Tag: royal purple

Pro Class: Change of the Guard

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When the Tilton Evo smashed its own lap record by more than a second back in 2015 we were not the only ones thinking this will be the benchmark for Pro Class cars for years to come.

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Tilton boys made it clear they wanted to retire on a high and leave a lasting legacy. And as the 2015 WTAC drew to a close it certainly looked like they’ve done just that. As we announced the dates for the 2016 event we were faced with a very real possibility that, for the first time since its inception,the WTAC lap record may remain unbroken.

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As WTAC insiders correctly pointed out, there were three main players in the race for the WTAC title, Scorch Racing, MCA Suspension and RP968. All three teams quite capable of taking the Pro Class win, but in order to break Tilton’s lap record each would have to shave 2 to 3 seconds off their absolute best so far. And when you’re lapping SMSP at around 1:25, that’s a big ask.

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As we tracked the progress and pre-event testing of the title contenders it quickly became obvious neither of them was going to be content with just the WTAC title. Each had Tilton’s record in their sights.

“Winning WTAC is my dream” said Under Suzuki, “but breaking Tilton’s record is just as important.”

Neither of these teams are known for making empty promises so when October 14th rolled around we all held our collective breath eager to see if the challengers can live up to their pre-event aspirations. Were we in for a surprise or two…

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RP968 overcame their early setback caused by the car losing its bonnet on the main straight during practice and turned their settings to “max attack” right from the start. Team MCA were in fine form too, rumoured to have set a new PB in practice, as did Under Suzuki who finally seemed to be having a trouble-free run.

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By the end of Day 1, Tilton’s record has already been broken (if only by a 0.011 of a second) by Tim Slade in MCA’s Hammerhead S13.

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Not far behind with a lap time of 1:24.03 was RP968 with Barton Mawer behind the wheel and snapping at his heels was Under Suzuki with 1:24.24.

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That’s three cars under 1:25 at the end of Day 1! We were in for a real nail-biter on Day 2!

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Tim Slade’s cool and precise driving style seemed to really suit MCA’s S13. The team were on top of things throughout the whole event, chasing faster lap times rather than fixing problems.

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Similarly Under Suzuki, usually busy fixing and adjusting things inside his engine bay was relaxed and at ease.

“I don’t know what to do” he laughed when we visited him early in the morning, “everything is working, the car’s fine. I just want to go out and attack!”

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Saturday morning session proved to be amazing with Suzuki laying down an incredible 1:23.1 lap moving him into the No.1 position for the very first time.

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Unfortunately Suzuki’s joy was short lived as only a minute later Tim Slade responded with what can only be described as the most incredible WTAC lap ever – 1:22.19 thus relegating Suzuki back to the 2nd spot again.

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The final podium placement however, was decided during the Superlap Shootout with Barton Mawer pushing the RP968 Porsche to yet another PB of 1:23.03 and beating Under Suzuki to the 2nd spot by just 0.1 second.

“I’m very happy this year” said Under Suzuki, “The car performed well, I gave it my best out there and went faster than ever before.”

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As the sun went down over the WTAC podium we had a new champion, a new lap record and a new yard stick all those who follow will be measured by. WTAC’s new guard has arrived.

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2016 has been groundbreaking for many reasons. Not only did all the top three teams smash last year’s record but all three were RWDs. The intense battle for the WTAC title was fought between two Nissans and a Porsche. The reign of Mitsubishi Evo, stretching back to the very first WTAC in 2010 has well and truly ended.

This proves something we’ve suspected all along. There is no such thing as the “best chassis/engine” for time attack. It all depends on the build, the amount of thought put into the design, its execution and of course the team’s ability to bring it all together on the day.

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But there’s more. Every single Pro Class team broke their own lap record at this year’s event. Every single one.

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Japanese time attack ace Nobuteru Taniguchi managed to shave over two seconds off Suttons Brothers S15’s best with a new PB of 1:28.45.

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The only team flying the AWD/Evo flag in Pro Class, Pulse Racing finally broke into the sub 1:30 zone with an impressive 1:29.053.

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Brad Shiels improved over 6 seconds from his 2015 best, finishing the event with a new PB of 1:32.03.

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We will leave you with this final thought: this year’s winning car is based on a 25 year chassis and powered by an engine that can be traced back to early 1990s. Its best time is only 2 seconds off an A1GP car driven by Nico Hulkenberg. And it’s done it on road tyres.

Helpful Links

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Bigger, better and more awesome!

What can I say, I guess I knew we were truly in for a very special event when we showcased several million dollars worth of cars down on Sydney Harbour early last week and made it on the nightly news!

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This was merely a small indicator of what was by far the biggest event we have ever hosted. Sydney certainly turned on the weather and the fans from around Australia and around the world converged en-masse on Sydney Motorsport Park to be a part of what we refer to as “The Festival of Awesome”.

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It would be hard for me to put my finger on one single thing but there was a buzz around the whole event this year that I have not witnessed before. It may have been because we simply had so many cool things on offer but I think it was more than that.

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I sincerely believe we have succeeded in bringing an event to the people that they truly wanted to see and this has been a long time coming. Yes, the time attack racing is a huge part of it but these days it is so much more than that.

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Bringing the night drift back was something we considered a little risky but when 11,000 plus people filled the viewing areas it exceeded our expectations and I feel we not only put on the biggest drift show ever in this country but also the best.

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The Show’n’Shine was also on another level this year with the Lowdown crew bringing in many top interstate entries including many new unveils.

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The trade alley was also bristling with excitement this year and the effort brands put into their displays now is unprecedented. In fact, we had many spectators commenting this is the closest thing Australia has to a SEMA Trade Show!

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Highlights for me? Well, Tim Slade – what can I say! Stepping into a car you have never driven before when your two predecessors are Shane Van Gisbergen and Le Mans winner Earl Bamber means you have big shoes to fill. I am sure nobody expected Sladey to smash it this far out of the ballpark and eclipse the Formula 3 record in the process! Congrats to Murray and the MCA team – it has been a long time coming.

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The quality of all of the builds is also on another level. The engineering and construction of so many of not only the Pro and Pro-Am but also Open and Clubsprint and also the drift cars is truly amazing and a testament to the faith people have in our event.

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Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best events he has ever been to is truly humbling and the fact he told me he would love to come back is quite special also and something we will work on.

Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best

events he has ever been to was truly humbling.

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Having the engineer of the Nissan R88, Alan Heaphy call me on Saturday night to tell me how much he enjoyed the event and congratulate us on a true world class event. In his words: “You know my history Ian, you know I have raced all around the world including Le Mans. I’m telling you what you put on here is on par with anything I have ever seen.”

Once again truly humbling words and a testament to my whole team putting their heart and soul into this event.

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But most of all it is the fans that really make this event the success it is. Standing on the Drift Hill on Saturday night with current Formula Drift Champion Chris Forsberg and the fastest man in American time attack Cole Powelson from Lyfe Motorsport and a whole bunch of guys from Perth and Adelaide come up and tell us how they made the trip over and how amazing they thought our event was. This really drove home the enormity of it all. You love WTAC and WTAC is here to stay. And we are only going to get bigger!

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Finally, a big “thank you” to all those who were instrumental in helping this event become a success.  Firstly a big shoutout to all of our partners and sponsors. Destination NSW have been amazing and I can assure you they will be happy with the influx of people from around the country and around the world. We estimate this event injects over $40 million into the Australian economy with much of the money staying right here in NSW. Also a big thank you to our sanctioning body CAMS and in particular Scott McGrath who has been instrumental in ensuring our safety standards continue to improve as our cars continue to go faster.

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Yokohama Tyre who have been with us from day one and their tyres continue to set records under the gruelling conditions we put them under with an exemplary safety record.

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To all of the competitors exhibitors and fans who travelled from around the world to be here. You guys rock!

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Last but not least our operations staff headed up by the best in the business, our event director Renato Loberto. A few short years ago we ran this with a crew of ten now we have well over 100 people making it all happen. Thanks to every single one of them.

Lastly we wave goodbye to my good friend and our head of marketing from day one, Greg Lysien as he has taken on the role of marketing manager with our friends at Haltech. We wish him all the best in the future and we would like to welcome our new head of marketing – David Lysien. Name sounds familar? Yep, it is Greg’s son and he is excited to be taking on this role after many years of working with the event in the background.

Much love to everyone and bring on WTAC 2017 – Bigger, better and even more awesome!

Ian Baker
CEO – WTAC

Day 2 Trials and Triumphs

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Without a doubt the biggest news so far is MCA Hammerhead S13 and its driver Tim Slade.

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The team set a frantic pace early on and backed it up in the morning by absolutely obliterating yesterday’s time with a record lap of 1:22.19. Take a closer look at this time – that’s over 1.5 seconds faster that Tilton’s seemingly untouchable record from last year.

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Not that all other Royal Purple Pro Class competitors were sitting idly by. Under Suzuki was in a spectacular form this morning shaving almost 2 seconds off his personal best.

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With a nothing short of amazing time of 1:23.13 Under Suzuki will head into the Superlap Shootout in the second spot.

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In a third place, less than one second behind Suzuki is the beast known as RP968. Barton Mawer proved both him and the team can handle the pressure with a lap time of 1:23.87.

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Nobuteru Taniguchi pushes Sutton Brother’s S15 to 1:28.60 guaranteeing them a spot in the shootout.

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Rounding up the Pro Class shootout five is Paul McKinnon in the Pulse Racing Evo with a lap time of 1:30.48

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Mick Sigsworth’s Evo suffered some minor damage as a result of a fuel filter catching on fire. With a best lap of 1:27.45 Mick will head into the Superlap Shootout as the leader of Garrett Pro Am class.

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Not far behind him is Rob Nguyen in the 101 Motorsport “Mighty Mouse” Honda CRX. Rob’s best time so far is 1:28.85.

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Chris Alexander is in the third spot with a 1:29.62.

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Brad Trenwith is in fourth with his brand new RX7 recording 1:33.46.

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Tyler Meeklan takes the final spot in the Pro Am shootout group with 1:35.28.

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Matt Longhurst leads the Link ECU Open Class with a 1:29.48.

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Nathan Morcom is just half a second behind him with 1:30.20.

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Nick Ashwin sit comfortably in the third spot with 1:20.26.

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Steve Glenney in the Insight Motorsport S200 is in fourth with 1:30.30

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And the final Open Class shootout qualifier is the New Zealander Andy Duffin with the 3 Rotor Racing Mazda RX7 on 1:30.48.

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Clubsprint leaderboard changes several times during the day with Daniel Meredith fighting his way to the top to defend hit title from the No.1 position in the shootout with 1:39.27.

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Only half a second behind him, at 1:39.87 is Jaylen Nader in the BYP Racing Honda S2000.

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Ben Arnold is in third in his immaculate R32 GTR at 1:40.15.

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In the fourth spot we have David Dalrymple in the Zen Garage R32 GTR with 1:40.18.

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Jason Naidoo is the 5th Clubsprint driver into the Superlap Shootout in his SuperPro Evo and a lap time of 1:41.29.

Hold onto your seats folks, we’re about to hit excitement overload as we head into the Superlap Shootout!

 

Bonus Images:

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Practice Day Build up

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Sydney Motorsport paddock starts filling up as teams arrive ahead of the official practice day. This slow build up of activity can only mean one thing – WTAC Official Practice is about to start!

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IS Motor Racing Open Class Evo never ceases to amaze with its show car like presence.

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If you thought Tony Longhurst’s R34GTR looked mean last year wait till you see it now! Absolute beast!

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The Hokkaido team is here with their Open Class contender.

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MCA Suspension’s Toyota 86.

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Wait till you see what hides under that bonnet….

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Chris Forsberg’s 370Z is ready and waiting for its driver to arrive.

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Carbon Plus Open Class MR2 Spyder.

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PMQ Evo hides under a cover.

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Team Lori Clubsprint Nissan Bluebird.

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Top Stage Composites’ Nissan S14. This is one serious looking car.

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And finally “the Thing” (aka Volkswagen Type 181) WTAC crew official ride this year. Thanks to Steve from Volksmuller.


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Tilton Racing Evo on track at WTAC 2016!

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Yes, we thought that might grab your attention! And we are not kidding either…

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In October you will get your chance to see the three times WTAC Champion, Tilton Racing Evo, on track!

As the car is now retired, it will not be competing, instead it will be fitted up for team’s owner and all round legend Kostinken Pohurukov who will be sent out to do a Lap of Honour during the Midday Mayhem.

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Kosta (left) is not only the owner/manager of Tilton Racing but also a true revhead and a seriously quick driver so rest assured he won’t be taking it easy on his Lap of Honour.

Being a true revhead at heart and with plenty of Radical racing experience under his belt, rest assured Kosta will not be satisfied with just a leisurely paced demo lap. “Hell no,” replied Kosta when we’ve asked him if he’s going to take it easy. “It will be pedal to the metal all the way!”

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Tilton Evo is not just the most successful Australian time attack car ever. Over the years it has earned its place alongside the most iconic time attack cars world-wide. It’s impact on WTAC, and indeed the international time attack scene cannot be underestimated.

“It really is an honour to be able to do this for Kosta” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker. “He is without a question the backbone of the whole Tilton operation and when I found out he had never even driven the car in anger we just had to do something about it.”

“Kosta really has been the heart and soul of time attack racing from day one back at Oran Park. This is our way of saying thank you and as a bonus the fans worldwide get one last chance to see what is unquestionably (until proven otherwise) the fastest time attack car on the planet.”

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This will be the last time we’ll get to see the car that dominated WTAC for the past three years in action.

“It is true that I have never driven it in anger” said Kosta. “That is mainly because myself and my team were always so focused on the task at hand and that was to win WTAC.”

“In fact this will be the very first year we will sit it out so I guess you could say I am a tad excited to get behind the wheel of something that has been such a massive part of my life for so many years. Finally I will get to see what the beast feels like from a driver’s perspective. I can’t wait!”

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All hail the King Tilton. Retiring undefeated after three back-to-back WTAC titles Tilton leaves big shoes to fill.

“I got married earlier this year and I promised my wife I would calm down for a bit with the cars. But the bug is always biting and I already have a new car on the drawing board to take on the new breed of time attack cars.”

“It would be silly to think we could go much faster in what still is essentially a modified road car. The game at the top end has changed for sure and the fact that we have been able to stay on top for this long is a testament to my team. We’ll need a new weapon of an entirely different design principle and that is what we have already started to work on.”

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Throughout both days the Tilton Evo will be on display on the Royal Purple stand. Members of the Tilton team including driver Garth Walden will be out for a small presentation on the centre stage on Saturday afternoon followed by a short Q&A session. If you are a true time attack fan you will not want to miss this opportunity.

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This will be your one last chance to see this iconic car on track. Don’t miss it. Book your WTAC tickets now!


Tickets start from $20. Book yours now!
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Meet the “RP” in the RP-968 Porsche

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Every once in a while a car comes along that is so radical in both its concept and the execution it’s difficult to predict whether it’s going to be an absolute weapon or a bitter disappointment. Such was the case with the RP968 Porsche back in 2015.

Announced just weeks before the event, the build was kept secret from everyone but a few Porsche fanatics that managed to grab a sneak peek at the vehicle in its construction phase. When we ran a feature on the still partially finished vehicle it set the internet alight splitting the time attack fans into “it’ll be crazy fast” and “it won’t even post a time” groups. At its maiden WTAC the RP968 proved the former to be true running 1:26.80 – the fifth outright fastest time at the event with absolutely zero testing time. In fact what is even more astonishing is this car has only managed three full laps in anger at WTAC and one of those recorded that time, a sure sign of much bigger things to come.

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Aside from its impressive inaugural performance at WTAC 2015, very little is still known about this extraordinary car. So we sent our CEO, Ian Baker to have a coffee and a chat with the car’s owner Rod Pobestek, the “RP” in RP-968, to get the lowdown on what is possibly the most interesting and radical Porsche 968 on the planet.

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Ian Baker: I guess we should start at the beginning, how did this insane build come about?

Rod Pobestek: I have always been a front-engine Porsche guy. Unlike the 911 which is an evolution over many decades these were “clean sheet cars” and they ticked so many boxes.

Firstly they have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and the way the chassis is designed around the torque tube they really are a special thing. Yet, for some reason they’re so often overlooked. I still have my 944 Turbo road car and this was firstly planned as a fun track car. It was always destined to be a cool thing but I guess things just got right out of hand and once you commit to one area you need to make sure all the other areas are up to the same spec so things snowballed very quickly into what you see today.

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IB: Do you remember at what point things started to “get out of hand”?

RP: I guess the real stupidity started with the purchase of an Albins sequential transaxle. At the time I was a little shocked that I had just purchased a gearbox for $30,000 but over coming months that would turn out to be one of the cheaper components in the vehicle. Once we cut the back off the car there was no turning back!

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IB: So you didn’t set out to build the crazy full carbon fibre monster initially?

RP: Originally we planned an Open Class build using full GT3 suspension but that would have meant changing all the pickup points and it was too hard to keep this within the rules of Open Class. So then we really had no option but to build it for Pro Class.

This did concern me a little as were entering into another whole world, way beyond what we originally looking to do. I was out at WTAC 2014 and I remember walking into Under Suzuki’s pit garage and just being blown away by the tunnels on that car. I could not take my eyes off it and could not believe that you were actually allowed to build a car like that within the rules. It was a game changer for me.

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IB: Was that the day you made your mind up to build a Pro Class car?

RP: As fate would have it while I was staring under Suzuki’s car a guy came over for a chat who was assisting the Sutton Brothers in the adjoining pit garage. He turned out to be a very pivotal part of the whole equation. His name was Sammy or more correctly Dr Sammy Diasinos. Sammy gave me his card and explained he was an aerodynamicist who had formerly being working in Formula One with Toyota and Caterham and had returned to Australia to start his own business and was so excited about the way time attack racing was evolving in Australia.

Within a few more meetings I was confident we had the missing link of the equation as I already had a fantastic group of engineers, fabricators and mechanics. The aero component is critical and with Sammy onboard I knew we could move forward.

IB: Did the build start immediately after that?

RP: The planning started almost immediately but the build itself started in March 2015 and we finished it the Wednesday of event week in October. So the actual build time was six months. I cannot begin to tell you what those six months were like. At times we had over 20 or more people working all over the state on various components and a full build team of fabricators mechanics and engineers at PR Technology in Brookvale headed up by Richard Den Brinker.

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It was an enormous task and strain on everyone involved but I know that everyone was just as passionate about the project as myself and we all had the vision this could be something very special indeed. I am grateful for the effort put in by everyone as I could see the strain this was putting on the team. 12 hour days were turning into 16 hour days which were turning into 20 hour days. In the end Richard worked two days straight until he simply could not keep his eyes open any longer but that is what it took to get it there. We knew that if we didn’t make the event we had to wait another year!

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IB: For a car of this caliber there must have been a ton of design work done prior to the build?

RP: We actually designed the whole car on the computer long before we started. The mechanical design was the work of Dijan Nikik and a few others people such as Brypar were involved.  But the big job was the body. When you are working with aero everything has to be within a millimeter or it simply will not work properly and working to such tight tolerances in a short time frame is a major undertaking.

Every inch had to be drawn and then Sammy ran over 300 assimilations on the CFD computer before we could start manufacturing.  To give you an idea of the time involved here each one of those can take up to ten hours. It is insane the amount of work that went in behind the scenes but that’s what gives me the confidence that once we’re up and running this car will be a rocket. Seriously, this aero package is REALLY special.

IB: The engine is a work of art too by the looks of it…

RP: Actually there is not a lot there that hasn’t been done before. We were aware of the limitation of the block being around the 850hp mark so we aimed to keep it in the low 800hp region. It has all the usual forged internals and the cylinder head is “flipped” 180 degrees to put the hot side upward where we could produce proper manifolding and control the heat.

The inlet is a billet item by Ariel of Custom Plenum Creations. It has a big Borg Warner turbo and we have now switched to a pair of Turbosmart gates. Any of these aero cars will have problems with melting wastgates as the engine bay is sealed and that is something we have been working with Turbosmart on in recent times.

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IB: The carbon fibre body looks pretty special. Was that done locally or did you have to source it from interstate?

RP: It was built on the South coast of NSW in Nowra by a company called Innovation Composites. When I went searching for a composite company most of the leads I had were companies interstate and I really wanted to be able to drive somewhere and keep track of the progress as we were on such a tight timeline and I could not afford any delays. These guys build super maxi yachts and are exceptional craftsmen. I probably drove them crazy but they got it done and on time.

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IB: So what has happened to the car since 2015?

RP: To be honest we parked it for a few months. It was such a strain in every regard, financially, physically and emotionally. I am pretty sure most of the team would have slept for a week after that and then tried to patch their family relationships back together.

Our goal is the same as every other top tier team competing:

to be faster than everyone else!

So we did nothing until about March then pulled the covers back off. We have done some testing, a bit more work and updates and we have more test days scheduled. This year will be a whole lot different game. The car is built we just need to dial it in and we will be good to go!

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IB: What are your goals for WTAC 2016?

RP: We will have a new driver on board as we welcome Barton Mawer to the team. Barton has a wealth of experience driving aero cars in the open wheeler division and more recently Australian GT. Aside from that our goal is probably pretty much the same as every other top tier team competing: to be faster than everyone else.

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Moving forward we do have one very clear goal and that is the outright lap record held by Nico Hulkenberg in an A1GP car a time of 1.19.1. Yes we know the Red Bull F1 car did 1.11 but that is another world entirely and it is not listed on the records list anyway. It may sound a bit pie on the sky but we have done a lot of homework and it is not an impossibility. Certainly not this year but it  could be achieved one day so that is our target time for sure!

IB: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and best of luck for WTAC 2016. We can’t wait to see you at the track in October.

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 Follow Rod and the RP-968 team on Twitter @RP_968


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