Even after the two-and-a-half year gap in the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge schedule, I instantly recognised almost every entrant at the 2022 event.
I’ve tracked the growth of most of the teams for close to a decade now, witnessing humble street racers transform into serious machines capable of once unfathomable lap times. I’ve seen wings grow, power figures double or even triple, and I’ve seen teams transition evening beers to late-night data reviews. This event has become a breeding ground for amazing cars, and at Sydney Motorsport Park a couple of weekend’s back, two such creations really stood out to me.
First up, the Dream Project S15…
I’d come across this Nissan Silvia at previous events, but it didn’t look anything like this. For 2022, it was sporting fresh carbon fibre on every corner and packed a billet SR20DET that I’m told can pump out 900hp.
Seriously, every inch of this machine looks well thought out and cleverly executed. Just check out that translucent blue pearl over the carbon.
The S15 was easily of the best-presented and most capable-looking cars at the event, but the coolest thing is that all the body plugs and moulds were created in the home garage of the Nissan’s owner, Charles Warland. The kit and aero started off as hand-drawn designs from ex-McLaren F1 engineer Barry Lock and evolved from there.
2022 was the team’s second attempt at the WTAC Open Class crown. Rob Nguyen, who some of you will surely remember for his phenomenal 101 Motorsport ‘Mighty Mouse’ Honda CRX back in the day, steered the S15 to third place on the class podium in 2019. Getting a little back story from the Queensland team, just making it to WTAC this year was a challenge in itself.
Taming a 900hp rear-wheel drive car is no easy feat, but the team believes a Nissan S-chassis powered by a billet SR20 is a winning combination. Unfortunately, the final few months lead-up to the event were also some of Australia’s wettest on record, and that played havoc with their testing and planned development programme, as it would have for others no doubt too.
When the dust settled at SMSP, it had been a tough event for the Dream Project S15 team who were hampered by chassis and mechanical issues throughout. Rob’s best lap? A 1:31.0010, which let’s be honest is not slow, but there’s a lot more to come. I’ll definitely be watching this one at WTAC 2023.
Next up, the GotItRex GC8…
It’s been a long time since a local team joined the WTAC Pro Class ranks, but 2022 welcomed Melbourne-based Subaru specialists GotItRex and their wild Impreza WRX STI Type R.
Prior to WTAC, the GotItRex crew had a busy few weeks prepping this car and four other team machines for Australia’s SubiNats (aka Subaru Nationals). Their ‘DIY’ WRX took outright honours at the event, and the other cars picked up a string of firsts and seconds in their respective classes. While I’m not jealous of the work the gang must have put in to get all five cars ready to compete a fortnight later at the World Time Attack Challenge, I am certainly glad they made it back up to Sydney.
Their Pro Class heavy-hitter was piloted by experienced wheelman Nathan Antunes, with a simple goal: To become the fastest outright Subaru at Sydney Motorsport Park. The car certainly has the record in it and the team pushed hard, making positive changes between each session while also repairing some of the battle scars this track inflicts on the ultra quick.
The nature of time attack racing prevented a new record being realised this year though. While most people only visualise the race against the stopwatch, pit lane is another battle where campaigns can be won or lost.
Sessions are short and limited and every second counts – especially when something goes even the slightest bit wrong. The team just came up short against the clock.
If there was a trophy for the most laps at a time attack event though, these guys would have smashed the opposition. They were also the only team able to drive every car in their fleet out of pit lane at the end of the night.
Time will tell if the GotItRex team will be back for another record attempt, but my instincts tell me this is not the last we’ll see of them at the World Time Attack Challenge.