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The World Returns For WTAC 2023

Welcome Again

Usually, the longer we spend anticipating one thing, the higher the reward. And let me inform you, it looks like an age since our final full-blown Yokohama World Time Assault Problem.

Positive, it’s true we had a WTAC simply 18 months in the past, however there wasn’t a lot of the ‘world’ to be discovered outdoors of the title. How might there have been?


Even if some sense of normality was returning to the world, nothing past per week forward felt like a positive factor. And the logistics of worldwide journey and cargo supply? No thanks.

WTAC 2022, maybe extra aptly remembered because the 2022 Australian Time Assault Problem, nonetheless gave us hit of motion, nevertheless it simply wasn’t the identical stage of grandeur we’ve been spoilt with. To visualise it, image going to a county honest as an alternative of Disneyland.


With the world reopened, tons of recent automobiles able to compete, and folks clambering to get out and take advantage of every day, it is sensible that the 2023 World Time Assault Problem can be remembered by all as one of many greatest, brightest and loudest WTACs ever.


I can’t assist however really feel this added stage of anticipation offered the gasoline wanted to spice up 2023’s occasion to new heights. However for now, let’s simply give attention to some racing and smashed data.

Professional Class: RP968’s Domination Continues


Driving the RP968 Porsche, Barton Mawer has etched his identify deep into the Yokohama World Time Assault Problem’s historical past books. His 2023 victory within the Emtron Professional Class wasn’t simply any win: he postively smashed the earlier lap report by a staggering 1.5 seconds. This win marks the fourth consecutive triumph for the RP968, placing it shoulder to shoulder with the legendary Tilton Evo.


From Day 1, RP968’s mission was evident, particularly with the brand new laws permitting slick tyres within the Professional and Professional-Am courses. This rule change enabled groups to raise their aerodynamic hundreds to never-before-seen ranges at WTAC, and as a end result Mawer effortlessly registered a jaw-dropping 1:18.8 lap within the opening Professional Class session on Friday, besting his earlier report. However the automotive’s potential was hardly exhausted.


The next day, RP968 reappeared with gusto, Mawer laying down a 1:17.860 lap time. It wasn’t only a win; it was a press release.

Curiously, the group believed that the automotive nonetheless had extra to supply. Far more, in truth.  Feelings ran sky excessive. Barton, ecstatic along with his record-breaking efficiency, leaped onto the automotive’s roof to have fun.


Sadly, within the midst of the euphoria, he fractured his ankle on his return to stable floor. Nonetheless, after a medical evaluation, Barton made it again to Sydney Motorsport Park by the afternoon, limping however nonetheless in excessive spirits.


Time assault’s assault on mechanical boundaries typically ends in damaged automobiles retiring early. I actually wouldn’t have talked about it within the storage on the day, however there’s humour to be discovered within the record-smashing automotive being parked up due to a damaged driver for as soon as. However in all seriousness, it really was a disgrace that RP968 spent most of Saturday sidelined. I suppose the suspense of discovering the restrict for this Porsche on steroids offers us one thing to stay up for for WTAC 2024.


With the help of Australian Supercars Championship legend Tim Slade, the Tanuki S13 Nissan Silvia sat behind Mawer on the Professional Class scoreboard, clocking a 1:20.456 lap.


The Silvia, reincarnated and now unrecognisable from its former identification because the MCA Hammerhead, posed a severe problem with its 1,100hp VR38DETT GT-R engine.


Sadly, a mishap with proprietor Wayne Lee on the wheel throughout a Professional-Am stint led to its early retirement. The tempo of growth on this chassis over the previous 18 months has been astounding, so I’ve little question it’ll be one to look at subsequent 12 months.


The third podium spot was secured by the Lyfe Motorsport R35 GT-R, skilfully dealt with by Cole Powelson from the USA.

Professional-Am Class: The New Child On The Block


For the primary time in virtually a decade, the WTAC’s Professional-Am class trophy has left Australian shores. The Plazmaman-sponsored class was completely dominated by American newcomer, Feras Qartoumy.


Racing for the primary time at Sydney Motorsport Park, Feras manoeuvred the twin-turbo Z06 Corvette – a beast completely unfamiliar with this observe – to a formidable 1:27.016 victory.


All through the occasion, he confronted stiff competitors from Wayne Lee’s Tanuki S13 Silvia, which carried out ok for second earlier than retiring.


Richard Perini’s Ginetta G55 appeared superb as traditional, and sounded even higher because it raced to the third step on the Professional-Am podium.


Drew Corridor’s CRD-enhanced Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R additionally made an look, however was sadly sidelined attributable to a technical hiccup.

Open Class: Final Second Showdown

Within the GCG Open Class, automobiles waged struggle with a time bracket that WTAC Professional Class machines might have solely dreamed about just some quick years in the past.


Tim Slade showcased his mettle within the Open Class too, steering the Xtreme GT-R to glory with a time of 1:26.192.


Nathan Morcom, driving the GAS Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, endured a sequence of setbacks throughout the occasion – together with an engine alternative – however nonetheless managed to safe second place.


The drama continued as Benny Tran and his iconic BYP Honda Integra accomplished the Open Class podium.

Clubsprint Class: Breaking Boundaries


To assist put the Haltech Clubsprint Class successful occasions into context, let me share with you that a sub-1:40 at Sydney Motorsport Park in a road automotive is quick. And any car that’s even remotely street-able approaching 1:35 lap occasions is loopy quick. However something sub-1:35 is, to borrow from Tarzan Yamada, “loopy f**king quick!”


Behind the wheel of the DC Jap Subaru, Trent Grubel made historical past, twice shattering the Clubsprint report, culminating in a mind-blowing 1:32.919 lap on Day 2 of the occasion.


His closest competitor, Jimmy Asaad within the ERS Mitsubishi Evolution, confronted a setback when he crashed right into a wall, inflicting substantial injury to his car.


Lastly, Michael Garland’s GotItRex GC8 secured a 3rd place end, leaving an indelible mark on the occasion.

The Recreation Changer: Slick Strikes


WTAC 2023 noticed the introduction of the greatest change to the occasion’s ‘One Excellent Lap’ format since its inception.

The large transfer? Rolling out slicks for the competitors, and boy, did that shake issues up. WTAC’s Professional and Professional-Am groups now had a smorgasbord of rubber choices: completely different sizes, widths, and people candy, candy compounds. The introduction of slicks virtually assured sooner lap occasions, nevertheless it additionally added a brand new layer of complexity for the groups.

You’d suppose it’s like handing sweet to a child, however right here’s the twist: with these further grip ranges, you’re not simply speaking about rising downforce. You additionally have to crank up the horsepower, and that’s the place issues can get dicey.


Extra energy means extra possibilities of one thing going bang, and with engines and drivelines in lots of automobiles already being dialled as much as inside a razor’s fringe of mechanical failure, that is new time assault territory.


It’s a daring, courageous new world and the approaching years will reveal how methods evolve round this pivotal WTAC rule change. One factor’s for positive although – it’s going to be a hell of a present.

Work Onerous, Celebration More durable


Past the time assault motion, WTAC is as a lot about celebrating enjoyable occasions as it’s celebrating quick occasions.


This 12 months, the pageant environment hit new heights, and all over the place you turned there was one thing to see.

From an eclectic mixture of mesmerising automobiles on present to a packed dealer alley.


Let’s take a fast stroll by ‘StylizeD’ by Downshift, one among largest static automotive reveals on the Australian calendar.


Some homeowners will spend as much as 20 hours on the highway simply to be a part of the spectacle.


Tremendous automotive parades, drift demonstrations, and automotive personalities all over the place.


Mike Burroughs introduced his 1,000+hp K24 turbo Ferrari 308 alongside for some exhibition laps.


Competing for the punters’ consideration was Ryan Tuerck’s Judd V10-powered Toyota GR Supra. Actually, the hills have been alive with the music of our individuals when this factor let rip.


A Lamborghini heritage run stored followers occupied whereas groups stored cool throughout the hottest a part of the day.


Big horsepower roll racing and drifting rolled into sundown and continued nicely into the evening.


There have been even awe-inspiring aerobatic shows by Crimson Bull Air Race world champion Matt Corridor.


We’re used to seeing excessive speeds on the principle straight, however seeing an plane make a vertical take off was greater than memorable.


Fairly merely, it felt nice to be again on the World Time Assault Problem with the world. And judging by the sheer variety of attendees, I wouldn’t be shocked if this 12 months’s crowd numbers approached report ranges.


With the 2023 occasion wrapped up, the countdown for WTAC 2024 has already begun. Groups can be again of their garages, armed with new knowledge, experiences, and the drive to push the time assault envelope additional.


As for the followers, the reminiscences of 2023 will gasoline their anticipation. And as at all times, the World Time Assault Problem guarantees to convey collectively one of the best of motorsport, innovation, and group spirit.

The journey continues.

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham

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