Tag: mca

Class of 2015: Pro Class

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This year’s Pro class featured the most interesting and diverse field to date with competitors from as far as Scotland and USA.

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International competitors got a taste of Australia’s extreme weather with the scorching heat pushing many teams to a breaking point.

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One of the early casualties was Andy Forrest’s Subaru. Representing Scotland, Andy dialled in some serious times during testing until his transmission gave out.

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Notaras Motorsport debuted their brand new car with Jack Le Brocq behind the wheel. With very limited testing before the event the car was plagued with mechanical issues.

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Insight Motorsport’s Astra also suffered from a mechanical failure retiring with a time of 1:38.342.

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LYFE Motorsport represented USA with their brand new R35 GTR. Many saw this car as a serious podium threat, unfortunately a melted piston nearly ruled them out on Friday.

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A sleepless night spent fitting a donated engine meant they could return in the morning with a running car and post a respectable 1:32.405 with a close to stock engine.

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SVA Imports’ Evo VI proved it can mix it with the best in the world. Gareth Lloyd managed to set a 1:29.928 on low boost before a fire within the engine cut their competition short.

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Dominator Evo stepped up from Pro Am this year with Steve Glenney behind the wheel.

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They finished in 5th spot and managed to shave 2.5 seconds off their previous best with a 1:29.223 lap time.

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RP 968 was a brand new entry for 2015. The build was completed only days before WTAC and its first time on the track was during testing on Thursday.

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It was evident that the car needed a lot of testing and refining but there is no denying its potential. With David Wall behind the wheel RP 968 kept improving throughout the weekend and finished the event in 4th place with a time of 1:26.80.

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Under Suzuki had more than a fair share of problems this year. With a new aero and a more powerful engine the car looked ready to take on the reigning champ.

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Unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan for Suzuki. After suffering engine problems on Thursday and eventually blowing it by Friday afternoon, Suzuki’s team worked through the night to install a spare and had the car ready for maximum attack on Saturday.

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Alas it was not to be. The spare engine only lasted one lap before giving out on Saturday afternoon. Suzuki eventually threw in the towel with his last quick lap of 1:25.8476 keeping him on the podium in 3rd place.

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MCA Suspension spent the months leading up to WTAC crafting a brand new, full carbon S13.

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Even though they only managed one quick shakedown before the event, their efforts paid off with Shane Van Gisbergen pushing hard and claiming 2nd place with a 1:25.371.

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One of the most experienced time attack teams, Tilton Interiors came into the competition with a well prepared and refined car.

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With plenty of testing and development before the event, the reigning champions didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

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When the weather cooled down late on Saturday, Garth made a break for it in the last session before the Superlap Shootout. Stringing his best lap together, he recorded a 1:23.777 taking his third consecutive WTAC title and setting a new tin top record at SMSP.

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A well deserved win for a team that has worked its way up through the ranks and, once at the top, proved through their determination and professionalism to be great ambassadors of time attack around the world.

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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 

The Aero Advantage – interview with Barry Lock

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There is no question that the biggest factor in the rapid progression of time attack racing in Australia has been the advances in aerodynamics and the employment of qualified aerodynamicists by many teams. The “downforce factor” is by far the biggest advantage, far more than engine horsepower or vehicle dynamics and no more has this been apparent than in the Pro and more recently the Pro Am classes where the aero is largely unrestricted.

One such engineer that has been kept extremely busy by the time attack community is ex McLaren F1 engineer Barry Lock. We caught up with Barry and asked him a bit about what he has been up to.

WTAC: Thanks for your time Barry. You have been involved in some really cool stuff over the years. You worked for McLaren in Formula One. Tell us a bit about that.

Barry:  Complete and total dedication but sheer joy for almost everyone involved. Six years of being privileged to have a broad focus which, nowadays in the space race such as Formula One has become, would be far narrower.

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WTAC: And then you were involved in the design of a certain Australian Supercar called the Giocattolo…

Barry: It was Paul Halstead’s concept, my engineering and Holden’s support. A mid-engine V8 which used part of an Alfa Sud as its basis for the chassis. It even used carbon kevlar in the primary structure. This was a full on attempt at a production vehicle with a full ADR compliance.

The support from Holden and the access to their laboratory and testing facilities was unprecedented. Holden supplied special engines to us, built with some of our components and we had a true production line setup with cars on a line being supplied with major component assemblies. One of our early test vehicles for emissions testing I drove to Lang Lang from Caloundra. When the Holden engineers asked where the transporter is, and were told there wasn’t one, they immediately assumed that it wouldn’t pass. It did! 

We had a wonderful association with Holden  it’s a pity that we didn’t have the same association with the Queensland Government, at the time. The car now seems to have quite a “cult” following.

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WTAC: You also had your own brand of open wheel cars called Kaditcha?

Barry: With Kaditcha cars, we built a number of Formula 2, Formula Pacific and Sports cars. Probably one of the best known in this group is the Cosworth 3.9 Sports car of Bap Romano. There were a number of cars which didn’t have the Kaditcha name, but for which I have been responsible. One was the Pantera GT, originally driven by Kevin Bartlett and more recently Larry Perkins. These were so prominent at the time, that they featured on Wheetbix packets!

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WTAC: So I guess with all that racing history behind you, the next question is how did you get so heavily involved in the time attack scene?

Barry: I thoroughly enjoy the classes that are relatively open with minimal restrictions and the challenge of just simply outright performance without the intervention of endurance and strategy considerations. Bringing all the elements together to focus upon just one thing, outright speed!

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WTAC: All of your cars have a very unique design what many refer to as “Queensland style” aero that is not dissimilar to the early IMSA or JGTC cars. Did you ever work in either of those fields or is this just the designs that you find work the best?

Barry: No, I’ve not been involved with IMSA or JGTC cars. I try to give as much ‘Bang for Buck’ as is possible, primarily by reducing complexity as much as possible.

WTAC: We are told that you design most of your stuff the “old school” way; using mathematical equations and actual paper drawings as opposed to CFD. Do you see this as a disadvantage?

Barry: No, quite the opposite, as it requires an awareness of relationships between cause and effect which is not immediately evident in much of the Computer Driven solutions. I am occasionally approached by engineering students with Computer Driven proposals and my first question always is: “What do you understand by E=MC2?”  Rob Marshall,  Red Bull’s designer alongside Adrian Newey, asks: “What do you understand by Archimedes Principle?”

There are particular areas which are highly beneficial to computational analysis and modelling. My view is to rely upon these tools when necessary but to be able to ‘live’ the car with it on the drawing board as it’s there in full, last thing at night and first thing in the morning.

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WTAC: We understand that Adrian Newey (Red Bull F1 chief designer) has a similar approach to yours?

Barry: Yes, I have seen Adrian Newey’s full size drawing board previously at McLarens. While talking to Rob Marshall, Red Bull F1 chief designer, I asked Adrian if he still has the full size board? Back came the slightly indignant reply, “How do you mean Adrian? I have one also!”  

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WTAC:  You and Murray (MCA Suspension) have been friends a long time and this year he is really serious about getting his car at the front of the pack. What can you tell us about the MCA car?

Barry: You have to ask Murray about that.

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WTAC: The Mighty Mouse CRX has been an interesting project, what sort of potential do you think it has if all the ducks can line up on the day?

Barry: Even though Robert Nguyen’s performance last year over the course of a lap was not consistent, embedded in the data was some interesting stuff, such as 2.7 Gs lateral acceleration and a sector time over the back equal to outright cars. Obviously this doesn’t equate to an outright time but if Robert can put it all together with just 300 horsepower on tap, who knows?

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WTAC: And lastly, Mick Sigsworth has been on a mission the past couple of years and I know there are big plans that have been kept a bit hush hush. What can we expect from that car this year?

Barry: Mick is a highly methodical, determined competitor. Mick’s car should run on the dyno in a couple of weeks. It is still clearly identifiable as an EVO, we felt that its heritage was important but it certainly has had more than just a few tweaks!

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WTAC: Do you have any other projects on the go that may appear this year, and can you tell us about them?

Barry: (laughs)  Yes, and No.

WTAC: Thanks for you time Barry, we look forward to seeing you in October!

If you would like to contact Barry, the best way is to send him an email on lock28@bigpond.com

WTAC 2013: Setup Day

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Sydney Motorsport Park is quickly transforming from a race track to the grand central of time attack. For the next three days this will be the hub of all things drift and time attack.

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Today is the set up day. You can almost taste the excitement in the air as a long stream of competitors arrive with their cars in tow. The garages fill up quickly with crews and cars shed body panels and bonnets to display their inner secrets.

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All the international teams are here today and the atmosphere is electric. If you’re still sitting on the fence, hopefully these images will help you to make up your mind and get down to the Sydney Motorsport Park this Friday and Saturday for a motorsport event like no other!

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Royal Purple Pro Class Form Guide 2013

Every year we give you our “staff picks” form guide for the Pro Class and more often than not we end up fairly close. Having said that, this is motor racing so anything can and often does happen. These vehicles are so highly strung these days the stress they put on components is exceptionally high. With many of the fastest turbo cars now running in excess of 40psi boost pressure and well over 800 horsepower there is no team that is impervious to mechanical failure as they all dance on a thin line between “winning it and binning it” making for an extremely exciting event that could well fall into the hands of any of the competitors. Our picks for the year are as follows:

1. Nemo Racing  3:1

The champion returns this year in a freshly rebuilt car to comply with the 2013 rulebook. This included the addition of weight but we hear a whole heap more horsepower so no matter what they will be faster. In fact, we believe probably faster than last year. Driver Warren Luff will be in absolute peak form after competing at Bathurst with Red Bull Racing V8 Supercars team the week prior and no doubt these are the guys to beat.

2. Tilton Interiors 4:1

This car has just returned from Japan where it underwent wind tunnel testing and a whole aero redesign. The engine has also has a freshen up and the transmission is now paddle shifted. Garth Walden has done more laps of SMSP than any man on earth which gives him a “home track” advantage. The team is well resourced and has an extensive spare parts inventory. If anyone can take it to Nemo it is Tilton. The only downside is no testing as yet with the new aero.

3. Scorch Racing 4.5:1

Now this is one guy to watch very carefully. He now has Andrew Brilliant on his team and has been making some serious progress with refinements to the aero package making the car a lot more drivable and stable. He has clocked 52 seconds at Tsukuba circuit and from what we hear the car is much faster than that now so anything is possible. He has also done has done a lot of testing in Japan in the off season. Forget the “underdog” tag, it is now a thing of the past as Suzuki-san has now become a force to be reckoned with and and is bringing with him a reasonable spares inventory to keep him on track. If there was a prize for determination he would win hands down but we also think he may well be close to where he really wants to be – and that is on the winner’s step of the podium!

4. Top Fuel/Voltex S2000RR 5:1

Another Japanese car that could well be on the podium this year after smashing Cyber Evo’s laptime at Fuji Speedway and claiming a “time attack car” record for the track along the way is the Top Fuel S2000RR. Last year this car was straight out of the box and arrived with minimal testing and still finished in 5th spot with a time of 1.29.5. Taniguchi complained that it was extremely hard to drive fast so in 2013 the car has been considerably improved with the dynamics and aero now sorted and the power increased accordingly. Taniguchi goes by the name of “No One Better” and we are sure he will be out to make that ring true in Sydney. No doubt Voltex want the big trophy back after years of success with the Cyber team !

5. MCA Suspension s13  5:1

After finishing in 3rd position in 2012 the Queensland based father and son of Murray and Josh Coote have made some serious changes to the Silvia to remove more weight and increase downforce also increase power. These include a carbon fibre roof and some changes to their aero kit. We may be out on this as we have no testing data since they have only really done a shakedown in the current guise but we did see Murray give both thumbs up at the end of the day. Driver Earl Bamber is always quick, these guys are seriously experienced at making changes fast to suit conditions and they have tasted champagne on the podium before so it would be fair to say they would not want to go backwards. We put them at a “tie” with Top Fuel at 5:1

6. Esprit NSX 6:1

Now this is one car that could surprise and surprise big time! Nobody knows the feeling of a WTAC victory like Tarzan Yamada and this is one car he is very comfortable with, having driven it for many years. It is very powerful and well suited to the fast flowing Sydney Motorsport Park track and after a very undignified end to the Cyber team in 2012 Yamada will be looking to put his name back in the record books and this may well be the car to do it in. If this was a beauty contest this car would win hands down as it is simply stunning!

7. RE Amemiya RX7   7:1

This team with a background in professional level Super GT racing should be a force to be reckoned with and if all the ducks line up on the day it could well be on the podium. With Taniguchi driving, a new, more refined aero package and a 6th place last year with time of 1.29.8 on their first ever visit they certainly have the credentials to run at the front of the pack. They have however had a troubled time in testing with  the team losing two engines and not able to record a lap time. They have a fresh engine in for WTAC and if all goes their way could well be a podium finisher.

8. Dominator Evo 7.5:1

If there is one car we would definitely put in as serious dark horse it is the Dominator. This car finished with a victory in Open Class in 2013 almost 3 full seconds ahead of its nearest rival. Since then it has undergone a full “Pro Class makeover” and now claims a 1000hp engine, paddle shifted transmission and “proper aero”. Also worth noting under the new rules that being an Evo 6 it can be lighter than its rivals Nemo and Tilton as the Evo 9 is heavier from the factory. Once again, with tarmac rally ace Steve Glenney behind the wheel on paper this car has what it takes to be on the podium and upstage the “unstageable” but with minimal testing it is hard to gauge. Each way bet without a doubt.

9. AMB Aero/GT Autogarage Eclipse 9:1

No question a front wheel drive car will struggle against AWD and RWD cars right? Well maybe but we would not jump to immediate conclusions. When you have penned some of the fastest time attack cars on the planet it would be fair to assume your own car would be also be fairly fast. Whether it has the mojo to mix it with the best remains to be seen. The driver has the right credentials, having driven for some of the best ALMS outfits in the USA and will be going all out at WTAC. The GT Autogarage guys have prepared a new engine with more power than ever previously. A cat amongst the pigeons without a doubt.

10. Pulse Racing Evo 10:1

Another car that has undergone a radical transformation for WTAC 2013.  The Pulse guys have employed ex-Williams F1 aerodynamicist Scott Beeton to pen a new design they hope will keep them in the game. Avid supporters of time attack racing from day one these guys come out every year in wilder outfit than the year before and always with tarmac rally ace Steve Glenney behind the wheel. It is possible they may move ahead in leaps and bounds this year. The two biggest handicaps will be a lack of test time and budget constraints that limit tyre usage but if everything goes their way off the bat on the day then they could well be in the game. Very experienced Evo tuners with very experienced driver behind the wheel. Another darkhorse for sure.

10. Prep’d Motorsport Lotus Exige GT3  11:1

This was the fastest Australian car in the competition at WTAC 2010, finishing in 4th place with Warren Luff behind the wheel and a time of 1.32.7. The team returned in 2011 and ran slightly faster but by then many other teams had also found more time. For 2013 the guys return with a better aero package and a fresh higher output engine and Barton Mawer behind the wheel. Certainly should be faster than ever but unlikely to cause an upset at the front of the pack. But then again this is time attack racing so anything is possible.

11. Insight Motorsport S2000  15:1

Another car we predicted big things for but it is unlikely we will see it at its full potential in 2013. A fresh big power dry sump engine is now fitted with a sequential transmission installed along with an extensive suspension makeover and John Boston doing the driving. Sadly we believe new aero kit that was to provide the much needed downforce will not be completed in time so the team will have to rely mostly on mechanical grip, and while several years ago that would have been fine, in the company that we keep in 2013 this will be a very big ask.

12. Insight Motorsport Astra  20:1

This car looks and sounds very promising but we can’t help but think it may have left its run a bit too late. Built for a Singapore based businessman, packing a host of topline race components, once again driven by John Boston and looking for all the world like a DTM race car, it sure has serious potential. Barely making it to WTAC with zero test time it would appear they will be unlikely to see this potential in 2013. Regardless, a cool build and one to look out for in the future for sure.

So in a nutshell that is it. Yes it is a smaller Pro field than previous years but only because many of the guys that would have been forced to run in Pro will now run in Pro Am and when you combine these two Pro classes we have a bigger PRO CAR Field than ever before with a 27 car line-up. We can assure you the Pro Am field will have some crazy battles going on too!

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Down to the Wire in Pro Class

The top runners in Pro Class all came out for the afternoon session, and as Cyber Evo stormed ahead, the others struggled to better their laptimes.


Kinoshita was pushing hard but couldn’t manage to lap in under 1:31, so his quickest lap is still 1:30.501


Tilton Interiors also couldn’t better their time in the afternoon session.


Scorch Racing stands at 1:31.4560


Panspeed’s current fastest lap is 1:32.3040


Mark Berry and the Hi Octane/Advan GT-Rs best lap is 1:32.3840


Steve Glenney and the GT Auto Garage/HKS GT-R have managed to work their way up since yesterday and are now quicker than the Mercury Motorsport GT-R


And not far behind that Earl Bamber with the aero sculpture that is the MCA S13.

Australia closes the gap

We are currently in the middle of our second Pro Class session, and boy do we feel proud to be Australians now.

The dark horse Pro Class car that no-one seemed to focus, has just ran a blistering 1:30.8660, pushing it into fourth position behind Sierra Sierra Enterprises, Cyber Evo and Garage Revolution all hot favorites.

Garth Walden has pushed the Tilton Interiors Evo to within a few tenths of last year’s fastest lap, Tarzan Yamada and the Cyber Evo and their 1:30.5870 lap time.