Geographically speaking Australia might be a world away, but for the third year running the land Down Under has managed to put on a truly international time-attack event complete with pro-level drifting and a huge car show component. Sydney Motorsport Park was once again the venue for the Yokohama Advan World Time-Attack Challenge (WTAC)—a two-day festival of speed held in August that attracted pro-level teams from as far as the United Kingdom as well as Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. Well, almost the United States . . .
With the disbandment of the Sierra-Sierra Enterprises team and retirement of their Evo, stateside representation at WTAC 2012 rested solely in the hands of ARK Design, which had entered Eric Hsu’s freshly built VQ35-powered BNR32 Skyline GT-R. In what can only be described as an error of epic proportions though, the Nissan was wrongly shipped to China and therefore failed to even turn a wheel in anger on Australian terra firma.
The same can’t be said for the strong contingent from Japan, which included RE-Amemiya, Top Fuel (with Voltex), Scorch Racing, and Pan Speed. The most anticipated entry from the Land of the Rising Sun, however, was a re-appearance from Masimichi Takizawa’s legendary Cyber Evo—the overall winner and lap record-setter at both the 2010 and 2011 WTAC events in the hands of Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada. After last year’s win the world-beating Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX had been unofficially retired from time-attack duties, but just six months out, Takizawa-san had a change of tune. Aero specialist C-West was brought onboard to take over from Voltex and the car was reengineered with a third outright WTAC win in mind. Of course, other teams had their sights set on victory too, and none more so than Australian newcomer, Nemo Racing.
Designed and built to dominate time-attack racing on a global level, Nemo might have started off life as a humble Lancer Evo IX road car too, but the carbon-fiber–cloaked creation is far from that now. And looking at it, it’s not hard to see the sub-1,000kg post 950-whp machine is regarded by many as the most ambitious time-attack project ever undertaken.
On a slightly reworked circuit reputed to be 1.0 to 1.5 seconds quicker than that which the Cyber Evo laid down the 1:28.85 benchmark in 2011, Nemo set the early pace, blasting a 1:26.912 lap. Wheelman V-8 supercar driver Warren Luff quickly backed it up with an even faster 1:25.74, and ultimately bettered that with a new standing record of 1:25.020. The Australian-built Tilton Interiors Evo IX driven by Garth Walden owned Second outright with New Zealand driver Earl Bamber piloting the MCA Suspension Nissan Silvia S13 (another Australian entry) into Third Place after going quicker than Japanese driver “Under” Suzuki in his Scorch Racing Silvia S15 in the very last session of the event. As for the Cyber Evo, a string of bad luck that begun with an engine swap that consumed the first day of competition and ended with a small fire underhood, destroyed any chances of a comeback. It was a disheartening moment for Takizawa-san and Tarzan Yamada.
Whether or not one of Japan’s most revered time-attack returns to do battle again in 2013 remains to be seen (we hope so), but for now the World Time-Attack Challenge has a new king.
With around 700 hp on tap from its turbocharged 2.2L engine, the Top Fuel with Voltex Hond
After running in the low 1:30 zone for most of the event, Nobutero Taniguchi pulled one ou
Young, talented New Zealand driver Earl Bamber pushed the wild-looking MCA Suspension Niss
The Tilton Interiors Evo IX was the quiet achiever at the 2012 World Time-Attack Challenge
The naturally aspirated and peripheral ported 20B-powered Pan Speed Mazda RX-8 might have
Japanese privateer “Under” Suzuki had a tough time trying to tame his carbon-bodied 700hp