Tag: top fuel

Top Fuel more serious than ever for 2014 assault.

It’s no secret that the Japanese teams have struggled to keep pace with the ultra-high powered and now well-developed Australian Pro Time Attack cars. But one team that absolutely refuses to give up is Mie based Honda tuner Top Fuel who along with Suzuka based aero specialist Voltex with what is unquestionably the world’s fastest S2000.

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A new larger wing is one of the major aero improvements for 2014

“For many years the sport of time attack racing in Japan was strictly for tuning shops and parts suppliers to modify vehicles and test against each other and sell the parts that they were making” said Nakijima-san from Voltex Racing “but as soon as Nemo appeared in Australia in 2012 it appeared the whole landscape had changed as this was a car that was purpose built just to win world time attack and was nothing related to an actual commercial business but simply built to win one event”

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Voltex will be using some of the lessons learnt on the Tilton Evo to improve the aero on the Top Fuel S2000

“My company Voltex Racing was fortunate that Kostya from Tilton Racing did not like being beaten and we were able to develop an aero kit strong enough for them to get them victory back in 2013. For 2014 we will be taking what we have learnt with the Tilton Evo and applying it to the Top Fuel/Voltex S2000 and chasing not only the fastest rear wheel drive vehicle but certainly outright as well.”

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“The car is now very powerful and well sorted and with considerable time spent back in the Mie wind tunnel the downforce numbers we are seeing this year it may just be possible. We would certainly like to make Japan proud once again.”

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This will certainly make Nob Taniguchi a happy man once again as for the past few years he has struggled with the fact he did not have a weapon to take on the Australian cars and it may appear that 2014 is the year that Japan may once again be in the game!

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They are here!

Nothing brings the imminent reality of the World Time Attack Challenge home more than seeing the international competitors’ car being wheeled out of the shipping containers. Unloading the cars, with all the associated spares and tools always lifts the excitement to yet another level. They are here, they’re ready to battle and damn they look serious!

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The first thing we have noticed on the RE Amemiya RX-7 is the new, much larger rear wing. There is also a new rear diffuser and a wider, lower front spoiler.

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The Esprit NSX is a truly beautiful car that you just have to see in person to appreciate. Low, aggressive stance, plenty of carbon fibre and a purposeful, if somewhat subtle when compared to other Pro cars, aero kit will no doubt make it one of the most popular cars this year.

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At a first glance the Top Fuel / Voltex S2000 looks unchanged but look closer and you’ll notice the car has had quite a few tweaks, all no doubt designed to shave off those valuable seconds. The biggest change, we are told, is under the bonnet but more on that later.

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Purists will love the Endless RX7 with its classic good looks and understated aero kit. Don’t be fooled by its conservative looks though, this car has seen plenty of track action and will be very competitive come Friday.

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No we didn’t hear it start yet but just like the rest of WTAC fans we just can’t wait to hear the PPRE six rotor on full throttle!

The car we were looking forward to seeing – the Scorch Racing S15 deserves its own feature which is coming soon but let us just say this – Suzuki-san has certainly not been sitting idle in the off-season and the car looks more serious than ever!

Meanwhile, back in the Australian camp Nemo Racing have finally released some images of their new, 2013-look Evo.

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Also out testing with a brand new aero kit was another Pro Class title contender – Tilton Racing. While the team was tight-lipped about their testing at the Wakefield Park Raceway, the driver Garth Walden looked very pleased with the car.

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Royal Purple Pro Class Form Guide 2013

Every year we give you our “staff picks” form guide for the Pro Class and more often than not we end up fairly close. Having said that, this is motor racing so anything can and often does happen. These vehicles are so highly strung these days the stress they put on components is exceptionally high. With many of the fastest turbo cars now running in excess of 40psi boost pressure and well over 800 horsepower there is no team that is impervious to mechanical failure as they all dance on a thin line between “winning it and binning it” making for an extremely exciting event that could well fall into the hands of any of the competitors. Our picks for the year are as follows:

1. Nemo Racing  3:1

The champion returns this year in a freshly rebuilt car to comply with the 2013 rulebook. This included the addition of weight but we hear a whole heap more horsepower so no matter what they will be faster. In fact, we believe probably faster than last year. Driver Warren Luff will be in absolute peak form after competing at Bathurst with Red Bull Racing V8 Supercars team the week prior and no doubt these are the guys to beat.

2. Tilton Interiors 4:1

This car has just returned from Japan where it underwent wind tunnel testing and a whole aero redesign. The engine has also has a freshen up and the transmission is now paddle shifted. Garth Walden has done more laps of SMSP than any man on earth which gives him a “home track” advantage. The team is well resourced and has an extensive spare parts inventory. If anyone can take it to Nemo it is Tilton. The only downside is no testing as yet with the new aero.

3. Scorch Racing 4.5:1

Now this is one guy to watch very carefully. He now has Andrew Brilliant on his team and has been making some serious progress with refinements to the aero package making the car a lot more drivable and stable. He has clocked 52 seconds at Tsukuba circuit and from what we hear the car is much faster than that now so anything is possible. He has also done has done a lot of testing in Japan in the off season. Forget the “underdog” tag, it is now a thing of the past as Suzuki-san has now become a force to be reckoned with and and is bringing with him a reasonable spares inventory to keep him on track. If there was a prize for determination he would win hands down but we also think he may well be close to where he really wants to be – and that is on the winner’s step of the podium!

4. Top Fuel/Voltex S2000RR 5:1

Another Japanese car that could well be on the podium this year after smashing Cyber Evo’s laptime at Fuji Speedway and claiming a “time attack car” record for the track along the way is the Top Fuel S2000RR. Last year this car was straight out of the box and arrived with minimal testing and still finished in 5th spot with a time of 1.29.5. Taniguchi complained that it was extremely hard to drive fast so in 2013 the car has been considerably improved with the dynamics and aero now sorted and the power increased accordingly. Taniguchi goes by the name of “No One Better” and we are sure he will be out to make that ring true in Sydney. No doubt Voltex want the big trophy back after years of success with the Cyber team !

5. MCA Suspension s13  5:1

After finishing in 3rd position in 2012 the Queensland based father and son of Murray and Josh Coote have made some serious changes to the Silvia to remove more weight and increase downforce also increase power. These include a carbon fibre roof and some changes to their aero kit. We may be out on this as we have no testing data since they have only really done a shakedown in the current guise but we did see Murray give both thumbs up at the end of the day. Driver Earl Bamber is always quick, these guys are seriously experienced at making changes fast to suit conditions and they have tasted champagne on the podium before so it would be fair to say they would not want to go backwards. We put them at a “tie” with Top Fuel at 5:1

6. Esprit NSX 6:1

Now this is one car that could surprise and surprise big time! Nobody knows the feeling of a WTAC victory like Tarzan Yamada and this is one car he is very comfortable with, having driven it for many years. It is very powerful and well suited to the fast flowing Sydney Motorsport Park track and after a very undignified end to the Cyber team in 2012 Yamada will be looking to put his name back in the record books and this may well be the car to do it in. If this was a beauty contest this car would win hands down as it is simply stunning!

7. RE Amemiya RX7   7:1

This team with a background in professional level Super GT racing should be a force to be reckoned with and if all the ducks line up on the day it could well be on the podium. With Taniguchi driving, a new, more refined aero package and a 6th place last year with time of 1.29.8 on their first ever visit they certainly have the credentials to run at the front of the pack. They have however had a troubled time in testing with  the team losing two engines and not able to record a lap time. They have a fresh engine in for WTAC and if all goes their way could well be a podium finisher.

8. Dominator Evo 7.5:1

If there is one car we would definitely put in as serious dark horse it is the Dominator. This car finished with a victory in Open Class in 2013 almost 3 full seconds ahead of its nearest rival. Since then it has undergone a full “Pro Class makeover” and now claims a 1000hp engine, paddle shifted transmission and “proper aero”. Also worth noting under the new rules that being an Evo 6 it can be lighter than its rivals Nemo and Tilton as the Evo 9 is heavier from the factory. Once again, with tarmac rally ace Steve Glenney behind the wheel on paper this car has what it takes to be on the podium and upstage the “unstageable” but with minimal testing it is hard to gauge. Each way bet without a doubt.

9. AMB Aero/GT Autogarage Eclipse 9:1

No question a front wheel drive car will struggle against AWD and RWD cars right? Well maybe but we would not jump to immediate conclusions. When you have penned some of the fastest time attack cars on the planet it would be fair to assume your own car would be also be fairly fast. Whether it has the mojo to mix it with the best remains to be seen. The driver has the right credentials, having driven for some of the best ALMS outfits in the USA and will be going all out at WTAC. The GT Autogarage guys have prepared a new engine with more power than ever previously. A cat amongst the pigeons without a doubt.

10. Pulse Racing Evo 10:1

Another car that has undergone a radical transformation for WTAC 2013.  The Pulse guys have employed ex-Williams F1 aerodynamicist Scott Beeton to pen a new design they hope will keep them in the game. Avid supporters of time attack racing from day one these guys come out every year in wilder outfit than the year before and always with tarmac rally ace Steve Glenney behind the wheel. It is possible they may move ahead in leaps and bounds this year. The two biggest handicaps will be a lack of test time and budget constraints that limit tyre usage but if everything goes their way off the bat on the day then they could well be in the game. Very experienced Evo tuners with very experienced driver behind the wheel. Another darkhorse for sure.

10. Prep’d Motorsport Lotus Exige GT3  11:1

This was the fastest Australian car in the competition at WTAC 2010, finishing in 4th place with Warren Luff behind the wheel and a time of 1.32.7. The team returned in 2011 and ran slightly faster but by then many other teams had also found more time. For 2013 the guys return with a better aero package and a fresh higher output engine and Barton Mawer behind the wheel. Certainly should be faster than ever but unlikely to cause an upset at the front of the pack. But then again this is time attack racing so anything is possible.

11. Insight Motorsport S2000  15:1

Another car we predicted big things for but it is unlikely we will see it at its full potential in 2013. A fresh big power dry sump engine is now fitted with a sequential transmission installed along with an extensive suspension makeover and John Boston doing the driving. Sadly we believe new aero kit that was to provide the much needed downforce will not be completed in time so the team will have to rely mostly on mechanical grip, and while several years ago that would have been fine, in the company that we keep in 2013 this will be a very big ask.

12. Insight Motorsport Astra  20:1

This car looks and sounds very promising but we can’t help but think it may have left its run a bit too late. Built for a Singapore based businessman, packing a host of topline race components, once again driven by John Boston and looking for all the world like a DTM race car, it sure has serious potential. Barely making it to WTAC with zero test time it would appear they will be unlikely to see this potential in 2013. Regardless, a cool build and one to look out for in the future for sure.

So in a nutshell that is it. Yes it is a smaller Pro field than previous years but only because many of the guys that would have been forced to run in Pro will now run in Pro Am and when you combine these two Pro classes we have a bigger PRO CAR Field than ever before with a 27 car line-up. We can assure you the Pro Am field will have some crazy battles going on too!

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Top Fuel and Voltex: The Gloves Are Off!

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If there ever was a good way of sending a warning shot to your rivals it would have to be smashing a lap record and the Top Fuel with Voltex have done just that.

With Nob Taniguchi behind the wheel of the S2000RR the team reset the “tuner car lap record” in searing temperatures at Fuji Speedway with a blistering time of 1:40:905.

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“This sends a clear message to other Pro Class competitors,” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker, “these guys are pulling out all stops to bring the trophy back to Japan!”

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The S2000RR has had some major upgrades since its debut at the 2012 WTAC. Voltex has changed the single canards to doubles and change the shape and size of the rear wing.

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Engine scored a dry sump kit, a bigger turbo kit and is now mated to a sequential Holinger gearbox. Even the tyres got an upgrade, going up in size from 295/30R18 to 295/35R18 ADVAN A050S.

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Will all this be enough to wrestle the title from the reigning champion? We’ll have to wait till October to find out, but it sure is shaping up to be one hell of a battle!


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Top Fuel/Voltex to return with a faster S2000

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Legendary Japanese tuning house Top Fuel has vowed to return to Australia with a much more refined and, what they believe, should be a much faster package for WTAC 2013.

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The car was effectively “out of the box” last year having only been completed in the weeks prior to shipping to Australia with minimal testing. The “off season” has seen the team make many changes to create a more stable and predictable vehicle. This has included a visit back to the wind tunnel at Mie University to dial in the aero package.

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The car will once again be driven by Japanese Super GT and HKS D1 star driver Nobuteru Taniguchi and is a joint venture between Japanese Honda tuning ace Top Fuel (Mie) and Japanese aero specialist and body kit manufacturer Voltex.

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The major changes include the turbocharger from a HKS GT3082R to a much larger GCG Garrett GTX3582R which saw power climb to 802ps at a usable 7100rpm. The transmission has been upgraded from a HKS sequential to the latest spec Australian made Holinger RD6S sequential.

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The car has also seen substantial changes to the aero in particular the underbody aero in an attempt to make the car more balanced at speed as last year the driver Taniguchi stated that the car was “quite hard to drive and very twitchy” which was not surprising for a newly built car.

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Many hours were spent in the wind tunnel with Voltex head honcho Nakijima-san monitoring pressure and changes over the entire vehicle in an attempt to not only increase the total down force but also provide an equal front rear ratio which should stabilize the entire  package, greatly increase corner speed and see the lap times tumble.

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It is also worth noting that despite limited testing this car ran a very solid 1.29.05 at WTAC 2012 a time that would have seen them onto the podium in previous years but the competition is now firecer than ever before and this time saw them relegated them to fifth place overall in the Pro Class. Clearly this is not where they want to be and have been busily testing at Fuji Speedway and the times are tumbling with the car recording a 1.43 with still much more to come.

 In Taniguchi-sans blog after WTAC 2013 he stated “Please Japan,  give me something to catch these monsters with” and no doubt the guys at Top Fuel and Voltex were listening!

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They’re here!

It’s all systems go, as the international cars arrive at Eastern Creek. The excitement builds we unload each car from its container, seeing these cars up close really drives home the point that the big event is just about to start!

The Redbrick Racing Evo looks immaculate – the pictures really don’t do it justice!

CyberEvo car looks completely different from last year.

New Zealand has a huge Drift team but in Time Attack it’s represented by just one team: RevolutioNZ.