It’s been an intense first day at the 2012 WTAC with a bumper field laying down some serious track time in their pursuit for the main prize tomorrow. The NEMO EVO driven by local specialist, Warren Luff smashed last years record by a full 3 seconds with a searing 1:25.7 to take Friday honors but the big story comes from Japan’s Cyber Evo team who had a torrid day and didn’t even end up hitting the track…
The facts behind the issues for Cyber make for interesting and slightly depressing reading. We were told by an official source that when the car was exported from Japan, it was loaded into a container unwashed and on second hand tires. This then led to the car being impounded in quarantine for 2 days while it was “prepared” and this then led to a delayed arrival to Sydney for it to be tuned.
The jovial Tarzan Yamada was seen in the pits on the Thursday just touring the paddock and many questions were asked about where the car was and the situation behind its absence. To compound matters when the car arrived at Haltech for its tune, it developed serious engine problems. Drastic measures had to be taken but Cyber were thrown a lifeline in the form of a Haltech customer who had an Evo with a Cosworth works motor that was reported to be developing more power than Cyber’s own engine. Hastily, we understand the engines were changed but the car wasn’t able to make it to the circuit in time to run the final Open class session of the day. Cyber are defiant though and in their official statement claimed, “After a difficult day, we are ready to run tomorrow and are aiming at the 1:24 mark. We will do our best.”
Things don’t seem to be going well so far for Tarzan this weekend. Like last year, Yamada san was supposed to be running a double stint for this years time attack. Driving both the Cyber Evo and the US based MotoIQ R32 GT-R which, bizarrely and to the greatest of frustration to the WTAC organisers and the team, the car was held back in China over a monumental administrative screw-up by the shipping carrier. 7Tune learned that when the car arrived in China for its Australian transfer, the shipping carrier mistakenly labeled the container as empty and as such, the car never made the trip south. The team are now out of pocket thousands of dollars because of the shipping companies mistake but we hear there is little that can be done at this stage.
Martin Gonzales from MotoIQ confirmed the disappointment the whole team was feeling but thanks to a GPS system located in the R32, the car has been located and unfortunately, is on it’s way back to America and will not make this years event.
For Suzuki san and the Scorch racing team, things got off to a slightly shaky start with a crack developing in the intake plenum of the 800hp SR20, the team scrambling to contain the oil and then spending Thursday night repairing the damage and completing the set up for today. The car ended up coming good and Suzuki san will sleep a little easier knowing he nailed third spot in the standings today with a 1:28.5240; a time good enough to have taken out last years event, outright.
Superstar Japanese all rounder, Nob Taniguchi was his usual “cool-as-a-cucumber” self and had a comparably better day, piloting the Amemiya Hurricane FD and the Voltex S2K to 1:32.5210 and 1:30:5540 respectively. Running wasn’t trouble free for the teams with the Hurricane in particular developing a significant clutch failure that also needed to be changed overnight.
The Voltex S2K suffered from a lack of overall balance according to Taniguchi, so you can expect that once the settings have been settled, those times will come down into the high 1:20’s.
One of our favorite teams, the 7Tune sponsored, 1000hp AVO turbo RB26 powered VL Commodore, driven by Jason Clements also had a torrid day, with gearbox failures on three separate occasions. When we spoke to him, the gearbox selector had broken after only after completely being rebuilt the night before and the Commodore was stuck with only 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. As I write this, the team are working on a solution and with any luck we will be seeing the car running tomorrow.
The MCA Suspension Onevia driven by Earl Bamber had a great day of trouble free running and made spectacular progress to finish fourth in the standings with a 1:29.2470. Josh Coote told 7Tune that he was beyond happy. “To get this time is fantastic for us. Anything under 1:30 was going to be a great result for the team and the car is running reliably. Half the battle of Time Attack is actually being ready to attack time!”
With weather initially expected to play a major hand in the running this weekend, teams and spectators ( and for that matter, media! ) we’re concerned by the threat of rain. Thanks be to God, the rain never came to Eastern Creek, mercifully passing by over the coast of Sydney. Tomorrow we’re all hoping for the same.
With so much on track action going on throughout the day, we were run off our feet but the WTAC is an event that must be seen to be appreciated. Saturday is going to be an absolute blockbuster of a day with an epic showdown looming at the top of the charts. Tune in tomorrow for more info from the 2012 WTAC.
Words: Adam Zillin
Photos: Matthew Everingham and Adam Zillin