After absolutely blitzing the field at Super Lap Battle at the Circuit of the Americas, Cole Powelson and his LYFE Motorsport GT-R are heading back down under to fly the flag high for Team USA in Royal Purple Pro Class at the 2019 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.
LYFE’s R35 is debatably the fastest time attack car in America, although Cole and the other North American record-breaker – William Au-Yeung and his Vibrant Performance/PZ Tuning Civic from Canada – have never actually gone head-to-head.
“I’m coming for your time Will!” says Cole about his Canadian rival, “I have to beat his time in Sydney, at least.”
This means LYFE’s target is the 1:27 mark, a substantial difference to the 1:32.4 it ran in 2015’s Pro Class, also the last time we saw the R35 in the metal. Keep in mind this time was set after the team had suffered major engine failure and had replaced the engine with a stock R35 engine, and still beat that year’s R35 record by 1/100th of a second. Read about it here.
“The car was still essentially untested back then. Alongside the engine issues, we had an issue with the interaction of the brake and the transmission and we simply weren’t running like we could have,” says Powelson.
“It wasn’t until further testing and driving of the car after WTAC that we realised that we were running heavily restricted in Sydney! After WTAC, we left our heart there and focussed on the R35’s Pikes Peak endeavours state-side.”
When he says he left his heart here, Cole wasn’t being sentimental or metaphoric – he secretly left the R35’s VR38DETT here to be built and developed!
“Phil Laird [of Graphic Skills Racing] has our engine and we’ve told him we need it fixed, we need more power, and we need it for October! The rest of the car remains largely the same. We have refined it here and there but getting the power sorted is our priority for WTAC.”
“It’ll make 1200HP. We need more power to overcome the weight to be competitive in Sydney. We ran our record-breaking lap at Circuit of the Americas with maybe 600-750HP… WTAC will be the first time we see the car running full power. WTAC will be the first time we see the car’s full potential.”
Cole has been to our shores a bit more recently than the car has, piloting Topstage Composites’ ‘SR69Blackbird’ 200SX at last year’s WTAC. He is getting to know our backyard track quite well, and with some updates to the car since then, Cole will not be here for a participation trophy…
We’re excited to have Cole and the LYFE Motorsport team back in Sydney this October 18-19 and we’re incredibly keen to see this already-legendary R35 realise its true potential right here on Australian soil!