With WTAC less than 6 weeks away several teams are taking advantage of the some open test days to fine tune their machines. More often than not many of the higher spec Pro Cars spend the year completing upgrades from the previous year it is only in the weeks leading into WTAC they actually get to test the cars on the track to see if their latest innovations and designs work in a real world environment. We sneaked into pit lane to see what was happening and the first car we saw was the formidable RP968 Porsche testing some new active dampers.

We caught up with Richard from PR Technology who has headed up the build and development on this insane  machine to find out what the team has planned for WTAC

“We have been doing some really cool stuff this year” said Richard “Our focus to date has been about getting the vehicle down to minimum weight as we were a fair way from it. The Carbon/Carbon brake package took 30kg straight off and that is unsprung weight too so an even greater advantage. We have the twin turbo setup ready to go which believe it or not saved another 7 kg over the big single. The new turbos are pretty cool they were developed for Indy Car Racing by Borg Warner”

“We have also built a carbon torque tube and are 3D printing a bunch of other components in Titanium. And then fingers crossed we will have the new billet engine in for WTAC which should stand up to the 1500hp we are planning on making. But as you can see the clock is ticking and every day is another day closer so we see what happens. Today was really just about testing the new active dampers but again we are just gathering data to have a good baseline to work from and get the driver Barton Mawer familiar with the new setup”

As we walked further down the pit garages we spotted what surely must be one of the wildest front wheel drive machines on the planet. The Insight Motorsports Holden Astra powered by a crazy Honda K24 turbo engine. This is another car that has been hotly anticipated but has struggled with various issues for the past couple of years but certainly appears on track for 2017. We caught up with team principle Scott Kuhner to get the lowdown on what is without question the world’s fastest Astra!

“Yes we are on target for 2017” said Kuhner “We have had a struggle the past couple of years but things are sorted now and we plan on giving it a red hot go. The suspension has been a big issue with this car as it was radically designed around the aero but once you invent things it can take a lot of sorting out and sadly we ran out of time last year. This year it is all sorted and we now have a double A arm front end. We have also fitted adjustable sway bars, custom built MCA shocks and a set of billet uprights. We have Trent Murphy ex Tilton Racing heavily involved in the build. In fact we actually have many of the old Tilton Racing guys on board! We have had Johnny Gray doing the fab and big Louie doing the data. So there is a ton of experience here to ensure we hit the ground running come October. Plus these guys have been having withdrawals from WTAC since Tilton retired”

“We are making around 560 kw at the front wheels but it may go faster with a bit less depending on the track conditions on the day. We are also using Nitrous Oxide via GPS track map activation to ensure the big turbo is on boost all the time. We have had Nathan Morcom driving for us today but Brad Shiels will be back behind the wheel for WTAC while Nathan focuses on defending his Open Class title”

We also caught up with Dr Sam Diasinos from Dynamic Aero Solutions the designer of both of these vehicles 

“The Astra is still in its early stages of development to be honest’ said Diasinos “We see the Astra as the RP968s little brother and while it is quite simple in design it certainly could surprise a few as we progress. There is not a lot of real life data available on front wheel drive full aero cars so while you can design it with CFD, turning that into record setting lap times on a race track is quite a process. But I will tell you I am really enjoying this journey too as I am involved in the project from the top to the bottom. In my years in Formula One I was just one small part of a much bigger puzzle, but in the time attack builds I play a much more of a pivotal overall part. I also have a lot more creative freedom so it is pretty cool. But again I am from a competitive racing background so of course I also really want to see results. It is going to be exciting come October for sure!” 

Getting some time behind the wheel was Daniel Griffin in the Griffins Games Clubsprint NSX. This car has been a fan favourite over the year’s and we can’t wait to see what it will do in 2017. Also spotted testing was the R32 GTR of Arnold’s Fruit Markets.