“Are you going to the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge again? You went last year!” Something I hear from almost every car enthusiast that hasn’t attended the crown snatcher of the world’s most kickass motorsport festival award. Yes, two straight days of qualifying might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, so how does WTAC remain a forever-growing, fun-inducing, tear-jerking time attack international holiday? We’ll tell you why — but get ready, you’ll have to start thinking of ways you can convince the other half you’re in need of a holiday in Sydney, based in the state New South Wales, Australia.
Fast as bro
What do your so-called ‘car buddies’ think is a fast tin-top? Yep; V8 Supercars. Sorry to inform you, but they’re painfully slow around this part of town. How about nearly ten full seconds a lap time off the pace? The fastest V8 Supercar to ever lap Sydney Motorsport Park was a Ford FG X Falcon driven by Chaz Mostert.
As of this year’s festival of awesome, the fastest tin-top to lap the circuit is a humble Nissan Silvia S13 driven by Supercar legend Tim Slade, at a 1:20.9710 — enough to take the outright win and only one second off the outright circuit record held by an A1GP car. The kicker? That’s on a dot-rated, road-legal semi-slick tyre — no slicks allowed!
Not only does the festival of awesome have outrageously fast machinery to watch from the grandstand, for the tech-savvy the pits are a great way to take in the extraordinary and learn. Feast your eyes on Formula One-inspired race technology applied to a 20-year old Japanese chassis.
An engine made from billet aluminum only weeks prior. Carbon wings, on carbon wings, on a carbon wing. How do they go so fast? Ask the team, they love having a good ol’ yarn on race day.
Whatever your background, there’s a car competing from your corner of the globe. In the beginning, it was the Japanese that took an interest in the event, but now, contestants from Canada, the United States of America, Europe, and Asia, all travel thousands of kilometers to tackle on the world’s best lap attackers.
Local heroes soon find their place in the pecking order too. Walk the pits, and you’ll see a diverse culture base each with a common motorsport interest that brings them together for two days — there’s nothing more powerful.
Well oiled machine
World Time Attack is hands down the best-run event we’ve been too. From the well thought out media room, to the extensive media briefings, to the impressive time-keeping, and the events ability to cater to the thousands of VIP and general admission spectators — it’s simply incredible.
For base price, spectators get an amazing experience with hand-signed goods by motorsport legends such as Keiichi Tsuchiya. For the VIP chums? Well, they get slow-cooked roasts, beer, barista-made coffee, air-conditioning, and… you get the idea — it’s an epic experience.
Speedhunters, NZ Performance Car, Speed Nation, local newspapers, local photographers, and every other media outlet you can think of are in attendance. Whether you’re here for the drifting, for the girls, or for the motorsport, there’s plenty of action happening. It’s incredible to see how these teams operate compared to our tiny one-man band!
Although we’re not huge show car fans, the show and shine at WTAC is one of the best in the business. The level of build quality is top-notch, with keen enthusiasts from all over Australia building vehicles just for it, much the same as the circuit racers.
Whether you want to drool over a widebody NSX or crawl under a half-jacked Impala, they’ve got you covered. There’s plenty of local muscle too, such as a squad of slammed out Barra-powered Falcon utes.
All it takes is one long (not too long) look at legends such as Under Suzuki, Keiichi Tsuchiya, Tim Slade, Garth Walden, and much more to know you’re in the company of the gods and they’re having a blast.
Watching the people’s hero Under Suzuki miss out on the title once again was emotional for many, but seeing a local hero fend off the overseas invaders was something particularly special.
Keiichi Tsuchiya brought along his N2-spec Toyota AE86, running a larger 7A block, ITBs, and beautifully-crafted headers. At one point, he double took as he saw me trackside, and gave me the wave of a lifetime (thanks, Ian Baker for inviting him along yet again!)
With World Time Attack Challenge, it’s all about the memories made, and CEO and founder Ian Baker has done an incredible job in this department. Awe-inspiring encounters await you at every turn.
Mazda 767B around one corner, and a pair of ex-JGTC weapons around the next. What’s that? Keiichi strolling past with a couple of promo girls? Yep! I’m going to remember that!
Short and sweet this post will be, but you get the idea. If you’ve thought about going, take the week off head out to Sydney’s Northern Beaches to catch a few rays, and then make your way out the forever-stunning Blue mountains. Make sure you head to the CBD too, as you’ll want to take in the fireworks at the Sydney Opera House, and the bars and restaurants in Darling Harbour. Once you’re done relaxing, head along to the best motorsport festival this side of the globe — you will not regret it.