Tag: subaru

Pro Speed Racing upping the ante for WTAC 2016

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The name Pro Speed Racing has long been associated with Subaru performance. They are the importer and reseller of many leading USA brands like Invidia exhausts, Mishimoto Radiators and APR Aero. For 2016 the Pro Speed guys have entered their Project WRX into WTAC to showcase what they can offer to their clients.

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“We had planned on entering in Open Class,” said Pro Speed boss Troy Patterson “but with the aero kit already outside the rules we had to move up to Pro Am.”

“Being in Pro Am will allow us some more freedoms in the future but the bottom line is this is not a bespoke racing car, it is a car that anyone could build using parts all available from our online store. It is a rolling showcase of the products we sell and also an extremely good R&D vehicle to test and prove new techniques and products in a real world environment.”

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“It all started life many years ago as street MY02 WRX STi but is a long way from that now!”

The engine is a 2.5 Litre closed deck with all forged internals. Everything is top shelf, Nitto Rods, CP Pistons. Being the Blouch dealer for Australia Pro Speed didn’t need to look for for a turbo and opted for the brand new Blouch Dominator, twin bearing  2.5 XTR. The whole deal has been screwed together by Michael South of MSR Engineering on the Central Coast.

“We constantly developing new techniques like gas rings for example. It is a continual work in progress and you never stop learning.”

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The cooling is all Process West and the exhaust is Invidia 80mm G5 Titan. The fuel system runs three fuel pumps in a Radium Engineering surge tank feeding E85 to the Deatchworks injectors.

“Currently the car is only making 337kW at the wheels,” said Troy, “But the big deal here is the torque which is what we have designed the package around. It is now making an incredible 1190Nm of torque and is on full boost by 3500rpm!”

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“We still have a lot to do before WTAC.  We want to take full advantage of Pro Am rules and the aero is one area we are really focused on.”

“We have an ABW designed APR performance wing and an APR composite front splitter but we still need to fabricate skirts and a big rear diffuser and of course some canards. If time permits we would also love to put some bigger tyres under those guards.”.

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Josh Coote from MCA Suspension has been instrumental in helping with custom valving and setup of the MCA Red coilovers. The fact that a majority of the fast cars at WTAC all run MCA suspension is testament to another quality Australian product making a noise on the world stage.

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“We might not be a threat to the guys at the front of the pack but we plan on putting on a damn good show and show what can be done on a modest budget and using mostly off the shelf parts” said Troy “We will probably let Michael South have a pedal as well after all the hard work he has put in, plus he will be a fair bit faster than me I suspect!”

“Pro Am is certainly the class to watch this year” said Superlap CEO, Ian Baker, “with some very innovative builds, the class is bristling with new technology and interesting concepts. Bring on October!”


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The strongest Pro-Am field ever at WTAC 2016

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The Garrett Pro Am Class allows owners to build Pro Class spec cars without the threat of competing against professional drivers. This class has seen a rapid growth over the last few years and the fastest Pro Am cars are not a whole lot slower than their Pro counterparts. In fact, it is not out of a question for a Pro Am car to soon have the fastest outright lap time!

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The comparison table above shows just how much Pro Am competitors have closed the gap on Pro since its introduction in 2013. In its inaugural year the gap between the fastest Pro and the fastest Pro Am car was a whopping six seconds. Fast forward to 2015 and the gap has shrunk to less than two seconds! Last year all Pro Am podium teams finished with sub 1:30 times.

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Seems like the absence of nitrous and professional drivers doesn’t hold Pro Am teams back at all. With crazy, full aero cars and times rivalling those of top Pro teams it’s not difficult to see why Pro Am is quickly becoming the class to watch at WTAC, and this year we’re about to see the strongest field ever with several cars capable of an outright win!

 

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Big news this year is we have the insane Supaloc Lamborghini Gallardo entered. With a giant turbocharger helping the Lambo engine make well in excess of 1000hp and a slick aero package this will be one to watch. Anyone that knows Kevin Weeks knows the South Australian is not one to mess around and will be coming for the win.

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Also another South Australian Brad Trenwith will be returning in a radical new RX7 car with a short crank, 3 rotor engine with a big turbo sitting proud in the engine bay. The team are hinting at a 1000hp power output which should make this a very quick car. Brad has also invested in a CFD designed aero package and a bunch of trick features and has been testing early this year.

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Next up is another new addition that we are absolutely itching to see in the flesh. Sydney local Dale Malone has actually purchased a genuine ex JGTC GT300 Nismo S15 Silvia and is busy preparing it for Pro Am duties. We are not privy to too much info at this stage but he has promised a full feature once it has the engine back in and is looking the part.

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Chris Alexander has been making serious progress with his CJA Motorsport R32 GTR. With aero design by Barry Lock and an engine package from drag racing champions Tony Rigoli Performance this is one team to watch for sure. Runner up is not where this guy wants to be and no question he will be coming for the win in 2016.

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Rob Nguyen and his Mighty Mouse CRX are a real threat with a healthy supercharged engine and now a much wider tyre. This team has always punched well above its weight but 2016 may well be the year we see them deliver the knockout blow!

“We are not messing around this year. We will be playing to our strengths and now that we actually have some traction it will be a different story than last year for sure!”

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With a long time attack history including competing in the 2007 Superlap Battle at Tsukuba Circuit in Japan Mark Berry has long been regarded as the OG of time attack in Australia. Mark has sat the past two years out to focus on business interests but has confirmed he will be back in the mighty Hi Octane Racing R34 GTR. We’ve been told Mark has been working on some serious upgrades to bring him back into the game.

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Jason Wright has also been a busy boy getting the iconic “HULK” WRX ready for the 2016 event. With a billet engine capable of 1000hp and many years of development he is hoping to get all the ducks in a row in 2016. “We are simply refining what we have. We have struggled with niggling problems year after year so plan on being a lot better sorted a lot earlier this year to show what the car is really capable of.”

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If the Sutton Brothers S15 is not the best example of a time attack Silvia on the planet we do not know what is. This car is an absolute work of art in every regard and in fact Nob Taniguchi even offered to buy the car a couple of years back. Taking a year off to study the brothers have confirmed they are back with a vengeance and are already planning test days to find more valuable time. Apart from building a car to an amazing standard these guys are also very competitive and will not be coming to muck about.

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Martin Notaras had a real struggle in 2015 with a newly finished car. Entered in Pro Class last year with the super capable Jack LeBrocq behind the wheel it really failed to show any promise. But the reality is this car should be super fast. The aero was designed by Andrew Brilliant to show “what can be done on a budget” the engine and trans should be strong with Notaras racing having many years of knowledge with the 4G63 and Martin is actually a dab hand behind the wheel. Any of the older folk may remember him dominating the Dutton rally series back in the late 90s. Before that he was a champion motorcycle racer.

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Last but definitely not least is Matt Plowman’s Scura Motorsport Lotus Exige. With a killer power-to-weight ratio and aero designed by Andrew Brilliant this is going to be a serious contender. It’s been a few years since we’ve since a Lotus at the pointy end of WTAC and this one certainly should be able to mix it with the best. “All of us were really excited at AMB Aero to do this project,” said Andrew Brilliant, “He wasn’t interested in the extremity of the current crop of pro cars, so we worked hard to infuse the downforce with a more balanced approach.”

 

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arrow  Understanding WTAC: Rules, aerodynamics and control tyres explained 
arrow  7 Things You need to know about WTAC 2016

Andy Forrest – Living the dream

As the cars get faster, the battle for number 1 gets tougher. With soaring temperatures and the stiffest competition yet, the pressure on all international challengers is enormous. One international entry who can testify to that is Scotland’s Andy Forrest. In this guest blog, Andy shares the experience of his first World Time Attack Challenge.

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The beginning

I had always wanted to race in Australia but could never find the time or means. Then, one cold and rainy day in Scotland, I received an email from my Australian friend, Nev Scott. 

Nev had been chatting to Ian Baker, about the possibility of bringing our Superlap Scotland winning Impreza to Australia for WTAC. My initial reaction was no, we don’t have enough time to prepare our car properly, but another glance out of the window at the sideways rain was enough to convince me and I replied: yes, we will go!

Then the reality hit home, we have a car that has just done a season’s racing and it needs to be prepared to WTAC spec and loaded into a shipping container in only 2 weeks. 
Graeme Jeram at Whiteline UK and Andy Napier at RA Motorsports set about arranging parts and sponsorship to make it happen. Our existing aero was considered quite wild by UK standards but was closer to Clubsprint class level in Australia. Our front aerofoil wing was sacrificed and chopped up to make some WTAC spec 300mm wide winglets. Along with a flat carbon splitter, that would make up our international spec aero. 

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Graeme had secured the services of Simon Stanley of Chevron Motorsport who took care of all suspension and chassis set up work. 
Andy Napier had meanwhile been securing sponsorship from Turbosmart UK, Gareth at Plastic mouldings, Glenroyal, Zac at Torque Developments, Daren at ABW and of course RA Motorsports. 
We also had our existing support from Keith Michaels Insurance, ASPerformance, Blouch turbos, Roland Alsop and Extreme Clutch to help us on the way.

We hit our 2 week deadline for getting down to Dover to load the car into the shipping container alongside the SVA Evo. From then on it was a waiting game. A few weeks later we set off on the 22hr flight to Sydney, eventually arriving at the stunning Darling Harbour area. We met up with Andy Nolan, David Chenery and the team at Whiteline. Ian met us at the track along with the Border Control customs. As they cut off the padlocks it was a bit tense as we looked inside, was it still all there, was it intact?

After a few tense moments during inspection, when the inspector found a lump of used rubber that had escaped us during the clean, it was a pass!

Next day it was back down to Sydney Motorsport Park at 6am in the morning for what they call “dawn patrol”. This is an opportunity for new drivers to have a few hours on track with no overtaking and a strict speed limit of 110kph. It may sound slow but it was a chance to find the lines on the track and it was an invaluable two hours.

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The middle

We started the car up for the first time to do some test laps. It was quite a feeling pulling out onto the pit lane for the first time. We left the silencers at home (no noise limits) so it sure woke up the other garage occupants as we cruised by.

Out onto track and the car just felt at home. The circuit has such a fast flowing nature to it, then there is that long downhill straight followed by the famous high speed turn 1. 
A few laps and we come in for a systems check, tweak to the fuel map and we head out again, still on minimum boost. Getting faster down the main straight and the shift lights come on in 5th gear at 270kph and I still have not even reached the 300mtr marker. I lift off and drop to around 90mph for turn 1. It is a long semi blind entry tightening turn. We need to be doing this at 230+kph to be on the pace!

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Brain says you can’t go this fast around a bend,

aero says you can!

In for a tyre temp check on these super soft Yokohama A050s that we have never run on before. They are up to 90+ degrees after 2 gentle laps and the max they should be run at is 100 C. So it’s outlap, fast lap, in lap from now on. Track temp was mid 40’s but the car was coping well.

We set off for the next session (6 x 15 min sessions, alternating with road cars) we bang in all 6 sessions with no issues at all. No lap timing at this stage as we were just optimising on sectors and targeting the lower speed corners first. 
The high temperatures seemed to be affecting the other international cars, most of them spending the best part of the day in the pits changing broken bits. 
At the end of the day we were well pleased with progress, the car was well balanced in the medium speed corners and was putting the power down well.

We had a slight balance issue in the higher speed turns where we were working on getting the aero balance sorted. That front aero was certainly working, maybe too well.

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With the stiffer front springs in place we set out on our first session of day 2. The grounding had stopped but the car was still loose on high speed turns. We noticed that as we added more rear wing, the wings chassis mounts deflected, taking the angle back off again which was sorted by a quick fix.

We do another test run with the GoPro watching the wing and all is good and the balance feels much better. We add more rear wing again and a full lap proves that the car is now well balanced at speed, and working turn 1 up to 190kph apex speed and all is stable. The track temp is high 40’s by now so we know it requires one fast lap per outing in order to preserve the rubber.
 We have now done 30+ laps and feel comfortable with the car and track.

Coming onto the main straight I give it full throttle, it hooks up well, I let it auto shift up the gears as usual, then I short shift into 6th. Previously we were lifting around the 300 metres so I take a brave pill and run deeper into turn 1, lifting around the 150m point. Still too early but I need to work up to speed gently. Brain says you can’t go this fast around a bend, aero says you can!

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The car has so much more grip on the new tyres that I feel I should have turned into each corner faster. I make a mental note and carry on pushing slightly harder. Then, at turn 8 the box misses an up-shift. It gets it second time then on up-shift to 4th, as we approach the final complex 9/10/11 turns, I feel a vibration, then bang, then a total loss of drive and a big vibration. It feels like a broken driveshaft.

Then I notice flames under the car. I’m undoing my window straps and harness using my knees to steer to the next marshal’s post and as I pull up the flames go out. I can see gear oil pouring out across the under tray.

The end

Tow back to the pits and we strip off the aero floor for a look at the gearbox. It’s ugly. The carbon prop has snapped and taken out the centre diff casing with it, the drop gears (still intact) literally drop out the hole in the casing.

I think we can fix this. Nev has a carbon propshaft lined up and Brett Middleton from MRT knows of a Subaru specialist transmission shop that has casings and is willing to stay up all night if required to allow us to fix it. You can’t beat the Australian hospitality.

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As we look at the damage in more detail it becomes clear that the drive to the front diff has also been damaged. 
We get the car up to Peakhurst transmissions to find literally hundreds of Subaru transmissions on the shelf. The guys get the box out, open up the main casing and the output shaft drops out, snapped clean 
in two.  

As we look closer, the reason is clear, the needle roller bearing on 4th gear has failed and partly seized onto the main shaft, the resulting heat from this has softened the main shaft to the point that the torque has just ripped it apart.

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The car is transported to Hypertune while Ian, Nev and Brett hunt for a replacement gearbox. We have offers of a 6 speed H pattern but it doesn’t fit our setup, we stumble upon the PPG stand in the trader alley, who have a 6sp sequential in a display case. This could work but since it’s a display box it would require a fair bit of custom work. 
We sit down with the sponsors and all of us reluctantly agree that it is just unrealistic to get this amount of custom work done in time available.

We had all been thinking this but nobody wanted to be the first to say it. That was it, end of play. We have all had disappointments in motorsport. It’s the nature of the game. This was a tough one though as I felt like I was letting people down. The drive to the event on Saturday was emotional. We were going as spectators, not as competitors.

We had all been thinking this

but nobody wanted to be the first to say it.

Saturday wasn’t all gloom though as Nev and Dan let me have a session on track in Daniel’s CMA car.

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The future

On the positive side looking forward, we have gained heaps of data on the fuel, ambient conditions, the track and the tyres. Our car can run in these high temperatures and at high speeds without a hitch. We were on for a sub 1:30 lap when the box went. Although we have to balance that with a further reality check of just how fast these WTAC cars really are, the Mighty Mouse FWD Honda CRX ran a 1:29!

We were running 280kph down the straight on minimum boost, braking early for turn 1, I can’t wait to find out what it would do with the additional 400bhp available from high boost, never mind the Nitrous.

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I can’t thank everyone enough, particularly the team at Whiteline Australia, Graeme, Simon and Mick. Nev and Daniel from the CMA team and Brett and his guys from MRT. Finally Ian Baker for making it all possible.

So where do we go from here? The repair parts are already ordered for the Modena gearbox, we have also ordered a 6sp PPG sequential to set up in our car and test run in the UK so we have a spare box modified ready and we have a certain well known WTAC aerodynamicist coming to visit us shortly to discuss enhancements in that area.

WTAC is the best place ever for networking and the friendliest race environment I have ever been 
involved with. Our place at WTAC is already booked for 2016, unfinished business – Living The Dream Part 2. Bring it on!

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Helpful Links

arrow  Relive all the action – WTAC 2015 catch-up stream
arrow  Final Results –  WTAC 2015 Leader Board
arrow  Watch Tilton’s winning lap – 1:23.77 a new WTAC record

2015 WTAC Form Guide

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Picking a winner this year was never going to be an easy task. The competition across all classes has gotten a lot fiercer with a number of teams capable of taking the win. As the official practice day draws to a close the only thing we can promise with any degree of certainly is that this year’s field is closer that it’s ever been.

When awarding our scores we’ve looked at the car’s past performance, pre-event testing and preparation as well our first impressions on the test day. We have then scored each car’s chances of winning its respective class out of 10. And so, without further ado here are our top picks for the 2015 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.

Tilton Interiors

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The reigning champs have proven time and time again they can overcome setbacks and come out on top. Going for their third WTAC title they are the team to beat.

Strengths: Very experienced team, tried and proved package, experienced driver, loads of pre-event testing.
Weaknesses: Some reliability issues but otherwise not many.
Our Score: 9/10

MCA Suspension

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MCA’s brand new car is big leap forward for the team. With a gun driver and the team’s previous experience in clocking consistently fast times, MCA is well position to dethrone Tilton.

Strengths: Very experienced team, aggressive and experienced driver, massively improved vehicle.
Weaknesses: Limited pre-event testing.
Our Score: 8.5/10

Scorch Racing

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In 2014 Suzuki came oh-so-close and will no doubt be going for the kill this year. The car now has the aero package that Andrew Brilliant originally envisaged for it.

Strengths: Has the passion, the skill and the car to go head to head with the fastest.
Weaknesses: The revised aero package had limited testing time. Some engine reliability issues.
Our Score: 8.5/10

RP 968

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This is a team that could potentially cause a major upset. They suffered a bit of a setback on Wednesday with flames seen bellowing out of the engine bay but they’re back in their garage today with the car looking as good as new.

Strengths: One of the most extreme builds we’ve ever soon. A very professional and experienced team.
Weaknesses: Little to no testing time. First time at WTAC.
Our Score: 8/10

SVA Imports

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UK champions did not come all this way to just ‘have a go’. They know what’s needed to win in time attack and have a well proven package to do it with. The car looked fast in practice and performed without any major issues.

Strengths: Very experienced team, light weight, reliable and very quick car, experienced driver, plenty of pre-event testing.
Weaknesses: First time at WTAC (though Gareth has been here before with Redbrick Racing).
Our Score: 8/10

LYFE Motorsport

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This Utah-based team carries the hopes of the entire North American continent on their shoulders. Their car cannot be underestimated but lack of pre-event testing could be a problem.

Strengths: Experienced team, experienced driver, very advanced build.
Weaknesses: Lack of pre-event testing, heavy and complex vehicle.
Our Score: 7/10

Andy Forrest Performance

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Strengths: Very fast car with a killer power-to-weight ratio.
Weaknesses: First time at WTAC, largely untested aero package, suffered from gearbox issues during practice.
Our Score: 6.5/10

 

Mick Sigsworth

Like Tilton in Pro Class, Mick Sigsworth is the one to beat in Pro Am. In fact, many people tip him to be the fastest outright this year. This prediction is not without its merit as Mick is a very competent driver and in his hands the PMQ Evo is an absolute weapon.

Strengths: Reigning champion currently enjoying a big lead over other Pro Am competitors. Fast, reliable car, focused and experienced team.
Weaknesses: Intermittent mechanical issues plagued Mick last year but these seem to have been fixed.
Our Score: 9.5/10

Chris Alexander

Here is a driver that has done a lot of off-season testing and reportedly shaved seconds off his 2014 best. The car certainly has the power and handling to take on Sigsworth’s Evo so it’ll come down to the driver’s capability of getting the most out of it.

Strengths: Very potent car with a quickly improving driver. plenty of pre-event testing.
Weaknesses: Persisting reliability issues. Car caught fire in practice.
Our Score: 8/10

Rob Nguyen

Now equipped with a supercharger, Rob’s Mighty Mouse is a very serious title contender. If his performance last year is anything to go by this little Honda is not to be underestimated.

Strengths: Well balanced, reliable car with a killer power-to-weight ratio. experienced driver.
Weaknesses: New car for 2015 with limited testing time. Team sat out practice session so we haven’t seen the new package run yet.
Our Score: 8/10

Atsushi Shimaya

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This car was no slouch when it competed here in 2013 and has since been dramatically improved. It is certainly capable of being on the class podium.

Strengths: Well developed, tested and proven package, experienced driver.
Weaknesses: Somewhat underpowered in comparison with the top contenders in this class, mechanical issues during practice.
Our Score:7.5/10

Jason Wright

Don’t make Hulk angry! This year Hulk has a billet engine, new transmission and revised aero. This should put Jason well within the podium contention.

Strengths: Reliable, powerful car, experienced driver, sufficient pre-event testing.
Weaknesses: Had a year hiatus from WTAC.
Our Score: 7/10

 

Steve Ka / Powertune

Strengths: Proven performer. Underwent a massive suspension and engine upgrade since last year. Plenty of testing prior to this year’s event.
Weaknesses: Nothing we can think of.
Our Score: 9/10

Nik Kalis / Team Sparta

Strengths: Nik Kalis is back and he wants his trophy back! The car is finally doing what the driver wants it to and the new aero package will make this car a real threat.
Weaknesses: Judging by its performance so far, not many.
Our Score: 8/10

Evolution Custom Industries

Strengths: Plenty of power, good handling, experienced driver.
Weaknesses: Lack of pre-event testing, some reliability issues.
Our Score: 8/10

Road Track Rally (RTR)

Strengths: Well sorted, reliable package, experienced driver with plenty of time attack experience.
Weaknesses: Limited pre-event testing.
Our Score: 7.5/10

3 Rotor Racing

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Strengths: Very professional looking build. Looked very fast and very comfortable in practice, this New Zealand team is certainly a podium material.
Weaknesses: First time at WTAC.
Our Score: 7.5/10

 

Jason Naidoo

Strengths: WTAC veteran, new powerful engine, tried and proven performer. This year Jason will be hard to beat.
Weaknesses: Limited testing with the new engine.
Our Score: 9/10

David Lord

Strengths: Another WTAC veteran who proved last year that he’s got what it takes to make the podium.
Weaknesses: Lack of pre-event testing.
Our Score: 8/10

John Richardson

Strengths: Finishing just outside the podium last year, John has some unfinished business to take care of. He’s got a refined, well sorted package that could potentially put him on the podium this year.
Weaknesses: Competing against AWD EVOs and STIs, John’s R33 GTST might have some weight and RWD disadvantage.
Our Score: 7/10

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Jason Wright: It’s not easy being green

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As colourful a character as the car he drives, Jason Wright is a WTAC veteran and a true believer in the Subaru WRX platform. We caught up with Jason recently to chat about Subarus, racing and time attack.

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WTAC: You’ve been involved in time attack for a while now, what attracted you to this type of racing?

Jason Wright: It all started after getting tired of beating my body up racing motorcycles. One last big crash at T6 Eastern Creek in 2007 resulting in two broken legs and one broken arm, leaving me unable to wipe my own bum for at least 3 weeks. That pretty much put an end to my passion for racing on two wheels.

Pretty soon though I was yearning for speed again but opted for 4 wheels this time. I started in the CAMS NSW Super Sprint Series, bypassing all the club stuff. It wasn’t long before I found myself on a podium, winning Class 2D CAMS State and National Super Sprint Series in my first year.

In the following years I started seriously developing the car (Subaru of course) and in 2011 I won the State and National Series – Outright. I also really enjoyed the car development side of things. At that point I had been doing all the work on the car myself, except for engine builds which have always been taken care of by Autotech Engineering. Feeling like we had achieved all we wanted in that arena and wanting to develop the car even further which lead me into chasing the time attack dream.

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WTAC: You often find yourself driving the lone Subaru in a sea of Mitsubishis and Nissans. Have you ever thought of joining the dark side and getting an Evo?

JW: There are strengths and weakness in both platforms. We now also have an Autotech Engineering EVO, which is Open Class spec and I really like it. But we have all our 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.

These balance and poise advantages in the Subaru platform really show through in the results that we achieved when we run in Open and Club Sprint classes with our Subarus. In those classes, where very few modifications where allowed and power plus mechanical grip was everything, it really showed that the Subaru platform works quite well. The sweet balance of those cars made it easy for me to apply lots of power to the ground and get the best out of the improved mechanical grip that they gave me.

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WTAC: The Hulk is one of the most recognisable cars at WTAC, is there a story behind the colour scheme and the name?

JW: Autotech company color is green, so that was always going to be the colour as it’s our number one marketing tool. I think green is Spiro’s favorite color and anyway and after we painted it, one of Spiro’s sons said we should call it the HULK.

WTAC: You don’t have to look too hard to see the car has had a major facelift. Talk us through the changes you’ve done since 2013.

JW: On debut we ran what was an Open class car with just the wing and splitter up to Pro class spec, we only changed from Open Class to Pro-Class 8 weeks out from the event in 2013 so it was all a big rush and just not possible to get all Pro spec aero done in time. Still, we managed 3rd outright in Pro-Am, which was very good considering we had zero aero test and development time.

This year we have had some time and we have installed; full Pro spec rear diffuser, swan mount rear wing, flat floor, re-worked the front guards and front doors to exit some air, plus we finished the front canards, giving the car a proper Pro Class look. I can assure you it has changed the car significantly, we are into our 6th set of springs, continually being shocked by the amount of down-force that our basic homemade aero bits are making.

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WTAC: Often the most important improvements are not immediately apparent. Have you done anything to the engine or drivetrain?

JW: This is also big for us, this year we are running Samsonas Sequential Transmission and also the new Autotech billet engine block with a new Garrett turbo, all capable of making 1000hp.

Another major step forward for us was to fit our new billet front hubs. These immediately transformed the cars front end grip and steering response. After having experienced no less than 5 front hub failures during the car’s short life, we now have a safer more durable component holding the front wheels in place.

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WTAC: Last year’s winning lap time in Pro Am was an incredible 1:25.27. What sort of times do you think you can achieve with your new set up?

JW: Let’s just say the car is significantly faster and recently we smashed our previous PB with the old power plant. We will run in the 1000hp billet motor next week but we won’t be showing our hand before the event. You are going to have to come along in October to find that one out.

WTAC: Apart from yourself of course, which team in Pro Am could surprise everyone this year with super fast times?

JW: I think we all need to look out for the Pulse/Mckinnon combination, they are being very stealthy! They are also running one of our Samsonas sequential transmissions and they have some more power this year so I think they have more than a couple of Aces up their sleeves.

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WTAC: You are a regular at SMSP, which is the most challenging part of the GP circuit for you?

JW: In the non-aero cars it is all about maximizing the available mechanical grip through T3, Corporate Hill and the final combination of corners coming onto the straight. With the aero cars, the biggest challenge by far is getting through T1 as fast as possible.

T1 never worried me in the non-aero cars, because you already know the limit of mechanical grip that the car has available, well before you arrive there. In an aero car, you have less idea how much grip (Mechanical plus Aero) you will have until you have actually made it through there at a given speed in the present conditions. This first time I went through T1 on target for 210kph apex speed, with aero on the car, we blew the front right tire just prior to the apex at app 205kph and were lucky to save the car. We are now going much faster through there but I still find that the biggest challenge.

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WTAC: As a driver, how do you prepare yourself for an event such a WTAC?

JW: It’s tough for someone like me that doesn’t currently get to do a lot of driving during the year. There was a time when we were chasing state championships where I was driving every second weekend and at that point I was very well dialled in. Nowadays it is a matter of drawing on past experience, looking through data files to try find areas for improvement, plus watching in-car videos of us and our competitors also helps.

WTAC: Thanks for chatting with us and good luck in October!

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1200hp WRX from Scotland to take on Pro Class

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Imagine building a really fast WRX. Something to run at the odd drag meet. Then imagine things get out of hand and you finish up with a flat six Subaru engine from a SVX punched out to 3.6 litres with all the good bits internally and with a couple of big turbochargers strapped on either side.

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The horsepower climbs to well over 1000 (in fact closer to 1200hp with a whiff of NOS) and before you know it the car is running 7.7 second quarter mile times at near on 300km/h all whilst remaining street registered. If all this sounds impressive (which it most certainly is) just wait until you hear the next bit…

The car is then developed into a top level time attack car that goes out to set lap records and decimate almost everything that is put against it whilst retaining this insane power level.

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Sound impossible? Well, you have never met Andy Forrest!

We caught up with this crazy Scotsman at his little workshop Andy Forrest Performance nestled in the sleepy town of Port Seton near Edinburgh on the East Coast of Scotland as he busily prepares what could possibly be the most insane Subaru WRX on the planet to ship to Sydney Australia to take on the fastest time attack cars on the planet.

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WTAC: We are really looking forward to seeing you compete at WTAC in October. How did all this come about?

Andy Forrest: It’s all a bit of a blur actually. One minute I’m sitting, looking out at the rain, thinking I need a new challenge for the car, then I get an email from Nev Scott from Australia asking if I was up for WTAC this year. I had previously said no as it was not what the car was built for, but he caught me at just the right time and I said: Yes, let’s do this!

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WTAC: Let’s start at the beginning, tell us about this crazy car of yours.

AF: It came about as a bet with my partner Lisa! I seen this 95 Impreza RA on Ebay for £2500 and just happened to say: that’s a 9 second car right there. She laughed: “in your dreams!” I said “I could have one of them running 9’s within a month”. The challenge was on and I won!

WTAC: We’ve heard this car has a hell of a reputation at the Ten Of The Best (TOTB) events in the UK

AF: Yes, TOTB is a multi discipline event for street legal cars that includes 1/4 mile drag, top speed over 1km standing start and a handling course over a fairly tight coned slalom track. We have won it outright for the past 3 years, against the UK’s fastest. The car runs 289 kph on the 1/4 and 340 kph from a standing start over the kilometer in full street trim.

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WTAC: You’ve also smashed another record at Knockhill circuit recently at a round of the Superlap Scotland series?

AF: Knockhill is my local circuit, I won the Scottish saloon car championship there over 20 years ago in a Sierra Cosworth. I thought it was about time I visited again, so we had a look at the regs, tweeked the car to suit and entered the event. We took the win and set a new lap record first time out, which was nice.

WTAC: We are all intrigued at how on earth you managed to convert what was essentially a street car into a race car that does times at both the drag strip and the race circuit.

AF: A wise man once said “there is no replacement for displacement” but that was before we had boost. Now the belief is “there’s no substitute for boost”. So we’ve just combined them. 3600cc and 40psi boost in a lightweight car. There is your answer!

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WTAC: Can you talk us through your engine and running gear?

AF: We have used an H6 engine from the normally aspirated Subaru SVX/Alcoyne. It is basically an Impreza engine with 2 more cylinders, it shares most of its internals with the EJ22 engine from the old 90s Legacy/Liberty and bolts right in to the std engine mounts.

It has been stroked to 79mm and sleeved out to 98mm with uprated forged internals and our own custom camshafts. It runs two Blouch billet GT35-88 turbos that are rated at 700bhp each and 12 x ASNU 1300cc injectors, all controlled by a Syvecs S8 ECU. The trans is a Australian made Modena 6 speed sequential in the OE Impreza casing with paddle shift and an Australian made Xtreme Clutch.

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WTAC: As all this has come around in whirlwind you guys obviously have very little time to prepare. This can be a bit of a detriment but we have heard it from many reliable sources to never underestimate what you guys are capable of, regardless of the odds. This bears the question, what will you be doing in preparation for coming to Australia in such a short space of time?

AF: This is the tricky bit, most guys have had a year to prepare for WTAC, we have had 2 weeks! The car needs to ship out next week in order to make it down by early October. We have been sprinting the car so the format of 1 hot lap is a familiar one, however we don’t have any tracks on our calendar that have such high speed turns like Sydney Motorsport Park.

Aerodynamics is where we will find the challenge, we have the power, we have the mechanical grip but we don’t have the aero development that is all important for this event. We have a few last minute DIY alterations underway to address this but with no time to test it on track it is a bit of a gamble.

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WTAC: Sydney Motorsport Park is a large flowing circuit that favors the higher horsepower cars so this may well play into your hands.

AF: Yes, if we can maintain the momentum in the faster turns it will be good. Pulling 2+ G’s through turn 1 on road tyres requires some serious down force, that will be our challenge.

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WTAC: You have a serious following worldwide on social media, is there anything you would like to say to your fans before you get here?

AF: Come down to Sydney if you can, there is simply no better way of experiencing a motorsport event than in person. If you can’t make it, tune in to the live stream. I was captivated by it last year and we didn’t even have any UK cars running! We will be giving it all we have got that’s for sure!

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WTAC: Thanks Andy, along with everyone else we cannot wait to see what you can do. We suspect you may surprise even the biggest skeptic!

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Photos courtesy of Flat Out Motorsport Photography

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arrow  Who’s competing in 2015? Competitors List

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