As I strolled Tsukuba Circuit’s pit lane during the recent 2020 Attack event, a few cars stopped me in my tracks.
One you’ve seen already, and I’ve got another spotlight on an RWB-based build coming soon, but what I want to share with you today was even more unexpected.
We all know what the common base cars for Japanese time attack are, but that doesn’t mean curious choices don’t get a look in either. A good example is the M’s Machine Works Cayman that we’ve seen evolve over the years.
At Attack Tsukuba there’s always at least one car that doesn’t quite seem to fit the Japanese time attack mold, and this year it was a Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V.
As an Italian, I have deep passion for this car. As a kid, I remember lusting after the final Integrale versions that went on sale in the early to mid-1990s, but I eventually forget about them as cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX STI began taking over the international rally scene, and in turn piqued my interest.
I’ve always appreciated the Delta Integrale, but had never felt the need to own one – except the Automobili Amos version, but that’s a different story altogether.
It’s what Amos have done with their three-door restomod Delta that has reignited my interest in the model. I no longer look at them as potential fire hazards or ticking bombs, but rather a fun AWD turbo platform with that nostalgic ’80s/’90s feel that modern cars just lack.
The 1:01.678 lap that this Real-T Delta managed at Tsukuba is a reminder of how fast these cars can be, too.
I’ve always been surprised at how far forward the transverse 2.0-liter 16V engine is positioned in this model. Hiding deep in the grille is a turbocharger larger than the original T3, mounted to what looked like equal-length headers.
The custom intercooler is mounted in the same position as the stock unit, but sports a much bigger core and shorter and larger piping. Every time the car came back into pit lane after a lap or two, a bag full of ice packs was dropped on top of the cooler top tank to keep heat sink to a minimum.
While the Lancia’s exterior has been kept very simple, the interior is fully stripped out and stiffened up with a bolt-in roll cage.
In Japan the Delta Integrale is a bit of a collector car, so it’s rare to see one built up and used for racing. So this was a refreshing sight in the Tsukuba pit lane, and the driver came away with a totally respectable time.
Now excuse me while I check out the classifieds to see what Deltas are going for in Japan these days…
Dino Dalle Carbonare