Behind The Scenes>> Speedhunting @ World Time Attack

Being that I'm from the Northern Hemisphere I'm normally associate this time of the year with the start of summer and definitely not the start of winter! I am sitting here freezing my butt off in my little holiday apartment in Nelson New Zealand as I type this… Well at least my hands are warm from my laptop here!

Right, so what were we talking about and why am I still working on Speedhunters stories anyway? I'm supposed to be on vacation! Hmmm… Well, I just feel it's my duty to show you more photos from last weekend's event. It was the first of its kind and I made some observations that I'd like to share in this blog story.

One thing that was nice about the facilities at Eastern Creek Raceway was that they had set up a proper media room for the attending journalists and photographers. This is of course standard fare for all international level races, but more of a rarity for even top line drift events. 

The Speedhunters team of myself, Dino and local boy Casey set up our laptops with the two Source Interlink crew: Peter Tarach from Modified and Carter Jung from Import Tuner. That's Carter there in the foreground who looks like he's struggling to stay awake from extreme jet lag.

Beside the monstrous presence of the HiOctane R34, the local Time Attack car that caught my eye the most was David Loftus' BSM Motorsport R32.

Although five seconds per lap off the pace of the Cyber Evo, it still was a fun car to watch.

Check the fried paint hahaha… top time of the weekend for this car was a 1:35.8760.

I do have to ask the question: What is the difference between a Time Attack car and a Race Car?

I have to say, I did find it rather odd that the organizers had allowed full race prepped cars into the competition. This GT3 spec Exige ended up in fourth overall, but in all actuality it's a pure GT racer and not a Time Attack car IMO. Cool machine and all that, but I did have to wonder what it was doing in the competition. Agree? Disagree?

Dino, Casey and I spent a lot of time at the event taking turns following Tarzan Yamada around. It was pretty amazing how he handled driving for two different teams. Both sides of the garage seems quite happy to share his driving skills. Here he's about to take the Subaru out for a spin.

Meanwhile Andrew from Motive DVD looks on.

John Brooks style FTW! I decided to spend one of the sessions with Tarzan's teams to watch the action unfold from the pit lane. This is the view as he flashed past on a timed run.

That's Allen from Tomei looking on… In the BG is Annette from Motive DVD. I do believe they are making the official DVD of the event.

Hey Carter!

Mister Import Tuner himself and I spent a few minutes looking over the Cyber Evo… check out the hand made ground effects side skirts! They were made by the Voltex crew from bits of roll cage foam overnight in an attempt to gain just a bit more down force and aero efficiency from the car.

Carter was quick to point out to me that the Cyber Evo has next to not roll cage inside the cockpit.

Compare this to the view inside the Sierra Sierra Evo. Interesting….

As Carter and I compared roll cage setups on the two cars we noticed that a lot of work was going on in the Sierra Sierra camp.

Seems like the Evo blew a head gasket after the second session on Saturday.

So the head needed to be pulled from the engine.

The team didn't seem to concerned though and the car was ready with time to spare for the final session of the event.

It was at this time that we met up with Peter from Modified to take a quick run to the local Pizza Hut.

On the way to the car, I spotted this piece of semi-vintage JDM metal. Dang, I remember when these Toyotas were new in the showroom!

A shot of Dino "I burn easily" Dalle "I have new Prada glasses" Carbonare.

Returning from lunch, Dino and I had a stroll through the car show.

One of our favorite machines was this second gen MR2.

At the back of the show was a display of some insane silhouette style Australian Sports Sedans.

Err… where is the engine?

Aha there it is… a 13B nestled nicely under the dashboard.

I think the only original part of this Fiat 124 Coupé is the roof and glass! Pretty wild!

After checking out the show, Dino and I bumped into these three lads from the Brisbane Speedhunters Fan Club. It was quite an honour to meet some proper fans of our crazy website!

Speaking of Brisbane, Australia, this is Casey, our 18 year old Speedhunters "apprentice" who is also based in this city.

He borrowed my 2.8 400mm lens and disappeared for a while to the other side of the track.

Supposedly to shoot some drifting… although he initially say that he was just going to shoot the pit area…. kids these days sheesh…

At any rate you can't argue that at a mere 18 years old, Casey has some amazing photographic skills.

The drift competition was won by former Drift Australia Champion Beau Yates BTW.

Dino and I were so impressed by Beau's AE86 that we asked him to meet us after the event to shoot a car feature.

Another car that caught my eye was Luis Poblete's Drift Garage Silvia.

I took the opportunity to practice some camera angles on this car while waiting for the Unlimited cars to come on track for the final Time Attack session of the event.

Here's another Time Attack spec Honda at speed.

Finally the Unlimited Class cars appeared for their final run of the event. The Sierra Sierra Evo was up and running no problems with it's fresh head gasket installed without drama. I have to say that there was a rather extreme smell of rocket race fuel that filled the air every time it came flashing past… and this was just the last session only. Reminded me a bit of the smell you find at nitro drag races but I'm not 100% sure.

Dirt Drop!

I saw this very car race in the Dubai 24Hs in January funny enough!

I do wonder how the Hi Octane team feels about their car's performance at the WTAC. All that time, effort and money and they ended up 3.5220 seconds off the pace. That's quite a lot of time to make up! I just hope they are still inspired to continue developing the car to try and close the gap to the Japanese and American cars.

A grip spec AE86.

We were initially planning to shoot a feature with the JDM Yard Honda Civic, but in the end Peter from Modified ended up doing a shoot with the car.

So we decided not to tread on his toes and looked elsewhere.

We settled on a feature shoot with this very clean street driven S15.

We also did a make shift shoot with Beau Yates AE86 too.

Dino declared that it's the most advanced AE86 competition car he has ever shot, which is quite a big statement considering all the machines he's shot in his time. Watch out for a feature on Speedhunters in the coming weeks.

Final thoughts: I have to really comment the Cyber Evo team for bringing their car back to life when the odds were really stacked against them. It seemed that the car was in real trouble for a while there and was going to leave Australia without even turning a lap in anger. The manner in which the team came back and decimated all opposition was truly awe inspiring.

Hats off to them! I also need to give big respect to the Sierra Sierra team for representing America in the competition when all of the other US teams failed to show up for duty. I'm sure they had their reasons, but at the end of the day it was this team which was able to mix it in with the best of the Japanese competitors.

Let's hope that next time around we get more US teams and a range of the UK machines present too for a full international battle royale!

We'll be back soon with a few driver blogs from the event including a behind the scenes article from Tarzan Yamada himself.


World Time Attack Challenge Coverage on Speedhunters



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third pic from bottom needs to be a desktop.



That AE86 grillshot needs to be a desktop!!!!!!!!!!!!


Picture # 2 needs to be a desktop!!!!!


an MR2 on Speedhunters? Repent! Repent! The end is near!

but for serious nice coverage!


they should take the show on the road....a series would be interesting.


I think it was good that a gt machine showed up, it shows how fast the various shops are compared to the top racing teams.


To be honest, Unlimited class cars are quite on the level of GT machinery. Actually, building a GT machine is sometimes more restrictive. For instance, the Revolution FD could easily outrun any street based GT car, it's heavily modified suspension and chassis brings it closer to silhouette racers.


Last 4 for desktops please :D


how can i become a "apprentice"



GT spec car should have their own class.

i hope japan street spec cars like Mine's R34 will come next year


oooh.. how i love that silhouette style Fiat 124. would love to see it in action.



Gonna need wallpapers of the S15 and AE86. Stat.


What's the difference between a time attack car and a race car? Most of the unlimited class TA cars are big $$$$ cars that have as much time and money invested in them as full blown race cars. If anything we WANT more cars, even fully race prepared cars in time attack.


Please last image in desktop size....................


that shot of Tarzan's car needs to be a desktop! awesome shot!


Awesome guys! love the behind the scene look.

kc is going off


I reckon it was great to see some GT & Dedi racecars at the event, as you would have to be kidding yourself if you think the Panspeed RX7, Sierra Sierra etc is more Roadcar then Racecar.

The prep into some of the cars pretty much makes them a racecar, but as they only do a handful of laps in a stint. They are tuned to a knife-edge instead of tuned for a race. That would be the only difference IMO, is the tuning.


The GT3 car competed and did well. Should it have been banned? NO. Why? Because the car was within the rules. If the car is WITHIN the rules it should be allowed to compete, PERIOD. If you don't want it to compete CHANGE THE RULES so that it can't compete. While your at it add rules that protect the driver more. That lack of cage in the Cyber Evo is scary and unsafe. The fuel system in the Magic RX-7 is scary and unsafe. As long as the rules for Time Attack remain so lose, (which in many ways makes time attack fun and exciting) cars like the Lotus GT3, and maybe even cars like those crazy open cockpit Radical race cars should be allowed to compete too. In many ways the GT3 car is a better car than the time attack car because it saves build time, costs less to develop, and is safer for the driver because of the safety specs the car is built to, and the car can race in many different series all over the world. Until the rules are changed cars GT3 cars should be allowed to compete and they add deversity to the field.


I feel as long as the Lotus started out as a street car at one point, then let it run. Most of the unlimited cars are so far removed from stock they are really full on race cars anyway.

As far as safety is concerned, I don't feel it should be sacrificed in an effort to shed vehicle weight in an effort to post faster lap times. They Cyber Evo is too fast a race car for a minimalist approach with the safety structure of the car.


That AE86 grillshot needs to be a desktop!!!!!!!!!!!!


More pics of that streetspec S15...



More pics of that streetspec S15...



yates' levin looks soo good.. front end shot in the garage is sick.


PPPPPLEASE! Desktop of the Yates AE86 third to last pic!!!


Ahaha casey almost knocked me out with that lense! Top shots Caseh!


Need 1st pic as a desk, looks so precious and so secret!


Race cars aren't really Time Attack because they're too developed by proper engineers and are also built to stricter regulations. If you lost all the restrictions placed on racers such as GT1, GT3 etc and made them as fast as you wanted, most Time Attack cars wouldn't stand much of a chance.


its really seeing you guys cover australian events. i always look ti speedhunters to see whats happening iver the ocean. Keep it up guys!


Please pic #1 in desktop, better in 1600*1200


first please in desktop)


Cool shots man!!

And yes. Jet Multimedia ( who make Motive DVD, Motive TV, DSPORT DVD and Fast Fours/HPI DVD) are making the offical World Time Attack Challenge DVD for Yokohama.

We have nearly 50 hours of footage ( im still processing it now!!) and got heaps of action including everything on the pro class guys. Over 10 hours on on-boards too!!!!

Will keep you all posted on it


i was really disappointed yesterday, when someone from the exige team commented on the wrap-up article that they entered "as a joke". we had some of the best time attack teams coming from all around the world, and a bunch of aussies decided to do a few laps "as a joke". i fail to see who the joke was on. i enjoyed watching the exige run, but if you're not there to compete, why bother?

on a side note, i would like to apologise for the "show and shine". it made me quite ashamed to be a part of the australian modifying scene. most of the cars made me want to shoot myself in the head. speedhunters has tastefully decided to skip the worst offenders, but as you can see, that doesn't leave much.

also the fiat's running a carbied and ported 20B. owned by a bloke called joe said, who talked to me and my mate for about half an hour, answered all our questions, real friendly, amazing car. did all the fabrication work himself, he and a mate did all the carbon fibre in house, plugs and all. inspiring thing.

i cannot BELEIVE i saw these amazing machines running in anger. highlight of the year. i can die happy now. screw the gt3. the more i think about it, the angrier i get.


tenksss image


@jameson: The other reason the Lotus + the other one or 2 of them, were running was to gain extra practise on the track for the GT meeting this weekend. For them it kills 2 bird with one stone, its a fun event to see how they compare to the world guys, and to have a couple days practise on the track for this weekend.


I thought the idea of time attack was to go as fast as possible? If a pre-made gt3 spec car is almost as fast as the best time attack cars then the dedicated time attack dedicated machines need to get faster!


Next year would be nice to see them get in contact whit the Northern Europe time attack / race car teams. There is a lot of potential in Sweden Norway and Finland.


as the others said i don't really get the difference per say but it does show the out right speed and handling the TA cars had in comparison to the Exige, Falcon and Commodore.


Some more shots of Wayne Suttons 180SX please maybe in wallpaper size? =)

I'm sure S series nissan owners around the world are keen to get a closeup look at it.

Small clip of the car at superlap here...


Good Job Peter, with the JDM Yard TA Civic!! Can,t wait to see the feature in the next Modified article!!


@jameson "on a side note, i would like to apologise for the "show and shine". it made me quite ashamed to be a part of the australian modifying scene. most of the cars made me want to shoot myself in the head. speedhunters has tastefully decided to skip the worst offenders, but as you can see, that doesn't leave much."

There were some rubbish "show" cars their the Nissan sports car club and evo guys had some sweet rides on display which I think do Australia proud at least half a dozen cars which have had no recognition at all.


I assume the phrase "entered as a joke" from the GT3 Exige team was meant in regards to entering the event "for fun"... not because it was some comical competition without real cars or drivers. Because, if the latter was true, it would be quite embarrassing to be beaten at such an event.

Regarding "purpose built" race cars vs time attack cars, what is the difference? As long as the cars are unibody construction and not space-frame silhouette racers, they fit the rule structure and should be allowed to compete. It is the same in the US... The Redline/Super Lap events here have seen Porsche GT3 Cup cars competing. Should they be outlawed because they come built from the factory with a full cage, chassis/susp reinforcements, sequential box, and fuel cell? What else is the difference between a Cup car and a street 996/997? Everything else is bolt on changes that could easily be made to any street car.

As was stated above, as long as the cars share the same base as their street going brothers, there is no reason to ban them. The only difference is that the basic race preparation was done by the factory rather than by a private shop. The cars still need to be tuned, setup, maintained, and driven in order to win. It is not as if Joe Racer can purchase a Cup car and win WTAC out of the box. Let people spend their money as they see fit. Outlawing specific cars is just going to limit the growth of time attack.


Rod, I think I loved your set of pics the most.

I think that the GT3 car running is fine, as long as it fits into the rules that's fine. However, I was disappointed by the Exige team's attitude. Stating that they came out to run as a joke or whatever. Why compete if you're not going to be serious. I'm happy they were beat, it shows that individual garages can destroy engineered race cars from large car corporations.


To me it's fine the way it is now, but if more time/money/effort is put into those GT or purpose built race cars then they will dominate and would need to be put in a class of their own.


need wallpaper of cars in pits (ae86,s15 )and LAN EVO on track ! :D


i think any car can drive time attac no matty if its gt§ or a drift car!

what don´t you like about the gt3? i mean 4th place so it seems not unfair to me !


Theres no difference between the cyber evo and the holden.. The Pan speed FD and Exige.. both are full blown race car.. it cant be driven on the street.. it's still a modified street car .. Stop complaining.. The GT3 cars and holden is just to add the mix and up the level of competition


I can tell you after speaking to Lachlan from Prep'd Motorsport and Warren Luff the driver, that they may have said they were only there for a joke but on the day they were deadly serious about taking the win. I do know that that car has gone through a thourough rebuild following a crash and they were originally intending to use the event as a shakedown but once they realised they had a chance they certainly changed their tune. Whether or not a car like that should be in the field will always be a point of contention but at this stage it fits the rules and following some late international withdrawls, we needed as many interesting cars on the track as possible, because after all that is what the public pay to come and see. I do agree that it may need to be controlled in the future as we do not want to allow a field of GT cars to take away the "tuner" aspect of the event. Make no mistake either. both the the Sierra Sierra car and the Cusco WRX are big dollar cars. Some of the guys on the Cusco team are from Subaru World rally team and Sierra Sierra is a well resourced Formula Atlantic team and has a full time team of talented guys. This sport will only continue to get more professional as time goes on. What is even more amazing is how a Japanese dentist with a passion for tuning cars can bring his car to Australia and only really get a couple of good timed laps in and decimate not only the redhot competition but also the longstanding V8 supercar record set in qualifying over 10 years ago. Hats off to you Takizawa-san and the Cyber Evo team! It will certainly be interesting next year as Sierra Sierra are really only at the start of their development and the Tomei engineers also told me their WRX engine can make an awful lot more power but they ran out of time in the leadup to the event. Bring on 2011!!

And also thanks for all the amazing pictures Rod and Dino. You guys rock!!

Ian Baker


Superlap Australia


I agree with running race cars in the event as they are all tuned road cars. Some more than others but all tuned. The raced teams also offer plenty of guidence for people looking or actively tuning a car for TA events. This includes safety,layout of the car, operation of the team and garage, driving styles and more. The speeds come down to prep for these styles of events and understanding the car. If you check the timing websites you will find the TA cars are quicker than most competitive series.

Even the Sports sedans would have trouble keeping up with the Pro guys. They do the same times on slicks! Plus they are not tuned into the format to the level of the Japanese and U.S. teams.

The Lotus didnt need to use WTAC for 'pactice' for the Sports Car Festival as they can access the track with far more track time on alternative days including the open practice on the Friday before their event. They have also completed numerous 1hr races at EC, sprint races and practice days developing the car .

I can wait to see it develop more over the next few years and hopefully become a World Cup event.

Best of luck to all involved.


Some serious track cars here!

Wicked pics at the end!


"I spotted this piece of semi-vintage JDM metal."

ADM car, ADM/china wheels...


Really Good shots i must say!!!


race cars and TA car are different .. the cyber evo wouldnt last a full blown 20 lap or so session compared to the gt3 cars , which are built to "race spec".

respect goes out to tarzan for taking the win . its funny cause on that day some of the jap team had trouble passing CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) . minimal rollcage . fuel tank in the a passenger side. these guys wouldnt be allowed to race in a proper race. TA yes thats what they are .. im sure if the gt3 cars were stripped of their roll cage . lost their bing fuel tank and ran smaller lighter brakes ,and finally turn up the boost.. they would almost take out the win. gotta remember guys v8 supercars are also built on class restrictions, hence why the high lap times . BUT in saying all that .. seeing a mix of cars make it fun. and interesting. but i do firmly belive that their should be some rules that these cars need to meet like running FIA / CAMS approved roll cages, etc .

and finally we dont want another repeat of sore loosers kicking up a stink like what we saw in the ealry 90's with banning the almight godzilla from racing agianst aussie taxies. we dont want it to become world TA v8 super taxi. now do we .


How dam good was that Warren Luff to turn up and drive the Lotus without drivig it before. This is one very very very good race driver. I would like to have seen him the the winnnig car I bet he would have smashed the times.

This guys drives everything and anything flat out without too many mistakes if any.Keep and eye on this guy and maybe some teams overseas in this formula should invite him for some guest drives, I bet he would turn a few heads...........just a thought.


I cant see any reason why it should be banned (lotus)

it met the criteria and also whats really the difference.. most of the cars were built purely for time attack. and look 99% the same as a GT3 car..

in the end a race built car is basically a 'tuner car' thats got no limits... which is pretty much what all the pro class was!