Today is the day! The Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2019 is on track to make history with record-breaking early action on day two. There is still time to get down here and see it unfold, so don’t hesitate!
Drivers must leave it all on the track today, with this afternoon’s Superlap Shootout shaping up once again as the showpiece of this huge 10th anniversary event.
ROYAL PURPLE PRO CLASS
Speaking before the morning session, Garth Walden of Tilton Racing talked to us about the team’s battle plan.
“Today is game day,” he said. “Yesterday, we used as a test day. Today we’re going to creep up on it a bit. Lunchtime we might run NOS for the first time, and then we’ll hang it all out there for the Shootout. Whatever we do today, all the boys should be proud of it. The car should be capable of a bit more [than a 1:19], but I don’t want to put a curse on myself.”
He was first out on track in the opening Royal Purple Pro Class session, followed by the leading RP968 Porsche driven by Barton Mawer.
As the flying lap unfolded, Mawer was up by three tenths through the first sector, and more than half a second quicker after the second sector! By the end of the first flyer he had set a mind-blowing new WTAC record of 1:19.277 – more than half a second quicker than his winning time from last year, and tantalisingly close to the outright track record for the Sydney Motorsport Park Grand Prix Circuit, which stands at 1:19.142.
Mawer said of the car, “It’s the smoothest it’s been all week. That time is good, but to be honest I’m disappointed we didn’t get a 1:18. We’re hungry for more – we’re making changes to the wing already. At the moment we’ve got more power than grip, we’ve just got to get it handling more and there’s more to come.”
Shortly afterwards Tilton red-flagged the session with a tyre delamination shredding the Evo’s bodywork and sending shattered carbon-fibre from the front-right fender shooting into the atmosphere. Obviously not what the team wanted, though they remain in third on the podium.
Andre Heimgartner lead the Pro Class back out onto the track following the red flag, and set a new PB for the team at this event with a time of 1:21.867. The team has said it may sit out the heat of the next session and wait for cooler running in the afternoon.
“It’s good fun out there. I enjoyed the power, enjoyed the car,” said Heimgartner. “We’ll have another go at it later today.”
Cole Powelson in the LYFE R35 also went quicker, improving his time by a fraction to 1:30.023. “I’m exactly three hundreds from my personal goal,” he said. “The vibe is high – it couldn’t get much better honestly. We just love to be here.”
Unfortunately the Revline Racing team from Sweden was unable to complete any early flying laps in their Porsche 968 GT1 due to mechanical issues.
“We had a serious misfire that started this morning,” said driver Alx Danielsson. “There just wasn’t any speed in the engine – we had about 220[km/h] not 260 down the straight. Our fixes didn’t help so the head is off the car. We’re changing everything we can including injectors to try and find some speed.
“We’ll be back out today. We’ve got the aero working perfectly on this car and we have a lot of support from local company Haltech. It’s great to come out here and be part of the Haltech family.”
As for Under Suzuki and Scorch Racing, the team is still pushing hard to get back out on track after the catastrophic crash in practice. His mechanics have rebuilt the front suspension and are working to weld up the rear suspension and recreate the geometry even though the frame of the car is bent.
Should they get it running, he’s going to have to run with less downforce, but for now it’s a race to get it back in one piece.
1. Barton Mawer – 1:19.277 – RP968 Porsche 968
2. Andre Heimgartner – 1:21.867 – MCA Hammerhead Nissan S13 Silvia
3. Garth Walden – 1:23.856 – Tilton Racing Mitsubishi Evo
4. Alx Danielsson – 1:25.616 – Revline Racing Porsche 968 GT1
5. Cole Powelson – 1:30.023 – LYFE Motorsport Nissan R35 GT-R
HI OCTANE DIRECT PRO AM CLASS
Taking a whopping two-seconds off his class leading time, Kosta Pohorukov widened the margin substantially as the V2 Tilton Evo came into its own in the early morning Pro Am session. Bullish about the Evo’s capabilities, high hopes for a class record were dashed by the dramatic failure in the later Pro Class session. Unfortunately, Tilton will be unable to contend further, with damage to the floor preventing repairs to get the car back out of pit exit in either class.
With three seconds between Kosta and second-place sitter Sami Sivonen, the Tilton car looks like it could still hold the Pro Am class win. That is, unless the Flying Finn or another Pro Am front-runner can pull a massive lap out of the bag this afternoon.
While the gap to first place is broad, the battle for second looks to be the one to watch in Pro-Am.
Kunihoko Bando and his 1000hp 2JZ Soarer debuted yesterday on the circuit with a 1:36. It was his first competitive lap of Sydney Motorsport Park, ever. Since then, Bando has made nothing but gains as he learns the circuit.
The last time attack car brought over from Japan remaining on the grid and ready for the closing sessions, Bando’s suspension settings are identical to the set-up he ran recently at Tsukuba. The most prominent change? More boost!
The Japanese cult-hero’s standing time of 1:29.272 puts him in third and well inside striking distance of the R8 1:1 in second. Regardless of where he finishes, he’s made sure of an incredible rookie year at WTAC 2019.
1. Kostinken Pohurokov – 1:26.324 – Tilton Racing Mitsubishi Evolution
2. Sami Sivonen – 1:29.178 – R8 1:1 Audi R8
3. Kunihoko Bando – 1:29.272 – B-Active Racing Toyota Soarer
4. Richard Perini – 1:31.436 – 991 Racing/PR Technology Ginetta G55
5. Gustaf Burstrom – 1:32.269 – Revline Racing Porsche 968 GT1
GCG OPEN CLASS
First out of the gate in open class was team XTREME GT-R, doing their best to get out ahead of any potential traffic. Paddock talk suggests they reserved three sets of fresh tyres exclusively for the morning sessions, believing this was the time to get it done. However, a quicker time eluded them. Keep an eye on these guys as the day progresses.
Glued to Brad Shiels‘ rear bumper was Matt Longhurst in the Integrated Motorsport Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R. The team were at the track until late last night opting not to swap the engine as reported yesterday, instead repairing the one they have been running thus far. It sounded on point warming up in the pit garages, with fresh tyres bolted up for a tilt at the top spot. It wasn’t to be in the early sessions, but this GT-R battle isn’t over yet.
Further down the field Nathan Morcom set a new PB for this event of 1:35.969, with aero flapping against the tarmac of the main straight and breaking apart, leaving broken carbon-fibre in the grass.
The rivalry between our two Japanese racing legends and adopted WTAC heroes continued in Open Class. Keiichi Tsuchiya set a new PB of 1:34.291, bettering his lap time by almost half a second. After last year’s campaign, the car has larger tyres on the back for more grip, plus power steering and other steps to make the car easier to drive quickly. Tsuchiya says the car is so improved he feels much more confident, so he was able to go deeper into the corners with later braking. It doesn’t step out so easily – and it has more power!
Rising to the challenge, Tarzan Yamada was back out in the CMA WRX STi after it came to a smoky halt yesterday. The car is now running again and going quicker still with a lap of 1:35.2920 keeping him hot on the heels of Tsuchiya.
Rob Nguyen was back on track with renewed fervour after the Dream Projects Australia team made some important changes to the Nissan S15 Silvia overnight, including a new rear differential. Oversteer has been troublesome for them so far, and they’re now working to dial-in the revised setup and improve on their current standing of third place.
Simon Johnson did improve on his best from yesterday by almost a second, with a 1:30.267 in today’s early running moving him up into fourth place. There’s so much happening in GCG Open Class, with potential brewing for some very quick running later today.
1. Brad Shiels – 1:28.219 – XTREME GT-R Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R
2. Matt Longhurst – 1:28.736 – Integrated Motorsport Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R
3. Rob Nguyen – 1:29.174 – Dream Projects Australia Nissan S15 Silvia
4. Steven Johnson – 1:30.267 – WBT Racing – Nissan R33 Skyline GTS-T
5. Nicholas Bates – 1:30.949 – V-Sport Toyota 86
HALTECH CLUBSPRINT CLASS
Coming out of the gate hard, Jamal Assaad showed the pace that yesterday’s class leader Brett Dickie had been watching over his shoulder for since early practice sessions.
With an engine failure on Thursday, Evolution Racing Spares work to rebuild the Evolution VI has paid off. Dropping a second off his time in session one, Assaad went full attack as the track warmed with the Elusive Racing DC2 firmly in sight.
Smooth and controlled, Assaad gapped Dickie by three tenths and set the stage for an afternoon showdown with 1:38.614 the time to beat for the Clubsprinters.
Pushed to second, Dickie’s planned assault on the straights failed to materialise. Leaving the team scratching their heads, Elusive Racing were eluded only by the incremental improvement their data suggested was within reach. Expect more boost and maximum attack from the wild Integra as the team reviews the data and hones their platform.
Not to be outdone, Nik ‘Spartan’ Kalis was on one. Pushing his venerable black Evo X faster lap after lap. Taking bites out of his PB throughout the sessions he fixed himself in third with a solid 1:39.276 with a 1:38 in sight.
Notable mention to Connor Falvey behind the wheel of the hard-topped and wide-bodied S2000, blurring the lines between show car and time attack racer. Prepared by BYP, the car jumped a massive five places up the ranks with a logged 1:39.641. One to watch in the later sessions.
1. Jamal Assaad 1:38.614 – Evolution Racing Spares Mitsubishi Evolution
2. Brett Dickie – 1:38.824 – Elusive Racing Honda Integra
3. Nik Kalis – 1:39.276 – Metropole Mitsubishi Evolution X
4. Connor Falvey – 1:39.641 – BYP S2000
5. Ben Schoots – 1:39.695 – Harrop Engineering Toyota 86