Australia’s geographical isolation has never been more apparent than in this new age of hyper-connection. The World Time Attack Challenge‘s ability to attract quality international competitors makes the world feel just a teensy, tiny bit smaller.
Japanese competitors are all but guaranteed; after all, time attack was originally their sport. But as Australian teams have moved from the shadows and onto the podium more often, more and more international teams are taking up the challenge and shipping their cars to Sydney to find out if they have what it takes to be crowned the world’s fastest in their respective classes.
Finland’s Audi R8 1:1 team made one of the longest journeys to this year’s event. Their weapon of choice is also one of the most recognized European time attack cars of the past 12 months, a build with a goal of 1hp to 1kg. I’d been loosely following their progress leading up to WTAC 2017 via social media and also their charming, self-made YouTube series.
The Audi R8 brings a welcomed fresh approach to building a time attack car. The majority of time attack vehicles are based on platforms that are light, accessible and relatively cheap. The R8, on the other hand, is no featherweight. It’s also a rare sight Down Under, probably because they usually sell for supercar money.
In other words, it’s as far removed from conventional Australian and Japanese time attack racers as you could get. Is that a bad thing, though?
A very different set of ideas and philosophy behind going fast shaped the final build, and win, lose or draw, the R8 was guaranteed to turn heads. Fortunately for fans, this alternative approach resulted in a very serious challenge for this year’s Pro-Am title.
After watching the team’s first day of practice, it was clear the Audi was no show pony. The R8 1:1 group’s aim is to build the fastest time attack car the world has ever seen. While that’s still a work in progress, it’s a solid contender for the world’s most reliable time attack build.
I’ve never seen a time attack car complete so many consecutive laps. Ever.The 30,000km Test
Driver/owner Sami Sivonen and his team of “professional amateurs,” as he likes to put it, dedicated the past year to building the fastest time attack machine within their capabilities. The end product is a car they are exceptionally proud of, but there was still unfinished business.
Their project needed real-world testing. Instead of throwing out outlandish claims, they packed the Audi into a shipping container, and the team boarded their Sydney-bound flights for the final experiment.
Finland to Australia and then of course back again is a really, really long way; an estimated 30,000km (18,641 miles) round trip if you wanted to get specific. Throw in the complications, expenses, and risk of completing that journey with a car you intend to push beyond its limits, and it sounds like fun, right?
In Sami’s opinion, WTAC is the highest level of time attack racing in the world. It’s the ultimate test of what the team is capable of, and also how the Audi’s speed compares to the Pro class cars.
This year’s Pro-Am class was dominated by MightyMouse, a very special CR-X that has featured on Speedhunters more than once before. Following Rob Nguyen’s giant-slaying Honda all weekend-long, a nail-biting battle between Sami’s R8 1:1 and Will Au-Yeung’s Honda Civic from Canada ensued.
During the event, Will and Sami bested each others perfect lap at least four times. Second place really could have gone to either car, and that made for some exhilarating racing.One On One Time With 1:1
The chassis is a 2007 Audi R8 that was initially equipped with a 4.2-litre V8 engine and R-Tronic transmission. A lot has changed over the past 12-months, though. What was originally a very desirable street car has been transformed into an extremely desirable race car.
The factory-fitted engine has been replaced with a 2012 R8+ 5.2-litre V10, complete with aftermarket connecting rods and valvetrain components. During reassembly, the new engine was balanced by Pro Engines to help extract as much power as possible and also to reduce the chances of failure at higher loads and RPMs.
Then there’s the forced induction, which a pair of Honeywell Garrett/TiAL GTX3576 turbochargers takes care of. All of the supporting plumbing for the turbos, exhaust manifolds, and dual chamber inlets were fabricated from raw materials in-house. Well, in-garage is perhaps more accurate.
With the majority of the engine bay covered by carbon body panels, you’ll have to trust me when I tell you the turbos are fed cool air through a pair of side-mounted intercoolers. Again, these were fabricated from scratch in Sami’s garage to fit the unique setup.
A 60-litre fuel cell installed in the cockpit flows through to twin in-tank fuel pumps, then out through another three Racinglines high-output fuel pumps. The extreme pressures are kept in check by a Turbosmart FPR2000 regulator. Ten 1,690cc Finjector injectors deliver the fuel to 10 very thirsty cylinders, while a Racinglines billet surge tank maintains pressure, even through high-speed cornering. When at full throttle, the R8 is capable of consuming 11.8-litres of E85 every single minute!
A MoTeC M150 handles both the engine and transmission management, while a MoTeC power distribution module and custom center console provides a neat and light solution to reducing the vehicle’s wiring. Sami is relayed important telemetry while driving, including tire pressures. Between runs on the track, even more data can be downloaded for analysis through a MoTeC C187 dash and data-logging system.
The V10 is capable of spitting close to 1,300 horsepower at the rear wheels on 1.4bar (20.6psi) of boost pressure, allowing the R8 to run the quarter-mile in a confirmed 11.6-seconds with a terminal speed of, get this, 242km/h. Talk about top end power! A custom chrome-moly triple-plate AP Racing clutch and Holinger LG6 6-speed pneumatically-actuated sequential gearbox transfer those massive power figures to the tarmac through Audi Sport 24hr GT3 driveshafts. It’s no wonder that the R8 is so damned reliable.
The car’s 1,370kg (3,020lb) weight is quite heavy compared to the bulk of its competition, however, with its cleverly designed suspension fitted, the Audi looked to be just as nimble as the lighter cars around Sydney Motorsport Park. The suspension is based around race-tested Öhlins TTX40 four-way adjustable, twin-tube dampers. They’ve been matched with a set of in-house-designed spherical bearings and genuine Audi Sport LMS Ultra 24hr-spec rear uprights. Anti-roll bars were again designed specifically for the task at hand and fabricated by Sami’s team.
A set of BBS 18×11-inch center-lock wheels wrapped in WTAC control tires, Yokohama Advan A050s, in beefy 295/35R18 sizing can be found on each corner. Brembo calipers and Endless pads handle stopping and slowing down for corners, and an aftermarket Bosch M4 ABS kit has also been fitted to the R8 to help avoid accidents in Finland’s sometimes less than ideal weather conditions.
The R8 1:1 is a fantastic build, and to have come this far within just a year is a testament to everyone involved. It’ll be interesting to see how the car evolves with what the team learned in Sydney.
If the Audi taught us anything, it’s that there’s always room for an entirely different approach when it comes to building cars for speed.
How can you not appreciate this .... Remarkable effort, and what an animal!
Amazing car .... but it came 3rd against a CRX and Civic.
it also has 1400 hp and somehow only manages a 11.6 1/4..........surely thats a typo
lotsa wings lotsa drag. all that aero slows it down
I am one of the guys who built this whole thing.
Can You please be more precise, so I could perhaps fix the issues, found.
I'm guessing the aluminuim hardline cable tied to cage. Could chaffe over time.
Also possibly doesnt like the pushlock festo fittings. Ive only used them with plastic hose but they hold over 10bar no probs so I'll let matt elaborate on this.
I can see a whole lot i like about this machine though.
Props to all involved in getting this thing to where it is and good luck in the future.
Ah, that's extinguisher.
All fuel lines in this car are braided ptfe.
Again...what a shocker. You take a RACE CAR to a time attack event and it can turn more laps than time attack cars. This is surprising? The reality is Time Attack has been around for about a hundred years now. It's called qualifying. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to drive for a few minutes? I'll pass.
The Japanese didn't invent it much like they didn't invent drifting. People have been sliding cars through corners since the 30s. You have to laugh at stuff like this as the world of motor sport becomes more and more diluted.
This article is a great testament to why events like the 24 hours of Le Mans will always be greater achievements than any tinsel trophy from these over glorified "racing" series. You show up with a race car and you're somehow on the cutting edge of something different.
i don't know the exact rules, but I gues this car would be king with the Quattro drivetrain still in it. Can't see the use of 1400hp on rear wheels only in track racing
Fastest car is an S13 Silvia
Again, S13 Silvia was fastest, when it was steered by Slade.
If I drove it, it wouldn't. Please do not forget there is a driver even in a TA car.
Would love to know whether the AudiSport R8LMS driveshafts are still stock or have been modified to take the power, having seen around the 2014 - 2017 R8 LMS Ultras with the Australian GT Championship. If they are still stock then that is a testament to the design of the GT3 cars. So much so that I originally thought it had started life as a 2010 LMS given the profile from some of the photos
The 24h spec stuff is a lot beefier than stock ones. e.g. just the wheel bearing weighs over 2.3kg.
It was great seeing this car out on the track, looked and sounded awesome. Hope to see it back next year, along with more Europeans to mix up the field a bit.
Thank You. I think it sounds good, too. Pity it's so quiet to the grandstands - at least when comparing to the cars with side exit exhausts.
In my opinion this is the future of time attack, sport cars built by factory to be fast on the straight and corner.
Its a lot cheaper if you start with something half way done than start is from scratch like evos sti or nissans.
To build a similar body like a lambo or the r8 stiffening costs about 15-20.000, a good set of knuckles with decent bearings that wont flex in the corner another 10.000 (we buy wrc bearings for 1500 for one corner). While a flooded r8 costs about the 30.000, a running one around 50.000 and your getting a fantastic gearbox, heavy but fasts as hell, and an over 100hp/liter n/a engine.
Than again its stupid to build the v10 engine when the v8 can deal with 8-900hp with just a short block build, and if that's not enough power to beat all the cars find the cure elsewhere.
4.2 R8's and older Gallardos are getting cheap in mainland Europe. You can get one for way less than 50K eur.
Both of them can do 800hp without even changing the spark plug, and there are plenty of track proven bolt on kits available for those.
Not even mentioning, the 4.2 engine is hefty 50kg lighter than 5.2. (180 vs. 229kg)
The big punish comes with minimum weight. S13 can weigh 900ish kg, when R8 minimum weight is 1200.
It would be fair for all the cars in class to have same miminum weight, but this way WTAC can keep the old sedans and coupes still valid against the supercars.
However, when ever we see similar investment of engineering and money and a pro driver in a Huracan, as we see MCA putting in to the S13, or the PR Tech guys putting in to the 968, the S13 won't be that superior.
All should keep in mind, we built this car in Sami's shed, and there are engines at WTAC pit that cost the same as building the R8 did, so although it looks like mega money build, it was by far the least money invested of whole pro grid this year. Trust me.
dont think the weight is a super big problem till you can run extreme aero on the 295 rubbers good cars should beat the DTM class cars.
Btw, is this still a awd? if not I would consider making is back with that power. For ~500hp the 295 are maxed out on one axle.
We are building an e46 with rb30 and 4x4 for timeattack, and with 7-800hp we are going to maxi out the 300 dtm slicks on all corners. With a good management and electronic controlled mid diff it can be bloody fast.
Weight is a killer. It is. Trust me.
In a GT3 car, 15kg is 0,1 seconds, 150kg is a second. And that's with a pro paddling, on 1380kg (race ready with pilot in) 500hp car on slicks. We tip the scales a hefty 550kg over Mighty Mouse. Put 500kg in his trunk, and see what happens.
Yes, DTM's should be Hammerhead speed at SMSP on their own tyres I assume. 6-7 seconds faster than GT3 in Zandvoort.
Our car is RWD, there is so much changed in front suspension geometry, the front diff or the driveshafts wouldn't fit. Weight penalty would be well over 100kg. Making traction control gets tricky. Not worth it.
"Extreme aero" is easier said than done. Especially on a mid engine car, with low mounted motor, such as ours. That's why Porsche has mid engine in their newest GT3 race car.
I hope Your RB turns out good. I am personally not a fan. Would deffo use Bimmer motor rather than an RB.
We run 950whp on second gear, about 1000whp on 3rd, up to 1400ish on 6th. It gets off traction control at 210-220kph.
That's why 200-250kph is so close to same time as 250-300kph. I also limited the boost from 285kph up, to keep it from going too fast on that straight. longitudinal G is 0.9 up to 200ish kph. Toivonen had 1G with 700whp, because he is 300kg lighter than us, and has more aero.
Height is a problem but not an excuse why it cant beat DTM or GT class times cos those are heavy also.
If you have traction control till 200 than youll need the stock front drivetrain. 1300+ kg and 1400hp its impossible on that shitty tires, alms cars went 800+ hp and 360 almost 400 tires to make it stick and those ware tall ones so a lot more grip.
we opted for the 46 cos its interestin in a awd config, and cos there isnt any
also we have some rb laying around with hks box and it has a pretty good mid diff that can send around 300nm to the front.
Just came in a e46 m3 for next year and it will have an s54 turbo engine with about 700 hp, last years it was nice to see it pass all the Ferraris and Porsches in the straight but in corners...mostly on exits its drifting like hell on 300mm slicks, to much torque.
R8 makes a wheelie on 3rd gear with slicks, so I suggest You work a bit on Your geometry and suspension, if You are blazing 300mm slicks with 700hp. Haha.
What a beast. Torille
Super cool to see the owner on here defending his car in the comments. Don’t get to see that every day. Way to go to Jyrki for building an awesome car and doing something only a few of us only dream of. I can’t imagine how long this to to build. Keep working on your driving and I’m sure we’ll see you on the top of the podium soon!
Hard out. So many haters dissing what actual car people love - some dudes creating then driving their hard work. Thinking and solving. Good work all involved!
Great job done balancing a build budget + performance outcome. I feel like most people who haven't build or worked on their own cars how much work it is judging performance value for components and as a whole then getting it all to work. Would love a super-in-depth article on the mechanical solutions of your steering, suspension + insights on the rules you're working to for us that don't know
I am not the owner, or the driver. Sami owns and drives it.
I just built most of it, including but not limited to engine, turbo package, fueling, suspension changes and exhaust system.
Guys, You just got into my head and DO my dream, yeah!
And really amazing car and teamwork.
BTW it's so different from usually JDM-based monster cars, so it's just a pure pleasure to see R8 at the scene.
*need to watch your videos
Grats one more time!
I just love when teams like this take their own approach and build one of a kind car. Exiting to see what's been added or fabricated by themselves.
Doing an engine swap and fitting project with aftermarket stuff is exiting and all, but to see someone approaching project as thoroughly as would the initial engineer is just staggering. And that applies to all one of a kind builds that has been featured here.
And loved the video series. Charming is the exact word that describes it