The time has come to leave Sydney, and make my way back home to New Zealand, but not before the best car event on the planet!

Ah, Sydney. You’ve been great, but our time together has come to an end. You’ve given me an extremely warm winter, warm-hearted friends, and warm racetracks. The approaching deadline for me to leave the country couldn’t come quick enough though, and that’s for one reason, and one reason only; the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC). Yes, the festival of awesome dictated which return flight I would take back to the land of the long white cloud, as I had been told it’s the best automotive event of the year for a Japanese-performance petrolhead like myself. 

Why is it so awesome? Well, firstly, you need to understand that the mad man behind the show, Ian Baker, is a time attack fanatic, and on numerous occasions has told me he just wants ‘cool shit’ at the event. It’s this ‘cool shit’ that makes the event awesome. Oh, and did I mention that the fastest tin-top circuit cars in the world just hang out on the pits, and on the circuit? Forget your full-slick, V8-powered Aussie supercars — they’re slow in comparison to the semi-slick, turbocharged, mostly Japanese tin on display at WTAC. 

Seeing as this was my first WTAC, I had booked most of the week off for it. I had good friend and professional driver Alastair Wootten and buddy Damian Smuts over for the event too, so it was all turning out to be rather special. After picking up the lads from the airport, we made our way to Thursday’s test day, which you can read here. Holy smokes! The test day was better than anything I had ever seen! Famous Japanese drivers, such as Keiichi Tsuchiya, Tarzan Yamada, and Nobuteru Taniguchi, all just hanging out in the pits getting familiar with their new drive. 

What an incredible bloke Under Suzuki is. Totally down to earth, and he didn’t mind us lurking around his pit area, taking photos of his billet SR20-powered Nissan Silvia S15. In person, Suzuki’s S15 is just huge.

It’s hard to imagine it, but when you see it for real you realize why it’s so darn fast. The aero is bigger than any race car I have ever seen, and with the billet SR20 engine with VE head, it’s just pure mental. 

Thursday was my true day to get out and shoot some photos, as Friday and Saturday I would spend most of my time in the media room, hiding behind my laptop pumping out event updates for you all. In a way, it was a good thing. The pits were relaxed, drivers and mechanics were more open to a chat, and there were thousands less people. Something that changed slowly, starting with Friday as the crowds began to appear.

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.