For two-and-a-half years it felt like it’d never happen again, and now it feels like it happened way too fast.
Talking to most people in the Sydney Motorsport Park paddock last weekend confirmed two things for me: First, that the long wait for the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge to return just made everybody crave the action and excitement even more than usual. And secondly, that a lot of people were using this event as some sort of a marker for when Australia was back to normal. Well, as ‘normal’ as we’ll ever probably get now.
While the event didn’t bring the global aspect in 2022, aside from guest commentators Andrew Brilliant and Cole Powelson the packed pits felt like a world away from what we’ve grown accustomed to since Australia closed its borders to everyone but its own citizens.
Whatever buzz was lost with the lack of WTAC fan favourites like Under Suzuki and Fire Ando, was simply replaced with the chance to get out, mingle with fellow petrol heads and finally watch some amazing cars drive really f**king fast.
Make no mistakes, there was still plenty of entertainment on hand. No one could possibly take in all the sights, sounds and smells on offer. Trust me, I tried and failed.
I did my very best to capture the racing and demonstration laps, uncover every drool-worthy piece of hardware at trader alley, get some sideways action with the drifters, and walk the near endless rows of the StylizeD car show (and even try to judge it).
Every corner of SMSP’s full-sized skid pan was covered in assorted builds from all corners of the globe. Check out the bagged Holden Rodeo mini truck below, and see if you can spot a few other familiar vehicles while you’re at it.
The scale of the event quite literally overwhelmed me. Thanks to a recent AU$33million (US$25million) upgrade at Sydney Motorsport Park, the longer format days saw action kick off in the morning and continue late into the night.Like Pulp Fiction, But For Race Cars
By now you’re most likely aware of who won, but if you’re chasing some results I’ve attached the final standings at the end of the post. If you understand that WTAC is much more than just lap times, get comfortable.
Just as these wild physics-defying machines of speed are more than the net sum of each component, there are hundreds of smaller but no less amazing, awesome and fun tales that combine over the course of the event to make the World Time Attack Challenge the best motorsport festival in the land.
To go along with this gallery post, I thought I’d share a couple of short and sweet stories from WTAC 2022, that go someway to explain the camaraderie at this event.
At top speed, peak g-force and maximum attack, one of the wing elements on the back of Chris Alexander’s carbon R32 GT-R buckled under the immense load.
At first glance it looked fixable, but closer inspection by the team highlighted a little more damage. Unwilling to risk the car and his life, Chris was ready to throw in the towel for 2022.
That was until the legends running the iconic S13 Hammerhead – who had unfortunately blown their motor earlier in the event – removed the wing from their car and adapted it to fit the CJA Motorsports Nissan Skyline’s rear end. This not only allowed Chris to finish the event on his terms, but also take part in the Final Shootout on Saturday night. Awesome, huh?
Clubsprint entrant Paul Kovaceski hadn’t even made it onto the track in his Momo Porsche 944 before his wing broke. After trekking the nine-hour journey back and forth between Sydney and Melbourne a few times to help with media duties, a strong gust of wind slammed a pit door into it.
Fortunately for Paul, Top Stage Carbon’s ‘King Freddy’ packed his tools and set himself up for an all-nighter if required. He finished sometime after 2:00am, and the Porsche was on track for Friday morning’s first session.
The success of every event is built on a strong foundation of these little tales, and as long as there’s WTAC, I know they’ll keep coming.
Stay tuned for one more post from the 2022 World Time Attack Challenge, in which I’ll take a quick look at two of my favourite cars from the event. In the meantime though, there’s a huge gallery below to check out.
1st: Jamal Assaad, Team ESR Performance, Mitsubishi Evo VI – 1.33.7*
2nd: Idin Ahangar, GotItRex, Subaru WRX STi – 1.35.2
3rd: Trent Grubel, DC Jap Automotive, Subaru WRX STi – 1.36.0
GCG Open Class
1st: Nathan Morcom, Gas/Royal Purple/Insight Motorsports, Mitsubishi Evo VII – 1.27.247*
2nd: Tim Slade, Xtreme GT-R, Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R – 1.27.379
3rd: Benny Tran, BYP Racing, Honda Integra DC2R – 1.29.861
Plazmaman Pro-Am Class
1st: Kostinken Pohorukov, Team Tilton, Mitsubishi Evo IX – 1:26.071
2nd: Jay Davidson, Gingerbread Racing, Subaru WRX STi – 1.33.594
3rd: Richard Perini, 991 Racing, Ginetta G55 – 1.33.657
Royal Purple Pro Class
1st: Barton Mawer, RP968, Porsche 968 – 1.20.101
2nd: Brad Shiels, Team Tilton, Mitsubishi Evo IX – 1.20.970
3rd: Nathan Antunes, GotItRex, Subaru STi Type R – 1.28.687
Turbosmart Flying 500
1st: Giuseppe Tummarello, Precision Racing, Lamborghini Huracan: 288km/h
2nd: Justin Dean, Birrong Automotive, Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R: 284km/h
3rd: Tony Tziolis, AstronTech Motor Sports, Lamborghini Huracan: 283km/h
2022 Australasian Drift Titles Presented By Garrett Advancing Motion
1st: Brad Touhy, 3 Five Racing, Toyota 86
2nd: Patrick Barlee, AB Racing, Chevrolet Corvette
3rd: Matt Harvey, Team Kumho Tyres, Nissan S13 Silvia
* new class recordMore, More, More…