History of.. Time Attack Car Racing

August 29th, 2023

• What is time attack?
• What makes time attack different?
• Famous time attack cars
• One Perfect Lap, mates

WTAC returns in 2023 with a full scale international assault at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 1st and 2nd!

There are a dizzying number of car racing classes but for sheer engineering lunacy and boundary-pushing few come close to time attack racing. Free from the rule books constraining traditional motorsport classes, time attack racers are free to experiment with the wildest aerodynamic modifications seen on cars, not to mention the lightest weights and highest power outputs around.

But where did it come from?

What is time attack?

Born out of battles between Japanese tuning houses to prove who built the fastest street cars, time attack sees one car on the track hunting for the perfect flying lap. The car scene the world over is filled with arguments about who modifies a particular car the best, or which car is the best platform for modifying. To help cure this, the Japanese car magazine media pushed shops to put their money where their mouth is, and compete against the clock. Known as Super Lap Battles these competitions began in the 1980s just as the Japanese car industry started launching some of the most legendary, upgradeable performance cars the world has seen.

The spiritual home of time attack is Tsukuba Circuit, approximately 60km north of Tokyo. The 2.04km circuit features a wide variety of corner types, which is perfect for testing a variety of cars against each other, and has been featured extensively in racing games as well as in media like the popular Best Motoring series.

What makes time attack different?

The core intention of time attack is to test which garages build the best street tuner cars, though this has evolved in time. Today there are classes for true street-driven vehicles, while the top Unlimited classes feature purpose-built cars never designed for anything else bar one flying lap.
Because the intention of time attack was to test street cars, time attack cars have traditionally run street-legal semi-slick tyres and not purpose-made racing slicks (which are worth seconds-per-lap over road-legal tyres). Some time attack competitions now allow their Unlimited class cars to run slicks in the interests of safety, as the extreme load from the downforce simply overwhelms street tyres and causes them to blow out.

Many of these Unlimited class cars now feature aerodynamic packages designed by aerodynamicists with experience in Formula One and other top-tier motorsports. Without rules constraining aero design this has led to time attack pushing aerodynamic packages on cars past anything seen in any other form of racing, making Unlimited class time attack cars strikingly different to look at. However, these cars have to retain the loose silhouette of a production car commonly available to the public, and this is where many time attack fans are built. As the people in the stands can relate to the cars they are seeing knock out ridiculously fast lap times.

Famous Time Attack cars

With the competition starting in the land of the rising sun it shouldn’t be a shock that late-model Japanese cars are the overwhelming favourites to be built into time attack machines. Mitsubishi Evo Lancers, Nissan Skylines, Silvias and GT-Rs, Honda Civic and Integras, Toyota 86 and AE86s, and Subaru WRXs are all extremely popular platforms to use as the base for a time attack build.
Time attack gained huge popularity in the 90s as these cars were new and competition between tuning houses was at its fiercest. People would watch each time attack battle and buy the modifications for their car from the winning shops, in an aftermarket version of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. The finished cars which win time attack events are just as big personalities as the shops which build them and the drivers piloting them. The Tilton Evo, RP968 Porsche 968, HKS’ CT230R Evo, MCA Suspension’s Hammerhead S13 Silvia, the Mspeed R34 GT-R and countless others have all become celebrities in the motorsports world.


One Perfect Lap, mates

While Tsukuba is the spiritual home of time attack racing, and there are time attack events all over the world, the World Time Attack Challenge is held each year in Sydney, Australia. The brainchild of Ian Baker the World Time Attack Challenge has spent 13 years bringing some of the fastest time attack cars and drivers ever seen on the planet to one place to duke it out.

Sydney Motor Sport Park’s 3.9km Gardner Circuit provides a great place to host time attack racing with high-speeds and a mixture of corner designs to test all manner of suspension systems. The World Time Attack Challenge is on the 1st and 2nd September 2023 @ Sydney Motorsport Park.


Come to the event for the prizes! You can find more information on how to enter at our booth. Join us at our booth for a chance to win these prizes:

  • $2,000 Bride ZETA IV Seat
  • $700 Momo Mod.07 Suede 350 Steering Wheel  + NRG Quick Release Gen 3.0


See you there!