Tag: Mark Berry

Advan/ Hi Octane GTR powers up for 2012

With the new improved aero package for 2011 on the Advan/ Hi Octane R34 the quest for more horsepower was always going to be on the cards for 2012.

“The car is a totally different animal now with proper aero” said Mark Berry “What we were struggling to keep on the track before, now feels quite conservative as the car sucks itself to the track and we could certainly make use of more power especially if it is in all the right places”

The R34 was back at CNJ Motorsport in Brisbane this week and was cranking out some very serious dyno numbers thanks to some fine tuning on E85 and a switch to a totally different turbocharger

“Spiro at Dragons Lair Motorsport  in Queensland has jumped on board with support of the latest Precision Turbocharger direct from the USA” said Mark “and the first signs have been very positive, in fact we have made a gain of 70kw from our old combination. This is a fantastic result considering this is the first turbo size and combination that we have tried from the Precision range. The turbo produces very surprising results straight out of the box and we cannot wait to get it on the track. I would like to thank Spiro for his ongoing help to make even more improvements before we hit Eastern Creek in August”

Whilst we were made to promise we would not show the dyno graph we can tell you that though it produces a drag racing type horsepower figure at peak revs this 3 litre engine also appears to make buckets of power everywhere and certainly the Advan/Hi Octane team are one of the many Australians that are stepping up their game yet again before the foreigners arrive and by all accounts spending countless hours chasing every small detail to take on what can only be described as the most competitive pro time attack field yet.

Thanks to Hi Octane Racing and Yokohama ADVAN.

Advan/Hi Octane Racing R34 GTR confirmed

Hi Octane Racing has confirmed entry into World Time Attack 2012 in the black Advan backed R34 GTR. This is the same car that debuted on the podium at the final Superlap event at Oran Park 2009 and has been in a constant state of development ever since with the latest reincarnation certainly the wildest with an insane aero kit designed by ex Mc-Laren Formula One engineer Barry Lock.

“To be honest it is a totally different car with the new aero” said Mark Berry “And as we only finished the car in the week leading up to WTAC 2011 we had zero test time yet I was still able to take over two seconds of my previous years lap time, all of which I contribute to the aero”  This will give a fair indication of the potential of this car as the team were also plagued with serious mechanical gremlins last year, including the lifting of the cylinder head which forced them to run a much lower boost pressure than optimum and therefore much less power.

“We were certainly running a very conservative tune last year but after putting that much work in, our main objective was simply to be there and finish” said Mark Berry “This year will be another whole story. We will have months to fine tune the setup and also learning to drive with aero is another animal altogether. We are confident there is a few seconds still in this car, which all going well should move us up closer to the real pointy end, but having said that we also expect many other teams will be doing a lot of work in the off season too. The competition is bound to be more serious than ever in 2012”

The car is powered by a dry sump RB30 built by Hi Octane Racing with a RB26 head and stuffed full of all the good gear with CP Pistons, Pauter connecting rods and a RB26 head full of Tomei gear. Whilst they were coy about actual power figures we were told that this E85 powered monster makes somewhere around 500kw at all four wheels on maximum boost depending on turbo choice. This is another area that will be the subject of much testing but needless to say the car will now run a large single turbo of some description. The car will also run on Advan wheels with soft 295 AO50 tyres all round.

This team has been a driving force behind the time attack scene in Australia since competing in the previous R32 GTR at Tsukuba in 2007 and there is no question that they would like to add some more silverware to the cabinet. Will this be the first Australian car to run under 1.30 on R tyres? We will have to wait until August to find that out.

See this car’s full spec sheet here.

Let’s clear up some controversy.

Firstly let me just say that, despite what some internet forums may have you believe, the guys from Sierra Sierra and the Cyber Evo team have nothing but the utmost respect for each other.

These teams are both right at the very top of their game and you do not get there without some sort of passion for what you are doing. Both teams are as passionate about winning this event and often people will react with some sort of irrationality in the heat of battle. Having said that they have also both worked long and hard and travelled from across the world to get here and if they think that they are not playing on a level field they are certainly entitled to say so.

The first point that needs to be brought up is the so called “nitrous oxide protest”.

The series of events went like this. I get a phone call from Tats Kano (from Yokohama Australia) claiming that Mr Takizawa the owner “suspects” that the Sierra Sierra team must be using Nitrous oxide as there is “no way” that they could achieve that speed down the straight. I then go to the Cyber team garage to substantiate the claim but neither the Unlimited Works team members nor the Voltex guys know what I’m talking about.

I then located Mr Takizawa who told me he suspected this may be the case and was it possible for me to have my scrutineers to have a look. I replied that I would take my scrutineers up to the Sierra Sierra garage and “ask the question”. I then went up and had words with Richard Raeder (SSE) and Eric Hsu (Cosworth) and explained the situation. Both parties then said “go for your life, there is nothing to find. We are not using Nitrous.”

We have inspected the Sierra Sierra inlet system to see if there was anything we could see and there certainly was not. I am going to make this very clear that there was NO FORMAL PROTEST  and Sierra Sierra was well within their rights to say “No, if you want to lodge a protest go for it but until then you are not looking at anything” but they did not do this, as clearly they had nothing to hide.

As Eric Hsu later said to me with a smile on his face “That’s Cosworth power for you mate! People often mistake it for Nitrous!” and once again I will make perfectly clear there is absolutely no animosity between any of these teams. You can check Eric Hsu blog “beyond the dyno” here for a more detailed explanation.

The second point that needs to be clarified is the use of special “WTAC” tyres by certain Yokohama teams.

The fact is that there were several Pro Teams using this “WTAC” special tyre. This tyre is a soft compound 295/30R18 A050 that was made due to passionate requests from many Aussie teams at last year’s WTAC. All PRO / OPEN class teams who were contactable were notified about the availability of 295/30R18 A050 back in April, however the devastating earthquake in Japan delayed the production of the tyre and Yokohama Japan were still producing the tyres when the vehicles left for Australia by sea meaning the 295/30R18s for the event had to be air freighted in by Yokohama Tyre Australia.

This also meant the Aussie teams had access to the product before the Japanese teams and were able to do pre-testing (however not many Aussie cars were actually finished at that time!). Both Scorch and Cyber used 295/30R18 A050 for the first time on Saturday. The tyres they brought over in the containers with the cars were all 265/35R18 A050 (Doubters can check their carnets). Pro Teams on the 295/30R18 A050 were CyberEvo, Tilton Interiors, Scorch Racing, Hi Octane R34, Mercury MS R35 and Pulse Racing.

Yokohama management assures me they are all from the same batch sourced and fitted by our local motorsport dealer at trackside. (none of the tyres supplied to Scorch or Cyber were marked). This same 295/30R18 A050 tyre is available through any of the Yokohama Motorsport dealers but I must add that this tyre is currently available “In Australia ONLY” such is the demand for this size after WTAC! I guess you could say that makes it a “World Time Attack Special” tyre.

The third and final bit of controversy regards the tube frame in the Garage Revolution car.

In 2010 we made the decision to “open up” the rule book and allow tube frame cars into the Pro Class despite many people claiming it was “not in the spirit of time attack”. To us this is a tuner car put together by a workshop and as such is well within the 2011 rules.

In fact, it still has a fair way to go if it is to catch either the Cyber Evo or Sierra Sierra (both monocoque construction). Two seconds may not sound like much but in the world of time attack racing it is an awful lot.We believe that the face of time attack is continually changing and our fans want to see the latest and greatest cars from around the world that until now they may have only read about.

In the future we may separate “tube” and “monocoque” classes but at present there is absolutely no need. What we will be introducing for next year though is a fastest Pro RWD class trophy as this is one area that is no doubt set to grow exponentially with the Silvia and RX7 tuners.

Hope this clears things up.

Ian Baker
CEO
Superlap Australia/World Time Attack Challenge

Tactics and Mind Games in the Pits

Go back to 12 o’clock midday on Day 2 of the 2011 World Time Attack Challenge. Sierra Sierra have just pulled a 1:29.0240 lap, seemingly out of the bag, while Cyber Evo only managed a 1:29.7510.

The Cyber Evo team protest, claiming that Sierra Sierra must be running nitrous, that no car that heavy could be running speeds as fast as they were down the straight. The scrutineering team are called and the Sierra Sierra team lose a mechanic as they have to prove there was no nitrous in their car.

This all happened as the Sierra Sierra team were frantically changing a head gasket in order to get the car out for the next session. Were the Cyber team afraid they could not better the time, or merely sandbagging and masking the true potential of their car.

Of course no nitrous is found on SSE car and things go back to normal, but the SSE team is disrupted and now has to work extra hard to regroup and refocus on the task ahead.

Let’s rewind a little further back to the Thursday practice sessions during which all teams run their own timing systems, not the official timing beacons used during the two days of the WTAC. When quizzed about their lap times, most of the top teams will answer with a vague nod, a smile or a non-committal “pretty good/happy with the times/roughly what we were expecting” type of reply. Despite knowing, and we suspect in quite a lot of detail, exactly how quick their car can go, most hold their cards close to their chests, so the true potential of the car wouldn’t be easy to guess.

Another common practice is doing ‘partial lap times’. Rather than doing a full hot lap, the drivers would do a moderate lap and only push through one section of the track. Add up all the split times, and you get a good indication of the lap time the car can run, without giving the game away to the competition.

The mental game continues on the race day. With the two best sessions being the morning and late afternoon sessions in terms of track temperature, getting a good hot lap off without staying out on the track too long is crucial to making sure the car doesn’t become overstressed and have a mechanical failure.

Once on the track, the idea is to stay as far away from your direct competitor as possible as you prepare to do your hot lap. When two cars with similar capabilities are on a hot lap you really want to avoid overtaking or indeed being overtaken by another car. A competitor with similar speed might not want to concede his spot. Ideally you want a clear track ahead of you where all you need to worry about is getting around the track as fast as possible.

So despite the fact that Time Attack is not a “head to head” race, there seems to be a fair bit of tactic involved as teams try to outsmart each other in the pits and jostle for the best position for their hot lap on the track. At the top end of Time Attack, where 1/10th of a second changes you from a champion to a  runner-up, where the cars run at their limit and every single element needs to be perfect, strategy becomes a crucial part of getting that perfect lap.

Message from the CEO

Firstly, let me just say: What a weekend!
I want to thank everyone that made the journey down here to Sydney to be a part of the World Time Attack Challenge and I know we had people here from all over the globe. I am sure that anyone who walked through the gates of Eastern Creek on Friday or Saturday, with the beautiful Sydney winter sun shining down was treated to a very special experience.

I also need to thank all those whose help made this event possible and whose (often superhuman) effort ensured it runs smoothly and without any major disruptions. All the people in the race control, all the marshalls, track officials and volunteers, all our sponsors, especially Yokohama Australia and Tectaloy, media, and of course my dedicated WTAC team – without their help organsing, promoting and running this event would not be possible.

I am fairly sure the Australian motorsport community would be abuzz with the lap times set down by both the Cyber Evo and the Sierra Sierra cars as the winning time of 1.28.85 is now a full second quicker than the Sports Sedan record held by James Sera in a tube frame, mid-mount, 6-litre Chev Saab Aero on big, fat slick tyres. This record lap time is even more incredible when you take into account that these time attack cars run road legal tyres!

One of the most noticeable things this year was the caliber of Australian time attack cars throughout all classes. There is no doubt in my mind that Australia has responded to the challenge set by last year’s WTAC with many of the top Australian Pro teams ready to chase down the podium in coming years. Tilton Interiors is one team that comes to mind with a sensational fourth place this year for Garth Walden. Mark Berry is another very strong contender in the Advan/ Hi Octane Racing R34 GTR. The two R35s of Mercury Motorsports and GT Autogarage also showed very serious promise, keeping in mind both are very new cars with limited test time. The crazy MCA S13 is another to keep an eye on, again another new car with no test time that managed to run some very stout numbers.

Also evident at this year’s event, was just how many cars in the Open Class closely resembled Pro Cars and with the lap times tumbling it was clear how much effort these teams have put in over the past 12 months. To give you an idea, in 2010 a time of 1.40 would have won you the second place trophy but this year there were 15 cars running under the 1 minute 40 mark! The winner of the Open Class was Nik Kalis who won the Clubsprint Class in 2010 so one can only wonder where this guy is heading!

The theme continued in the Clubsprint Class with the top 8 cars running under a minute forty five which would have seen second place in 2010. Marek Tomaszewski claimed the title this year in his R35 GTR with Miles Tauber in the second R35 claiming runner up and showing that the R35 is the car to beat in this class.

Anyone that did not make it up on the hill to see the Tectaloy International Drift Challenge under lights missed out on what is undoubtedly one of the best drift shows our country has ever seen with many video clips from the event going viral within hours of hitting youtube.

Seeing Mad Mike light up the sky in the fire breathing RX7 is something many fans will remember for a long long time and by the end of Saturday night the Kiwi contingent certainly showed the Aussies that they have had a lot more practice in recent years with Curt Whittaker taking the win in the 2JZ powered Skyline from fellow Kiwi Daynom Templeman and Beau Yates the highest placed Aussie in third place. There is certain to be a showdown next year with the Kiwis already making their plans for 2012 clear.

The Meguiar’s Show’n’Shine also stepped it up several notches on Saturday with the skidpan filled to the bream with everything from show cars to exotic Italian thoroughbreds giving fans a feast of non-stop eye candy. For the fans of motorsport history the “Legends of the Turbo Era” proved a big drawcard with all the cars doing a demo lap around the track at lunch.

And lastly how could you not have enjoyed walking through the pit area with almost every single performance tuner brand represented. The effort that the companies are putting into their trade stands is extraordinary and this is what makes our event so special. You can see everything in one place and talk first hand to the tech guys from each company. It’s a unique opportunity that does not come around very often. One quote that sticks in my mind from one of the traders was “this is probably the closest thing Australia has to the American SEMA trade show for tuner parts!”

I guess you could say we have come a fair way in four short years. From the day I was sitting on that freezing pit wall at Tsukuba trying to figure out how I could make this concept work back in Australia, to standing in the pits at Eastern Creek talking to Ken Anderson from Cosworth USA and have him tell me “with the exception of Nascar and maybe Road Atlanta this event is bigger than any road racing event in North America and this is time attack! Unbelievable!”

And the reason it works is because of the support we have had. And I mean that from the top down. The support from the sponsors, the support from the industry, the support from the fans, and the support from the teams that have put all the effort in to build these cars. And the support from YOU! The fact that you are sitting there reading this, is showing support for what we are doing and for that we are eternally grateful.

So where to from here? Well, I can tell you World Time Attack Challenge is here to stay and we will be back, bigger and better in 2012! As the Cyber team said to me as we closed the door on the last shipping container bound for Japan “DOMO ARIGATO” – Thank you very much!

Ian Baker
CEO Superlap Australia