The first round of the new Time Attack series saw the very best the UK tuned cars come together in a tense shootout around Rockingham circuit.
The Time Attack competitors were amazingly turned out and a real credit to the UK's top tuners. After a warm-up in the morning and a further practice session the stage was set for the fastest lap shootout. Each car was given an out lap which led into their 1 flying-lap before the cars slowed for their cool down lap.
As per the Tuner GP last September our driver was the talented 22 year old Phil Keen. After our winning entrant in last years event Phil could not wait to drive the finished car in anger. Both car and driver preformed superbly all day on what was a steep learning curve.
Our Type-25 race car started life as the amazing 2006 Subaru Impreza Spec C. This car is already built for circuit work with lightweight body parts, engine oil cooler, transmission cooler and extra body bracing. the 2005 Spec C Limited recently set a laptime of 7:59mins around the famous Nurburgring circuit.
Among many of the Type-25 race cars' advanced features it is fitted with AST's amazing 3-way suspension. These adjustable dampers enabled us to pull the car into the pits for subtle suspension changes throughout the warm up and practice sessions. This was vital to adapt quickly to Rockingham's unique mix of tight in-field and banked straights.
Our new Porsche brake kit worked superbly and allowed Phil to brake extremely late and smoothly. As with many of the race cars' new parts these are, or soon will be, released for our road car range. Many of the learnt information applies directly to our new Type-25 and Spec C road cars.
The Type-25 race car uses the Motec M800 motorsport ECU to control the engine and this also gives us many extra features. The Motec's powerful i2 data logging ability allowed us to quickly download the data to see how the engine was performing. It then enabled us to analyse its performance against the circuit drawn by the software so we could see exactly what was happening around each bend and straight. For example, the data showed the car pulling over 1.54g during some of the corners which is a testament to the suspension set-up and excellent Dunlop Formula R tyres.
Rockingham's circuit has some fantastic vantage points from which to watch the action. Positioned above our pit garage we were able to watch the cars come through the in-field before accelerating up onto the pit straight.
After the tense shootout, and with an exceptional 1:32.89 lap, the Litchfield Type-25 had set the fastest time of all the saloon cars and only later beaten by the open top Dax Rush.
As shown in the video, because of Phil's quick out-lap and pace it meant that he quickly caught up the car ahead (Peugeot 206 WRC) and was held up slightly by coming out of the hairpin. This minor problem, which was not the 206's fault, is something that the organisers are going to address but it did not cost too much time. The overall winner was the RWD DAX with over 810bhp per ton! As expected it was devastatingly fast but our time was within 2 seconds which is pretty respectable.
Time Attack is a great opportunity for many of our friends and colleagues in the UK Tuning industry to showcase their considerable skills. The calibre of the cars was exceptionally high and we expect some really exciting racing throughout the series. Norris Design's 900bhp Evo was staggeringly fast down the straights and along with the RC Evo out blasted everyone on noise as well. Fensport's Toyota Celica was also really impressive and perfectly finished. Abbey Motorsport's 700bhp Skyline GT-Rex-touring car is going to get even quicker with new AST suspension planned for the next round.
Should be a fun summer. Roll on Silverstone 17th of June...