WTAC’s Aero Revolution
Refining & Reinventing

What makes a perfect time attack car? If you’d asked me that question years ago I would have answered with overall balance being the key to a successful lap time. Because power is nothing without control, and suspension, brakes and sticky tires are just as important in getting a car to perform at its very best.

Aerodynamics were always a part of the equation obviously, but mechanical and engineering came first. The balance started to shift when the know-how from the top tiers of international motorsport began to trickle down to time attack, and when that happened things started to get really interesting.


Tuners began experimenting with aero, and the lap times started coming down. Then it all went a little crazy – the right kind of crazy. This is where we’re at today.

A quick walk through Sydney Motorsport Park’s pits at this year’s Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge was all took for me to see just how wild the aero side of things have got. It’s only been two years since I last attended the world’s biggest weekend in time attack racing, but the evolution in wings, splitters, under-trays and diffusers (and much more) is evident everywhere.


Just as I did back in 2014, I thought I’d take a quick look at what people are doing with their WTAC aero packages, and show you how different teams are moving forward by challenging the laws of physics.


The PR Tech Racing Porsche 968 made its time attack intentions very clear on debut last year, and a huge amount of work has since gone in to help it carry as much speed as possible through the faster corners.


The PR Tech team had a minor mishap during the test session yesterday when some slight damage to one of the smaller front wings forced too much air to flow into the engine bay, in turn pushing the hood up at speed and flipping it up off the car as it powered down the main straight. The team had to remould it overnight so it could be fixed in time for today’s timed sessions.


Next door was Under Suzuki’s Nissan Silvia S15, which as you can see is now pushing the boundaries of aero more than ever. The front under-tray, which was developed with Andrew Brilliant of AMB Aero, features a totally new design with a few cunning solutions for the end plates – something the team were keen to keep hidden.

On top of a new front fender design too, additional winglets seem to have sprouted up all over the car.


Of course, AMB’s signature triple-plane wing features at the rear to balance out all the front downforce. Suzuki-san is also armed with an Australian-built SR20 billet engine block, which means he can turn his GCG turbo’s boost up to a higher level than ever before. Needless to say, Under continues to be a fan favourite in Australia, just as he is in Japan.


We’ve watched Rob Nguyen’s ‘MightyMouse’ CR-X evolve into one of the fastest FF cars on the planet, and the 101 Motorsport team are back with a few refinements this year.


It’s funny seeing the old Daishin GT300 race car here in Australia. The last time I saw it, it was being driven at Gatebil on the other side of the world, but now it’s being run by Sydney’s DM Motorsport.


Next to the S15, I found MCA Suspension’s ‘Hammerhead’ Nissan Silvia, which is another example of how important aero has become at WTAC’s Pro class level. Who would have thought an S13 could be made to go as quick as this thing is?!


Sticking with the Nissan theme for a moment, check out the Nissan R88C race car that Hoshino-san of Impul raced at Le Mans in 1988. The car was recently purchased by an Australian collector who is very happy to share the stunning Group C machine with enthusiasts.

Different Approaches

It’s so cool seeing a Japanese tuning shop like Car Shop Dream travel this far to pit its own creation against the fastest time attack cars in Australia.


Based in the north of Hokkaido, WTAC is an all new experience for Car Shop Dream, which previously had only competed at Japanese circuits like Tokachi, Sugo and Tsukuba.


Evos seem to dominate the time attack scene in Australia, but despite all of the top cars being built on the same platform, different teams take very different approaches.

Take the PMQ Design CT9A for example. The car features a very light, mostly carbon fiber shell, a repositioned driving position and some of the best construction and engineering I’ve seen at WTAC.


It’s always fun seeing what sort of stuff people are doing with GT-Rs in Australia. While the aim is always the same as what I’m used to seeing in Japan, the execution Down Under is much different. The same could be said for the entire tuning scene down here, truth be known. Where Japanese tuners like to take their time to develop solutions, parts and ideas, Australian shops seem to take the wilder approach, going full-out and pushing the limits as much as they can in the shortest possible time.


The Aussie way of doing things is definitely the most entertaining of the two, because at the end of the day, everyone wants to see fast cars doing fast laps in the most exciting way possible. It’s probably the reason WTAC attracts over 20,000 spectators every year.


It’s great seeing so much momentum in a scene that very much started in Japan, but now seems to have found a new, or different home.


The hard-to-miss Pulse Racing Evo VIII is one of six cars entered into the Pro Class this year, and the one that probably has the least fussy aero package I’ve seen so far, despite its impressive performance.


With Richard Opie over from New Zealand, and both myself and local Speedhunter Matthew Everingham all shooting this weekend, stay tuned for lots more to come from Sydney Motorsport Park, as the 2016 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge really heats up.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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What I find insane about Suzuki-San's S15 is the fact that it runs a 4-Cylinder... Normally you'd probably expect an RB26 swap or a 2JZ swap but a tiny 4-Cylinder that pacts one hell of a punch... That's very impressive.


Mitsuru All the Evos run 4-cyl too. And that Porsche. I would be surprised too see a big heavy lump of a straight six in a time attack Silvia. Impressive cars all of them.


What still amazes me is how the fastest cars are the 4 Cylinders


Mitsuru Following the regulations, they have to keep  the original firewall (modification only for transmission clearance, not engine)

so putting a bigger / longer engine means it will hang more on the front, so balance will change. And, more cylinders also means more weight.


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Great article Dino! If anyone is a bit confused, years ago I wrote an article for WTAC on why aero works:
Scott from www.AeroDesign.com.au

Gianluca FairladyZ

this is what racing is all about! what a great event this has to be!!! Love those cars!!!

Gianluca FairladyZ

@freeze Mitsuru  if you compare a well build high horse power sr20 compared to a similiar powered rb26 unit i can imagine that the sr will have the advantage in weight. but even more advantage in weight distribution because it is a smaller engine compared to the rb or 2jz units. remember, it's not always the cylinders that make the run. back in time the jgtc supra's ran not their 2jz engines! they had the 4 cyl and competed very good against honda and nissan's 6 cylinders back then!


Some of those front spoilers make me feel like less of a man.


Thank you for this.
On a side note, id like to see some of these car's in CFD. I'm sure the results would be interesting.


I'd wager the downforce versus drag analysis wouldn't work out in some of these guys favor. I'm no expert, though.


It's a pretty safe bet that SOMEWHERE there's an aerodynamicist laughing so hard that one of his testes retracted.


That rear shot of the S15... I'm speechless


That falcon...


I'm an aerodynamicist and I do wonder sometimes if people have even tested what they are running. There are some very inefficient details on a lot of these cars.
The key is to maximise the efficiency within the regulations we helped to write. A lot of people also clearly haven't taken advantage of the max dimensions the rules allow and are giving up lap time.
CFD is used pretty heavily if you get an aerodynamicist involved early on. We've been using CFD and on track testing on Time Attack and Sports Sedans (very similar) since 2010 when I returned from Williams F1.


The Ford Falcon is stunning, would love a feature


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I understand they are designed to be functional, but, man, that aero is a bit over the top style-wise for my tastes. To each their own though.


NicholasDixon As you said, not meant to be liked, but meant to be functional.


I wonder why Tilton did not run their Evo this year.


Is that one of those awesome aussie ford falcons?


MearBiaggi It's retired, they're making a new car now.


AeroDesign Nice! Thanks for the link.


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I love the aero. It's the most interesting part of WTAC. An awesome event with a little something for everyone. It's so interesting to see how crazy and wild every car is. The range of cars is also surprising. Photos cant do some of the cars justice at all. Seeing the splitters and wings in person and how far they stick out is incredible.


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I wonder whether there's anyone in Time Attack thinking of going down the "fan car" route when it comes to aero.
I mean it looks like they're trying anything and everything so why not just go all out...


It isn't allowed in the regs for safety reasons. If a fan stops mid corner and the fan is the thing giving you most of the grip, then you'll hit a wall pretty hard. It is banned in most categories for this reason.


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AeroDesign I understand that if you are an Aerdynamicist but these teams spend alot of time testing on track.

What works in theory and in a wind tunnel does not necessarily translate to faster lap times. They make changes, car goes faster, changes stay.


I completely agree with that approach and I know that many of the teams do their development in this way. There is no problem with this at all if you have the time and money to invest.
There are definitely some cars though where this is not the case and the team has fitted many different aero features from all sorts of designs they've seen elsewhere. They use that at the track and never know if it works or not as it is what it is.
I always recommend to clients that they schedule numerous on/off tests and go through all of the adjustment available to ensure they understand the effects of each component and can then tune the vehicle for each track.
Well designed vehicles are a package that is made up of various aerodynamic features that all work together to maximise the load on the vehicle. If you mix and match bits from various designs you may be doing more harm than good which is why track testing is so important if you are not getting an expert involved with an inherent understanding of the interactions.


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