Tag Archives: Japan

WTAC Thursday 2018

Why do I attend the same event every year? A simple question that has an incredibly simple answer, because each year it gets even better!

 

I bet you wonder how an astonishing event can get better? Last year saw the Mazda 767B show off alongside a JGTC FD3S and a restored JGTC S15 all of which added to the immense spectacle that is World Time Attack. Keiichi Tsuchiya was there with his infamous AE86 putting on a show for the crowds while the main event saw lap times crumble as we searched for the 2017 Time Attack champion. I know I have gone on about last year being so incredible, so how was this year better? I will start this three-part coverage with my initial recollection…

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WTAC 2018 began earlier this year with teams posting builds and progress as they tracked toward the year-end battle that will see who is crowned champion. Everyone was excited to see the teams back to full strength after some had some disastrous luck at last years event. Ian Baker (The brains behind this event) always strives to promote his events to the fullest, and this year saw the Sydney Opera House becoming a very large billboard! Boarding my flight and arriving at the event on Thursday I could already feel the excitement and anticipation around the paddock, not only were some amazing groups setting up their cars in preparation, but I also had the pleasure of finally seeing Keiichi in competition mode with Beau Yates AE86 that was converted from a drift machine into a grip machine.

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Show and shine was not set up on Thursday unfortunately which meant I had to rush on Friday or Saturday to capture some of Australia’s most amazing vehicles which was not too much of an issue since I had heard that this year would be slightly smaller in layout, providing the perfect size to be able to capture quickly and move straight back into the track activities. While the rain did affect the set up of some stalls and displays, most were putting the final touches on their stands and wrapping it all up ahead of the main event over the next two days.

Practice makes perfect, and with the main slogan being “One perfect lap” many teams were out already on a wet track setting up and fine-tuning their machines in a hope of setting that one crucial linked run.

Along with the wet track testing, the garages were a hive of activity due to most teams utilizing the Thursday session to adjust and change any required parts to optimize their attack on Friday and Saturday. Paddock views are always a welcome change since you get to see the people and teams behind these incredible cars.

With Thursday providing some crucial insight into the coming days, I packed up and headed back to the house to go over a plan of attack! Stay tuned for Friday’s action coming soon…

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Bonus Gallery click here

Tsukuba Slayer – HKS TRB-03

Tsukuba circuit has been hallow ground for HKS, with their CT230R Mistubishi Evo setting the blistering pace of 53.58 seconds back in 2007 and holding that title for years up until Under Suzuki came along and broke that record and has continued to do so up until now.

 

With this being said and Under Suzuki continually pushing the limits of aero development along with driver skill, the question could be asked… Has HKS forgotten about their Tsukuba record altogether? Their answer has been officially revealed at the latest Tokyo Auto Salon, and dare I say it, it looks as if it will decimate all that stand in it’s way to go deep into the 40 second barrier.

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Viewing this car in its glorious livery is very much a nostalgic nod to the car that held the record for so long (CT230R) and it is refreshing to see a large tuning house like HKS stepping back into the time attack scene after a long hiatus. Based on the Toyota/Subaru GT86 platform, HKS have taken the stream lined approach to sculpting this beast before you into a tarmac warrior with all areas of the aero work carried out with specific purpose and design, Andrew Brilliant from AMB Aero was placed in charge of the aero design seeing as he has had his hand in many famous World Time Attack cars such as Under Suzuki and the infamous Hammer Head MCA S13 as well. While Andrew has created masterpieces in terms of maximizing downforce and reducing drag on the S13 and S15, this new design takes his keen eye and knowledge to a whole new level, with the whole aero package looking sleek and almost conforming to the stock lines. ‘Infiniti Wings’ as they were labelled from the SpeedHunters article which reviewed the car upon initial debut have not been seen before and as such, it will be an amazing detail to pay attention to in regards to it’s usefulness.

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Moving along the car you can notice the sleek side profile to keep any unwanted drag away from the car with larger front carbonfiber fenders flowing along the channeled sides to the rear haunches. Rear facing you notice the large tunnels that fill the back of the car and help extract all the air from under the car cleanly which being lower pressure ensure a sucking effect to stick the car to the ground. Side skirts may be all but absent but that large flat floor side step ensures any flow across that surface will only help to add downforce and maintain a smooth laminar boundary layer.

While all of these subtle cues are amazing you immediately notice the largest part of the car, the wing. While this takes huge wings to a whole new level, word is that the aero package helps the flow of air onto the three layered wing to allow it to generate up to 3 ton’s worth of downforce! With Under Suzuki struggling to keep the tyres from exploding on his S15 due to the sheer amount of downforce generated from the car, I can only wonder at how well HKS have looked and researched into this area of error and coupled with Yokohama there should be some interesting compounds coming out of the manufacturer soon to help high downforce cars cope.

Sitting under the lightweight carbon clad arches are 18×11 Advan GT wheels and suspension is rumored to be custom HKS suspension with high spring rates to help cope with the large amounts of downforce produced. Mentioning carbon, the entire car is clad in in-house made HKS dry carbonfiber which shows the level of commitment and dedication the team have put into creating something so special.

Engine wise HKS have pushed a FA25 to new limits with stroking the 2.0L displacement and pushing it to 2.5L and then attaching a HKS supercharger to force feed air into the monster below. All the information I have gathered so far point to the engine producing up to 800hp which is a fair chunk of power for such a light car and coupled with the aero we see, should make for one extremely well planted yet nimble racer. Keeping things streamlined seems to be the main theme and we can notice one detachment from the initial design which was the passenger side exit exhaust, this may be due to routing changes or weight targets but a bonnet vented exhaust always looks impressive.

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While I was not able to attend Tokyo Auto Salon this year, I am very grateful and thankful to Charles Chen who supplied these images to me and photographed on my behalf.

With HKS finally tipping their hat back into the record breaking ring, I am sure we will see big changes in the rest of the field as they all take notes of how the original record breakers do it. Excitement will be building all around as we wait to see what this beautifully sculpted yet deadly machine can do at the hallow Tsukuba Circuit.

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