a second in the dying stages of the event. The mixture of drama and excitement has become such an integral part of the event that nowadays it’s almost taken for granted!

In this feature we are going to count down what we consider the very best of the best moments of WTAC (so far).


10.  Rod Millen Celica lapping Sydney Motorsport Park in 2015

Kiwi legend Rod Millen has certainly been there and done that. In 2015 we managed to bring him and his record setting Pikes Peak car to do some demonstration runs. The exotic racing fuel for this car was extremely difficult to procure and cost us several thousand dollars but once we saw it on the track we knew it was all worth it. This really is the “OG aero car“. No ifs, no buts! It is!


9. HKS vs Top Secret in 2014

Two Japanese tuning heavyweights with two Japanese driving legends on the same track in the same type of car was certainly way cool. HKS vs Top Secret, Taniguchi vs Tarzan in two 1000hp plus GTRs. It really doesn’t get much better for the JDM entusiast. Add the fact that Smokey Nagata himself made the trip down and you’ve got a recipe for a JDM heaven.


8. Mad Mike’s flame-throwing RX7FD

In 2011 we ran our first International Drift Challenge and brought over many of the top competitors from New Zealand. Among them was “Mad” Mike Whiddett and his ear splitting, 4 rotor 26B powered peripheral port Mazda Rx7FD. With a specially designed tune, the engine was bellowing 15 foot flames that lit up the whole sky throughout the evening whilst deafening anyone within a 500m radius. Good times!


7. Cyber Evo overnight rebuild to win WTAC 2010

In our first year of international competition we very quickly realised that, at the time, the Japanese and American teams were way more developed than the local cars. The show looked like a 3 way battle between Cyber Evo and Tomei/ Cusco from Japan and Sierra Sierra from USA until the favourite, Cyber Evo, destroyed a cylinder head on the first day.

Australian team Notaras Racing were kind enough to sell them a used cylinder head and the team worked throughout the night to come back and take the win the following day. The crowd jumped to their feet as Tarzan Yamada wrestled the Cyber Evo to keep it in a straight line as the rear wing detached and flew along the track on the final lap. International Time Attack Racing had arrived on our shores in the biggest possible way.


6. Team Orange win IDC in 2012

While Japanese D1 drivers have competed in Australia before, back in 2012 we had never seen the top drivers compete in their own “proper” D1GP vehicles. Not until we brought Nobishige Kumakubo and Naoto Suenaga out for the International Drift Challenge in 2012.

Despite near arctic conditions at the then August event, a huge crowd stayed back to watch Suenaga take the win in the Team Orange Evo 9 and giving Aussie fans their first taste of Japanese D1GP superstars.


5. Nemo domination in 2012

This was the one that no one saw coming. There was a lot of hype around this new crazy Pro Class Evo build with designs by aero ace Andrew Brilliant, but with the internet scattered with videos of multiple engine failures in testing it appeared this was just another car that whilst looking the business, would be unlikely to live up to the hype and even turn a full lap at WTAC.

All of that went out the window after the very first session at WTAC when Warren Luff pushed Nemo around the circuit in 1.25.1. A time over two seconds faster than any team had ever gone before! “And there was plenty more in it” said Luffy at the time “wait until we turn the boost up.”


Sadly, we would never get to see that happen as Nemo ran the following year once again with engine problems then disappeared as quick as it arrived in a sea of controversy. With a myriad of people making claims of unpaid invoices and much more it was all fairly obvious the car named Nemo is unlikely to ever resurface again. It certainly changed the face of WTAC forever though, with all the top Pro teams realizing that aero was the key to being competitive at the pointy end of WTAC.


4. Mazda 767B lapping Sydney Motorsport Park in 2014

Everyone these days talks about “breaking the internet” but back in 2014 we actually did it. Or more correctly the Mazda 767B did it when we announced it was coming to WTAC.


Such was the insane volume of traffic to our website as the news went viral that it crashed multiple times. Hearing it wail around Sydney Motorsport Park for the first time was a moment we will never forget. The plan was to do three laps but the owner/ driver Hoshino-san was having such a good time he ended up doing ten, much to the delight of the fans.


3. Cyber Evo vs Sierra Sierra in 2011

With the first ever WTAC going to the Japanese Cyber Evo team, 2011 was shaping up to be a showdown of epic proportions with both teams making claims they have no intention of losing.

Throw the Garage Revolution Rx7 into the mix fresh from a new Tsukuba T/A record time and you start to get the picture. This went right down to the wire with Canadian Indy car driver David Empringham leading the time sheets in the American Sierra Sierra Evo for most of the event right up until Tarzan Yamada pipped him by half a second in the nail biting final session.


Empringham made one last attempt but with everything turned up to maximum the car suffered a mechanical failure relegating the team to second place. Garage Revolution finished 3rd and a rapidly developing Tilton Evo into 4th place.


2. Tilton vs Suzuki vs MCA shootout in 2014

2014 was another year that went right down to the wire. With the reintroduction of the Superlap Shootout format it was a 3-way battle between V8 Supercars star Shane Van Gisbergen in the MCA S13, Garth Walden in the Titon Evo and Japanese legend Under Suzuki in his S15 Silvia.


This one went right down to the dying minutes with all three cars posting their fastest lap in the fading light of the Superlap Shootout. Walden in the Tilton Evo took the win, resetting the lap record once again with and Under Suzuki coming within 4 hundredths of a second behind him on his final lap to the cheers of the crowd and the MCA car coming in just behind.


1. Tilton threepeat 2013, 14, 15

Anyone who has ever won any class at WTAC will know the insane amount of dedication this takes. The late nights, the huge expense, the determination and the final act of stringing it all together on the day. This is indeed a feat that every winner should be proud of.


But without question the hardest class of all to win is the Pro Class. This is the fastest of the fast, the best in the world bar none, pro drivers, pro cars and pro teams. In our seven years of operation we have only ever seen three winners. Tarzan Yamada in the Cyber Evo in 2010 and 2011, Warren Luff in Nemo in 2012, and every other time since has been Garth Walden in the Tilton Racing Evo. 2013, 2014 and 2015 threepeat before announcing the car’s retirement.


What is even more incredible, every year the team smashed their own previous lap record which by now was without question the fastest tintop lap ever on this circuit.This is testament to Kosta Pohurukov and the whole Tilton Team and we can think of no more worthy recipient of our number one spot on this list than this team. Kosta, Garth and the whole Tilton team – we tip our hats to you!


As always, this year we will be looking to add many more memorable moments to this list. 2016 shaping up to be one of the most interesting years yet. With the WTAC crown up for grabs, a bunch of new state of the art Pro Class builds already in progress, along with the best lineup ever for the International Drift challenge, this will be an event not to be missed!

Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge. 14th – 15th October 2016. Sydney Motorsport Park.
Tickets go on sale June 1st. Don’t miss it!

They’re here!


Our media launch, held usually a few days before the event, marks the official start of the WTAC Week. The countdown to the event is well and truly on with all the international cars already in Sydney and getting ready to attack.


Parked side by side, the HKS and Top Secret GTRs look pretty evenly matched. The battle between these two titans is one of the most eagerly anticipated duels at this year’s event.


Yep, we’re smiling…


Top Secret windscreen banner quietly hints at the R35 GTR Class result…


While HKS’ alludes to its engine power output…


Everything about this car says HKS are very serious about their official return to international time attack racing.


Alex Kelsey’s hand-built rally car is even more impressive up close than on pictures.


The quality of this build and the attention to detail is simply stunning.


And one lucky spectator will ride shotgun with Alex in this very seat…


While not officially competing, the 767B is a huge drawcard for this year’s WTAC.


A chance to see this car doing a flying lap around Sydney Motorsport Park should be enough to convince any motorsport fan to be there!


Under Suzuki’s S15. We’re expecting to see some low times from this car.


Without a doubt, this is the most serious this car has ever looked.


The no-nonsense, all-business approach is also reflected in the cabin.


Top Fuel / Voltex S2000RR. Subtle improvements are noticeable everywhere if you look closely enough.


In the foreground: a 1000hp time attack Nissan. In the background: a 1000hp drift Nissan.


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Ben Sopra 380SX 1100hp HKS VR38DETT for FD

The madness that is Formula Drift continues to deliver news that will leave fans in awe. How about an 1100 horsepower, HKS built, VR38DETT R35 GTR engine stuffed into a lightweight 180SX?

ben sopra

1100hp, check. Light-weight S-chassis, check. Ready to drift? Hellyeah… Photo: Speedhunters.com

You may be forgiven for thinking this combo has been purpose built for drag racing but that is not the case. This is a drift car and as you would expect with this kind of power, it will put on a show!


This is the original 380SX that was built by legendary Japanese body kit manufacturer Ben Sopra as a “high speed car” but has since been sold to Japanese drifter Daisuke Hasegawa and built for Formula Drift competition with the full support of Japanese tuning giant HKS and Yokohama tyre Japan.


The engine is a complete 3.8 litre VR38 built in house by HKS racing division with HKS rods, pistons, camshafts and all other internal components. The complete turbo system is the HKS GT1000R designed for the R35 and modified to fit into the 180SX engine bay.


The engine uses a HKS V.pro ECU mapped by MCR tune and is backed by a ORC triple plate clutch. The transmission is an Australian made Holinger sequential 6 speed and the suspension all round is HKS Hipermax. coilover and the braking is taken care of by Project Mu.


All in all this is one serious weapon that will bring the crowd to their feet, so if you like drift and extreme horsepower make sure you catch this car at Formula Drift on Saturday and Sunday.


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Sayonara Japan… See you in Sydney!


It is that time of year again folks… The time of year when the overseas teams pack up all of their gear, wind up their suspension and load into the containers to head to Sydney for the World Time Attack Challenge in October. As you can see the docks at the Yokohama Port in Japan were overflowing with some wild time attack and drift cars this year!


Top Fuel were one of the first to arrive in their radically modified S2000.


The team at HKS were kind enough to pick up a hitch hiker on the way to the docks. Under Suzuki’s wild S15 riding shotgun behind the HKS R35 in their cool “flip side” truck.


Kyushu Danji drove for over 15 hours straight to get his R34 to the Yokohama port to load. It is amazing the lengths some privateers go to to compete at WTAC. This car is so cool and sure to be hit in the Pro Am Class once it arrives in Australia.


Soon afterwards the car that everyone was waiting for pulled up. The legendary Mazda 767B in all its glory. This will probably be the first time outside of Japan for this particular car since it raced at Le Mans in 1989.


One of the RE crew decided to take a nap on the front splitter whilst demonstrating the strength of the car’s newly revamped aero package. With the 767B sitting right behind it, we can’t help but think how excited rotary fanboys around the world will be to see these cars in action!


Top Secret and HKS will be the headline acts for the brand new R35 GTR class for 2014. These cars are running massively tuned motors – there is a collective 2500 horsepower sitting right there!


Two cars that were absent from these photos but are also on their way are the Team RSR Toyota 86 that will be shipped from Kobe and the HKS / Ben Sopra 380SX that arrived later to this port and is also on its way to Australia.


35 days to go and counting! If you like what you see on these pictures there is only one place you need to be in October – and that’s the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge. October 17th – 19th, Sydney Motorsport Park. Be there!

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Want to know what’s going on and when? 2014 WTAC + Formula Drift Schedule
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Japanese teams shakedown at Fuji Speedway


The Japanese time attack teams were out in force last weekend at Fuji Speedway as part of the Motor Games that featured the second round of Formula Drift Asia and amongst many other things a World Time Attack Challenge invitational demonstration.

In attendance were HKS in their blisteringly fast R35 GTR now with a claimed 1300 horsepower and having witnessed the acceleration down the main straight at Fuji this is certainly a believable claim. This was the first public viewing of this car in its final livery and to say it looks stunning would be an understatement. It is actually a deep “gun smoke chrome” finish with the traditional HKS livery applied over the top.


Over the course of the weekend the team had an early battle with a fuel issue and were also seen trying several brake pad compounds with the HKS engineers continually pulling data every time Taniguchi entered pit lane. Like all the other teams they were keeping their lap times close to their chests but needless to say they were all smiles as they packed up on Sunday afternoon.


In the very next garage  was an equally impressive Top Secret R35 GTR. In this instance it was driven by Kikuchi Yasui but we will see Tarzan take the wheel in October. While Top Secret claim less power (1100hp to HKS 1300 hp) it was immediately obvious how much more developed aero-wise this car is over HKS. On the Saturday it could be seen full noise on the wet track emitting a huge rooster tail behind it.


Both of the cars sounded extremely strong particularly down the straight where the noise echoes off the stands. Top Secret have made it clear from the outset that their mission statement is to “beat HKS” and any other scalps that dare take them on are simply a bonus. The refinement of the Top Secret car was clear with the team barely laying a spanner on the car all weekend and looking every bit as fast as the competition.

top secret smoky

Smokey Nagata gave us the thumbs up after the last session and explained that he cannot wait to meet the Australian fans. We certainly walked away thinking that the HKS/Top Secret battle may be an awful lot closer than people realize.


There is no question the car that everyone wanted to see was the radically re-engineered Under Suzuki S15. This car was fresh from the shop having undertaken an extensive aero re-design with the help of Andrew Brilliant. As well as the aero upgrade the car also had a major increase in power thanks to a new GCG/Garrett turbo.

suzuki rear

Even a casual glance at the rear end reveals how much work has been done to the aero package with the car now resembling an early IMSA Le Mans style car with two very distinct tunnels running deep under the rear of the car. This, along with the frontal revisions have seen the car make an enormous leap forward in the aero department.

“This car now has the goods as far as down force is concerned” said  Andrew Brilliant who was with Suzuki-san in the pit garage to assist with set up. “The CFD shows more downforce than the Nemo car which is believable seeing as we are now four years down the track from when I designed that car. The big thing will be getting it all to work together.”

“Once you introduce this type of aero there are other things that come into play from engine cooling to suspension travel and we are slowly working our way through the list. Provided we can sort all these niggling issues this car could be a winning car for sure. But that as usual is always easier said than done.”


“The other big attraction of working with Suzuki-san is that he probably has the smallest budget in the Pro Class field but gets around this by doing all the work himself from building the engine to making the moulds and laying up the carbon fibre he does the lot!” said Andrew “I think this is something that so many enthusiasts including myself can relate to. He has given up his entire life in the pursuit of this dream and I admire that”

turbo suzuki

 Suzuki-san has given up his entire life in pursuit

of his dream – you’ve got to admire that.

“We have been involved with the Suzuki for many years and are really seeing some results now” said Daniel Farrand from GCG Turbo Japan “Suzuki has been running a GCG/Garrett turbo for many years but we have recently upgraded him to the latest GTX 40/88R with a .85 housing. The latest Hypertune exhaust manifold lowers the turbo right down in the chassis rails and we have fitted a pair of high boost Turbosmart Comp-Gates.  It is now making well over 800hp”

suzuki side

Along with the other revisions Suzuki also added this neat titanium side pipe made by, yep you guessed it, Suzuki himself. Is there anything this guy can’t do?

AVO brz

Also running were Aussie ex-pats and long time time attack supporters AVO with Ross Wilson behind the wheel and father Terry Wilson twisting spanners. Many of the younger generation may not realize this but Terry Wilson is one of the true pioneers of turbocharging in Australia with a history dating way back to the 1970s.

These days he lives in Thailand and is a scrutineer for Formula One but still likes to “keep his hand in” with a bit of racing. The Subaru BRZ they have built is seriously fast whilst still retaining full street ability and looking at their lap times would be very competitive in the WTAC Clubsprint class. “Everything in this car you can buy from our catalog” said Ross Wilson “You never know, one day we may even make the journey to Sydney with it!”


Finally, the RE Amemiya Hurricane was out lapping with some more power and claimed reduction in weight. The aero has also received some minor revisions. Though the car was in the hands of the new Thai owner, Taniguchi was still in charge of the driving duties.

A return to WTAC in 2014? Watch this space.

amem and HKS

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New Warpaint for HKS R35 GTR

HKS have revealed the livery for the HKS R35 GTR that will compete at the 2014 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.

HKS_GT_R_image_plan_A _4

“This is the true HKS colour scheme that fans can relate to!” said Superlap marketing manager Greg Lysien “This is what we were hoping for and they have confirmed this last week. This is the corporate identity that has graced almost all of their famous race cars around the world with the only notable exception being the CT230R.”


“The last time we saw these colours in Australia was in 2004 when HKS competed in drag battle in their R33. We are now wondering whether we will see the Top Secret car appear in their trademark gold livery.”


arrow  Are you a WTAC virgin? Check out the Spectator’s Guide to WTAC
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
arrow  Want to live it up at WTAC? See our Hospitality Packages
arrow  Need further convincing? 10 Reasons to come to WTAC
Want to know what’s going on and when? 2014 WTAC + Formula Drift Schedule
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ