Tag: open class

Open: AWDs Strike Back

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JDM Yard’s Civic took everyone by surprise when it won Open Class last year. It came well prepared to defend its title this year but so did the challengers.

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We knew the battle for supremacy in the Link ECU Open Class was going to be a spectacle. We expected the times to go sub 1:30 but even with those high expectations we were still blown away but the determination, skill  and grit displayed by the competitors.

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Matt Longhurst set the pace early, smashing JDM Yard’s class lap record and claiming the bragging rights as the first Open Class car to go sub 1:30 with blistering time of 1:29.81

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Steve Glenney in the Insight Motorsports Honda S2000 was half a second behind and putting on the pressure but couldn’t better Matt’s time. He finished Day 1 in the second place with 1:30.30.

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The familiar “Spartan” Evo of Nik Kalis was driven by Nathan Morcom this year. From the very first session the car looked solid and fast, climbing quickly to the third spot – just 0.3 seconds behind Glenney.

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Andy Duffin and the 3Rotor Racing team brought their improved RX7 back for another crack at the Open Class title and were also consistently fast from the word go.

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Last year’s class winner, Adam Casmiri came very close to matching his 2015 best at the end of Day 1 with a 1:30.81 lap time.

It looked as if the pecking order had been established for 2016. But Day 2 brought with it a bunch of suprises.

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Matt Longhurst was unable to match his early pace but managed to hold onto his first place position going into the shootout on his Day 1 time.

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Nathan Morcom was consistently fast all day but it was during the shootout when he played his trump card and snatched first place from Longhurst, recording a new Open Class record in the process. Watch Nathan Morcom’s amazing 1:29.295 lap in the video below:

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Nick Ashwin appeared from nowhere and posted a super quick 1:30.26 lap time. A massive six seconds faster than his 2015 best and the third fastest time in the class. While the Pro Class might have been dominated by RWDs in 2016, it was AWDs that dominated the Link ECU Open Class.

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Steve Glenney finished just outside the podium in the Insight Motorsport Honda S2000 with a time of 1:30.308.

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Fifth was NZ’s Andy Duffin with a lap time of 1:30.486. Andy beat his last year’s best by over 2.5 seconds and pushed hard right up until the very end. Top effort by the 3 Rotor Racing team.

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2015 Open Class Champions JDM Yard managed to improve on their last year’s best, but their new PB of 1:30.657 was only good enough for the sixth place in 2016.

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Matt Cole was another driver that recorded a new PB of 1:30.657 shaving almost three seconds off his last year’s best.

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Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 team struggled with mechanical issues early on and overheating on Day 2.

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Still, Tetsuhiro Kurokawa managed to put down 1:32.25 which, considering this is the first time these guys ever raced outside Japan is a pretty good effort!

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Tarzan Yamada struggled to find his pace in the 2014 Open Class runner-up, Lightning Resi. His best this year was 1:32.307.

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Berry Polovic in Team Mascot Mitsubishi Evo 8: 1:31.561.

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Josh Hunter in Worlds Best Technologies Nissan R33 GTR: 1:32.17.

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John Richardson in Topstage Composites Nissan S14: 1:32.349. The fastest S-chassis in Open Class this year.

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Kim Tai in MiniDisc Race Division Mitsubishi Evo 9: 1:32.766.

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Robert Gooley in Keeley Motorsport Evo VI: 1:33.762.

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Dean Lillie in Nuline Racing Ford Falcon: 1:34.497.

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Drew Hall in Croydon Racing Developments Nissan R34GTR: 1:35.549.

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Paul Henshaw in CCC Racing Datsun 240Z 1:37.221.

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Aidan Miller’s 2016 campaign ended prematurely when his car hit a wall on Day 1. Fortunately Aidan escaped relatively unscathed and was back, albeit as a spectator, on Day 2.

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NZ’s Kat Benson in the Burger Fuel Evo 7: 1:39.759.

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Jarrod Scott’s Team Ignite Subaru suffered from a multitude of mechanical issues. This is a big budget build completed only days before the event so we’re expecting its lap times to tumble once after some more track time.

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WIN a Link ECU at WTAC!

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Link up with the Link ECU Girls to WIN

Want to get your photo taken with the stunning Link Girls? Of course you do!

Link Engine Management have come onboard as the Open Class sponsor for the 2016 World Time Attack Challenge and to celebrate they are giving you the chance to unleash your engine by WINNING a world leading Link ECU.

To enter simply let the Link Girls entice you in front of the camera at the World Time Attack Challenge and get your photo uploaded to your Facebook page. The winning photo will be drawn randomly and the lucky bugger will be soon be bragging to his mates about his new Link ECU! Yes, it’s that easy.

Entries close Saturday October 15 at 4pm. The winner will be notified by Facebook. The winner will receive the choice of any Link ECU to the value of $2,000AUD.

Link’s decision regarding the winners is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize is not transferable, exchangeable nor redeemable for cash. By entering the Promotion, you agree to your photo being published on Facebook.


Tickets start from $20. Book yours now!
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arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
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arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
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The Open Class Showdown of the Decade!

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While the Pro and Pro Am classes continue to lead the way in terms of outright performance, most of these cars bear only a vague resemblance of the original vehicle and require some very serious financial investment to be anywhere near the front. The Link ECU Open Class on the other hand is a “true tuner” class with much stricter controls on aerodynamics and greater emphasis on mechanical grip, driver skill and, although still not a cheap exercise to play at the pointy end, is certainly a lot more affordable for the average enthusiast.

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For many this class represents the true essence of time attack racing and in 2016 the stage is set for an international showdown never before seen in this class with two New Zealanders and one Japanese team taking on the absolute best Australia has to offer.

A quick glance at the entry list reveals that just about everyone has stepped it up this year and picking a winner from this field will prove really difficult. One thing we can expect though, and that is, given the right conditions the class lap record should tumble and we expect by a fair margin too!

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“We often hear people say how they miss the old days of Sierra Sierra vs Cyber Evo” said WTAC CEO Ian Baker. “The reality is that in 2016 the winning Open Class time should be very similar to what these Pro Class cars were doing five years ago.” You only need to look at the current crop of Open Class cars to notice they are not dissimilar in their design and construction of the earlier Pro Class cars.

“It is a natural progression and the really exciting thing is we can think of at least ten cars in this field capable of winning Open Class in 2016. It will make for some seriously exciting racing for the fans !”

Let’s take a closer look at these ten above mentioned challengers.

JDM Yard Honda Civic – (New South Wales) Adam Casmiri

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The reigning Open Class champion stopped the clocks at 1.30.7 in 2015 and since then the upgrades have been substantial. Firstly a Holinger sequential 6 speed transmission has been fitted followed by some aero revisions. The engine now has more power and better torque delivery. We have heard rumours of sub 1:30 laps in testing and although we cannot confirm this we have no reason not to believe it either.

3 Rotor Racing (New Zealand) RX7 – Andy Duffin

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Finishing in seventh position last year with a 1.32.81 in the normally aspirated version of the car. 2016 is shaping up to be another ball game entirely with the team taking full advantage of the rule change allowing NA vehicles to use Nitrous Oxide in Open Class. This has seen power skyrocket to over 600whp which, along with aero updates, should put these guys in an extremely competitive position.

Team Dream Lotas 7 (Japan) Tetsuhiro Kurokawa

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The sole Japanese Open Class entry from Hokkaido have told us they are “not coming just to make up numbers” and looking at their results in testing they appear to be sticking to their promise. Lap times at their home track were within half a second of a GT3 SLS on full slick tyres equating to a possible sub 1:30 at SMSP. Very promising indeed.

Integrated Motorsports R34 GTR (South Australia) – Matt Longhurst

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This is another car that has undergone a serious rebuild. The car that will hit the track in less that a week is an entirely different beast to the one that stopped the clocks at 1.37 1 last year. Now sporting a 900hp+ engine and with a serious weight reduction program and a whole lot of testing the guys were able to eclipse the V8 Supercar lap record at Mallala Raceway. That certainly puts them right in the box seat in 2016.

WBT Racing R33 GTR (New South Wales) – Josh Hunter

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Here is another car that has under gone an extensive and thorough rebuild for 2016. It now features an 800+hp Hi Octane Racing engine, Albins 6 speed, Andrew Brilliant designed aero and a young V8SC hotshot Josh Hunter behind the wheel. A no-nonsense, purpose built car designed with one goal in mind – to win Open Class at WTAC.

RTR Racing 2JZ BRZ (Victoria) – John Boston

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Sporting a Mercury Motorsport 2JZ engine and sequential transmission this car will be cutting a fine line to get proper testing in but with a highly experienced team should find their feet fast. John Boston has driven more laps than most around this circuit and the two should make a very quick combo.

Insight Motorsport Honda S2000 (New South Wales) – Steve Glenney

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This team should not be underestimated. There are some of the best minds in the business involved in this car including many of the Tilton Racing crew. No one can question Steve Glenney’s skill behind the wheel either. Finishing in 5th last year with a 1.31.7, another year of development is almost guaranteed to shave seconds from this time.

“If we can get all the ducks to line up on the day this car is definitely capable of it. I do feel good about it this year as we are a lot further down the road than ever before” said Glenney.

Sparta Racing- Mitsubishi Evo (New South Wales) – Nik Kalis

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Kalis is no stranger to WTAC podium having won Clubsprint in 2010 and Open in 2011 but has struggled to find a podium since. Rumours have flown thick and fast with everything from the car being sold to numerous Pro drivers being considered.

We can confirm that Nik Kalis still owns the car and will be back behind the wheel in 2016. What we can also confirm is that the team has recorded a low 1.30 on old tyres and moderate boost level with Garth Walden behind the wheel. Time will tell whether Kalis will be able to gather enough seat time to match this performance.

Gools Evo/ Keeley Motorsport- Mitsubishi Evo (Queensland) – Robert Gooley

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Another long term competitor who has moved ahead in leaps and bounds. Starting last year in a freshly rebuilt car with almost no test time Gooley still managed to finish in the 1.34  second bracket and this year should be considerably faster. It has been a long road for Gooley and team and 2016 may well be their year.

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There are plenty more contenders that have the Open Class podium in their sights. The MC Towing RX7 (above) is now packing a turbo, 3 rotor engine and could deliver on the day. Drew Hall’s car has undergone a full carbon transformation by Topstage Composites and his CRD backed GTR and Topstage’s own S14 were seen testing with John Richardson behind the wheel.

The Evo of IS Motor Racing once again has Formula 3 ace Tim Macrow behind the wheel and usually manages to improve on its previous year’s lap time. The Whiteline backed Evo 9 of Minidisc Racing is also very fast with Hong Kong national Kim Tai behind the wheel.

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We also have Jarrod Scott’s stunning “Aussie Gobstopper”. The car has all the good gear and we hope Jarrod will get enough test time to show its true potential. Paul Henshaw’s crazy Datsun 240z, Troy Fraser’s stunning S15 and perhaps the biggest dark horse of the all, 2013 and 2014 Open Class Champion Dean Lillie driving an AU Falcon with a well sorted chassis and a big horsepower, Nitrous fed NASCAR style engine.

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But it’s the last confirmed entry in Open Class that’s got us most excited. The 2014 Open Class runner-up, Dennis Resi’s “Lightning” R32 GTR with the one and only Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada behind the wheel. Both the car and the driver need no introduction. This combination has podium written all over it and quite possibly the outright Open Class win too.

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If you thought Open Class cars were just a side show to Pro and Pro Am you better hold on to your seat. We’re in for the showdown of the decade!


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arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

The Terror Taxi takes on Open Class!

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To win any class at WTAC is a massive achievement in itself. To win a class back to back is on another level entirely. But that is exactly what Dean Lillie achieved in 2013 and 2014. Firstly in the BC Automotive R32 GTR and a year later in the Steve Ka / Powertune R43 GTR. So when Dean told us he would be back in 2016 in “something special” we were all ears!

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“I actually built this car for my client, Rick Newman way back in 2006 at my company Ravage Racing Services” said Dean. “We won the Victorian Improved Production championship in our first year!.”

“It even held the lap record at Bathurst for a short while and reached over 300km/h down Conrod Straight. It certainly upset a few people back then. As soon as I read the rule update allowing nitrous oxide on NA cars in Open Class I was straight on the phone to Rick saying: Let’s do this!”

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“Rick had been focusing on his business (Nuline Homes) for a few years so the car had been sitting around doing nothing. Once I explained that I thought we could actually have a shot at a podium placing he ripped the covers off and started working on the car right away. It has certainly been an exciting project for everyone involved.”

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The engine is a serious piece of kit built by Dean back when he was working at Greg Murphy Racing as workshop manager. It is a 358 cubic inch iron block Ford with all the good bits in it. It makes power all the way to redline (which is 9500rpm) and with freshly plumbed 175hp nitrous kit. Controlled by a MoTeC M800 and CDL3 it instantly made 600kW at the rear wheels.

“There is much more to come. It is an animal I can assure you of that!” The fans will love the sound of this N/A, nitrous fed V8 and the guys made sure everyone can hear the music by fitting a side exit exhaust pointing straight at the grandstand. After all WTAC is as much of a sensory spectacle as it is a race.

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Original transmission was replaced with the latest spec RD6S Holinger sequential transmission and a Sachs multiplate carbon fibre clutch. The rear end is a drag spec Strange Enterprises but with a difference. The centre was built by Race Products in Brisbane and fitted by Ravage Raceworks. It actually retains the original IRS setup!

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“We had Brypar manufacture the uprights to hold all the important bits and use current spec 991 Porsche Carrera Cup driveshafts to handle the monster torque along with a Motorsport Engineering tailshaft.”

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“I have had my woodworking tools out making the aero kit. While people may laugh at this I can tell you it is the same design I used on the class-winning GTR back in 2013 and they laughed at me then too!:

“I admit I am no aerodynamicist but I have been in the motorsport game for a few years now and I have a fair idea what works and what doesn’t.”

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Dean has quite a few old V8 Supercars sitting around the shop so he borrowed a second wing and fitted that to the rear. Smooth Suspension went over the Koni Dampers and added some more spring rate to cope with the extra down force.

“Keep in mind this was a well sorted, fast car already – we are simply tweaking it and making it faster!”

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Is it an outright competitor in Open Class? The engine and drivetrain are certainly up to the task but the car is still quite heavy particularly compared to the well seasoned guys at the front of the pack.

“Weight will be our biggest hurdle but you never know, WTAC is a unique event and anything can happen and often does particularly as teams are pushing so hard these days. We will certainly be giving it everything and if we can make it to the top 5 shootout I think we will be pretty damn happy. That’s our goal for 2016 and anything above that is a true bonus.”

“One thing we can promise is to put on a show. 600kW at 9500rpm through two street tyres will guarantee that! That’s why we’ve named it the Terror Taxi.”


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arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

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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arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

Dream Big – Hokkaido Heroes on track for WTAC!

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It’s not hard to see why the Japanese time attack cars are a big hit every time they come to Australia. After all, time attack racing did start in Japan and in recent years it’s been enjoying a popular resurgence with many new cars getting built and just as many existing cars copping some serious upgrades. One Japanese car that has been all over the internet lately is this Hokkaido-based Mazda RX7 FD.

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Tetsuhiro Kurokawa and his team Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 have been testing recently at Tokachi Speedway and if the reports are anything to go by these guys could well be starting as one of the Open Class favourites!

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“The team have been corresponding back and forth through an Australian ex-pat who is giving them a hand and it seems they’ve really turned their car into a serious weapon!” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker.

“They have been steadily working to get the car Open Class compliant all the while continuing to go faster despite having to minimize the aero. It really is going to be a serious international battle in Open Class this year.”

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Despite the restrictions Open Class places on aerodynamics it is obvious that it still plays a big part in the car’s design. The team seems focused on building right to the limit of the rules in order to grab every hundredth of a second advantage. Having the luxury of an ex-Voltex employee on their staff is certainly going to be an advantage!

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The team also have an extremely experienced engine builder in Mokoto Watanabe. Watanabe-san recently visited in Australia with his own RX7 drag car and stopped the clocks at 7.4 seconds at the Brisbane Jamboree! Needless to say he will be one of the team’s major assets in October, overseeing the engine in their RX7FD.

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This could be a sub 1:30 car at Sydney Motorsport Park!

So how is the testing going, we hear you ask. At the recent HKS day the team broke their own record by half a second with a lap time of 1:20.231. This was seven seconds faster than 2nd place in the same category and within .542 of the 2015 Super GT300 Gainer SLS AMG GT3 on full slicks. Keep in mind this is a full Open Class spec car!

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How does this equate to Sydney Motorsport Park and WTAC? That is hard to say as we are unsure who was driving the SLS GT3 and a ‘gentleman driver’ will normally be a few seconds slower than a Pro.

Let’s just say an AMG SLS GT3 Mercedes driven by Jack LeBroq holds the GT track record for Sydney Motorsport Park with a 1.27.9, so we could only assume that the Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 is looking awfully like it could easily be a sub-30 second car which would put them in a very favourable position for the Link ECU Open Class heading into WTAC 2016.

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As with every other car, no matter how promising the test results are, it all comes down to how well the team can put it all together on the day. We wish Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 all the best in October and really hope they can achieve that One Perfect Lap!


Tickets start from $20. Book yours now!
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Helpful Links

arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets