Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 1
Toronto Motorsports Park
Cayuga, Ontario, Canada
May 13th, 2012
It was a cool early morning at Toronto Motorsports Park for round one of the 2012 Sigma Time Attack (SRTA) series. The day began as usual with registration confirmation and brief driver’s meeting around the SRTA mobile office. Despite the weather forecast calling for rain and mild temperature, nearly 50 drivers / teams were ready to go and hit the tarmac for some opening lapping.
By mid-morning the sun had come out and cars were sporting their track wheels, suspensions were dialed in and helmets on.
The MT Motorsport / AutoMotoFoto.net Suzuki driven by Tim Hillier was looking good with its fresh set of Hoosier racing slicks, boost set to 10psi and firing on all three pistons (yes, you read correctly – it is a 3-cylinder engine). There is no doubt that this 1,500-pound rocket could go fast, it was just a matter of the transmission holding up and how brave Hillier was going to be behind the wheel.
Unlike other lapping and / or time attack events, the SRTA is all about bringing the very best driving talents from all aspects – amateur to professional level – at one track and for a hot lap competition. Lined up and ready to head onto TMP’s road course was Dov Aronoff’s Subaru Impreza 2.5RS (NV Auto) which we featured just weeks ago ahead of Pat Piotr Burdon’s Mazda RX-7 (BosoMode | NEO Motorsport) and a rare Nissan Pulsar GTi-R.
How often does one see a Nissan GT-R (R32) being hunted down by a 120hp+ Mazda Miata? This is a perfect battle pairing of power and all-wheel drive vs. light weight and rear-wheel drive.
On the back straight of TMP were these three keeping pace in the pack with the nimble MazdaSpeed3 leading the way followed by Mike Bartlett’s C6 Corvette and an LS-powered Mazda RX-7 just behind. Turbo 4-cylinder up against two large V8s, a challenge not often seen.
Chris Boersma’s turbocharged 1999 Honda Civic SiR was not only sounding like a bat out of hell, but was also sticking to the corners like it was on rails! Powering this beast is a B18 that has been massaged to the tenths. We look forward to featuring this great car in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.
Mazda’s marketing has had much luck with their “More Mazdas are raced every week than any other car brand” ad campaign, but it’s true! During the SRTA, I counted at least 10 Mazdas at the paddock ranging from a slew of Miatas (of various generaitons), to the Mazda3 and plenty of RX-7s / RX-8s. It’s good to know that a little four-cylinder can rival its rotary sports car sibling – this is what motorsports is about!
The only accident (of sorts) during the day was Chris Boersma’s Civic SiR at Corner 5. The incident happened just as Boersma was making the corner and his rim with tire came off the vehicle. Thankfully, Boersma kept the car straight and safely got off the track.
The cause? His 949 Racing 6UL wheel was sheered off completely leaving the rest of the rim affixed to the hub – lug nuts and all too! The smoke that you see coming from under his wheel well is due to the high temps of the brakes and his hot engine sitting on the grass. Thankfully, there was no fire or further damage to his car other than a bent up fender and minor cosmetic damage – at least from what was known yesterday. The vehicle will be further examined and we hope to report some good news or not. The most important thing is that Boersma (the owner / driver) is safe and not injured – fenders and cars can always be replaced, not a life.
The remains of the 949 Racing 6UL wheel. As you can tell all 12-spokes were sheered off from the remaining part of the wheel still affixed to the hub. Could it be a faulty design, bad metallurgy, or just a random case? We will be investigating this issue more as we hear back from all parties especially as there have been many reports of bad products entering the market under various brands. 949 Racing has had a good reputation especially with Miata enthusiasts in North America as many run their wheels, but this incident makes one question their quality control – especially if branded as a track wheel and causing catastrophic failure on a vehicle.
After nearly 30-minutes and thanks to the help of both track hands, the SRTA crew, and the driver (Chris Boersma) the vehicle was able to be jacked up with a combo of mechanical and human power for a spare rim to be put on so the car could be towed back to the paddock. KUDOS to everyone for their help – “United we stand, divided we fall!”
Setting the fastest pace all day at the track was James Houghton in his Teknotik.com-sponsored Integra Type-R. If you’re a Honda fan, then this is your vehicle of choice for track runs!
A not so common sight at any track is this MazdaSpeed Protege in a beautiful sun burst orange.
Another casualty of the day was the MT Motorsport / AutoMotoFoto.net Suzuki during its final time attack lap. The issue was a simple fuse that popped and as such shut down the standalone ECU. Hillier was on pace to hit 1:24 during this lap, but will have to settle for a 1:25 – a strong showing for this car’s first ever time attack challenge and Hillier’s first time on this road course! We are all very proud!
Jason Woo in his Mazda Miata (MT Motorsport / AutoMotoFoto.net) looked strong lap after lap and loved his new tune on his supercharged 4-cylinder. You could hear this car’s blower whine half-track before you ever saw the vehicle – oh so awesome!
Who ever said cute small cars couldn’t track? This Toyota Vitz showed that anything is possible given the right tools and skill. Congrats to the driver for laying down some quick times and looking great while doing so in his blue hatch!
Like Mazda? Well this is one of many carving through the corners all day long. It might not have cool looking aerodynamic bits, a whale tail or a powerful engine, but its consistency time and time again is what matters. Gotta love the locked-eyes look of the driver as he hits the apex on point and powers out.
Mazda RX-8 love for all to enjoy. This rotary rocket looked great speeding down into Corner 9. It may not have a boosted engine like its predecessor, but its balanced chassis is what its all about.
Winner of SRTA’s Group B is Douglas Love in his ’04 Mazda RX-8 with a time of 1:26.82! Congrats to Love for putting down the consistent fast laps and making fellow rotary owners proud!
The biggest winner of the day overall and racing in Group A was James Houghton in his Integra Type-R laying down a best lap of 1:20.95. Houghton was attempting to break into the 1:19-range, but came short a few tenths – next time it is!
After a full day of lapping and time attack runs, it was time to wrap things up. The drivers gathered for a brief award ceremony and drivers began packing up their rigs for the long journey home. AMF would like to thank the entire crew at Sigma Racing Time Attack and all of the participants for an incredible turn out! The car gods gave us perfect weather, no one got hurt (despite the two mechanical issued mentioned) and everyone put on a strong performance. Onto the next event on June 10th, 2012 at Mosport International Raceway – DDT. Until then, keep your helmets on and your foot planted through the apex!
SRTA Race Results – Round 1
For more information, please visit Sigma Racing Time Attack
Words & Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec