Tag: honda

Pro Am Class: Down to the Wire

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Such was Mick Sigsworth’s dominance of the Garrett Pro Am class over the last three years that the pre-event rumour mill concentrated on who will come second and third rather than trying to predict the class winner. As it happened Mick came dangerously close to losing his Pro Am title this year and not to the hard-charging Chris Alexander in his powerful R32GTR either. The challenge came from a much more diminutive contender…

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Team PMQ had a rather conservative first day. While there were no obvious problems with the car, Mick was visibly off the pace against the field and certainly way off his best time.

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The exact opposite can be said of Rob Nguyen who made his intentions clear right from the start smashing out a 1:29.28 and finishing Day One in the No.1 spot, ahead of Sigsworth on 1:29.89.

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Things didn’t improve for Sigsworth in the morning of Day Two with Chris Alexander laying down a 1:29.62 and pushing the PMQ Evo into third.

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Sigsworth finally found his mojo and responded in style with a 1:27.45 leaping over both Alexander and Nguyen straight into the No.1 spot. There was a noticeable sigh of relief from the PMQ garage as Mick crossed the finish line. Watch Sigsworth’s fastest lap below.

 

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Disaster struck in the second session with a fuel filter on the PMQ Evo catching on fire. Fortunately the fire was quickly contained and put out and the crew worked quickly to get the car ready for the Superlap Shootout.

“It looked worse than it really was” recalls Mick Sigsworth, “The damage wasn’t really serious but once the car got covered with fire extinguisher foam it looked really bad.”

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Once again it looked like the class winner was going to be decided during the Superlap Shootout with Rob Nguyen pushing hard in the afternoon session and improving his time to 1:28.85.

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Sigsworth went all out in the Shootout but failed to improve on his earlier time. Rob Nguyen put down an incredible lap in the Mighty Mouse, with sector times showing him ahead of Sigsworth at half track. A small cornering error cost Rob a valuable fraction of a second and possibly a class win as he crossed the finish line with a time of 1:27.61. Only 0.2 of second behind Sigsworth’s class-winning 1:27.45. Watch Rob Nguyen’s fastest lap below.

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Chris Alexander also saved his best till last running his fastest lap of the event during the shootout. A time of 1:29.42 secured him a place on the class podium.

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Brad Trenwith had a very successful debut of his brand new RX7 completed only weeks before the event. He finished 4th in the class with a 1:33.462.

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Troy Patterson had to retire his Subaru early due to mechanical issues but not before recording a respectable 1:35.289.

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Dale Malone also debuted his freshly completed ex-GT300 S15. The car is still in development but we’re expecting the times to drop dramatically once it’s all sorted.

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Congratulations to Mick Sigsworth who now holds four consecutive Pro Am titles, the only driver or team to ever achieve that in WTAC history. He is still the man to beat but, as this year’s times show, his stranglehold on the class is diminishing.

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Congratulations must also go to Rob Nguyen. The Mighty Mouse CRX is not only the fastest FWD at WTAC, it is also the fastest FWD ever to race at the Sydney Motorsport Park.

Helpful Links

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The Mightiest Mouse just got even Mightier!

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With its strong motorsport heritage in everything from Formula One and Indy Car to sports car racing and touring cars it was only a matter of time before Honda became a force to be reckoned with on the world of time attack scene. One of the most prominent guys leading the charge is Queensland-based Rob Nguyen and his insane ‘Mighty Mouse 101’ Honda CRX.

The team already enjoys a worldwide following and this year with a host of new mods the car looks set to tackle the front runners in the hotly contested Pro Am category. We caught up with Rob as he was busy preparing for WTAC 2016 at 101 Motorsports in Brisbane.

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WTAC: This car has always intrigued us. Give us a little history lesson on your career in time attack racing and the beginnings of the ‘Mighty Mouse’.

Rob Nguyen: I attended the first WTAC at Eastern Creek in 2010 as a spectator. On that day I vowed never to be a spectator again. The mission was quite simple, to have the fastest naturally aspirated front wheel drive. As my first car happened to be a Honda CRX, that’s what I started with. It proved to be the perfect car for this project. 

WTAC: For many years you ran an NA engine in various guises including a four throttle setup. Even though fairly underpowered compared to the competition you still fared well.

RN: Yes, true to the Honda spirit we stayed naturally aspirated for as long as we could. JHH Racing quickly maximized the potential of our 2.5L Honda race engine. Some motors made close to 300whp but my fastest engine didn’t have the most power but the most torque.

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No one corners as fast or brakes as late as the Mouse!

Compared to our force inducted competitors who have 2 to 3 times the power of the Mouse, we had to focus on our strengths – cornering and braking. The truth is, no one corners as fast or brakes as late as the Mouse. We have data showing minimum speeds of 165kph at T7 (Corporate Hill). This year, dare I say, we will tip 170km with the wider tyres.

Currently we still hold the record for fastest naturally aspirated car at WTAC. I think this time might be beaten by a couple of RX7s this year but our record of Fastest Naturally Aspirated Front Wheel Drive I hope will stand for some time as we still have a margin of about 4 seconds!

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WTAC: Last year you changed to a supercharged engine. What impact did it have on the car and your driving style?

RN: As you can imagine, doubling the power output has totally changed the character of the car. We still ran the smallest tyre of the field (225s), so traction was a nightmare. Turbosmart helped us with their gates and we bleed boost according to gear.

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Heat management too was an issue, carbon parts are vulnerable to extreme heat, so special attention was needed with reflective and insulating material. We also underestimated our top speed. We hit the rev limiter at the start/finish line. Good thing Momentum Motorsport from the UK quickly dispatched their tallest final drive allowing us to hit 270km/h!

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WTAC: Judging by the look and shape of the aero design Barry Lock must have played a part in the vehicle’s development?

RN: Barry certainly has played a huge role. He is one of the last old school trained engineers who know all aspects of vehicle performance.  From design to aero dynamics, suspension geometry, structure loadings and vehicle dynamics. Not much more needs to be said, his cars speak for themselves.

I cannot emphasize the importance of a good engineer if you want to be a serious contender at WTAC. Teams may be turned off by the initial costings but the return on investment is better than what NOS does to an engine in terms of HP.  

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WTAC: You seemed to have gotten the engine builder and tuner formula right from the start too…

RN: Absolutely. Its no accident that JHH Racing supplies the most engines in WTAC, not to mention multiple outright and class winning engines too. If you put together JHH Racing with 101 Motorsport it’s the synergy between the shops that makes a winning formula.

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You might see the Mouse rocking close to 600whp this year!

WTAC: You are making some changes that should make a serious impact to your lap times this year…

RN: This year will be another leap in performance. Going from 225 tyres to 295 is quite a big deal. We will be gaining from lateral grip and braking but the biggest chunk of time will be the traction out of corners and not needing to short shift. It wasn’t as simple as fitting bigger wheels. A lot needed to be changed. Larger tyres meant we lost 30mm in ride height (disaster for aero). We needed to tub both front and rear wheel wells and move the front suspension pickups to keep the desirable geometry.

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We also have a few tricks left on the engine side. Don’t be surprised if you see us rocking close to 600Whp this year!

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WTAC: What are your goals for WTAC 2016?

RN: The same as every other year really. To reach our target lap time which unfortunately I cannot disclose at this time. Would be nice to be in the Top 5 outright this year though.

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WTAC: We heard a rumour you may run overseas in the future. Can you let out any secrets here?

RN: There’s no secret that we have a desire to attack Tsukuba next year. It would be a dream as I believe we have a package that would move the goal post by quite a margin over there. With a bit of help from some local sponsors I hope to be able to make this a reality.

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WTAC: And lastly what advice can you give guys getting into the sport of time attack?

RN:  My advice for those into time attack in general is this: purebreds will always win.

In time attack, weight is king! Biggest mistakes I see in time attack is over engineering (carrying unnecessary weight). I see pictures of five guys standing on the splitter yet it only makes the downforce worth 1 guy. 80L fuel tanks when you only need 15L, running radiators at the rear when your car weighs 1500kgs, running lexan windows and using 100 steel screws to mount it. I can go on forever but you get the idea!

WTAC: Thanks Rob. We wish you best of luck in October.

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Rob would like to thank:

• The boys at 101 Motorsport who clock off work most afternoon then jump over to the Mouse. Without them, none of this would be possible.
• Brad at Cawthorne Composites. Absolutely the best carbon guy in the game and regularly burns the midnight old for us WTAC teams.
• Haltech and Hypertune. Those guys not only supply world class products but embrace WTAC and have for many years always opened the doors for us when we need access.
• The boys at Crawford Smash Repairs are responsible for the show and shine quality paint work.
• Momentum Motorsport. Andrew there is our connection to Europe and supplies us their Quaife QKE8J sequential gear box.
• Last but not least, big thanks to all the Mouse supporters all over the world!


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arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
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Keiichi Tsuchiya is coming to WTAC!

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Almost every country has one indisputable motorsport icon. In Australia the late Peter Brock was our “King of the Mountain”, in the USA it is Richard Petty with a long and colorful career in NASCAR. In Japan there is only one person who can lay claim to such title and his name is Keiichi Tsuchiya.

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When it comes to legends of motorsport in Japan few can touch Tsuchiya-san not only for the number of cars he has driven to victory over the years but the sheer diversity of vehicles he has competed in. His depth of involvement in the auto enthusiast scene as a whole is unsurpassed and just to have him at WTAC as a guest would be an honour.

We can now officially confirm that not only will Keiichi Tsuchiya be attending WTAC, he will also be on track, driving, on both days! Before we go any further though, a little history lesson might be in order.

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Back in 1977 Tsuchiya-san had been honing his skills on the togue courses in the hills of Japan before joining the Freshman series. At this time he also filmed the now famous Pluspy video skilfully drifting his Toyota AE86. Keep in mind this is all in a day and age where in-car video recording was almost unheard of.

It’s believed that these videos along with Tsuchiya-san’s expert driving inspired the whole sport of drift. By the late 90s many ametuer  drift events were being held around Japan and in 2000 Keiichi Tsuchiya together with Daijiro Inada, founder of Option magazine and Tokyo Auto Salon founded the D1 Grand Prix.

This was the first professional Japanese drift series, effectively giving Tsuchiya the unofficial title of the “Founder of Drift”. Amazingly enough, this is only one small part of Tsuchiya’s incredibly eventful career.

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Throughout the 1980s Tsuchiya-san competed in All Japan Touring Car Championship taking many class wins in his famous D2 Toyota AE86. It was during this time that he would  often drift the car around the circuit for the last lap (even when in the lead) to entertain the crowd. This earned him the title of “The Drift King”.

He also competed in Civics, BMWs and Ford Sierras rapidly gaining a reputation as a formidable wheel man. It’s important to note that all along the way Tsuchiya competed against drivers who all came from wealthy backgrounds and thus enjoyed a considerable funding advantage.

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By 1992 Tsuchiya-san had firmly established himself as a top racing driver and his services were in demand. He found himself driving the now famous Taisan GTR in Group A JTCC and was more often than not chasing for the lead. But this was still only a foundation for the greatness that would follow.

 

In 1994 Tsuchiya-san had received a call from Honda. They wanted to enter an NSX in the Le Mans 24 hour race and they wanted him to be one of the drivers. The team finished a credible 18th that year but returned the following year for a class win. With Tsuchiya behind the wheel, Honda also won the Tokachi 12 Hour race outright and finished 5th in the Suzuka 1000. This kicked off a relationship with Honda Racing that lasts until today.

Over the next few years Tsuchiya-san drove everything from Supras to Porsches and Dodge Vipers in JGTC. In 1997 he returned to Le Mans and qualified 10th in a Japanese-entered McLaren F1 but sadly the car failed to finish the race with mechanical issues, something that would make him a whole lot hungrier the following year.

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By 1998 Toyota had launched a Sports Car development program to try to win in the LeMans 24hr. Despite being built by Team Toyota Europe, the car, known as the GT One, had an all-Japanese driver lineup with Keiichi Tsuchiya selected to drive alongside Ukyo Katayama and Toshiyo Suzuki.  The team finished 9th outright on debut before returning the following year chasing an outright victory.

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Once again Tsuchiya was selected to drive what was widely considered a winning car along with Ukyo Katayama. After battling for the lead with Mercedes and BMW, the car suffered a tyre failure forcing it into the pits. Consequently Katayama was unable to challenge for the lead and finished in second place behind the BMW.

From 2001-03 Tsuchiya-san competed behind the wheel of the Team Arta Honda NSX in Super GT. He retired from professional racing in 2003 but to this day remains heavily involved as the manager of Honda Racing Super GT.

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In 2007 Tsuchiya-san was reunited with the legendary ARTA Honda NSX at Tsukuba circuit for a lap record attempt where he promptly lapped the circuit in 51.6 seconds some 1.2 seconds under the course record at the time.

Just like his Pluspy video 30 years earlier this clip was seen worldwide, this time serving as an inspiration to to the rapidly emerging sport of time attack racing. To date only one team has been able to better this time and that is Suzuki-san in the Scorch Racing S15 (it is worth noting the NSX time was set on slick tyres).  The two Tsukuba champions will meet for the first at WTAC this year.


“We are both honoured and excited to have Tsuchiya-san at this year’s event,” said WTAC promoter, Ian Baker, “This is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to meet this legendary Japanese motorsport icon and see him in action.”

So what will Tsuchiya-san be doing at WTAC? When we spoke with him he said: I am keen to do anything, as long as it makes the fans happy!” And we intend to give him the tools to do just that! Stay tuned.

Images courtesy of Speedhunters.com


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

WTAC Tickets Now On Sale!

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More bang for your buck

We have always been focus on providing our spectators great value for money and this year we’re taking it to a whole new level offering you even better value for money this year. While other events are restricting access for general entry spectators, your WTAC general entry pass will still get your everywhere (well, almost, you won’t be able to get into VIP rooms or the restricted competitors’ area).

If you get a 2-Day WTAC Superpass you get 2 full days and 2 full nights of time attack and drifting action with access to all the attractions including the grand stand and pit building roof. Your ticket also includes on-site parking! On top of that, this year we will also be offering special “afternoon only” passes for those who only want to see drift. And as always, kids under 12 get in for free!

So book your ticket now and tell your friends. Afterall, there is no better way to enjoy WTAC than with your mates.

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WTAC 2016 Ticket Pricing

Ticket Type Price Online Price At The Gate
 FRIDAY full day  $30  $40
 SATURDAY full day  $50  $60
 FRIDAY half day (entry after 5pm)  $20  $30
SATURDAY half day (entry after 5pm)  $30  $40
1.5 Day Superpass (Friday after 5pm + Saturday full day)  $60*  N/A
2 Day Superpass (Friday full day + Saturday full day)  $70*  N/A

*Available Online only.
Kids under 12 years FREE.

What do you get with your WTAC ticket

• Entry to all WTAC activities including International Drift Challenge, Show’n’Shine, Flying 500, Motorsport Legends, Miss Time Attack.
• Access to all spectator areas including Pit Garage Roof, Turn One Viewing Area, the Grand Stand, ARDC Cafe.
• On-site parking.

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WTAC 2016 VIP Hospitality Packages Pricing

Package Type Price Online Price At The Gate
 VIP Lounge Pass (includes 2 Days Superpass)  $220  N/A
 VIP Ultimate Fan Pass  (includes 2 Days Superpass)  $399  N/A

What do you get with your VIP Hospitality Package

VIP Lounge:
• 2 Day Superpass
• VIP Parking
• 2 Day VIP Lounge Access (air conditioned with a private balcony)
• 2 Day Catering Package (incl Morning Tea and Lunch)
• $30 WTAC Merchandise Voucher

VIP Ultimate Fan:
• 2 Day Superpass
• VIP Parking
• 2 Day Ultimate Fan Room Access (air conditioned with a private balcony)
• 2 Day Catering Package (incl Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea)
• 2 Day Soft Drink / Beverage Package
• Exclusive Garage Tour
• Exclusive Driver Signing Session
• Lucky Door Prize – Race Car Passenger Rides
• $30 WTAC Merchandise Voucher

CLICK HERE for more information about WTAC VIP Packages.

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arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
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  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
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arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park

Full Frontal Assault

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If you told us six years ago that front wheel drive Hondas will dominate both Clubsprint and Open classes we would have probably shook our heads at the unlikely odds of that scenario coming to pass. Alas, six years later, that exact scenario became reality.

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2015 was a truly defining year for the front wheel drive and, to a great extent, also the Honda Civic platform. Front wheel drive cars proved they can not only match but beat their RWD and AWD counterparts.

While some were quick to dismiss the wins as a “fluke” we couldn’t disagree more. The class wins by Adam Casmiri and Daniel Meredith were a result of good preparation, great driving and a testament to a well-sorted, well balanced and superbly reliable package.

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Adam Casmiri’s wining time of 1:30.70 might have been slower than Dean Lillie’s 2014 time (even if only by 0.3 sec) but it’s important to note that last year’s Superlap Shootout was rained out.

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Had the good weather held for another hour, the smart money would have been on Casmiri going all out and setting a new class record.

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And let’s not forget Adam managed to fight off a hard-charging Tarzan Yamada in an incredibly quick RevZone EVO9.

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Daniel Meredith’s story is equally fascinating. Here is a car that (with the possible exception of the rear wing) could pass for a street car. In fact, many confused it for such while it was parked outside its garage in the trader area.

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But in the skilful hands of Meredith, this pocket rocket absolutely ruled the class traditionally dominated by all-wheel-drives. So quick was the BYP Civic that to fully appreciate its achievement one needs to look at the cars it beat to the title.

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David Lord in his WRX was Daniel’s most serious challenger but ended up half a second behind in a runner-up spot. Only 0.1 second behind Lord was a WTAC veteran, Jason Naidoo in an Evo 9.

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Nobody can question the skill and determination of Naidoo or Lord, both seasoned time attack drivers and both with WTAC podium placings under their belts. Both charged hard and pushed Meredith all the way, which is what makes his achievement all the more impressive.

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Daniel also managed to beat the 2015 Clubsprint winning lap time of 1:39.44, set by Dan Farquar in an Evo 9.

As the saying goes; when the flag drops, the bullshit stops, and last year those two Civics delivered all the FWD and Honda doubters a generously sized slice of humble pie. The age of fwd has arrived at WTAC, and we, for one, welcome it with a smile.

Honourable Mentions

It’s hard to have an article praising the achievement of the WTAC front wheel drive brigade without mentioning these amazing teams.

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Rob Nguyen’s Mighty Mouse CRX. Probably the most recogniseable time attack Honda world-wide, Mighty Mouse has a string of WTAC podiums under its belt and with a lap time of 1:29.517 it well and truly belongs to the WTAC Pro Am elite.

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Also flying the Honda flag in Pro Am is Luke Ryall. Luke’s Civic is a consistent performer and with a lap time of 1:35.50 it’s no slouch either!

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Another Honda from the BYP stable is this infamous Integra DC5. In the very capable hands of Benny Tran the car clocked 1:31.49 back in 2014. This car has been developed further since this so will unquestionably be faster. Let’s hope we see them back at WTAC 2016.

With many years of AWD domination it would seem that the front wheel drive brigade have done the unthinkable in both Clubsprint and Open Classes and we have to wonder whether a Pro Am win may also be acheivable for Mighty Mouse given optimum conditions and another year of testing. Whatever the case, take every single FWD entry very seriously as they have more than proven their capabilities and can mix it with the best.

Bring on WTAC 2016 so we can all find out!

Class of 2015: Open

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Described by many as the most interesting class to watch at WTAC, the furiously fast and wildly unpredictable Open Class has been getting plenty of international attention and for a good reason!

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The quality of builds and their equally impressive lap times are two reasons why this class is so popular. Another reason why Open class is getting so much attention is the extremely close competition. This year the top 4 times were all within a second of each other.

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Although the rules are a lot less restrictive than in Clubsprint class, they are still heavily limited. The teams have to push to the absolute limits to get ahead of the of the competition and make the most of their limited aero.  No car ever managed to win Open class for two years in a row there’s no room to be complacent.

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Open Class has a large diversity of makes and models which makes for interesting approaches to design. This unique approach to building a competitive time attack car saw the first ever FWD car take out the class win this year.

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The JDM Yard/Hardrace Civic piloted by Adam Casmiri was definitely punching above i’s weight in a sea of Skylines, Evos and other RWD and AWD cars but still managed to come out on top with a time of 1:30.7010.

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After a bitter disqualification in 2014, the Revzone team came back determined to win. Tarzan Yamada pushed the car hard all weekend till the very end. He missed out on the top spot by literally a fraction of a second with a 1:30.7170.

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Even though he only managed to get a few laps in before a fatal engine failure, the reigning champion Dean Lillie put down a 1:31.4558 in the Steve Ka/Powertune R34 GTR. Enough to keep him on the podium in 3rd place.

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A crowd favourite Paul McKinnon ran his Porsche 944 steadily all weekend but missed out on the podium by just a tenth of a second. His best lap of 1:31.568 was the fastest RWD time in the class and fourth fastest RWD outright!

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Driven by a WTAC veteran Steve Glenney, Insight Motorsport S2000 claimed 5th spot with 1:31.733.

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Nik Kalis was sidelined early on Friday due to transmission problems. He managed to get the car running again and place 5th with a 1:32.807.

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All the way from New Zealand, the 3 Rotor Racing team recorded a 1:32.818 on their first ever outing to SMSP.

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John Boston couldn’t improve on RTR’s last year podium finish, dropping to 8th place with a time of 1:32.838.

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Time Macrow in the Royal Purple / IS Motor Racing Evo 9 – 1:33.311.

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Matt Cole in the MC Towing RX7 – 1:33.459.

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Andrew Hawkins’ JET200 S15 was the fastest S-chassis in the class with 1:33.798.

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Nicholas Bates in the V-Sport Toyota 86 – 1:34.548.

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Robert Gooley in the freshly rebuilt Gools Evo – 1:34.584, almost two seconds quicker than last year!

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Kim Tai in the Mini Disc Race Division Evo managed 1:34.638 despite an early setback.

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Steven Johnson in the WBT Racing R33 Skyline – 1:34.934.

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John Bright in the BPG Motorsport R32 GTR – 1:35.556.

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Nick Ashwin in the NA Autosport & Engineering Evo VI – 1:36.676.

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Matt Longhurst debuted the Intergrated Motorsport Nissan R34 GTR with a 1:37.159.

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Drew Hall in the Croydon Racing Developments R34 GTR – 1:37.268.

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Aussie muscle is always a welcomed sight at WTAC. This DS Motorsport/Streamline Auto Holden Monaro was no exception. Its best lap – 1:38.560.

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Nev Scott in the Car Mods Australia Subaru – 1:40.379.

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Nathan Halstead in the AED Racing R32 GTR – 1:40.425.

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Mark Bouffier in the Nova-Comm Mitsubishi Evo 9 – 1:40.7790

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John Wright in the Elite Autohous Subaru WRX STi – 1:41.656.

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Brian Bugh in the Just Car Insurance Corvette – 1:42.196.

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Kat Benson in the BurgerFuel Evo 9 – 1:44.562.

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Topstage Composites showcased their brand new carbon fibre Mazda RX7FD. Driven by Jason Dorrington it stopped the clock at 1:44.041.

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Ben Wright in the Evolution Motorsport Mazda RX7FC – 1:51.681.

Helpful Links

arrow  Relive all the action: Watch the 2015 Live Re-Stream
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Tilton’s Winning Lap
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Sigsworth’s Pro Am Winning Lap
arrow  Understanding WTAC: Rules, aerodynamics and control tyres explained