This article is part of our World Time Attack Challenge 2022 series.

As early as the 1980’s, Tsukuba Circuit would hold track days for tuning companies to display and test their street tuned cars. This became known as Time Attack, and its first official event was held in 1994 at the same track. One hundred kilometers from the home of time attack, Keiichi Tsuchiya would practice his sliding skills – known as drifting – in the Japanese mountains. Drifting would slowly grow into a global sport thanks to Japanese motoring magazines and VHS tapes.

Almost 40 years later after the birth of two of the world’s most perplexing motorsports, time attack cars would be sitting in pit lane at Sydney Motorsport Park, almost eight thousand kilometers from the spiritual home of their sport. And yet, four hundred meters away from those machines, drift cars would be sliding through the final corners of the SMSP circuit in blazing anger.

The best drift cars in Australasia and their drivers had been gathered for two days of tyre shredding to determine the Australasian Drift Titles champion, alongside this year’s World Time Attack Challenge champions.

The drifting action would take place at the final section of the SMSP circuit. Drivers would initiate through a right hander, then switch to the left, focusing on the two apex hairpin that allowed the drivers to send it in fourth gear.

Drivers would slide wide onto the run-off as they pointed their machines uphill towards the final apex and the finish.

Friday practice and qualifying would kick off the on track action for WTAC, and give the drifters their first taste of this full throttle style layout.

Although the rain would stay away, the track proved difficult to tame, taking no prisoners if drivers sent it a little to hard.

Matt Mingay would be pulling double duty at WTAC, as he not only competed in the drift competition, but also entertained the spectators with his Hot Wheels Stunt Team in between sessions.

Both Eugene Arendson and Jason Ferron would bring their unique drift machines, a Toyota Hilux and Barra powered R31 Wagon, and would take on the more orthodox platforms of Silvia, Skyline and 86.

However, as the smoke settled on Friday, it would be Levi Clarke in his colourful S15 that would take the top qualifying position followed closely by Matt Harvey and Brodie Maher in their respective S13’s.

Spectators would be treated with plenty of close and action packed battles on Saturday. Despite mediocre qualifying runs, Brad Tuhoy piloting the Zestino 86 and Pat Barlee in the awesome C6 Corvette charged through early showing they were in contention for a podium.

As the competition narrowed, the battles became closer and more fierce. Cracks were beginning to show as drivers found the limit and were knocked out of contention.

Brad Tuhoy would defeat Matt Harvey in the quarter finals whilst the hard charging Luke Fink and Pat Barlee would make contact, leaving Fink’s car unable to make it to the third place battle.

That was not the end of the action either, as Barlee would spin out infront of Tuhoy in his lead run, causing front-end damage to both cars.

In his first finals appearance, Brad Tuhoy would be declared the Australasian Drift champion, with Pat Barlee second, and Matt Harvey finishing a solid third.

An exciting two days of drifting only added to the atmosphere and intensity of WTAC, and proved why the annual drifting comp has become a staple at this time-attack-centric festival of speed.

Word & Images – Noah Thorley

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