The 2016 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge was off the charts. The Festival of Awesome gets better every year, and as we witnessed with our own two eyes, is the best motorsport event on this side of the world. Lucky too, as we were handy in Sydney at the time, so we certainly made the most of it. We're going to walk through some of our favourite moments as a team of photojournalists covering WTAC — get ready, there were plenty!
One of the best moments at WTAC was hanging in the pits with Under Suzuki. The man's a total legend in time attack circles for obvious reasons, and it was great to see how his talented team operates. Noodles for lunch, breakfast, and dinner kept the team on form and we witnessed Under Suzuki attack as hard as he could all weekend in his SR22VET-powered Nissan Silvia S15. With a finished lap time of 1:23.1, Under was on fire.
Witnessing his fastest lap was intense. Our small media team stopped shooting, and listened for the radio as the lap time came through. A sense of joy for the team was felt by all, as we know how hard they'd been pushing for this. They weren't in the top spot for long though, but it was awesome to see nonetheless.
Without a doubt one of the biggest highlights at WTAC was seeing the Kiwis do some damage. Andy Duffin of 3 Rotor Racing freighted over his absolutely mental nitrous-fed 20B Mazda RX-7 FD. Andy has always been a NA rotory fan, so when it was decided a little more power was needed it was a no-brainer.
It's usually difficult to get a good flame shot, but not with Andy's machine. Every corner entry results in a metre-long flame, which is why the rear muffler is so long! Andy was on fire (pun intended) all weekend and finished the event with an impressive 1:30.4. We're excited to see which direction Andy takes for next year's event.
Kat Benson of Kat Benson Racing is one helluva cool Kiwi chick. Being the only female entrant must've been daunting, but that didn't get to Kat the slightest. With partner Andrew Redward close by and NZ Prowear Superlap regular Hans Ruiterman heading the mechanics, Kat had a fantastic support system.
To say Kat had a frustrating time would be an understatement. Most runs were flagged for a wide range of reasons (thanks to other drivers etc), which meant that only a couple of good solid laps were run. Kat's quickest time of the weekend was a 1:39.759, around three seconds quicker than last year. It was an awesome moment seeing Kat take on the world, and we can't wait to see what she brings for the Prowear NZ Superlap Series.
Another one of our favourite moments was when Tim Slade, driving the MCA Suspension Nissan Silvia S13 'Hammerhead', took out last year's record set by Garth Walden in the Tilton Interiors Evo. We were right there, in the pits the moment it happened and boy what a feeling.
When you're strolling through the pits the one thing you don't expect to happen is spot Keiichi Tsuchiya sitting in the JDMYard Honda Civic EG. It turns out the DK was a huge fan of the Civic, and wanted to drive it, motioning for the owners to move the seat forward for him, which was unfortunately bolted to the floor. That must have been a humbling moment for the team and we were glad we could catch it.
After all the hype from previous years and seeing the Tilton Interiors Mitsubishi Evo destroy lap after lap, it certainly had been built up something crazy. Seeing it in the flesh, though, confirmed that this machine is extremely serious and deserves every single shred of hype that it has been given. It's 1.2-metres wider than a stock Evo, packs nearly 1000hp and sounds EXTREMELY angry at full noise. We were graced with a few laps at this year's event, and it was a sight to behold.
Daigo Saito!! One of the world's absolute drift LEGENDS attended WTAC this year in his cool looking Lamborghini. We've been hanging out for months to see this thing in action and it did not dissapoint, nor did Daigo's crazy driving style.
Ok, if there was one car in the entire WTAC field that we could take home and keep forever, it would hands down be the Sutton Brothers Racing Nissan Silvia S15. It's simply a work of art and to top things off, it was driven by...
... Nobuteru Taniguchi! Not only was it a dream for the TimeattackR team to lay eyes on this very individual, we got to hang with him too! Nob' spotted the SBR S15 a few yars back, liked what he saw and asked if he could one day drive it. The SBR team obliged and Nob' wanted to get the S15 below the 1:30 barrier, which he did by the end of the event with a 1:28.45! Please SBR team, keep the S15 looking like it does now. It's simply perfect.
Another one of our proud Kiwi moments was when Nico Reid showed the Aussies how to drift. The aggressive style of Nico always has us entertained and it was no different at WTAC this year. The RB25-powered S15 always looks good, and the amount of lock this thing has is insane!
We'll be back with plenty more action and coverage from the event, so stay tuned!
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