The UK Time Attack scene would stand comparison with any other such series on the planet. The events, competition, drivers and especially, the cars, would fit in right at the top of the field anywhere. Leading the charge towards top quality is one car, that stands head and shoulders above the others, the Roger Clark Motorsport Subaru Impreza or simply known as "The Gobstopper".
This assertion is not meant to denigrate other fine cars in the UK Time Attack family from the likes of Zen Performance or RSE Motorsport, it is just a recognition of the buzz in the paddock and on the banking when the white wizard is sighted. The expression that sums up this car best is No Compromise. None, nadder, zilch.
The car has been developed over the past three years and has become arguably the most extreme Impreza around.
Nothing has been left to chance, from engine to transmission, suspension and aerodynamics, all has been optimised, using all the experience of the RCMS outfit.
Starting with the muscle…………the original 2.0 litre closed block engine has been completely re-built at RCMS by Matt Clark and now features RCMS crankshaft and pistons. A Nitrous Oxide injection system is included taking the maximum power available to an insane 850bhp. As you can see the whole approach would win a "Show and Shine" competition level.
The transmission is a RCMS 6 speed, sequential paddle shift system housed in a modified Subauru case and the clutch is also RCMS spec. The suspension is WRC spec with EXE-TC fully adjustable dampers. The chassis started life as wide arched 2000 spec body shell and has been completely stripped and refettled by RCMS and a FIA standard roll cage was installed.
The electronics, ie traction control, engine and transmission management, the nitrous system and data logging are all controlled through a M800 Motec ECU………..the wiring and electronic installation are all RCMS bespoke.
There is a trend running through the spec of the Gobstopper, most of the development parts are available for purchase through Roger Clark Motorsport. The whole project is a reflection of the company's brand values, excellence and performance and a single minded committment to the optimum solution.
So much for the head, the business side of things what about the heart? Well this plays just as big a part as anyone who witnesses Olly Clark's performances behind the wheel can attest.
For me the moment that I saw Olly pitch The Gobstopper through Copse Corner, Silverstone at an angle and speed that was simply impossible I knew that this was a special car and driver combo. Sawing away at the wheel, making the car dance all the while keeping maximum momentum was more than a bit special. Of course this was reflected on the stopwatch.
They rather speak for themselves, winner of TOTB (Ten of the Best) in 2007 and 2008. Time Attack champion in 2008 and looking pretty good for 2009. RCMS getting multiple tuner awards from the press……………the list goes on and deservedly so. OK the budget for this project iwas and is substantial, some wild figures are bandied around the paddock but in terms of value for money, just look at the results.
I spoke with one paddock veteran who says that the widely held description of the car as the ultimate Japanese performance car, is fundamentally true, it is unique in its ambition and its achievements.
Go along and see it if you can, these sort of projects do not come round often.