Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the 2016 World Time Attack challenge has delivered in spades. Records fell left, right, and centre, the drift action was insane, the crowd was as big & vocal as ever and the babes were out in full force.
Regular followers of World Time Attack will testify that the Tilton Evo’s dominance seemed unassailable, and yet the top three Pro-Class cars (all RWD) all managed to slip under the old champion’s lap record of 1:23.77. 2017 is shaping up to be interesting indeed, and a showdown between Slade and Tilton’s new build will be one to watch.
Tim Slade broke the record multiple times during the weekend, each time claiming there was more in the car. His 1:22.19 is made even more impressive when you remember that the s13 chassis was first introduced in 1988. It’s a true testament to how good the MCA team is to have gotten a platform that was never designed for high speed racing to lap the tarmac like it does.
Pro-Am was just as impressive, with Sigsworth & PMQ Racing managing to secure victory on their last lap on the weekend, narrowly snatching the glory from Rob Nguyen and his incredibly fast CRX which is affectionately known as the ‘Mighty Mouse’. Rob & the Mouse’s performance was so good that they can now claim title as fastest front wheel drive car at World Time Attack 2016. The PMQ team has also become the first team to claim four back to back WTAC victories, a feat unmatched by even the mighty Tilton team.
Rear-wheel drive may have dominated the Pro-Class, but Open was an all AWD affair at the top. Two Evos took first and third, with Matt Longhurst’s R34 GT-R the filling in the all-wheel drive sandwich. Nathan Morcom and his Evo 9 was the deserved winner, although you can’t help but feel gutted for Longhurst after he led the class all weekend, only to be de-throned in the shootout. It’s worth noting that Open-Class is now lapping faster than the mighty V8 Supercars, an impressive feat by any definition.
Daniel Meredith managed to defend his 2015 title, earning himself and his beast of a Civic a new PB and 2016 honours in the clubsprint class. He managed a 1:39.27 in the FWD machine, besting more than a couple of entries from the tail end of the Open-Class group.
The track action was exciting enough, but if you managed to look away from the grip action for a moment you could also find some of Sydney’s (and Australia’s) best street cars in the Shannon’s Show ‘n’ Shine. There was an amazing array of cars on display, and the attention to detail on every single one was top notch. You would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive group of vehicles anywhere in the world.
A full feature on the Show ‘n’ Shine event featuring shots from SpeedNation resident Alek Hoskins can be found here.
Punters were also treated to the pit walk on saturday, which allowed them to get up close and personal with the 2016 time attack entries in the hallowed ground of pit lane. It was an amazing sight to see so many bodies packed into the pit lane area.
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Other entertainment included Yamaha Factory Team Stunt Rider Dave Mckenna, pulling off his mind bending tricks on the turbocharged MT09 sport bike. Coupled with drift demos from the some of best drifters in the world, and hot laps from modern and historic legend cars like the Pagani Huayra BC and the Nissan R88C. If you were bored at this event, you must have been walking around with your eyes (and ears) closed.
Once the main event was run and done it was time for the drifters to come out to play. Qualifying positions were set from the previous evening and it was time for elimination battles. The passion these drivers (and their support crews, check out the interviews here) have for drifting is clear, they all went out and left nothing on the track. Daigo Saito essentially knocked himself out of the running, but Kiwi fans didn’t care as it meant their own Bruce Tannock would advance. New Zealand drift fans didn’t have much else to cheer about however, with all trans-tasman entrants being knocked out before the Top 4.
Aussie drift fans however had plenty to cheer about as the top 4 was comprised of all Australian drivers.
Camo Mote & Josh Robinson battled for third while Rob Whyte & Michael Rosenblatt went head to head in the final battle. Final standings were Rosenblatt, Whyte and Mote. This was the first time an Australian was won this event, and the boys celebrated the night with tandem ‘shoeys’ on the podium. They say victory is sweet, and sure it tastes slightly different when mixed with the aroma of a sweaty driving shoe but it was a worthy victory all the same: Well done to Michael Rosenblatt!
Now that the sun has set on another amazing World Time Attack Challenge it’s time for the teams to rest & recharge. Shortly they will begin the development, testing and refinement that will allow them to lap faster next year and continue to put on the show that we love so much. To all those Teams, The Sponsors and The WTAC Management we say thank you for the best Time Attack Event in the world.