The three times outright champion Tilton Racing team have confirmed they will be returning in 2018 but this time in the super competitive Pro Am class with Team Principal Kostinken Pohurukov taking over driving duties. The Tilton team have a long history in time attack racing but traditionally with Pro Driver Garth Walden behind the wheel where he won the Pro Class back to back three times at WTAC. Walden also competed in the Tilton car at the Tsukuba Hyper Meet 2013 in Japan and was even entered way back in the very first Superlap event at Oran Park in a far tamer version than the current Pro car.
Apart from being a super passionate time attack supporter Pohurukov is also quite an accomplished amateur racer having competed for several years in the Radical Australia series and has certainly clocked many laps at the Sydney Motorsport Park Circuit. We caught up with him as he was busy preparing for WTAC.
WTAC: Hi Kostya this really is amazing news. The legendary Tilton Evo is making a comeback and this time you are driving. Tell us about how this happened?
Kostinken Pohurukov: Well after our final victory and announcing our retirement you guys sent me out to do the promo lap in 2016 and the team made me feel I could actually drive OK or certainly good enough to compete in Pro-am where I will be against like minded and skilled drivers.
WTAC: How are you planning for the event? Will the car be changing much from its last time at WTAC?
KP: We are currently rebuilding the car after Phillip Island where we reset the tin top record. This will be a general re-fresh focusing on the engine, gearbox, brakes and we pull apart and crack test everything. These cars put a huge amount of stress on everything so you simply cannot cut any corners. I have also been doing as many track days in my Radical as possible to get use to the speed side of things. The Radical is really good training as they are a high aerodynamic vehicle so I am certainly putting in the work to be as far up the pointy end as possible.
WTAC: No doubt you have some test days planned too, will Garth be coaching you on how to get the most out of the car?
KP: Yes Garth is coaching me in the Radical which is a big help. Apart from being my driver we are also best mates so the whole thing is really enjoyable and there are not many people on the planet that have done more laps of Sydney Motorsport Park. Once the Evo is back together we will certainly be doing some testing both of the car and of me! I am quietly confident that it is just a matter of getting my head around it. This happen very quickly in a Pro level time attack car!
WTAC: With nitrous oxide not allowed in the Pro Am class what changes will you require to stay on top of the game in 2018?
KP: So we will be changing to a smaller rear housing on the EFR turbo and plan on running plenty of boost plus maybe a steel capped right boot!
WTAC: So you guys have gone as fast as 1.23.77 in Pro Class trim back in 2015, where would you like to see yourself this year?
KP: Would be good to go faster than a 1:26! That is the plan anyway and certainly our target time.
At a guess I’d say I am around about 1 second slower than Garth and with the smaller housing we did run a high 1:24 but to be honest I would be over the moon just to end up on the podium!
WTAC: Without giving too much away, 2018 will have by far the biggest and most competitive Pro Am field ever with new teams coming from Europe, Asia and North America to compete. How does it feel to represent Australia?
KP: That Canadian Honda Civic will be quick for sure! I have been following William’s exploits over in the US and that car has moved ahead in leaps and bounds and would certainly start as one of the favorites. But then again any of the overseas competitors could always surprise the field, and then there are also some red hot new Australian entries too so it will certainly be exciting! I will be doing my best to fly the Aussie flag high!
WTAC: You retired the car in 2015 after winning the Pro Classs three times and the Tilton Racing team have competed at every single WTAC event before that. Can you tell us a bit about that journey?
KP: We worked through a proper race programme and from that the journey was totally surprising and very fulfilling. We certainly didn’t ever think we could back up the wins each year as car builds were getting crazier and crazier. To us it seemed like it was getting out of hand and we would no longer be competitive. But thanks to my amazing team we pulled off a threepeat and that is something I am very proud of and will never forget. It does feel like it’s a long time ago now, and I’m itching to get back in the game.
WTAC: You have always had a very solid team with you. Is there anyone you want to thank?
KP: Firstly thank you Ian Baker for bringing this sport of time attack to Australia and having the opportunity to compete with the top teams from around the world.
I would also like to thank my whole team.
Garth – For the one lap nutter that he is, who generally extracted the most out of the car even when we had issues.
Big Louie – Team Enforcer who made all those wiggly lines work, plus pushing me to drive the car since day dot (which will now happen).
Scott – Tuner, well respected in the ECU industry and an old Uni friend.
Trent – The best spanner man money can buy.
Mitch – Who loves the car even more than me!
ABE Engines – 45-50 psi and not a blown motor, this shows how great he is and still hold secrets close to his chest!
Royal Purple EJ great man enough said!
Nakajyma San Voltex aero gurus
Furitani-san and Tats Kano from Yokahama
Insight motorsports electronics
Garage 88 everything else!
Borg Warner turbochargers
WTAC: Thanks Kostya we cant wait to see you at the track in October!
“Words can express how excited we all are about this” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker “while the Pro Class may headline the event there is also something very relevant to our fans about the Pro Am class. You can build a top line time attack car and compete on a level playing field to the best of your ability. To see Kostya out there in the mix with such a big international field after all he has put in over the years really is a special time for us. Plus the added excitement for the overseas guys to compete against such time attack royalty is the icing on the cake!”
Our partnership with the Tilton team needs no explaining these days” said CEO of Royal Purple Australia Eian Jones “Both are brands that have become hugely successful as a result of it. This car just has to turn up and sit on our stand and the crowd becomes deep with fans. Royal Purple has won every class at WTAC except for one being Pro-Am, to do that with this iconic car with the team principal at the wheel would be an awesome accomplishment and complete our trophy cabinet from an event we have grown with since day one!”
Pro Am Class is qoing to be quite the intense battle this year. With 3 time Pro Class Champions Tilton Interiors going up against Canadian William Au-Yeung and the 2017 champion retired, the top spot is truly up for grabs. And thats not event taking into account all of the still-to-be-announced international entries in Pro Am this year. Don’t miss out, and get your tickets today. You don’t want to miss this!