DEFENDING World Time Attack Challenge Pro champion Barton Mawer has continued his dominance of the event in the Porsche RP968, setting a fastest time of 1:19.277, coming within a whisker of the standing outright track record yet again.
The magic number everyone has been chasing since the dawn of time, or at least since it was set in February of 2007, currently sits at 1:19.142 and was set by Nico Hulkenberg in a Lola Zytec A1 Grand Prix car.
Mawer’s time, a WTAC record, was set in the cooler morning session, before the heat of the day and strong winds wreaked havoc. It’s the closest anyone at the event has ever come to the outright mark.
The lap itself was something to behold. Up three tenths in the first sector, the Sydney driver was more than half a second quicker than the World Time Attack Challenge lap record by the end of the second sector.
That lap record, a 1:19.85 was set by Mawer himself at this event last year. By the third and final sector, the Thor-powered beast had set a new bench mark. It was astoundingly close to the Sydney Motor Sport Park Grand Prix Circuit lap record.
“It’s the smoothest it’s been all week,” Mawer said. “That time is good, but to be honest I’m disappointed we didn’t get a 1:18,” he added.
“We’re hungry for more – we’re making changes to the wing already. At the moment we’ve got more power than grip, we’ve just got to get it handling more and there’s more to come.”
Behind Mawer in the Royal Purple Pro Class was Supercars regular Andre Heimgartner in the MCA Hammerhead Nissan S13 Silvia, who could only manage a best of 1:21.867 and Garth Walden, who detonated body work on his car earlier in the day.
The Tilton Racing Mitsubishi Evo’s best time was 1:23.856. In the Hi Octane Direct Pro Am Class, Kostinken Pohuokov took the win with a time of 1:26.324, ahead of Sami Sivonen in the 1:1 Audi R8, with a time of 1:29.178.
The pair finished ahead of Kunihoko Bando, with a 1:29.272 in the B-Active Racing Toyota Soarer. The GCG Open Class was won by Brad Shiels in the XTREME Nissan GT-R R32 Skyline, with a time of 1:28.114.
Shiels was the only driver in the entire event to improve his time in the ‘shootout’ finale, despite the weather. “The team worked so hard for this,” he said. “We had the boost up as far as it would go. We saved a set of tyres for that lap and it was just ‘hold on’.”
Matt Longhurst bought the Integrated Motorsport Nissan GT-R R34 Skyline home in second with a time of 1:28.736, ahead of Rob Nguyen, in the Dream Projects Australia Nissan S15 Silvia (1:29.174).
In the Haltech ClubSprint Class, it was Jamal Assaad by a nano-second, with the Evolution Racing Spares Mitsubishi Evo setting a time of 1:28.614, just ahead of defending champ Brett Dickie, with a time of 1:38.824 in the Elusive Racing Honda Integra.
Nik Kalis finished third in the Metropole Mitsubishi Evo X, with a time of 1:39.276. Exhaust Notes Australia journalist Josh Muggleton also competed in the class, setting a time of 1:42.260 in the German Performance Garage Golf R.