The weekend of August 6, 2011 was a big one in the time attack world with not one but two premier events held on separate corners of the globe.
In 2010 The World Time Attack Challenge put Sydney, Australia’s Eastern Creek Raceway on the map by bringing the time attack thunder down under. The event invited the top teams from across the globe including such time attack luminaries as Japan’s Cyber Evo and the Pan Speed RX-7 as well as the sole American representative, the Sierra Sierra Enterprises Evo VIII. The WTAC didn’t disappoint as Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada in the Cyber Evo slugged it out with David “Emp” Empringham in the SSE Evo affectionately known as Christine in front of 10,000-plus screaming fans.
On August 5-6 of this year the WTAC set the stage at Eastern Creek for another mega event with Japan’s Cyber Evo coming back for a title defense. Other big teams included SSE flying the Team America Strike Force flag and more Japanese teams such as the RX-7’s of Garage Revolution and Pan Speed and Scorch Racing’s Silvia S15.
Sierra Sierra made some changes to Christine since the team took the Super Lap Battle title and Buttonwillow Raceway Park time attack track record (1:41.016). The car debuted some radical new aero developments in the form of a new tunneled underbody tray and Cosworth engine package. With Emp behind the wheel the car went fast at Eastern Creek with a 1:29.0240 but it was not enough to overcome Tarzan’s mighty 1:28.851. Mitsuhiro Kinoshita took the final spot on the podium in the Garage Revolution FD3S with a 1:30.501.
Meanwhile on North America’s east coast the new Global Time Attack hosted its second event. The inaugural Global Time Attack dropped at Willow Springs International Raceway north of Los Angeles in May and the select field of cars came in guns hot with teams shattering four track records over the weekend. The second GTA on Aug 6-7 switched coasts up by visiting the 1.9-mile 10-turn Lightning Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Once again the invited field was stacked with 23 teams entered. The big news was that Chris Rado and his Team Need for Speed WORLD Racing Unlimited GT FF Scion tC made the trek out from the west coast joined by Tony Szirka and his UMS Tuning Unlimited GT AWD Evo VIII. A late addition to the party was Mike Warfield’s GST Motorsports Unlimited GT AWD Impreza driven by Jeff “Beckham” Westphal. The world’s fastest time attack Subaru was supposed to take a trip down under for the WTAC but a mechanical failure during the last second thrash leading up to the container load-in deadline forced Warfield to keep the car at the team’s Hayward, California shop. In an interesting twist Rado’s WORLD Racing team provided the GST crew with some much-needed sponsorship assistance to get the Impreza to New Jersey.
Once off the trailer the GST team did not disappoint. During the initial shakedown session Westphal “cruised” to a leisurely 1:05 lap crushing the existing 1:06.768 time attack track record set by Brian Lock in the Cobb Tuning GT-R. And while the team only took about five to six flying laps each one was seemingly faster than the last with Westphal methodically chipping away at the time and bettering his own record in the process. At the end of the weekend and on his very last session Westphal stopped the clock at 1:02.460 (after two aborted attempts in a row while consuming his tires and fuel enough to make Warfield nervous). The time is not only a class and time attack best but also an overall closed wheel car record for the Lightning Raceway at NJMP. You can see the lap here.
Not wanting to be outdone by Warfield, Westphal and company Chris Rado and his WORLD Racing Boys set to work on their Scion tC. The car’s FWD configuration may not be optimal but that’s never stopped the team from pushing for the overall. However extracting such performance from a FWD requires some extreme engineering, which explains why (but not how) Rado’s team generates some 1,000-plus hp from the tC’s 2.5-liter four cylinder prompting the need for the outlandish aero. At New Jersey the team was plagued by a faulty wastegate flange and brake bias problems but Rado still managed a 1:08 in a NASA time trial session at the end of the day on Saturday. On Sunday Rado improved with a blistering 1:05.481 (see the lap here), stomping the existing FWD record by some eight seconds. When Rado went out to improve on this time in the last session the brake bias problem came back at the worst possible moment, as the tC entered Turn 1 at approximately 180 mph causing a huge spin in the dirt directly in front of Westphal in the GST Impreza. With a bit more time on the track and some fine-tuning on the car Rado could be in contention for Westphal’s overall record, which in itself is unheard of for a FWD machine.
Speaking of FWD machines the New Jersey GTA marked the static debut of the Team Need for Speed WORLD Racing Scion tC “Fwing 2.0”. The team was hoping to campaign this all-new Unlimited GT FF car at NJMP but development delays on the innovative front suspension design precluded that plan. The WORLD crew have touted this second gen tC to be lighter, stronger (i.e. greater torsional rigidity) and more powerful that the team’s current FWD tC. Rado has promised that the car will make its competitive debut at the next GTA at Autobahn.
The Team Need for Speed WORLD Racing boys can often be found putting in long hours at work on their cars. NJMP was no different.
Both UMS Tuning and GST Motorsports sent their cars to New Jersey via a specialized transporter instead towing their own trailers cross-country. While this saved time and money it restricted the amount of tools and spares each team could bring. This may or may not pose a problem depending on what happens at the track.
Of course it proved to a be a big problem for Szirka when one of the seals failed on his front right brake caliper spraying near boiling brake fluid all on an already hot rotor. At this moment a trailer full of spares and tools would have been helpful.
The UMS Tuning team is a crafty bunch. Here Junior Rios from FatHead Fabrication cleans up his weld on the brake caliper. Yes, he actually welded the brake caliper. Not only that, the UMS crew fashioned a new o-ring with materials sourced from a local hardware store. As soon as the job was finished Szirka jumped right back in the car. His 1:10.056 was fast but no match for Westphal in the GST Motorsports Impreza.
Quite frankly UMS and GST would not have been able to lay down their times without the incredibly generous nature and overall hospitality of WORLD Racing and Performance Motorsport. These two teams opened their very expansive and well-equipped trailers to the two Unlimited GT AWD teams free of charge and with no questions asked. This kind of sportsmanship is normally unheard of at this level of competitive motorsports.
Before the Global Time Attack the NJMP Lightning Circuit RWD was held by a Nissan 240SX (Jeff Ricca – 1:09.945). After the GTA weekend the record was still held by a Nissan 240SX albeit Bill Washburn’s Dent Sport Garage S13 with a 1:08.448 (see the lap here). This car is a low budget build but the time, effort and craftsmanship invested into this chassis makes it a fan favorite.
Performance Motorsport made its presence known with Carmine Dell Aquilla driving a mildly modified Z06 Corvette – save for some grippy DOT R-compound Goodyear Eagle RS tires. Dell Aquilla’s 1:12.154 put him on the podium with a Second in Unlimited GT RWD and was also the sixth fastest time of the entire event.
The second Performance Motorsport entry was even milder than the first but its time was just as impressive. Gary Rubio’s near stock VQ37 makes less than 350whp and yet the Z34 still ran a 1:14.337 lap (see it here) to earn Third place in Unlimited GT RWD.
A large part of the success of Performance Motorsport can be credited to their cars’ set-up and preparation. Much like WORLD Racing the Performance Motorsport team had proven themselves on the sport compact drag racing stage before joining the time attack ranks. At NJMP the Performance team was treated to a guest crew member in this man. John Martin has raced in Trans Am, USAC, NASCAR, CART and the Indy 500. He’s been a driver, engine builder, fabricator, crew chief, spotter and more. No doubt he found some of the speed in the Performance Z.
Todd Reid took Second place in Unlimited GT FF in his Fortune Auto/ReidSpeed Civic hatch with a 1:13.110 lap. Reid’s garage-built EG features a turbocharged K20A2. You can see Reid’s lap here.
The Limited GT AWD class was hotly contested between a large group of Evos and STIs. There are four people on the podium because Timothy Brownawell registered after the deadline. GTA organizers allowed him to run his Evolution Motorsports LLC Mitsubishi Evo X for time only. And while Brownawell’s 1:13.654 was the fastest overall for the class because he did not sign up before the deadline he was not recognized as the winner. However he did receive a $500 prize from the GTA in addition to being recognized on the podium. From left: Second place, Mark Forenbaher – Mitsubishi Evo 8 – 1:15.529; First place, Jeremy Rohrs – South Side Performance Mitsubishi Evo X – 1:14.446; Third place, Michael Oromaner – RPM North Mitsubishi Evo X – 1:15.834.
In Limited GT RWD G.J. Dixon clicked off a 1:15.315 early on in his Corvette before some sort of mechanical failure pitched the car into the wall at the end of the very fast front straight. While Dixon’s weekend was done early his time was good enough to hold off Dave Hary in the S-Max Silvia S14 for the class win. The Corvette may be finished but in a post-race interview Dixon, who was uninjured in the crash, confirmed his return to a future Global Time Attack.
Daniel O’Donnell and the Professional Awesome team dominated Street GT AWD. O’Donnell’s 1:11.611 lap took the class win (see in-car video here) , broke the Street AWD record (previously held by Todd Reid in the Fortune Auto Mitsubishi Evo 9 with a 1:12.126) and was the Fifth fastest time overall. Making this time even more impressive was the fact that O’Donnell set his time on a used set of Hankook RS-3 tires. The team’s dedication and grassroots persona is demonstrated in this video. The team has already committed to compete at the upcoming Global Time Attack at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL and they have vowed to take the track record there as well.
Both AFI Turbo and Kognition Aero presented contingency awards to podium-placing racers for discounts on AFI Turbo products and Kognition Design aerodynamic components. These programs will award in excess of $40,000 in contingency awards throughout the 2011 season.
The GTA organizers presented a live web broadcast of the on- and off-track action including live timing and scoring. GTA’s own John “Nads” Naderi hosted The GTA Live stream and he’s shown here interviewing Joe Casella from NASA Northeast. You can see clips from the GTA Live broadcast here.
During the Global Time Attack Mothers Polish presented the Just for Kicks car show in the NJMP paddock.
Jason Dienhart is the Event Director of the Global Time Attack and because of his hard work and that of his small but dedicated staff the series has quickly established itself as a must-attend event for competitors and fans alike.
The next round of the Global Time Attack will take place at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL on September 17-18. For complete results click here. For a full gallery of images click here. And for more information on the Global Time Attack please visit GlobalTime Attack.com.