One of the most hotly anticipated builds at WTAC 2017 was the Xtreme R32 GTR owned and built by Canberra based Michele Guyer. Unfortunately as so often happens in motorsport things did not go to plan and in similar fashion to what happened to the Matt Longhurst R34 GTR, the Xtreme GTR suffered a serious engine bay fire that put an end to their whole event. By all accounts to anyone that witnessed it, it also looked like the end of the car entirely. But there was no chance Michele was going to let that small hiccup take away her dream of having the best time attack R32 GTR on the planet. No chance!
So for the past nine months the scarred remains of the Xtreme GTR were stripped back to nothing. Any part that was damaged was replaced and if possible made lighter, stronger or more powerful. In fact while the previous version was beautiful, the current version is nothing short of breathtaking. With Michele herself taking the reins this year (who we might add has a motor racing background in open wheelers). She will be sharing the driving duties with “Mr Time Attack” himself John Boston to see if they can make the whole dream come true of a successful event in the hotly contested Open Class. We had a chat with Michele about her plans for 2018.
WTAC: Hi Michele, great to catch up. The Xtreme GTR is certainly impressive. Can you give us a bit of history of the car and how you got started at WTAC?
Michele: Xtreme GTR was an ex-BSM Improved Production N1 R32 GTR, the irony in this is this is the same car John Boston drove in IPRA. Initially we were rebuilding her for Daniel Burton to run in IPRA, however, long story short, things went in a different direction when Daniel approached us with his WTAC deal. None of us envisioned it would lead to the level it ended up.
WTAC: You suffered a major setback at WTAC last year with the whole car almost burning to the ground yet you appear to have come back bigger and better. Can you tell us a bit about what you have been up to since the 2017 event?
Michele: The rebuild was surreal in so many ways, déjà vu, all over again! Mark and I just kept pushing on. Xtreme was stripped bare, bagging and labelling everything, back on the rotisserie, back to Capital Precision Coatings for sandblasting, then back to J Racing for painting, back to Topstage Composites for carbon (although I think Freddy enjoyed having her back, he loves her). Then in went the new wiring loom, the engine, tuning, dyno and the list just goes on and on. During this time, we also had some very low moments and looking back, our biggest support came from the most unexpected of places, our amazing professional media team Murray Barton and Tobias Ridewood. I can’t count how many calls, check-ups, hugs and shoulders to cry on they have provided over this last nine months but I can say we are blessed to have them on our team and in our life. They are making a documentary on the Xtreme GTR which goes into a lot more detail about what happened and covering our whole journey and experiences going all the way to WTAC.
WTAC: The build quality looks insane! Can you tell us who was involved?
Michele: The key people involved leading up to WTAC 2017 and Xtreme’s conception were Daniel Burton, Mark Guyer and myself. I could never have done it without Daniel’s ideas, advice and help in sourcing the components. Mark has worked non-stop implementing it all including fabrication and welding, how wrong he was when he thought it would slow down after WTAC 2017, he still hasn’t stopped! Moving forward we have Jordon from Cox Automotive working on suspension and chassis development. Also a big thanks to Xtreme Clutch, Hi Octane, Compfriction and V-Sport. John Boston from TrackSchool is helping with R&D and co-driving with myself and helping me transition from the open wheeler back into a tin top. Although Xtreme is certainly not an ordinary tin top!
WTAC: We have seen some pretty interesting pictures on Facebook of the engine build, what changes have you made for 2018?
Michele: Almost everything has changed in the engine! It may be the same piece of billet, but given the changes that needed to be made to it, its no longer the same either! I’m still using the Maatouks head as the CNC ported head cracked at WTAC 2017. We engaged the services of the RB guru himself, Peter from PMC Race Engines, who has modified the block and replaced the internal components. Peter’s work is brilliant and if not for him, I know I would have gone back to cast for 2018. We’ve also changed the manifold to ProMod style and the turbo to the Garrett GTX3584RS which created a knock-on to modify pipes, engine bay, carbon etc but we got there in the end. I’ll have to start working on a spare engine soon and it will be interesting to see where that leads.
WTAC: What sort of power does it make?
Michele: The engine dyno came in at 1003.7 and you can watch that run on Xtreme’s Facebook page , I can’t get any ATW figures yet as we weren’t able to get a true 4WD chassis dyno reading without slipping due to a 4WD configuration setting. In saying all this, I specifically requested to put more focus on the torque out of the corners over putting too much importance on the top end power. If the dyno graphs were anything to go by, I think we are on a good thing.
WTAC: And what about the rest of the running gear. Tell us about that.
Michele: Albins ST6-I. 6 speed sequential gearbox with an Xtreme Clutch, AP Pro 5000R Calipers, MCA Gold shocks, the list goes on, I’d like to think I’ve put the best of the best into this car, but there is more to it than just bolting good quality parts on, we have to get our R&D done now and get them all setup and talking to each other in perfect harmony.
WTAC: The Xtreme GTR ‘s whole body is carbon. Can you tell us a bit about the design?
Michele: Xtreme lived with Freddy at Topstage Composites for 11 months to design and fit the dry carbon. While I respected Freddy had his role to play with the aero performance, my instructions were to ensure that he maintained the classic R32 shape and look. I think he did a perfect job. Once I saw the quality in the lay of the carbon cloth, I knew I couldn’t cover it, that’s when I decided to clear coat instead. This was also the turning point for Mark, once he saw Xtreme with her carbon on, I no longer had to hide what I was spending on parts! So big thanks to Freddy on that one!
WTAC: So what are your goals for WTAC 2018?
Michele: It would be lovely to bring her home in one piece! We’re still in the research and development stage and my driving this year was purely symbolic as I didn’t get to drive Xtreme before the fire. I made that pledge as I was standing in front of her sad, burnt-out frame in my shed, I had tears running down my face and I said “I’m going to fix you, damn it, and I’m going to drive you at WTAC” I didn’t care if I came last, I just knew that I had to drive. The good news is, that John Boston from TrackSchool is now going to co-drive with me so in addition to having a drive myself, I can also see Xtreme put through her paces and see what she can do. At this stage I am still working to transition from my safe open wheeler mentality. At this stage we are still in R&D mode, so our expectations are not high just yet.
WTAC: You have a bit of race experience tell us about what you have done in the past.
Michele: I’m usually a ‘safe’ driver who builds slowly, so I never go out for the first time doing cracking times and I envy those who can. I’ve done circuit, hillclimbing, supersprints, and even hold a few track and class records, some that can never be broken now at my beloved Oran Park. I’ve won a few championships over the years including being a NSW Supersprint Champion, winning FTD/Outright at many events, three times Australian Ladies Hillclimb Champion and NSW Hillclimb Championships. But I know Xtreme GTR is a whole different ball game and I’ve never driven anything like her before. But the thing is, not many have and with what we have been through, I think I’ve earn’t it!
WTAC: Fantastic stuff Michele it is truly amazing to have a woman entered in such a cool machine we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds in October!
Michele: Thank you for the opportunity, I can’t wait to see what people think of her in real life. I’m like a proud parent!