Across the 13-14 of October, the Turbosmart Flying 500 returned to Sydney Motorsport Park for 2017 to kick off the Midday Mayhem series of the World Time Attack Challenge.
Kicking off the morning, all competitors arrived bright and early at the Turbosmart stand to check in for scrutineering and their driver briefing sessions.
Turning heads were the unique builds. Ray Loulach with his R&V Autoworx Turbo EG Civic got a few Honda fans breaking out the cameras, while Dennis O’Malley’s Grim Performance R32 Barra conversion ignited the burning embers of controversy. On that note check out this great little piece from Dino Dalle Carbonare from SpeedHunters: http://www.speedhunters.com/2017/10/the-2jz-is-dead-welcome-to-the-barra-era/
The crowds continued to build up at the grid to check out these high powered street legal vehicles throughout the morning, but as the day ramped up and the event drew closer the spectators grew as the Flying 500 opponents warmed their engines to take to the tarmac.
On day 1 the Turbosmart Flying 500 kicked off Midday Mayhem at the Yokohama World Time Attack, with speeds over the run climbing north of 250kph.
Cars took a flying start from Amaando Corner at the bottom end of the front straight, racing their way towards Honeywell Garrett Corner, which traditionally ends a lap of Sydney Motorsport Park.
The day started with a bang as a surprise guest appearance from Shane van Gisbergen gave a nod to the end of an era as he competed in the World’s Best Technology HSV W1; the last of its HSV kind to be produced in Australia. Proving that he is Mister Consistent he rode that car to its absolute limits giving a 187 kph pass, followed by two passes of 188 kph.
Anthony Hanania climbed towards 229 kph across the tarmac in his Ford F6 FG Falcon, while Andrew Hawkins, who is usually seen behind a camera for MotiveDVD, found himself hanging out behind the wheel of his Jet Multimedia R32-GTR. The two battled it out, with Hawkins creeping in just behind Hanania’s speed at 227 kph.
Mark Hopkins stretched to 250 kph in his Micks Motorsports Evo 9 amid ferocious competition and set the pace to be challenged. With one run remaining, Day 1 victory was snatched in the last second and went to Adam Neish as he delivered the goods and provided the best time of the three-run day as he drove the Just Engine Management Nissan R34 GTR up to 259 kph.
The Turbosmart Flying 500 returned to Day 2 with a packed crowd taking to the roof and balconies of the main pit building. With the spectators primed and ready to go, the competitors started their rollout to the straight for the final day shootout.
Starting the warm-ups early, Guy Barbour’s MazSport built RX7 drew in passer-bys, as the circulating scream of the quadrotor placed all who could hear it under a spellbound trance. As the cars started to roll off the grid, the crowds flocked to hear the sweet hum of the engines, while the marshalls struggled to clear the mass of people that had gathered.
With the path cleared and the cars now on the grid, the drivers were ready to prove their worth.
The rotor was first out to lead the pack, however Barbour only got in two runs before an issue with the oil pump belt, forced him out of contention early. Paul Toroney had been in contention with a pass of 255 kph, but the Nissan Silvia S13 didn’t have the legs to match up to the top three.
With McGranahan, Neish and Hopkins all taking shots for the top spot, Neish and Hopkins exchanged close speeds across their three runs and continued to push the boundaries with the two eventually setting a 261 kph and 265 kph respectively. This placed the JEM GTR coming in third and the Micks Motorsports Evo 9 coming in second.
However, there could only be one final man standing. With a pass of almost 270 kph, Aaron McGranahan took out the top spot setting a blistering 269 kph that placed so much downforce on his front bar; that the bumper collapsed under the pressure, pushing the undertray out from underneath the vehicle.
All in all the event went off fantastically well and the competitors were (mostly) happy with their results. For a full rundown on the final times, please see below.