Will the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge ever stop surprising us?
Speedhunters first came to cover this event in 2010, and since then we’ve watched it gain the sort of momentum that most other motorsport series around the world can only dream about. To the casual bystander, it may all just be a bunch of purpose-built cars lapping the same track to see who’s the fastest, but the sheer competition that now exists between teams has not only evolved the entire global time attack scene, but it continues to make it even more interesting and exciting. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish.
Yet here I am, along with our resident Australian Speedhunter, Matt, and Richard who has joined us from New Zealand, getting all excited about the two days of competition that are about to play out at Sydney Motorsport Park.
While every competing car is impressive in its own right, the Pro Class machines take things to the next level. These weapons are built around the single most important thing when it comes to creating a capable and competitive time attack car – aerodynamics.
Aero is like a huge jigsaw puzzle, all engineered around extracting the utmost performance. Change one small thing and that variation can have a massive effect on another area of the car.
As Andrew Brilliant has previously explained to me, it’s a massive and complex balancing act, just like you see here on Andy Forest’s Subaru Impreza WRX. We’ve featured this car before, but seeing as it’s a very different machine now we’ve got a spotlight coming up in which you’ll be able to indulge in all the details.
If you recall my WTAC 2017 Starts Here post from last month, Ando-san’s Evo is the newest entry from Japan. Much like Under Suzuki and his Scorch Racing Nissan Silvia S15, Ando’s car is a privateer endeavour; he’s just a guy who wanted to build something worthy of challenging the best in the business.
The car looks far more complete wearing all of its Voltex aero package compared to when we saw it compete last at Tsukuba.
Today was mostly about fine-tuning suspension and aero settings, and ironing out any issues.
It looks like Under Suzuki will have an even tougher battle this year; he’s here to do just one thing – finally nail the top spot and take the coveted WTAC title back home to Japan.
His car has be further evolved over the course of the last 12 months and there are some subtle changes to the aero side of things.
With the threat of rain for Saturday’s main competition day, there’s a very good chance that the teams will go all-out from the get-go tomorrow morning. But there’s also the possibility for Saturday afternoon to dry up completely, leaving behind low air and track temperatures for perfect record-breaking conditions.
The Insight Motorsport Holden Astra has seen a lot of evolution in the aerodynamics department.
That massive front wing together with the rear treatment easily makes it one of the most unique entries in the Pro Class, and the first non-Japanese entry we’ve seen thus far.
Of course, we can’t forget the PR Tech Racing Porsche 968 which looks remarkably different this year with a redesigned cowl and spoiler, and a fresh livery.
The fin that connects to the rear spoiler is still there, coming down and meeting up with the wider fender lines.
And this image perfectly represents what I said earlier about everything being there to support the aero package around it. The fact that the car runs a transaxle means that it already has very good weight distribution, which is likely the reason why the rear end didn’t require the same level of redesign the front end has received.
Finally there’s car #1, the MCA Suspension ‘Hammerhead’ Nissan Silvia S13. Supercars series driver Tim Slade will be back behind the wheel again, fighting hard to retain the overall WTAC title and possibly resetting his record lap time in the process.
There’s definitely been some refinement in the ‘hammerhead’ spoiler that’s defined this car at previous WTAC events.
And this is what it looks like underneath once you remove the cowl; the custom supports hold everything in place and transmit the massive level of downforce onto the chassis.
Team Speedhunters will be at the track early to catch all the action and break you the news as it happens from Sydney Motorsport Park. All the cars in the Pro Class certainly have the potential to go faster than they’ve ever gone before.
Will we see a new record as early as tomorrow? We can’t wait to find out…
Dino Dalle Carbonare