TimeattackR.com: Hi there. Tell us a bit about who you are, and why you first got into motorsport.
Brad: Hey! I’m Brad, I’m 25 and from Auckland. My weekend high-chair was pretty much a go kart as a toddler. I grew up running around the country’s go karting tracks as my dad was a mechanic for some of the top go karters in the country at the time. Being surrounded by the smell of exhaust gas and tyres must have sunk into my blood. Unfortunately, I was never allowed to drive one. But I never really managed to shake the urge to get out on the track and the moment I bought myself a performance car I was back out on track. I started with drag racing then slowly built my confidence to track days. Now it’s time attack and full blown circuit racing on my agenda.
What first drew you to time attack racing and when did you start competing?
Ever since time attack hit the mainstream I have been interested in it. The first car and team I followed would be the HKS CT230R as I’m an avid Evo enthusiast. I loved this car and everything about it. This then carried over to the cyber evo. I was invited over to the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge in 2013 by a friend who was managing Inessa Tushkanova, as she was competing as a guest driver. I was lucky enough to spend a week hanging out with them. I was also lucky enough to meet and hang out with the WTAC CEO Ian Baker, who is one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I also got to meet Chris from Nulon Australia who is an ex-pat Kiwi and all round awesome guy. It was definitely one of the best weeks of my life hanging out with time attack royalty. Ever since then, the time attack bug bit hard, and although my financial situation (mortgage + racecar = permanently broke) hasn’t allowed me to get back over to WTAC in person, I’ve watched every year since from start to finish on the live stream. I also try to keep up to date with the Japanese time attack scene. This is my first year competing in time attack in New Zealand. I’ve learnt the hard way that the car takes another level of beating when on the track and I had a few teething issues which have cost me some good placings including; losing power to a fuel pump at round two and blowing fourth gear to smithereens at round three, but that’s motorsport I guess. It also pushed me to develop and adapt the car over the year, including much more aggressive aero and welding in a full eight-point roll cage after round one. So since round one the car has gone from fast street car to fully stripped, caged race car.
What was your first time attack vehicle and why did you choose it?
My first vehicle is my current vehicle. A highly modified 2001 Mitsubishi Evo VII. It was my street and show car, which saw the odd drag event and track day. I’ve always wanted to get into motorsport with the end goal being full blown circuit racing as part of the GTRNZ series, and I see time attack as a good stepping stone giving me experience on the track in a competition environment with other cars of similar pace, before taking the plunge into door-to-door racing. Besides, the Evo is arguably the best time attack chassis in the world so why change!
What development did this vehicle go through, and what development saw the biggest drop in lap times?
The car was already highly modified and capable of 10-second drag passes at the strip. So a lot of the development had already gone into the car over the previous five years of ownership. I’ve always had circuit racing as the end goal in my head so most modifications have been carried out with that as my end goal in mind. The first thing I did was install a full eight-point MSNZ spec rollcage into the car. To me, there is no compromise for safety and I just didn’t feel comfortable in the car at 200kph-plus without a rollcage around me. Personally, I think it is a minimum that any circuit car putting out reasonable power or showing decent pace should have. I also found that I was beginning to pop spot welds on the chassis due to the the forces being applied to the car. These benefits outweighed the approximately 80–100kg weight gain the car suffered from by having the ‘cage added. At the same time as the rollcage was fitted, I installed a Sparco fixed back competition seat and Takata four-point harnesses. I then stripped the interior and everything is built to MSNZ Specs. Too many people take safety for granted and skimp out on decent genuine harnesses and safety equipment which is concerning.
I have gone to a more aggressive front aero package including doubling the size and strength of my front diffuser and adding a second pair of larger front canards. I’ve added ducting for my front brakes due to finding that they would overheat after 2 laps. Also swapped pads out to a more track orientated compound from Endless Brakes NZ. I’ve also done a lot of work on reliability — adding sensors and learning to read data logs from my ECU and understanding car setup more, which has no doubt driven Hans Ruiterman at E&H Motors nuts.
I’ve also swapped fluids out to fluids more suited for full time track work. I now use Millers engine and transmission fluids from Millers Oils NZ and Endless high-temp brake fluid.
After exploding fourth gear on my first lap at Pukekohe in round 3, I spent my Christmas holidays stripping the gearbox out of the car and removing the gearset. I have gone to an Evo IV gearset as they have a slightly shorter fourth and fifth gear. I was having trouble shifting from fourth to fifth and having the car fall off boost slightly. Going to the shorter Evo IV gearbox has fixed this issue.
I’ve also installed some blowers to duct cool air from outside the car into the cabin to keep temperatures in the cabin down. Before the end of the season, I hope to have a fully baffled and gated sump installed to take on the final round at Hampton downs and not have the oil surge issues encountered during round one and two.
What was the first circuit you ever competed in time attack?
The first circuit I ever competed on was Hampton downs; which is also the circuit I’ve done the most laps at and it’s also probably my favourite. Although after round five,, I think I may have a new favourite track once I’ve done a few more laps there. However, I can’t wait to see the Hamptons Downs Raceway extension completed.
What advice would you give someone thinking of getting into the sport?
Just do it. There’s no easy way to get into motorsport in New Zealand so you just have to take the plunge. Come along and talk to some of the guys and I’m sure they will be happy to help you on your first day out. Definitely don’t be afraid to give it a go or think you’re too slow — everybody starts somewhere.The best thing you can do is enter with a relatively slow car and learn how to drive it. It’s much easier and better to learn to drive a slow car fast than masking poor driving and lack of skill with lots of horsepower. Admittedly, I began racing my car too late and haven’t had the chance to develop with my car and now I’m having to play catch up. I’m just lucky to have amazing, experienced friends and family who are happy to give advice and critique my driving. The most important bit of advice, which is sadly one of the most overlooked, is to never skimp out on safety equipment. Always buy genuine safety gear, not the replica stuff. Get a good quality race suit and helmet. If you go as far as to get harnesses and a competition seat make sure it is genuine and not a replica.
Thanks for chatting with us, is there anybody you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my team that helps me out every round, my lovely amazing manager/partner Maya, my dad for being the number one sponsor and always helping and willing to put long hours in on the car, Barry from Millers oils NZ, Mike from Endless Brakes NZ, AJ at the Glossmaster for always making the car sparkle, Hans Ruiterman from E&H Motors for putting up with my dumb questions and loaning me workshop space and his time, Bill from Ralliart for always looking after me and also putting up with endless stupid questions, Leon, Barry and everybody else in the Prowear NZ superlap series who provides good banter and advice.
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