The build up to the 2018 SA Time Attack brought a lot of excitement and anticipation with the change of venue to The Bend Motorsport Park. Everyone in SA and even wider has been hearing about the work going on and the plans in place for this exciting new venue and as such drivers were itching to get some laps on the circuit. With a couple of other events already having taken place since the facility opened others had already sampled it and given their thoughts.

“As far as a permanent circuit goes, this has got to be number one, this is our best circuit by a long shot. Just the quality of it, it’s an F1-style circuit,” Jamie Whincup said after driving the 4.95km circuit. SA Time Attack would be held on this very same track configuration.

Driving up to the circuit on the morning of the event there was a definite excitement to see this whole facility for myself for the first time and with fellow SpeedNation photographer Dave Oliver along side me, I was keen to hear his thoughts on how it compared to tracks in his home state of NSW such as Sydney Motorsport Park. We arrived at the track a bit early, but that extra time was very quickly lost in the queue of cars waiting to get in and trying to sort out where everyone needed to go.

As we entered the main pit building we were welcomed by a museum of race cars from F1 to V8 Supercars to currently in use race cars regularly driven on the track by the Shahin’s. After our media briefing we headed out to catch up with some of the regular competitors and sus the view from the pit lane. Garages had a similar layout to those at SMP and worked very well for everyone throughout the day. As we walked through one of the garages to get to the pit straight it was amazing to see the lengthy 1km main straight laid out before our eyes.

We walked along the line of garages checking out who was competing as we waited with anticipation for the first cars to roll out onto the track. As we waited we could also see the crowd keenly waiting on top of the pit straight building, in similar fashion to spectating at SMP. The view from the roof was amazing and as there isn’t much else around the track at the moment you can clearly see almost the entire track from the roof.

As a local to SA the build up for me was to see the battle of the billet blocks between Matt Longhurst in his well engineered GT-R and Dan Day in his SJ1000 WRX STi built meticulously. Matt’s GT-R is powered by a 2.8 billet block built by Bullet Race Engineeering with a STD cast head and SPS custom forged pistons and all put together by PMC Race Engines. Dan’s SJ1000 is boasting a Willall Racing WREJBB billet block and if you have seen anything of their products in a race environment you know the name says it all. Another point of interest for the days competition was Jake ‘DriftSquid’ Jones having his first crack at a grip run in an event with his RBM3 drift car. Jake had issues the moment he arrived at the track unfortunately but he was able to get it fixed and get out there for a few laps and set a time.

The racing was intense in all classes throughout the day and was amazing to see how the design of the track allowed for cars going through corners 2 wide as they were overtaking on a faster run. There were some amazing times set and there is now a standard set for future time attack events at The Bend to better those times.

CI Performance Parts SA Time Attack Top 3
1st Place – Matthew Longhurst: 01:52.4
2nd Place – Joshua Coote: 01:56.7
3rd Place – Dan Day: 01:56.8

S & J Automotive Open Class
Winner – Matthew Longhurst: 01:52.4
R/up – Joshua Coote: 01:56.7

Autosport – PRO Class
Winner – Matthew Sims: 02:00.5
R/up – Justin Miller: 02:11.1

Driven Motorsport Clubsprint Class
Winner – Mitchell Lukasz: 02:10.7
R/up – Andrew Clydsdale: 02:12.6

Xtreme Clutch Club-R Class
Winner – Julian Newton: 02:03.8
R/up – Luke Ballard 02:10.3

Neat Gearboxes Street Class
Winner – Timothy Williams: 02:18.0
R/up – Dylan Butler: 02:19.1

Mitsubishi GSR EVO Club Inc. Clubman Style Car
Winner – Ian Eldridge – 02:16.6

We had a brief chat with Matt Longhurst at the end of the days racing and got his thoughts on the track. He complimented the track design with it’s elevation changes and blind corners and said it was a very technical, real drivers track. “There is easily a few seconds to gain and should be able to crack 1:50.0” said Matt.

It will take all of the drivers a while to master this track because of how technical it is but that really gives it an extra appeal. When I asked Dave about his thoughts compared to SMP he offered these comments. “With The Bend it is refreshing to see a new track that is up and running and can be at international standard. Compared to SMP, it has some similarities, but with the track being longer and faster in some sections. SMP would have more elevation changes but The Bend uses it’s elevation and camber changes in the corners.”

Next year there is talk of possibly turning the event into a 2 day event. What will that hold for the event layout? We would definitely like to see it finish off in a shoot out for times in the same fashion as WTAC.

Next year’s SA Time Attack will be an exciting event not to be missed!

Check out the rest of the gallery below…