As we announced earlier in the year, a seven-car strong Kiwi contingent is heading over to Sydney Motorsport Park for the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) held over October 14–15, 2016. We caught up with the team as they loaded their cars into containers, ready to make the journey across the ditch.
Among those heading over is drifter Troy Jenkins, who will be campaigning his RB30DET-powered Nissan S15. His brother Ben won’t be driving alongside Troy, but he was there eagerly packing the container with everything needed to throw down. The car now sports a brand-new livery from Big Brown Industries that, in true Jenkins brothers’ fashion, is extremely loud — if that wasn’t already enough to grab your attention, they opted to make use of the night-time setting, with reflective sections incorporated into the design, which will illuminate the entire car under the track spotlights.
The additional Origin Labo aero also helps to complete the aggressive persona that the car exudes, and includes a new carbon-fibre front lip and carbon-fibre canards, with the trusty Big Country Labs wing remaining down back.
Mechanically the car remains relatively the same — the RB26/30 combination still packing the hearty Garrett GTX3582R turbo — with the team giving the engine a freshen up internally to ensure their weekend isn’t cut short.
The boys will be joined by Time Attack–driver Kat Benson in the BurgerFuel Evo. Leading up to hopping the ditch, the car underwent a serious amount of upgrades and now packs MCA Suspension all round, with new Brembo calipers and rotors, and a full aero package, which includes fiance Andrew Redward’s wing and E&H-made front splitter. But recently, everything unraveled on the dyno when the team discovered that the car was low on compression, and the call was made to rip the engine and box out. “When I was told that the motor had to come out on Tuesday I was a little bit nervous,” Kat told us.
Needless to say, the prospect of a full rebuild was daunting, and with the motor and box sitting on the floor, it wasn’t looking good. The team at E&H not only managed to complete a full engine rebuild in the space of two days, they also created a new induction system and installed a gaggle of Turbosmart pieces that had arrived for the car. Not to do things by halves, a KAPS Transmissions gear set was also installed in the factory gearbox before being tidied up. The car is now complete, and was able to be loaded into the container ready to cross water, and is looking — and running — better than ever.
Not to be outdone on the livery front, Nico ‘Tanefa’ Reid rolled into the yard with a fresh new look that had been applied only the night before. Paying homage to his Maori heritage, the look makes use of traditional tā moko–style designs, while the wing mirrors wear tino rangatiratanga flags. The green-on-white theme shows off just how wide the car is, only just clearing the container's walls, and the larger-than-life rear wing had to be removed to squeeze under the roof.
Nico’s crew suggested chucking the new engine in for the weekend, but he wanted to stick with what he knew and had run for a number of seasons — the faithful RB25DET. After blowing the head gasket at Chrome, the engine was rebuilt from the ground up by Ewen at Auckland Engine Rebuilders. Not wanting anything else to let them down, the G-Force gearbox, driveshaft, and diff were also all rebuilt, with every arm and bush replaced. In the odd chance of any of that failing, they have also packed nearly a full car worth of parts.
Bruce Tannock arrived early in the afternoon due to a few last-minute setbacks. He gave the car a wheel alignment in the morning, but told us he hadn’t gotten the chance to test out the new MCA Suspension, which was put together by Australian Josh Cootes, who has previously campaigned in D1NZ. He said that he was feeling apprehensive about the amount of time for testing over there.
“We have about an hour’s worth of testing time on the Thursday, and with 35 or so cars there it will be hard to give it a good shakedown before Friday,” Bruce told us. “The front has been stiffened, while the rear was softened, but, speaking with Curt Whittaker, once the track gets covered in rubber it’s pretty grippy, so we’ll have to see how it goes.” On the oily side of things, the car remains untouched, and it still packs the iconic Rocket Bunny kit that Bruce has become recognized for, which is filled out by a huge set of Work Meister S1Rs.
Once landed in Australia, the cars will be transported to Sydney Motorsport Park, and teams will make any last-minute changes during the testing session on Thursday. We wish all those going, including Andy Duffin, Phil Sutherland, and Carl Thompson, all the best across the ditch, while showing the Aussies how us Kiwis party.