Calling All Hot Rodders With A Stop Watch: Part 1
Hot Rodders and a stop watch you ask? Ya, I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, let me introduce you to one of my favorite automotive competitions: Time Attack or Superlap Battle. These pictures were taken by the MotorMavens.com crew at Eastern Creek Raceway in Australia, as part of the World Time Attack Challenge, the first of its kind, pitting the best the world has to offer in Time Attack.
What exactly is Time Attack? It’s simply taking your car around a road course as fast as you can and recording the fastest single lap time, hence the name Superlap. There are various classes that your car might fit in. Currently most of the vehicles that compete today are of the Japanese or European make. Here’s where the hot rodders with the stopwatches comes in. Time Attack has almost zero muscle cars. Wat up wit dat?
Here’s the R-Magic prepared Mazda RX-7, one of the fastest Unlimited Time Attack cars in Japan. Time Attack began in Japan in the late 1980′s. It was a chance for top Speed Shops (they’re referred to as Tuning Shops, not Speed Shops, but I have to talk the hot rodder talk haha) in Japan to build the fastest street cars and compete against each other for the fastest lap times at the various Japanese circuits.
I want to discuss the potential for muscle cars to compete in Time Attack in Part 2. Part 1 is to introduce you to Time Attack and give you a glimpse of how the big boys go fast. There are different classes that cover cars from mild to wild states of tune. The wild is what gets me pysched! The Unlimited or Pro class (depending on what organization you talk to) is where the fun is at, well, fun and $$$.
As any car nut will admit, it’s not cheap to go fast. I’m all about the “Do-It-Yourself” mods, but when you wanna go faster than anyone IN THE WORLD in any kind of racing, its gonna cost you some money. The faster you wanna go, the more its gonna cost ya. The Unlimited Superlap cars are some of the most advanced builds around. I showed you a wind tunnel test months back of THE fastest Unlimited class vehicle, the Cyber-EVO Mitsubishi Evolution. The name of the game in Time Attack is Grip, Aerodynamics, and putting the power down (AKA grip, see a theme here?).
This pic above by MotorMavens shows the blue Cusco-Tomei Subaru WRX STi Unlimited class car compared to the Club Class Mitsubishi Evolution. Notice the Subaru’s lower ride height, huge rear GT wing, front carbon splitter vs the mostly stock bodied, higher riding (notice the daylight under the car) Evo. The Subaru’s track width and body have been widened as well.
Are there any Reno Air Racing fans out there? These Time Attack machines remind me a lot of the Reno Unlimited Gold racers, such as the P-51 Mustang, Bearcat and Sea Fury. The idea is the same, take a factory hopped up sedan (or Warbird) and have almost free reign on modifications. The Reno Racers double and triple the horsepower with boost (or displacement), clip wings, cut down canopies and smooth surfaces to improve aerodynamics and remove lots of uneccessary weight. Sounds a lot like what the Time Attack cars, right?
Here’s a quick summary of the Unlimited Time Attack class rules to give you an idea:
All Vehicles must be available for purchase from a major manufacturer currently/previously as a factory OEM vehicle. No Open Wheel vehicles, Clubman or Kit cars allowed, as determined by the Promoter.
Body kits are allowed. The use of Carbon and FRP is allowed. Headlights may be replaced with air intakes.
Engine modifications are open except no nitrous. Transmission, Driveline, Suspension, Brake, Wheels, Interior modifications are open.
All vehicles must use tires off the approved list (street tires). All vehicles must run Unleaded Fuel, E85 is allowed.
All Vehicles must be equipped with an Approved Roll Cage and Approved 5 Point Harness as a minimum.
You can see in these pictures that aerodynamic development with big downforce is the goal. Here is the Japanese Superlap “King”, the Cyber-Evo Mitsubishi Evolution. I hear this car is owned by a Dentist. Just the front end alone is a work of engineering geek art. 3 layers of carbon canards, carbon front splitter, carbon air intake “headlight”, wide forged aluminum wheels with sticky 265/35/18 street tires under widened fenders (made out of…you guessed it, Carbon Fiber).
This is the Hi-Octane R34 Skyline GT-R Time Attack machine. Dig this HUGE under body panel/front splitter. The Skyline is Japan’s Supercar with its all wheel drive, turbo inline 6. This car is rockin’ about 600-700 horsepower.
That should give you all a look at Time Attack and some of the top cars from around the world. Next time I wanna explore the potential your Muscle Cars and Hot Rods have for time attack competitions. Here’s one example I found just to give you some inspiration. This is literally the only American car built for Time Attack I could find in a quick Google search. A Fox body Mustang is the perfect choice….anyway, more on that in Part 2.
Anybody out there interested in this type of competition against the clock? Let us know in a comment below.
Photos by Mark Pakula at MotorMavens.com. Click the link to see more photos of the World Time Attack competitors.
Mustang photo from Speedhunters.com