Time Crunch: Under Pressure At WTAC

Despite official testing only beginning at Sydney Motorsport Park on Thursday morning local time, competitors at the pointy end of the World Time Attack Challenge’s top tier classes are already feeling the pressure.

It was getting late. It was time to find some garlic chicken and recharge some batteries. As I rolled back through pit lane to leave SMSP last night, I spared a thought for those fighting issues in their garages.


Under Suzuki is no stranger to WTAC’s Royal Purple Pro class, and he returns to Australia this year with the hopes of finally taking the crown. But as you can see, things haven’t started well. Suzuki’s pit was at maximum capacity as his team battled to swap billet engine packages after a connecting rod made an unexpected exit from SR motor #1.


Suzuki took a break last year while his Scorch Racing Nissan Silvia underwent some heavy surgery, and let me tell you, the revamped S15 is an absolute work of art. Pending a smooth weekend ahead for the Japanese driver, I’ll be doing my upmost to bring you guys a more detailed look at his Silvia – or what’s left of the original car.


Last year’s winner, Barton Mawer in the PR Tech Porsche RP968, was due to clock some laps before the track closed for the evening, but the car hadn’t turned up to SMSP by the time I left.

Meanwhile, MCA Suspension’s ‘Hammerhead’ Silvia – a previous WTAC winner and record-breaker – arrived late and will fire up for the first time this morning.


Sharing the same garage as Suzuki, fellow Japanese driver Kunihiko Bando struggled to find, make, or modify a tail shaft for his Hi Octane Direct ProAm class-contesting AutoBahn Toyota Soarer. Looking at the parts strewn across the floor, there may have been some other issues at play here, too.


Last year’s WTAC is one that Tilton Racing owner Kosta Pohorukov would probably rather forget. His iconic Australian time attack machine – another multi-time WTAC winner and benchmark-setter – suffered serious damage after a crash at SMSP’s high-speed Turn 1, but 12 months on the Tilton Evo is back and looking tougher than ever.

Wednesday’s testing providing the very first opportunity for the completely rebuilt car to move under its own power, which was a special sight to see. That said, the Tilton Racing team still had a long night ahead ironing out the bugs.


Finland’s ambitious Audi R8 1:1 team suffered a massive setback when a steering rod failed, sending Sami Sivonen and the car deep off track. The boys assure me they’ll have it together for today, even if that meant pulling an all-nighter.


Matt Longhurst’s mental R34 GT-R will have to stop chewing out transfer cases if it hopes to pose a serious threat.


Not all the teams are struggling, though. Lyfe Motorsport’s R35 GT-R spent more time out on the track than in the garage, giving its new driver maximum seat time. The GT-R has been modified with a hand-controlled throttle in order to be driven by Rob ‘Chairslayer’ Parsons, who in doing so will become the first wheelchair-bound driver to compete at WTAC.


Keiichi Tsuchiya should have an enjoyable weekend: Beau Yates’ AE86 drifter-turned-time-attacker failed to skip a beat all day.


For the first time in quite a few years, I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea who will take out WTAC’s top honours in 2019. The field of competitors has never been stronger, and I can’t remember there ever being so many heavyweight contenders so evenly balanced.


2019 marks 10 years of the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this event will be long remembered by fans. Not only for the extremely close competition we’re in for over the next few days, but for the milestone records that are on the verge of being broken.


Mark my words: by the end of this weekend Sydney Motorsport Park’s outright record, previously set by Nico Hulkenburg in an A1GP open-wheeler, will be destroyed by a tin-top racer.

For updates during WTAC 2019, be sure to check out our Stories on Instagram.

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham



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that 86 looks like it just enjoyed Life to the Fullest ^_^

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Mark my words: by the end of this weekend Sydney Motorsport Park’s outright record, previously set by Nico Hulkenburg in an A1GP open-wheeler, will be destroyed by a tin-top racer.

Let's not also forget, these tin-top racers also started life as road cars, instead of purpose-built factory race cars.


WOW, bad luck continues for Under Suzuki. High speed crash serious enough that he had to be airlifted to the nearest hospital!


Heard hes okay and it was just a precaution.

Hopefully the car can be fixed in time and given a solid run!


Yes!!! WTAC season is here!! Please make sure to capture the behind the scenes details of the team working in their garages. Those are the best!


What a crazy start to WTAC!

Im glad Tilton is back in such short time too!

Not glad about Suzuki throwing a rod orrrrr the crash :( Hopefully they can manage to salvage something or rebuild a similar rear end from a few shops in Sydney within the next day or two so he can have a proper go. Very unlucky for him this WTAC. Was so keen to see his new-look S15 going crazy. Fingers crossed it still can!


Looks like a good competition this year.

Lots of broken parts though. Seems like poor development and/or testing, which at this level can't be acceptable.


hope there is a part 2 to this, was expecting alot more pics , anyway glad the tilton evo is back , very hard to tell who might come out on top this year . awaiting part 2


Any idea hows/wheres the team america r32 ( Eric Hsu and teammates ) ??


Wings on these cars are becoming bigger every year. Thanks for the report and great photos as always


such a cool event! i hope to go someday!