Well what can I say? After a two-and-a-half year hiatus we are back!
With the whole world shut down with a once-in-a-100-year pandemic, followed by ‘biblical’ record rainfall over the entire east coast of Australia, we have never experienced a more challenging set of circumstances, but on the 1st and 2nd of April the clouds cleared over Sydney Motorsport Park in what was almost an unworldly experience to provide the perfect weather conditions for the return of the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.
Despite many people being forced into isolation with a fresh Covid-19 outbreak, and many more people unable to attend due to flooded homes and workplaces, we still defied the odds and had more than 15,000 excited fans rush through the gates to experience WORLD TIME ATTACK FEVER!
We also had well over one million unique viewers on our worldwide livestream to witness the first-ever World Time Attack Challenge night event under the new permanent LED lighting at Sydney Motorsport Park.
This year we had a stacked field, despite our inability to host international teams through Covid-19 uncertainty and extremely unstable conditions with overseas logistics.
We had several classes go right down to the wire with new class records in both the GCG Turbos Open and Haltech Clubsprint Classes, most notably Jamal ‘Jimmy Evo’ Assad stopping the clocks at 1.33.7 in Clubsprint – a time that would be inside the top ten in Open Class! Simply incredible achievement by the Evolution Racing Spares team!
The GCG Open Class record was snatched by a whisker in the final shootout by Nathan Morcom in the Global Aircraft Services Evo, just pipping the earlier record set in the day by Tim Slade in the Xtreme GTR – extremely exciting stuff!
Huge congrats to Kosta ‘The Boss’ Pohorukov on the three-peat in Plazmaman Pro Am making Tilton Racing the most winning-est team ever at WTAC by a very healthy margin! And of course while we are on the subject of three-peats, Barton Mawer and the RP968 team finished the Royal Purple Pro Class in the number one spot for the third year in a row. Congrats all round!
Other top-step winners were Brad Tuohy, taking home the ultimate win in the Garrett Advancing Motion Australasian Drifting Titles, and Guiseppe Tumerello who clocked a top speed of 288km/h down the main straight to take out the Turbosmart Flying 500 Workshop Battle.
We also had unprecedented support in the trade display area with serious eye candy for the car enthusiast everywhere you looked.
We had the ‘Father and Son’ Formula One display of Max and Jos Verstappen‘s cars, a McLaren M8e Can Am that also went out for some thundering laps with young Carrera Cup ace Harri Jones behind the wheel, Bap Romano‘s legendary Kaditcha and an amazing display by Nulon Racing of Ron Goodman’s historic Porsche collection including a wicked 356 with a radial aeroplane engine!
We also had Matty Mingay and the Hot Wheels Stunt Team perform on the main straight, leaving jaws to the floor as they performed automotive acrobatics – even crazier that his 14-year-old son Madzy was on track with him in a mini stadium truck doing skids and jumps like his dad!
The Shannons StylizeD Show and Shine was also one for the books with a huge turnout of absolutely insane vehicles across all categories and one thing is for sure, if Covid did anything good, it was made everyone step up their game in the build departments! Absolutely incredible! Also, a big congrats to Kyle who proposed live on air to his lovely lady just after his car was unveiled – a special moment for sure.
So where to from here?
When we started World Time Attack in 2010, the fastest lap time was a 1:30 by Cyber Evo and now we are in the 1:19’s
The cars, the aero, the horsepower and many other parameters have all changed massively.
World Time Attack Challenge is truly doing what was intended, stretching the development and technology windows like no other race category – however we also recognise when change is required.
We certainly are aware of the limits of the tyres we are currently running the Pro Cars on, and while they have served us well up until now, we certainly need to look at how we provide a safe operating environment in what is certainly uncharted territory. We will be working with top teams and tyre engineers to provide a solution moving forward, and will have a press release on this later in the year once we collect enough hard data and solutions.
I guess the only unanswered question is ‘when is the next WTAC?’ We only ever plan to have one event a year and with the crazy weather experienced early in the year we are looking to move back somewhere closer to our original dates in late 2023.
I would personally like to thank my team headed up by Alain, Inga and Brett, Dan Mackie and the drift team, Adam and the Downshift Crew, Alan, Tats and Deanna from Yokohama tyre and all of our other sponsors, traders and vendors, competitors that travelled from around the country, Glenn Mathews, Alex and the team at ARDC who worked with us in insane conditions to find solutions, Jess Nicholson our Clerk of Course, Terry our event secretary, all of the flaggies, volunteers, scrutineers, Scott and the Motorsport Australia team, our broadcast production crew and our all of our key presenters who are the voices and faces of our event to the world, Destination NSW for helping keep the best event in the best state at the best venue, and last but not least, I want to thank YOU!!
It’s because of the fans we do this! The amount of people that personally thanked me for bringing WTAC back was insane. To see the smiles and happiness this event brings to so many people makes me and my team do this year after year! We are not an event, we are one big family and you are a big part of it!
So in short…..
WE ARE BACK BABY!!!!!!! BIG TIME!!!!! See you all in 2023.
CEO, World Time Attack Challenge