Time Attack format is not unlike a qualifying lap in traditional motorsport with competitors racing against the clock with the fastest single lap collecting the prize. While there is no door-to-door racing as such, teams are actively competing against each other and there are plenty of strategies, decisions and tricks of the trade to squeeze every one-hundredth of a second on that final lap.
The most exciting thing about this type of racing is the fact that the rules are limited almost purely to the safety aspects meaning the vehicles can have almost unlimited modifications making for some seriously spectacular on track action.
The official practice takes place on Thursday, or Day 0 of the event. It is a closed day with no spectators and the laps are not timed. Historically the practice day is a good indication of the car’s true potential as the teams are keen to set a good benchmark time for the event.
All cars have to pass scrutineering prior to the event. Scrutineers check for all the required safety components and whether the car complies with its class rules.
Competitors are divided into four classes; Clubsprint, Open, Pro Am and Pro. During the event each class gets three timed sessions per day (6 in total). The fastest 5 cars in each class at the end of the last session on Day 2 get a bonus round called Superlap Shootout.
Superlap Shootout gives another opportunity to the top five cars in each class to improve their time. With the track at optimum temperature and no traffic to negotiate, you are likely to see the fastest times of the event during the Superlap Shootout.
The team with the fastest overall lap (over the 2 days) in his/her class claims the Class Trophy. The team with the fastest Pro Class lap is declared the WTAC Winner.
There are signal beacons located on the main straight which are connected to the Race Control. The signal beacons are programmed to be triggered by each transponder.
An electronic stop watch starts when a timing beacon is triggered and resets when it’s triggered again, recording each lap time.
Every team is allocated a finite number of tyres they can use during the event so while conserving tyres on a hot lap is not an issue, ensuring you have enough tyres and use the right tyres for the right session is important.
As the teams tweak and tinker with their cars to make them go faster throughout the event, expect to see some “partial” laps where the team will time their car only on certain sections of the track, getting a good feel for the car’s full lap time without disclosing it to other teams.
Teams might run a “morning session” tune and an “afternoon session” tune taking into account varying track temperatures and conditions.
While there are often many cars on the track at the same time, obstructing a car that is on a hot lap is illegal and can call for disqualification.
While Mitsubishi Evo has been the dominant force in WTAC there are plenty of challengers eager to dethrone Mitsubishi’s compact AWD.
In Pro and Pro Am class, Nissan fans are cheering on Silvias and GTRs while Open has seen a Nissan dominate since 2014. Then we have the AWD vs RWD vs FWD battle and of course the nation vs nation rivalries with many local spectators cheering on a particular international team.
Apart from brand allegience, there are also team rivalries that have developed over the years. Sierra Sierra vs CyberEvo, Nemo vs Tilton, Tilton vs Scorch, MCA vs Scorch, there is a new rivalry developing every year, much like in NASCAR, V8Supercars, F1 or WRC.