Well where do I start? This was the year records were broken across the board…
Starting with the BIG one! The OUTRIGHT Sydney Motorsport Park lap record was absolutely decimated, twice, by the RP968 Porsche driven by Barton Mawer. Starting off strong on Friday with a 1:18.837 and proving there was more in the tank by taking it out on Saturday morning’s EMTRON Pro Class session to crack a 1:17.860! This is 1.3 second ahead of the previous lap record set by Nico Hulkenberg in an A1GP car – a record that has stood since 2007! A massive congratulations to Barton Mawer, Rod Pobestek and the entire RP968 team. This is an absolute credit to Rod’s vision and the teams tenacity and it has paid off in droves!
But it didn’t stop there either – Records were broken in both GCG Open Class and Haltech Clubsprint Class too, with Tim Slade absolutely wringing the neck of Michele Guyer’s Xtreme GTR under lights in the Superlap Shootout for Open Class and stopping the clocks at 1.25.926! Trent Grubel snatched the Clubsprint record in the DC Jap Auto WRX with a time of 1:32.919 – again, completely insane lap times for a Clubsprint car on Yokohama ADVAN A052 street tyres!
Meanwhile in Plazmaman Pro Am, the highlight had to be Feras Qartoumy from Dallas, Texas in his crazy twin-turbo Corvette. Remembering this was his first ever time here on an unfamiliar track, he stopped the clocks at 1:27.016 taking the win in Pro Am Class and writing his name in the record books as the first American to ever win any class at WTAC. He has assured us he has unfinished business, and had pencilled in a return in 2024 to attempt the Pro Am record currently held by Kosta Pohorukov in the Tilton Evo.
Honourable mentions go to Cole Powelson in the Donut/Lyfe Motorsport GTR stopping the clocks at 1.25.945 the fastest American ever and taking 3rd in Pro Class again something we have not seen since Sierra Sierra took on Cyber Evo all those years ago. Jeremiah Burton from US-based YouTube juggernaut Donut Media also went home with a very respectable 1:31.480 Pro Am time in a car he’s never driven and a track he had never seen!
When the sun went down on Saturday night we still had nearly 10,000 people make the migration from the main pit building and grandstand up to the North Circuit ‘drift hill’ to witness the return of the International Drifting Cup, presented by Garrett Advancing Motion, with a huge lineup of drift superstars from around the world like Mad Mike Whiddett, Daigo Saito, Ken Gushi, Gaz Whiter and Taylor James taking on Australia’s best. In the end it was a young West Australian named Luke Veersma who made the 8000km round trip to take home the chocolates! I’m sure his feet still haven’t hit the ground to win against such a high profile lineup at such a young age is something he will never forget, I’m sure.
We trialled a new format for the Turbosmart Flying 500 featuring side-by-side racing of Australia’s fastest street cars as the sun was setting, and judging by the absolute capacity crowds filling the stands and rooftops, this was a complete success! Action went down to the wire with Anthony Maatouk taking the win in a mega powered R32 Skyline GT-R, against the dominating twin-turbo Huracan from Precision Racing.
If that wasn’t enough for the action, outside of the main competition classes, the most memorable sound of the weekend would be Ryan Tuerck’s insane V10 Judd-powered ‘Formula Supra’! The unmistakable 10-cylinder scream had crowds five deep along the fence to witness first-hand the 11,000RPM monster tackle the SMSP GP circuit. Stanceworks’ very own Mike Burroughs bought out his crazy 1000hp K24 Honda powered Ferrari all the way from Southern California and was blown away by the Australian enthusiasm, so much so that both Mike and Ryan Tuerck have vowed to return.
The iconic Honda brand Spoon Sports also shipped their enduro-spec Civic over from the US and sent the legendary Tarzan Yamada out for some demonstration laps multiple times a day to keep Honda fans on their feet. The ARVOU S2000 in Pro Class also offered the VTEC-lovers a rare treat from Japan! Other attractions included the 60 Years of V12 Lamborghini ‘Bulls on Parade’ display in a curated pavilion with every model from the early Miura right through to the latest Aventador. To keep with the V10 theme of the aforementioned Formula Supra, we also invited a Lexus LFA and a Lamborghini Huracan STO to run a speed comparison. Our curated pavilion also displayed a few odd bedfellows, such as an ultra-rare Giacattalo and the championship winning Red Bull Racing V8 Supercar of Jamie Whincup.
Did we mention we had Levi Clarke and Mitch Pullen whipping some of the craziest drift builds around a TANK?! You said you wanted CRAZY so we made CRAZY happen! We also had Matt Hall’s stunt plane doing doughies down the main straight… Told you… This is the home of CRAZY!
We were extremely honoured to have Hyundai choose to do the Australian release of the brand new track focused Ioniq 5 N electric vehicle. They had a large scale activation at the South circuit and even flew out the legendary DRIFT KING himself Keiichi Tsuchiya to put it through it paces in true DK style – sideways! To have such a forward thinking manufacturer such as Hyundai and N Performance choose to launch such a ground-breaking car in style at WTAC is testament to how far we have come and where our event is positioned today.
The Shannon’s Stylized Show presented by Downshift was once again brimming with the latest builds and once again was absolute eye candy for anyone with the slightest automotive slant. We also reported our largest ever trader alley which was completely sold out with the highest quality automotive brands and produce with everything from turbochargers to stroker kits, stickers to car loans, and everything in between.
But the biggest thing I really noticed was THE SMILES ON DIALS! The happiness this event brings to so many is unquestionable. This really is an event for the people! For OUR PEOPLE! Just like YOU! We are back baby – the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! We welcomed the world back, and the world is LOVING IT!
How many loved it? I am stoked to report that we had over 35,000 people through the gates over the event, and over 4 million people around the world online tuned in to find out all about this event in Sydney and for that, I say a BIG THANK YOU!
Huge thanks also to my team, our officials, competitors, sponsors, traders, volunteers and also a huge thank you to the ARDC and our major strategic investment partners Destination NSW.
All I can say is we cant wait for 2024! We are just getting started, see you all next year!