WTAC 2014 - Final Competition Day Coverage Presented by BorgWarner EFR

by Martin Gonzales


With day one of competition in the books, it was now time for the final showdown to commence at Sydney Motorsports Park. Scorch Racing was at the top of the Pro Class leader board, with MCA and Tilton nipping at their heels less than a second behind. And who could have predicted that a Pro-Am car would be at the top of the overall rankings!? PMQ Racing's Evo blistering time of 1:25.27 was the talk of the paddock at the end of Friday's competition schedule and fans and teams alike we're anxious to witness what would happen on the final day of the 2014 World Time Attack Challenge. 

Before Jeff and I even arrived at the track we knew we were in for a treat on this final day of WTAC competition. The first day of competition was on a Friday, a work day, so on Saturday streets leading to the main entrances to Sydney Motorsports Park were filled with loyal and dedicated time attack fans. If it wasn't for our media access to the venue, it would have easily taken us almost an hour to just get in and find parking. It was amazing to see the the parking lots and even the overflow parking lots filled to capacity. 


And it wasn't just the spectator parking that was filled to capacity. Here's a quick look at the Show-n-Shine area which had close to 300 enthusiast pre-register, but ended up with over 400 cars in the lot! Though some of the cars on display weren't exactly our cup of tea, we can confidently say the grand majority of them were MotoIQ Approved - the Australian enthusiasts really get it! Being a Nissan fanatic myself I couldn't pass up the chance to take a closer look at some Nissan models I only get to see on the interwebs, like the Nissan Almera and S15.
WTAC taking it to the next level! This year some lucky fans got the opportunity to take a ride in a chopper during competition. We signed up so we could get a chance of getting some sweet aerial shots, but didn't win. Next year we'll just have to pack some drones in our luggage so we can bring you a different perspective on the WTAC. Go buy some parts from our supporters so we can start feeding the drone-fund!
The power steering line failure and subsequent engine bay fire the Tilton Evo experienced during Friday's competition did not result in any damage the team would not be able to manage. Garth Walden and the rest of the team would be ready to defend their title. We had the opportunity to speak to team engineer Louis Kapitsas and were able to get a little insider info on their Evo's performance. Though the car was making more power than last year, it had significantly more downforce to overcome and they were not hitting the top speeds they needed to break the track record they held. Part of the team's strategy would be to experiment with reducing the amount of downforce the car was producing in order to hit higher speeds down the straights. Would it work? Or would the decreased downforce create an unmanageable car in the twisties?
America....fuck yeah! After another sleepless night fabricating yet another jumper harness to run  another ECU the ARK Designs BNR32 could be heard in the pits revving...and backfiring a little, as the team prepared it to finally hit the pavement of Sydney Motorsports Park. Keep in mind that it's not as simple as "just" creating a new jumper harness and plugging things in. The team needed to basically re-tune the car every time this happened. A daunting task without a dyno indeed and not the way anyone would prefer to do it, but Team America was determined to at the very least put the car on track and start the shake down process.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 4:11 AM
The Tipton evo looks like its constantly trying to go off track... Incredible that he managed to keep it going where it needed to!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 6:01 AM
The final lap for MCA, Scorch and Tilton was amazing. MCA Went from 3rd to 2nd, beating Scorch's time. Then seconds later, Tilton crossed the line with a new lap record. Right after that Scorch came across the line, nearly beating Tilton and leapfrogging MCA in the process back to second place. Amazing!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:43 AM
"America...step your game up! We're looking like a bunch of ass clowns to the rest of the time attack world!" - MotoIQ

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 1:12 PM
What happened with the ARK GTR that it needed a new ecu again?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 5:34 PM
"Though the car was making more power than last year, it had significantly more [drag] to overcome"


(If it were trying to overcome downforce, it would be trying to fly.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:10 PM
team america - sorry excuse for a team. 2 years and didn't even get a hot lap. that is more than enough time to get a car done. if I was ARK, i'll find another team to sponsor. you're making there name bad
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:17 PM
Given how downforce-dependent top level Time Attack cars have become, I wonder how much longer it will be till we see active aerodynamics in the WTAC?

The Tilton Evo seems to be bumping up against the limits of the drag-to-downforce trade-off. Even with more power and grip, it struggled to lay down a faster lap-time than last year.

It seems to me that some kind of active aero system that reduces downforce/drag on the straights and then cranks it up for the corners would be a *huge* advantage in Time Attack. I mean, such tech is making its way onto high-end street cars these days, so surely it must be possible on an unlimited racing machine such as the Tilton Evo.

Perhaps Team America should be looking at that as a way of improving their car for its return next year?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:40 PM
StrangeLiform - There are rules against the use of active aero in most TA series. I think WTAC is one of those series. Nemo was going to run an active rear portion, but ended up never running it, I think because it was not permitted in WTAC.

I am very bummed out that the Team America car not only failed to set any competitive lap times in the Pro class, but failed to post any lap times at all. Maaaaaaaaaaaan, rough stuff. I sure hope they get back to the States, get their car working, and go smash FXMD's BW13 record. Would be badass, real unlimited class TA cars in the USA again! Plus, FXMD could stop whining about someone needing to motivate them to defend their unofficial 1:37.xxx... I would think they would go run a 1:37.xx lap at an actual TA event before they kept tooting their own horn.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:10 AM
FXMD needs to save their pennies and send the car to Australia next year. Need some USA representation on the podium!

GST needs some sponsors to send them there as well!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 9:10 AM
I think some commenters need to lay off Team America. They all have other jobs and responsibilities (including running this very website) and are doing their best on a budget and in their "spare" time. I'm sure they all would have liked to have the car running before shipping it all the way down there, but it just couldn't happen apparently. And electrical issues can be really difficult to track down. I hope they get it figured out and get the car on some tracks in the states before next year though, I just don't want to wait another year for an update.

Lets see how it runs against some other American time attack cars. Or is this specifically a WTAC only car for some reason? I'm sure it would have been sweet to surprise everyone with a brand new car keeping up with the worlds best competition, but WTAC is a year away and it's so close to being able to race.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 9:30 AM
@ Burninator - I completely agree. We all would have loved to watch this car perform at its best. Nobody wanted to see that more than the team that spent all that time and money on the car. I also can't wait for some footage of this car tearing it up on ANY racetrack.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 11:16 AM
@ Kaane

FXMD would not know what to do with that Yok control tire on their NSX... FXMD writes off WTAC every year because they can't/won't run on those narrow grooved tires. Fastest TA car on a certain type of tire FXMD says ... lol.. what a joke to write off the WTAC.

GST is as MIA as it gets for a TA car. Team America has races more than GST this year... GST might as well be DOA, as well as FXMD.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:32 PM
yup, both those teams (FXMD and GST) have been invited, said they would go and backed out.. but not before WTAC started promoting that they would be coming.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:45 PM
It does not make a lot of sense to spend thousands of dollars in shipping, travel, expenses, and time to go half way around the world and be unprepared and inherently disadvantaged to compete in an event that uses a small spec tire R-compound tire (which are impossible to obtain and test on prior to the event) on a relatively tight track which favors AWD cars.

The tire size restriction and track location puts an advantage on AWD cars. The widest tire in WTAC use to be a 265, but now 295s are used and 2WD cars are starting to contend for the overall record.

If WTAC truly wants to have unlimited RWD cars be competitive, they need to either restrict the tire size of AWD cars or provide a wider tire for unlimited-classed RWD cars to get the power to the ground with (315+ sized tires).

How about pick a spec Yokohama race tire (A005) that is made in sizes larger than 315 and run the event at a faster track like Mount Panorama or Phillip Island? Or how about all of the Australians & Japanese come to Road America, pick any size Hoosier A6 you want (without testing on the tire beforehand), and see if they want to spend the money to have the tables turned and be disadvantaged.

@eeen - FYI: FXMD's 1:37.5 was an official ExtremeSpeed Time Attack record and event. ...all while using an OEM 5-speed synchronized transmission ;)
Thursday, October 23, 2014 9:22 PM
@ stuntman

Unless you thought you could win the event. Then it might be worth it.

There are plenty of front-engined RWD cars at the front of the pack at WTAC now a days, FXMD's NSX should be just as capable as those rwd cars, or even more so considering the mid-engined advantage.

Are you saying you can't get a Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08R, or that WTAC uses non-spec Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08R?

Pro class should allow different tires, I agree with you... but Yokohama cuts a big check to WTAC every year, they call the tire shots, good or bad. Gotta work around the WTAC control tire. Or just never run at WTAC.

I agree, traveling like that would be a massive disadvantage for any TA team. I also would like for the Japanese and Australian teams to come play at BW13, or Road America would also be very cool.

Not sure why you would randomly mention the Hpat?? I don't understand the point of that. Unless you are just shooting from the hip ;) ... but yea, I am well aware what type of transmission the nsx ran. Awesome stuff. And I have said multiple times times how amazing it is they did that with that Hpat. Just like I said the same thing about SSE 's evo and CyberEvo. My comments about FXMD, SSE, and Cyber's H-pats always get deleted from the WTAC pages... they don't like to hear/remember that.

The ExtremeSpeed TA record huh? Sorry, I never saw any coverage from the ExtremeSpeed TA event, nothing from them, from any website, or any magazine. Maybe FXMD will run at a TA event that is covered by some type of media next time. Or maybe the ExtremeSpeed TA series will start better coverage.... Would be cool to see the only remaining Unlimited class car in the USA at an actual TA event.
Friday, October 24, 2014 8:34 AM
It's hard for a low-budget privateer like FXMD to justify spending tens of thousands of dollars to run WTAC (where they would be disadvantaged to AWD cars), especially without being able to properly test and dial in the car's setup on the exact tires that they would compete on.

WTAC uses a special "soft" compound of spec A050's with a max size of 295. They are not AD08Rs, nor are they off the shelf or even attainable for us to get to test. They are pretty much the same as the super-special, unattainable "super-soft" A048s that HKS's CT230R used when they set the BW13 record in 2007. And like those tires, there is an apparent limited supply of them which only seem to exist in Japan and Australia.

The H-pattern SYNCHRONIZED gearbox was mentioned for fun, and because I don't think any other unlimited/pro classed TA car exists with a synchronized trans other than FXMD.

Time Attack in the US is still in shambles after everything fell apart in 2010. Over half of the tuner magazines are now gone, and no one seems to care anymore since most of the fanbase is probably watching Global Rallycross these days. Even the magazine coverage in SLB is no where near what it use to be and no one talks about TA anymore on forums.

Redline came back and is rebuilding its competitor base. SLB was sold/re-named, and Extremespeed is establishing themselves as well. There seems to be 'clicks' of people from each group rather than the (probably) more unbiased efforts of the event organizers years ago. At the end of the day, TA in the US as a whole is only a shadow of what it use to be. I hope it comes back with huge fields of "Street" classed cars, tons of "Modified" cars and shops and privateers having enough interest to field "Unlimited" class cars again.
Friday, October 24, 2014 10:36 AM
@ stuntman My bad on the wrong copy/paste ... not sure how I messed up a copy/paste.

So the WTAC control tire is not an off the shelf Advan A050 ? Can you get a non-wtac spec Advan A050 ? The compound is so different you can't get any useful data from testing on the non-spec Advan A050 ?

Seems very dishonest for WTAC to call the control tire an "Advan A050", if it is not the same as the off the shelf Advan A050... and even worse if no one can get any to test on. Did SSE ever test on the WTAC-spec Advan A050 before going? It is obvious that WTAC likes to stack the deck in the AU favor. Even more reason for me wanting someone from the US to come knock their stacked deck over.

Any Hpat is impressive in a field dominated by 20+k seq. boxes.

I don't think WTAC is going to change the rules so FXMD can run. Yok calls the tire shots, not me, I think the grooved control tire is ridiculous considering the how extreme the rest of the WTAC cars are.

I am on the edge of my seat to see TA come back in the US... just not holding my breath.

In regards to WTAC... seems like FXMD can either not play with the top tier TA cars, or work around the control tire.
Friday, October 24, 2014 11:44 AM
Yoko made a 315 A048 in 2009 but it wasn't made in the special 'super-soft' compound and was thus slower than the 265 SS.

I'm not sure what the status of the 'super-soft' A050s are since I lost interest in the Japanese-special tires 4 years ago once Hoosier A6s were allowed in TA in the US and we could run a 335 rear and put the power down with the AWD cars.

Either way, the super soft A050s may be more plentiful these days in Japan and Australia, but we can't get them to test in the US to get the chassis set up for them. We've asked many times. Testing on a different compound A050 will not be of any help either. Due to the differences in grip, how fast the tire falls off, the construction, and profile/shape of the tire, testing on a different tire (with similar grip) in the same 295 size will not be the same as dialing in the suspension for the tire that's used in WTAC competition.

If Yoko is sponsoring the event. They can easily spec on of their racing slicks that is made in a 315+ size for the entire 'pro' class, so RWD cars have a chance. Or they can limit AWD cars to 265. Its not that hard.

There is not a huge performance difference between a dog-ring H-pattern and a dog-ring sequential. There is a substantial performance difference between a SYNCHRONIZED H-pattern to a dog-ring H-pattern.

FXMD can play and compete, but without proper testing on the tires they can't get, it is not a wise decision to blow a ton of money to go to an event that stacks the odds against them like WTAC without having all their ducks in a row. SSE put up a great performance but they have the resources to go on a whim, FXMD is a lot more humble of an effort (including the [lack of] money that goes into the car).
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