Tag: Mitsubishi Evo

So, you want to go time attack racing?

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The sport of time attack racing is one of the fastest growing types of motorsport around the world. It’s exciting, challenging and accessible and every year it attracts more and more enthusiasts who want to try their hand at this ultimate pursuit of speed.

This article is aimed at those thinking of joining the growing ranks of time attack racers. We look at how to get involved, what types of cars are best suited, the best areas to invest in and how to get your car into WTAC. Keep in mind this is only a guide aimed mainly at the novice enthusiast that wants to get out and have a go.

How do I get involved?

“Racing cars had always been a dream of mine. to race cars. I started with Supersprint as it was one of the most affordable forms of racing. In 2008 I competed at the first Superlap Australia event. I got hooked and I’ve been doing time attack ever since!” – Nik Kalis. WTAC veteran and 2011 Open Class Winner.

The first step we would recommend to all those new to time attack is to join a car club.  You will find most of these run “timed speed events” at tracks around the country. Time attack is racing against the clock and as such is considered a “speed event” not a “race event”.  This means at the grassroots level the safety requirements are often as simple as long sleeve non flammable (not nylon) shirt and long trousers, covered shoes and a helmet and gloves. You will also need to invest in a fire extinguisher and a few other inexpensive items. But as the speed goes up so to do the safety requirements and in our highest Pro Classes we insist on expensive safety equipment on par with any professional level motorsport event.

“I bought a street registered Evo 7RS and got into the club scene. This eventually lead to the CAMS NSW Supersprint championships. I learnt the discipline of lap dash racing and in 2008 entered Superlap Australia. The event then became World Time Attack putting all of us on the international stage.” – Jason Naidoo. WTAC Clubsprint racer with multiple podium finishes under his belt.

Once you have some track experience under your belt you can enter a number of “timed speed events” like EvoNats, JapNats or the Circuit Club’s Advan Neova Challenge.

Getting Faster

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“People think that practice makes perfect. But if you are practicing the wrong thing, you will be perfect at doing the wrong thing. Perfect practice makes perfect!” – John Boston. Highly sought-after WTAC pro driver and the owner of Trackschool.com.au

If you want to improve your driving we highly recommend attending a performance driving school. Regardless of how good you think you are there will be many seconds to be found in having someone coach you. You will pick up what you are doing wrong and get into good habits early.

Good instructors will often also be able to advise you on what you car is doing and recommend some setup changes. This will help you to understand your car better or relay the feedback to your mechanic. You will then be able to make suspension, brake or engine tuning changes to suit your driving style.

“Some people go for the massive killerwasps too soon and don’t spend enough time getting to know their car. Do as many track days with driver trainers in order to squeeze the most you can out of your car first.” – Nik Kalis.

What is the best car for time attack?

“When I searched around for a circuit car I had an AWD turbo in my mind, having owned one in the past. Mitsubishi Evo seemed the best option.” – Jason Naidoo.

If you asked ten different people you would get ten different answers. In short any Japanese tuner-style vehicle is normally the simplest and most effective route. The main reason for this is the incredible array of off-the-shelf parts available and large knowledge base allowing easy modification at reasonable cost compared to Euro and Australian cars.

“We have a major investment in the Subaru platform, so rather than bagging out the issues with the EVO, I like to focus on the strengths in the Subaru, like better center of gravity and longitudinal weight balance. The flat four and longitudinal transmission layout, really make for a better balance in the car.” Jason Wright. WTAC Pro Am competitor.

A Mitsubishi Evo is the obvious first choice and there is a good reason why these cars have dominated time attack racing for so many years. Firstly, the vehicle was designed as a rally car with an AWD platform, an easily tunable, 2 litre turbo engine, a robust driveline and well structured chassis that offers good handling.

The Subaru WRX is also a good choice but the early cars suffered from weak transmission issues and the later cars carry a lot more weight.

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Earlier Nissan GTRs are also fantastic track cars but do suffer oil issues which unless addressed can see premature failure on the racetrack. The Nissan S platform is an extremely popular choice and with good reason.It’s a great chassis from the factory and the SR20 engine can make good power with simple mods. The later models offer better dynamics, with the S15 having the best chassis from the factory of them all.

Mazda RX7s have also been a popular choice with an exceptional chassis but the rotary engine does need careful specialist tuning.

Toyota also made some great cars with the 86 being the most common choice these days. A nice, RWD platform and a relatively light body it makes a great track car. Supras have also been popular but the heavy and powerful 6 cylinder up front can make them a challenge to drive fast.

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Last but not least, Honda Civic or Honda Integra can make a formidable time attack weapon. With a great chassis and plenty of aftermarket parts available, these cars can go head to head with their RWD and AWD counterparts.

“I love the fact that I can drive my car on a daily basis and then go and whip the best of the best at WTAC. Only time attack allows this variety of usage.” – Jason Naidoo.

As you can see there is plenty of choice with any of the cars listed making a great starting point. That’s not to say you are limited to just those cars we’ve listed. You might want to go a completely different route but make sure you can source all the necessary parts for your project.  You may find that many performance parts may need to be manufactured as a “bespoke” product and the cost of modification can skyrocket very quickly.

Car Pros Cons
Mitsubishi Evo 1-7 Light weight, awd, turbo, cheap getting rare, old tech
Mitsubishi Evo 8-9 great chassis, robust engine can be pricey
Mitsubishi Evo X newer, better chassis than 8 or 9 mechanically complex, pricey
Subaru WRX/STi great factory combo, awd, turbo weak transmission, later models heavy
Nissan GTR/T R32-34 great chassis, awd, turbo poor oiling system, can be pricey
Nissan S13-15 great chassis, reliable engine, cheap getting old now
Mazda RX7 FC-FD lightweight, brilliant chassis needs a rotary specialist
Honda Civic/Integra lightweight, capable engines fwd, getting hard to find
Toyota 86 good chassis, rwd, fairly new heavy, can be pricey
Toyota Supra good chassis, 2JZ heavy, old tech

What areas to spend your money on?

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“Drive to match your car’s limit not the next bloke or next car! They may have spent 2 or 3 times more than you so be happy with your own results!” – Nik Kalis

No matter what type of racing you do and no matter what level you’re at it’s very easy to blow your budget. Costs can get out of control very quickly and it’s very important to plan your mods and maintenance costs, prioritising those that will keep your racing first and help you get faster second.

Starting with a standard road car the first area we recommend looking at is the driver’s office. A good racing seat and harness are some of the best investments you can make.

Next thing to look at are tyres. The Yokohama AD08 Neova is the WTAC Clubsprint Class control tyre for a reason. This is an actual road tyre with near race tyre performance meaning you can use it to drive to and from the track and they will last a reasonable amount of time of you use them every day. Semi slick “R type” tyres such as the Yokohama AO50 are absolutely exceptional in performance but whilst being road legal are in no way practical to use on a day to day basis due to their soft nature and high wear rate. Running “true semi slicks” will require a second set of rims to mount them on and change back to road tyres for everyday use.

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“If you’re not sure of what your car is capable of, stick a pro driver in in and then try to match their time using your logged data.” – Nik Kalis.

After tyres come brakes. Upgrading to racing pads and using a higher boiling point brake fluid can make a considerable difference to the car’s braking performance.

The next area we recommend looking at is suspension. This will require some advice as every vehicle is different but a decent suspension setup can make a huge difference. It may be as simple as some stiffer springs and heavier sway bars but generally a premium set of coilovers are worth their weight in gold.

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Next is the engine. As a start a decent exhaust and air filter along with an ECU remap will uncork your engine and unleash some much needed horsepower. Another big necessity here is a good synthetic oil. Your engine will normally see much higher oil temperatures and be under a lot more stress on the racetrack than it ever will on the road so this is a must.

You may ask why we left the engine until the very end. Think of it this way; if you can increase your corner speed you will finish up with a much faster laptime than if you were to increase your straightline speed. It’s simple math really: there are 12 corners at Sydney Motorsport Park and only 2 straights. If you can go 1 second faster through each corner you’ll gain 12 second faster lap. Yet if you go two second faster down each straight (which is actually quite a bit) you will only be 4 seconds a lap faster.

This is one of the reasons why the full aero Pro and Pro Am cars are so much faster than anything else.  The aero pushes them down through the corners resulting in a far greater corner speed. In fact, many are now slower down the main straight than the fastest Open Class cars.

How do I get into WTAC?

“Be passionate and love what you do. Surround yourself with positive people and challenge yourself by racing people faster than you. I got better by racing against the best.” – Jason Naidoo.

For many people competing at WTAC is their life-long dream. While the event has provisions for the new up-and-coming drivers, it’s not a place for beginners. WTAC is considered to be the pinnacle of time attack racing and with a live stream and TV coverage reaching over 10 million sets of eyes it’s run to an extremely tight production schedule.

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You’ll need to have quite a bit of track experience behind you before you can get accepted. Having said that, every year we see new players and last year Daniel Meredith took the outright Clubsprint win in his rookie year after a few months of tuition under Benny Tran. So keep in mind that WTAC is very unpredictable and everything is possible!

Budgeting

“You must try be disciplined and stick to what you really can afford. Especially if you have a family, leave something for them too!” – Nik Kalis

This is the hard one but then again it always has been as accountants and race engineers have never seen eye to eye! It is also one of the most important parts of this adventure.

We know of garages all around the world littered with half-finished Pro style builds that never quite made it. This is normally due to poor initial calculations as to the real cost of what the finished car would be.  The result is a costs blowout and eventually hands get thrown up in the air with a declaration of surrender: “I cannot afford to do this anymore”. In many cases it would have been much better doing something a lot simpler and successfully running one or two classes down the ladder.

“I have always kept budget and goals very close to one another. I run Clubsprint because that is where my budget lies.” – Jason Naidoo

Starting in Clubsprint Class and ending up in Pro Class is also an expensive way of going about things but often the lessons learnt over the years are invaluable and part of what makes it fun.

Below is a rough cost estimate to build and enter in each class. Keep in mind these are meant as a guide only as all the costs are extremely variable and depend on your own skill set, your team’s capabilities and your connections within the industry. The costings don’t include the initial purchase price of the car.

Clubsprint Entry Level less than $10,000
Clubsprint Mid Level approx $25,000
Clubsprint Podium approx $45,000
Open Entry Level less than $25,000
Open Mid Level approx $50,000
Open Podium approx $100,000
Pro Am Entry Level less than $65,000
Pro Am Mid Level approx $125,000
Pro Am Podium approx $150,000
Pro Entry Level approx $200,000
Pro Competitive Level $400,000+

“It’s healthier than recreational drugs but just as addictive.” – Jason Naidoo.

Helpful Links

arrow  Clubs: Circuit Club I WRX Club of Aus I Skylines Australia I NissanSilvia.com I EvolutionOz
      MX5 Club Of Aus I NSW 86/BRZ Club
arrow  Timed Events:EvoOz Nationals I JapNats I Vic Time Attack I NSW Supersprints I VIC Supersprints
arrow  Tyres: Yokohama Australia
arrow  Racing Schools: Trackschool.com.au
arrow  Lubricants: Royal Purple I Motul I Nulon
arrow  Suspension: Whiteline I Fulcrum I MCA Suspension
arrow  Turbos & Accessories: Garrett I Turbosmart I GCG Turbos
arrow  ECUs & Electronic: Link ECU I Haltech I Motorsport Wiring
arrow  Racing Safety Equipment: V-Sport
arrow  Racing Schools: Trackschool.com.au

Kat Benson joins Team NZ in BurgerFuel Evo

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Ever since she first visited Sydney Motorsport Park to support TeamNZ in the drifting, BurgerFuel Evolution pilot Kat Benson knew this was the event she really wanted to attend and compete in. In 2015, that dream will come true for her and her team, as they cross the Tasman Sea to take on the world and gain priceless experience.

While Kat is under no illusion that this will be an easy task, the popular racer has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure both she and her car are up to the challenge, and have set a number of personal goals for the trip.

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Kat’s main sponsor, BurgerFuel have just established themselves in Australia and have promised they will be there doofers and all to support their girl as she goes for the unofficial fastest female crown.

“When I attended WTAC previously, I was overcome by the allure of the pure speed, extreme aero and professionalism of those who attend the event” said Kat. Her newly-found passion for time attack racing found a fertile ground back home in New Zealand, where she has successfully been competing for the past few seasons.

“Ian (Baker) and I have been talking about me coming to WTAC for a few years now. Well, it was more like I’ve been talking and he’s been listening, so to finally make this happen is just amazing!”

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Knowing that this trip required the car to be on a whole different level, the team at E & H Motors have been tasked with the re-tuning. On went a brand new Garrett GT-X turbo and the move was made to E85 fuel which has returned a nice round 400kw figure. The oiling system has been upgraded and suspension also tweaked to get everything possible out of the car. New bumpers have gone on along with YHI NZ/ Enkei providing fresh rims to keep the car as well presented as ever.

“I’m a girl racer, let’s not forget that” laughs Kat  “so I’ll be looking sharp off the track too, thanks to the team at Ilabb and Etnies, who have made some of their new range available for me to wear.”

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With partner Andrew Redward also taking part in the trans-Tasman drift, it’s going to be a very full weekend for the crew, but something they have got used to juggling. Each fully supportive of the other and able to play an important role in keeping the driver calm before the lap that matters.

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For Kat this trip is a dream come true and she’s bound to have the biggest smile in the pits no matter what happens.

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To keep up with Kat at the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2015 follow her on:
Facebook – Kat Benson Racing
Instagram – KatbRacing

Helpful Links

arrow  Save time, save money, win prizes – Buy WTAC Tickets Now
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arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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Tilton’s Title Defence

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You could never accuse Team Tilton of resting on their laurels. If there ever was a team that could provide a shining example of what it takes to be a WTAC Champion it would be them – the Tilton Interiors Time Attack Team.

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All the newcomers to the scene could probably do with a quick history lesson here. Tilton entered the world of time attack racing back in 2008 at the very first Superlap Australia event. A year later they dominated the event, beating Mark Berry’s infamous Hi Octane R34 GTR in the process.

Tilton debuted at the inaugural WTAC in 9th outright and quickly moved to 4th in 2011, then up to 2nd in 2012 followed up by two firsts in 2013 and 2014.

Their track record might be impressive but the defending champions do not take anything for granted. “Last year we came very close to losing the title,” says team owner, Kostya Pohorukov, “way too close for my liking.” 

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For the thousands of spectators and fans around the world, WTAC is a two-day event, for the guys in Tilton Team it’s a ten month campaign, the results of which are put to the test over the two days of the event.

“In time attack, if you stand still, you fall behind,” admits Kostya, “there are plenty of teams who now have the right formula and are chasing the title. We can’t afford do be complacent.”

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“The first thing we changed was the steering system which caused us so much grief last year. We are now running a new hydraulic/electric system which so far has proven to be far more reliable.”

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Aero changes are subtle but significant. A brand new front splitter made its first appearance last week during a test day at Sydney Motorsport Park.

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Back of the car now sports a revised, dual-plane wing designed to compliment the front splitter.

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All that downforce comes at a cost, Kostya admitted the car was almost 10kmh down on top speed from last year. “It’s a fine balancing act and we need to find that extra top speed.”

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In a never ending quest for power, the car has been fitted with a bigger BorgWarner EFR9180 turbo along with a new three-pump fuel system.

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“Overall, the handling at high speed is great, we are now working on low speed handling”

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The power-to-weight ratio remains almost unchanged, “We took 60kg out but we ended up putting about 50kg back in” laughs Kosta, “I think we’re right on the money in that department though.”

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Tilton are embarking on their second title defence. Should they successfully defend their title they will become the first ever WTAC triple, back-to-back champions. This year’s challengers are without a doubt the most serious bunch yet but if anyone can pull this off it’s Kostya and his team. “We’re not going down without a fight, that’s for sure!”

Tilton Interiors Fast Facts
CAR  WTAC Pro Spec Mitsubishi Evo 9
TEAM OWNER  Kostya Pohorukov
 DRIVER  Garth Walden
WTAC PODIUMS  3 (2012, 2013, 2014)
WTAC CHAMPIONSHIPS  2 (2013, 2014)
FASTEST LAP  1:24.84 (2014)

Helpful Links

arrow  Save time, save money, win prizes – Buy WTAC Tickets Now
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arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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Shakedowns, fine tuning and final testing

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Spring is in the air and WTAC competitors take advantage of every sunny day to test, iron out bugs or simply hone their driving skills. We ventured out to Sydney Motorsport Park last week and noticed quite a few WTAC cars out on the track.

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Last year’s Clubsprint winner, Dan Farquar was out in the IS Motor Racing’s Open Class Evo.

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“I won’t be driving the car at WTAC” Dan was quick to point out, “I’m here today to test it and give us much feedback as possible so the car can be sorted and ready for the designated driver.”

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IS Motor Racing’s Evo is one of those cars that really reflects the “tuner car” philosophy so prevalent in Open Class. The build quality and finish is simply outstanding.

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It might look like a show car from a distance but this Evo’s got it where it counts!

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Moving down the pit lane we spotted Nik “The Spartan” Kalis and his menacing black Evo 9.

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The car looked quite different from last year, mainly due to its new front bumper.

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“It’s been designed by Andrew Brilliant,” said Nik, “the front aero now matches the rear and the wing.”

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“Previously I had the right wing but the front wasn’t matched and the car didn’t turn well. Today I could really feel the difference, it turns in so much better now. I feel much more confident with this setup.”

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Nik’s engine remains largely unchanged with the exception of a bigger Borg Warner turbo.

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Hidden under the engine is a brand new Samsonas sequential transmission.

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Nik Kalis and Steve Glenney exchange notes. “It was great having Steve drive my car today, his feedback was invaluable!”

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Though missing out on podium the last few events, Nik is a consistent performer and is certainly aiming for podium this year.

One car we notice nearly every time we visit Sydney Motorsport Park is Matt Cole’s red RX7.

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The car’s unmistakeable roar as it powers down the main straight never fails to turn heads in the pitlane.

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Matt’s best lap time last year was 1:34.50 and, judging by the amount of time he spends at the track, he is keen to improve on that.

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No nonsense, practical and purposeful. This RX7 might have started its life in mid 1980s but with a bit of good old Aussie ingenuity it still makes a formidable time attack weapon.

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Matt’s office – all business. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.

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The venerable 13B rotary engine provides plenty of go and produces a sound that makes rotary fans weak at the knees.

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Helpful Links

arrow  Want to live it up at WTAC? Check out our VIP Packages
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
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arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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Clubsprint Hero: Jason Naidoo

He is one of those familiar faces you see at every WTAC event and despite a prominent “BADASS” sticker on his car, he is one of the nicest, down-to-earth people you will ever meet.

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Jason Naidoo has been a consistent performer, staying within the Clubsprint top five year after year. His car is a perfect example of what the class is all about – an affordable, no-nonsense build that, in the right hands, can lap the WTAC circuit in 1:40.

We caught up with one of WTAC’s quiet achievers to chat about time attack, being an owner-driver and his plans for this year’s event.

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WTAC: How did you get started in time attack?

Jason Naidoo: I am actually an ex drag racer. The one consistent factor was my love for AWD Mitsubishis. Time Attack started for me in 2007 running Supersprints which eventually progressed to State and National Championships. The most important thing I learnt in this lap dash style of racing is discipline. Getting your eye in quickly, conserving the car and planning a perfect lap.

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WTAC: Apart from being consistently at the pointy end of Clubsprint Class year after year, you are also famous for driving your race car to and from the event. Is that just to prove a point?

JN: I actually love driving my car whenever I can. Driving to WTAC on game day is very important to me, it represents the class I am in and my attitude and respect towards my competitors. The car has plenty of factory parts left in it, every now and then I even drive it to work!

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Driving my car to WTAC is very important to me,

it represents the class I am in.

WTAC: Is there a story behind the “BADASS” sign on the bonnet?

JN: The “BADASS” name originated in the National Supersprint days. I was a very daring driver, I would run a fast lap in the morning on the 1st session and 1st lap. People thought I had balls of steel. I just liked getting a time early and intimidating the competition.

The actual name came about after a few drinks in my garage the night before a race. Seemed fitting and my car lives up to the “BADASS” name though the driver is a bit of a softy!

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WTAC: The car doesn’t look that much different from last year but we’re told you’ve made some changes?

JN: This Evo is now an absolute animal, deadset “BADASS”. I have a drag racing workshop Precision Racing who take care of business now. I’m more prepped than ever and an engine built to run 800hp. I love power, the more the better!

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The boys at Precision are keen to break into circuit and they hit the nail on the head without even realizing it. Although none of this matters on game day it gives me loads of confidence in the lead up. Coupled with the power we now have a dog box for the first time. 

WTAC: Any new sponsors onboard for this year?

JN: I have actually reduced sponsors, the workshop has been my greatest supporter and I am very grateful of this. Precision Racing is definitely here to stay and my oldest sponsor, Fulcrum Suspensions, with their SuperPro brand have been loyal from day one.

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WTAC: You’ve raced in Clubsprint at every WTAC event except for 2012 when you competed in Open. Are you tempted to move up a class again?

JN: This has gone largely unnoticed but yes, I did compete in Open. I set the fastest ever time for a street registered car in Australia, (1.36.8) but placed 13th. I think it is really time to give the new generation a go in Clubsprint. Open is the next move for me.

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WTAC: Just like every other WTAC class, Clubsprint has been getting faster and faster. With the top lap times getting below 1:40 do you think the emphasis has now shifted from the car to the driver and his/her skill?

JN: I solidly believe so, cars are generally on par in level of modification. It is always familiar names that are at the pointy end. Running on street tyres at speeds of up to 260km/hr and low 1:40s is no easy feat. You need confidence, practice and faith in what you drive.

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I don’t just want to win, I want to set a lap time

that your grandkids won’t beat!

WTAC: Clubsprint Class is known for its fierce rivalries, who do you consider your biggest threat this year?

JN: I really rate the silent achiever, John Richardson. I am a very competitive person and watch every competitor. He has flown under the radar but is not far off the podium. On a good day in his rear wheel drive Skyline he will be the one to watch.

WTAC: What advice would you give someone starting in time attack racing?

JN: Don’t hesitate or listen to too many people. Have a crack, it’s safe, it’s current and involves a lot of discipline. If you want to go quicker, forget the floggers, learn from those who are quick – that’s how I started!

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WTAC: You stood on the WTAC podium three times but the first place has eluded you thus far. Will we see “BADASS” in the first spot this year?

JN: “BADASS” is more prepped than ever, more aggressive and more importantly surrounded by the right team. I don’t just want to win, I want to set a lap time that your grandkids won’t beat!

WTAC: Thanks Jason and we wish you the best of luck in October!

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arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

SVA Imports smashing lap records in UK

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

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

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

to brake or lift off the accelerator!

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

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

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

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

Helpful Links

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

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