Logan Road vehicular performance and mechanical workshop, 101 Motorsport, are stamping their name firmly upon the Australian Time Attack car-racing scene thanks to some recent successes in the growing sport.
101 Motorsport, which has a reputation within the south east Queensland engine-tuning industry for building very fast cars, has been involved in Time Attack racing since 2010, when local driver Robert Nguyen approached them to prepare his early model Honda CRX for competition.
The car, which features a vibrant pink and white colour scheme, extensive aerodynamic work and a 101 Motorsport- built naturally aspirated K26 motor under the bonnet, is a serious bit of racing gear.
After realising the potential of the little front-wheel-drive car, which is not the preferred drive-train configuration for motorsport, 101 Motorsport owner Varun Sharma said he decided to sponsor the vehicle.
Since then the team hasn’t looked back, successfully racing the CRX at competitions such as the respected World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC), and the Queensland Raceway Japanese National Titles.
Time Attach features individual vehicles racing against the clock with only a limited number of cars on the track at the one time
The car raced at this year’s WTAC at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway in August against a truly international field, including teams from Japan, New Zealand, the US and the UK.
Mr Sharma said the event, which started in 2010, was growing and competition was much fiercer this year than in the previous year.
“The trip to Sydney was 100 per cent worth it,” Mr Sharma said.
“We closed the workshop for three days and in the end we only managed to get two good and hassle-free laps, but it was still worth the sacrifice.
“We [with Rob Nguyen as driver] came away with trophies for fastest front wheel drive and fastest naturally aspirated car in Open Class, against some very tough competition.”
Considering the quality of the cars, drivers and workshops competing, these are far from insignificant achievements for 101, particularly when using a front-wheel-drive car.
In addition, Rob and the car also managed the fastest outright lap time at the 2012 Queensland Raceway Japanese National Titles in September, beating a plethora of serious Time Attack cars.
Mr Sharma said there had been a growing interest in the sport in Australia in recent years.
Mr Sharma said this boom in interest could be attributed to the technology and engineering involved in the cars.
Time Attack held a significant drawcard compared with many other strictly regulated forms of motorsport because car choice and modifications were almost unlimited.
Mr Sharma said Time Attack racing was also appealing because it pushed the limits of the individual driver and vehicle more than other forms of motorsport.
“Time Attack racing is very ‘on the edge’, more so than drifting, circuit or drag racing and, of course, it was Rob’s preferred form of motorsport,” he said.
Local Time Attack aficionado and founder of motoring website The Heart of Racing, Joshua Slapp, said Time Attack racing was not something to be taken lightly.
“If you actually want to get somewhere in Time Attack and win races, you need a lot of commitment, immense driving talent and, these days, an ever- increasing budget,” Mr Slapp said.
“Competition in this form of racing is fierce, even locally around Brisbane.
“If you lose dedication you’ll be quickly overtaken.”
The team at 101 Motorsport are well aware of the challenges of Time Attack racing, which is why they decided to employ the expertise of former Formula One engineer Barry Lock to sort out the aerodynamics of Nguyen’s CRX.
With countless hours put into perfecting the design, the CRX is now as aerodynamically fluid as a car from the late 1980s can be.
Motorsport fan Julian Nguyen said he believed there was a lot more in store for the 101 Motorsport CRX.
“It’s a quick car for sure, and Rob and the 101 team did really well this year at WTAC, but I believe there’s plenty more to come,” Mr Nguyen said.
Mr Sharma said the future for 101 Motorsport involved building the CRX to be the fastest naturally aspirated car in Australia before shipping it off to conquer tracks around the world.
He said he also hoped to eventually build a Nissan Skyline R34 GTR to compete in WTAC’s elite racing class, the Pro Class.