Tag: nissan

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.

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Morning Sessions Wrap Up

We had a feeling Friday morning sessions would be fast and we weren’t disappointed. A new pecking order has been established with some new teams finding themselves at the top of the table.

V-Sport Clubsprint Class

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Daniel Meredith made his intentions known setting a blistering pace and coming within an inch of beating his last year’s best.

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Ben Arnold is snapping at Meredith’s heels in his beautifully finished R32GTR.

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The third fastest car in Clubsprint after the morning sessions is David Dalrymple in the Zen Garage R32 GTR.

Link ECU Open Class

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Matt Longhurst set a new record for Open Class in the Integrated Motorsport R34GTR. Matt is not only the first Open Class driver to go sub 1:30, he’s also currently third outright!

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Team Sparta moves into the 2nd spot in the class with Nathan Morcom behind the wheel of the Evo.

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3 Rotor Racing guys said they were going to be a lot faster than last year and they weren’t kidding! They move into the 3rd Open Class spot having shaved over 2 seconds off their 2015 best.

Garrett Pro Am

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101 Motorsport Mighty Mouse sat out its second session with the guys trying to resolve some niggling mechanical issues. The time they set in the first morning session was enough to put them on top of the Pro Am group.

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Chris Alexander is about half a second behind in the CJA Motorsport R32GTR.

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Mick Sigsworth rounds up the Pro Am top three. Looking at the Pro Am times we can’t help but wonder just how much these teams are holding back. It doesn’t seem like the cars are getting pushed very hard and there are certainly some mind games going on with the podium hopefuls trying to get each other’s measure.

Royal Purple Pro Class

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Everyone gasped yesterday when the Porsche lost its bonnet while powering down the main straight. This morning there was almost no trace of yesterday’s drama and Barton Mawer pushed the car to the event’s fastest lap time so far. RP968 is currently the fastest outright car at the event.

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Murray Coote said yesterday that Tim Slade is settling in nicely and is matching SVG’s times. Looking at their morning session times he’s right on the money being just 0.3 seconds slower than their last year’s best!

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Sitting comfortably in the third place in Pro class and fifth outright is Nobuteru Taniguchi in the Sutton Brothers S15.

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Watch it live! Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge – Sydney 2016 Live Stream


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Beautiful obsession – the Z car of dreams

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Paul Henshaw works hard running a well-known Adelaide panel shop which specialises in high-end antique restorations, but it’s not just his passion for building cars that win concourse shows that see him returning to WTAC this year.It is in fact his passion for driving them seriously fast which will see him campaigning his incredible Datsun 240Z in Open Class this year.

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Paul isn’t a first-timer at the event either having had the 240Z there in 2012 in a much tamer guise, but as WTAC has that effect on people, the now 800+hp animal has been torn down and rebuilt to the incredible machine it is today and will definitely be one for the JDM fans to check out at the event without question as it really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated! We caught up with Paul at his  South Australia workshop in Mt Barker to have a chat about the car and his plans for this year.

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WTAC: What made you want to build a 240Z?
Paul Henshaw: I always loved the shape since I was a teenager. I had the opportunity to restore one for a company I used to work for and it got me passionate about getting one.

WTAC: What were your initial intentions when you started building the car?
PH: To be honest the car was meant to just do the occasional sprint round and hill climb event. But it has evolved so much I got into Time Attack as well particularly the trip to WTAC a couple of years back. Although it’s not as competitive as more competitive modern cars it is an absolute blast and will certainly round up a few unsuspecting guys when they least expect it. It is seriously fast now that is for certain.

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WTAC: How long have you owned it?
PH: I’ve owned it for about 9 years, it was an unfinished project when I first got hold of it. I went for this car as it had a substantial cage already in it and I know how much they cost to install.

WTAC: What’s the best thing about owning this 240Z?
PH: There isn’t really one thing I love the most. Mechanically it’s amazing, looks are amazing, it has a ton of great carbon bits and great wheels etc. So I guess the whole package is the best part. It really is a labor of love… And like any of them sometimes hate… But mostly love for sure!

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WTAC: What are some of the previous vehicles you’ve owned?
PH: Being a petrol head I’ve had a fairly broad range of cars. My first car was an X2 HD Holden. From there I’ve had XU1’s, a Group A, hot utes, an XR8, a Clubsport, a Cobra, a Skyline GT-R, an STi and LOTS more. My favorite sits in the shed still alongside the 240z, a 1972 Hakosuka. I do like the JDM cars.

WTAC: Are you willing to admit how long it’s taken and how much it’s cost?
PH: It’s been ongoing for 9 years. Cost is well over 100k, but that’s all I’m admitting to. At the end of the day if you keep adding up the cost you would not do it. None of it would make sense but this is my hobby, my passion and really what makes you get out of bed in the morning to push that little bit harder. Everyone needs something and the Z car is what I do.

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WTAC: This isn’t your first WTAC, what was your last experience at the event like?
PH: Unfortunately I had an engine failure at WTAC in 2014. It was my first time ever at Sydney Motorsport Park so I was really looking forward to the track, yet motorsport can be a cruel bitch at times. After licking the wounds it’s taken almost a couple years to get the car back on track,and we certainly have a much crazier machine than ever before so I’m really looking forward to having another go!

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WTAC: What would you do differently next time?
PH: Probably nothing. It’s been a great learning curve. You change 1 thing and it affects 10 other things. That is what takes the time and makes it interesting.To start again would be a lot cheaper and quicker. I would say I’d probably end up with the same car though.

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WTAC: What are your plans with the car in the future?
PH: There are some aero mods to the front and the side coming, but these probably won’t happen until next year. Having said that though I don’t want to do anything that will detract from the classic Z shape as once we lose that it will never be the same regardless of how much a crazy ass diffuser or wing may make it a few tenths faster. The Z has a distinctive character and it is important we stay true to that. Having said that I definitely want to drive it around some of the other major tracks in Australia like Philip Island and Bathurst. They are my longer term goals.

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The unmistakable charm of this classic Zed car will not go amiss with the JDM fans.It really does ooze old school charm that is not present on newer vehicles and the chromes accents are a true testament to a bygone era.

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Originally fitted with a Datsun L24 straight-6, the car now sports an utterly insane dry sumped Nissan RB26DET built by Peter McDonnell at PMC Race Engines. He really put his heart and soul into this engine. The block is an N1 and it is filled with only the best goodies including Carrillo rods, custom PMC spec pistons, Supertech valves and extensive porting and chamber mods as well as the relevant cooling modifications. Power is reported to be around 800hp on a mere 1.2bar of boost and is testament to Peters knowledge and experience. Yep this is one seriously nutso RB26!!!

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Nothing is missed in the stopping department either with 330mm discs and 6-piston Wilwood calipers with E-compound pads at the front and 300mm, 4-piston Wilwood calipers with E-compound pads at the rear slow the beast down. Wheels are 17×9.5 Rays TE37VSL at the front and 17×10 at the rear. Once again…. Only the best!!

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A HGT Precision Sequential 6-speed transmission is coupled with a Direct Clutch Services billet twin-plate rounding out what may well be the fastest true “tuner spec” 240z on the planet… If it isnt…. Then it certainly would not be far from it!!!

We certainly cant wait to see it shake up some much later more fancied machinery in October… Because we cant help but think….. That is what it actually was built for!!!!!


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Nissan R88 Group C Le Mans coming to WTAC

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At WTAC we are all about cool cars and they don’t come much cooler than the Group C era Le Mans racers. If you dig those cars as much as we do then you’re in for a treat in October because for 2016 we have secured the amazing Nissan R88C Le Mans race car.

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The Nissan R88C is one of only four vehicles built to compete in the World Sports Prototype Championship and ultimately the 1988 24 hours of Le Mans.

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This was the era when Group C cars reigned supreme and many manufacturers invested heavily in building cars with the latest technology of the time and the results were spectacular.

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Many of these cars exceeded 350km/h down Mulsanne straight prior to chicanes being installed in the interest of safety. That’s some serious top speed!

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It is powered by 3000cc V8 aluminium engine known as the VRH 30T. The engine features two IHI turbochargers and produces 750hp in endurance trim.

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Fans will be able to have a close look at the pinnacle of 1980s automotive engineering as the car will be on display in a specially designated area on both Friday and Saturday.

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But just like all race cars, this beast needs to be fully appreciated on a race track so we’ve arranged for an  experienced race driver to ensure we all get to see and hear the sounds of this iconic machine as it is put through its paces around the GP Circuit on both days.

Even by today’s standards this is a blindingly fast car!

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“This is one of those announcements we’ve been saving till last” said Superlap marketing manager Greg Lysien. “I expect this car to be as popular as the Mazda 767B was back in 2014.”

“Even by today’s standards these cars are blindingly fast and have a sort of raw appeal that is often lost on the clinical hi tech cars of today. “

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Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this legendary race car in action.
The Festival of Awesome just got awesome-r!


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Super GT for Super Lap

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It’s not hard to see why the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) series have been so influential on the import tuning scene. The appeal of wider, lower and faster versions of street cars resonated with tuning enthusiasts world wide.

Dale Malone was one of those JGTC enthusiasts but he took his fascination a step further.

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“I used to watch the JGTC races when I was a kid,” recalls the softly spoken mechanical engineer from Sydney. “I just loved how those cars looked and performed. I developed a soft spot for one particular S15.”

While GT500 cars were run and operated by Nismo, GT300 cars were mostly operated by private teams with major sponsors leasing/semi purchasing the cars off Nismo who retained the ownership of all cars.

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The car that caught Dale’s eye competed in the GT300 class with Hasemi Motorsport. It finished 3rd  in 2001 and 2002 narrowly missing out on winning the championship by only a few points each season. Its sister car, the Daishin Silvia won the 2001 championship.

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After the car finished its 2002 season it was put in storage at the Hasemi Motorsport warehouse. An independent agent in Japan got in contact with the team and sought permission to purchase it. A deal was done and it was then sold to a private owner in Norway. After several appearances at the local Gatebil championship it appeared again on the market.

“I’ve been tracking the car for a couple of years so when it resurfaced again I jumped at the opportunity.”

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Dale purchased the car without the engine, gearbox or electronics but with the original, Autostaff-built chassis still in tact.

“Autostaff Japan was contracted to Nismo and had a very close relationship with them during this era, building many chassis for them. There was a lot of cross sharing of components and design between the GT300 Silvias and GT500 R34 Skylines so those chassis were an absolute work of art!”

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“While the car was still in transit I was already building an engine for it and organising for a gearbox to be ready and waiting for its arrival.”

Being an experienced mechanical engineer certainly comes in handy. The SR20VET engine was built completely in-house by Dale and includes Nismo mains and bolts, a P11 SR20VE cylinder head, Nismo GT Development camshafts, valves and springs, Nismo I beam conrods with titanium bolts, custom-order Carillo Pistons and an in-house developed dry sump with Barnes oil pump. Lubrication is by Nulon.

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Boost will come via an in-house made, internally gated turbo – combination of IHI housing, Mitsubishi rear wheel, IHI core and custom CNC front wheel. Fabrication was done by Adam Clarke from Drag Car Fabrication and CNC work by Paul Christie.

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The engine will be matched to a HGT sequential six speed transmission and ATS Carbon multiplate 1400kg clutch system.

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Engine management is by a Link Fury ECU with Race Technology Logger Dash for data acquisition.

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“I built this engine with reliability, not outright power in mind.” said Dale. “The capacity is still 2.0L and I’m only planning to run around 20psi boost.”

Not only is Dale going to run a fairly un-stressed engine it’ll also be tuned to run on 98 Octane pump fuel.

“It’s a bit of a back-to-front build when compared to other time attack cars. A lot of people start with a powerful engine/drivetrain and build a car around that. I started with a very well sorted chassis and suspension and build the engine to suit.”

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Trick, Nismo-designed suspension features Bilstein magnesium GT horizontally mounted shock absorbers.

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Brakes are by AP Racing (made for Nismo) up front and Alcon (also made for Nismo) at the rear. All four are liquid cooled. For WTAC the wheels will be wrapped in Yokohama A050 rubber.

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The car’s low centre of gravity and tried-and-proven chassis/suspension setup will certainly give Dale a head start come testing time.

“Getting power from these engines in not hard. Getting the chassis balance right is a difficult task. Nismo engineers spent considerable amount time testing and adjusting it so hopefully I won’t have to.”

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With its wide body, super low stance and a quick fuelling system there’s no denying the car’s JGTC heritage.

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Roll cage is an ultra-light Nismo spec item. That blue nipple protruding from behind the bonnet feeds onboard air jacks.

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The aero package is relatively modest by WTAC Pro Class standards but Dale is convinced it’ll do just fine.

“I know we will have to rely a lot on mechanical grip but the aero package on the car actually produces plenty of downforce without creating a lot of drag.”

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“We will leave it as is and see how far we can push it” said Dale. “We are not chasing big horsepower, our focus is to dial in the chassis and suspension to get the car handling right before we embark on any horsepower trips.”

When asked how he rated his chances in the highly competitive Pro Am class Dale smiled and replied: “This is our first year, so I’m being very conservative when it comes to our goals but let’s just say that our computer simulations are quite promising…”

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With a reliable, easy to tune engine and a state-of-the-art chassis it’s hard not to expect this car to be in the top five or maybe even in the top three in the class. Though as everyone who has ever competed at the event says: “This is WTAC, and at WTAC anything can happen!”

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We can’t wait to see this beast driven in anger. October can’t come soon enough!


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Hammer Time: Tim Slade to pilot MCA S13 Silvia

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Completed just days before WTAC 2015, MCA’s Hammerhead version 2.0 finished in second place with Shane Van Gisbergen behind the wheel. If the rumours flying around pitlane at the end of the event are anything to go by, its best time of 1:25.37 was a long way from the car’s true potential. With another year of testing and development under its belt this car will certainly start as one of the red hot favourites in 2016.

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With SVG heavily committed this year to both Triple Eight and McLaren the team has opted for a new driver in the form of another V8 Supercars hotshot Tim Slade.

“Tim is a fantastic young driver” said team principle Murray Coote. “We already have had him at one test day and plan on getting him a fair bit more seat time before October.”

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“Tim lives locally which plays into our hands. With more test days Tim can really push the limits of the car well in advance and we can get it dialled in to his driving style.”

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“Murray has a knack for finding just the right driver” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker. “You only have to look at the history here. First he brought along a young guy named Earl Bamber who a couple of years later went on to win Le Mans outright with Porsche. Then he employed the talents of Shane Van Gisbergen who has already made a mark on the world stage.”

“You can see a pattern forming here. Slade had his first V8 round win earlier this year and is a young guy on the way up. Murray will be able to see that and put it to the team’s advantage. I have known Tim Slade’s father Gill personally for 20 odd years so it is great to see his son grab a drive in what is potentially an event winner.”

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Lighter, more powerful and with an improved aero package designed by ex McLaren engineer, Barry Lock, Hammerhead v2.0 is a more manageable and better handling vehicle than its predecessor.

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“The old car was way too heavy and this was something we had been aware of for quite some time.” said Murray Coote “As we sat down and did the sums we also realized that the aero could also be improved greatly. So whilst it was not a cheap exercise it really was the only way for us to move forward and be where we want to be.”

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“We didn’t really have time to properly test it before the event.” recalls Murray. “We were still making changes on Saturday. The car definitely can go much faster than it did in 2015. It was literally off the trailer last year and straight into competition with zero test time. To be honest it was surprising it went as well as it did but let’s just say that was also a long way from where it should have been.”

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This is probably the most advanced S13 Silvia ever built.

Despite the limited pre-event testing, the new car still managed to improve on its previous year’s best, finishing WTAC 2015 with the 2nd fastest outright lap time of 1:25.37.

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“The Pro cars of today are a long way from where they were 5 years ago and we are well aware of that” said Murray. “We have to be competitive or we wouldn’t even bother. We are not here to make up the numbers, nor are we satisfied with being runners-up I can assure you of that.”

“We’re certainly aiming for the top spot. This year will be interesting as there are quite a few teams who will be in the ball park, including our arch-rival, Under Suzuki. We will be a lot better prepared this year that is for sure. Our goal is to reset the record and take the outright victory and that is the mindset we are going in with.”

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With the billet SR20 now making close to 1000hp in full attack mode and a new driver in the form of the highly skilled Tim Slade, 2016 could be the year MCA finally moves to the front of the pack. We’ll all have to wait till October to find out, but with MCA’s runs on the board and the car’s tried and proven performance the team will definitely be going in as one of the red hot favourites!

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MCA’s WTAC results to date:
2011: 10th place 1:33.06
2012: 3rd place 1.27.80
2013: 2nd place 1.27.36
2014: 3rd place 1:25.70
2015: 2nd place 1.25.37


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