BRINGING THE FIRE TO WTAC
He was one of the most popular Japanese drivers at Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) 2017, and now Yoshiki ‘Fire’ Ando is set to return to the land down under pedalling his wild Evo IX that has recently undergone a serious amount of work with the full support of Japanese tuning house Escort. After their already impressive debut last year, Fire and the team at Escort have rebuilt the car with a single purpose in mind: to take out full bragging rights in Pro class.
The version-one car ran a 51.8-second lap at Tsukuba Circuit earlier this year and finished fifth in the Pro class at WTAC 2017 with a 1m 27.3s peeler. Despite proving competitive on the first attempt, the team has reworked the car heavily for this year’s event in the hopes of shaving bucketloads of time off their 2017 effort. The aero has been dramatically revised, with Fire and the Escort team enlisting the help of their mates in the Super GT series to design a brand-new package that was built in-house at Escort.
The team has also joined the billet big league with the addition of a Bullet Race Engineering billet aluminium block and added a mammoth GCG GTX3584RS — with a healthy dose of nitrous oxide controlled by a MoTec ECU to spin up the snail — to push power levels upwards of 700kW at the wheels on Martini Racing E85 — a far sight more than what they were dancing with last year.
The front and rear diffs have been switched out for a pair of trick ATS carbon-fibre jobbies, while the brakes have also undergone the full carbon-fibre treatment, with a set of RPS rotors paired with billet Endless calipers. And what would a serious Time Attack car be without the hum of a sequential gear swapper, selecting a six-speed Holinger unit for the job.
“We built this to take on the fastest in the world and that is the challenge!” laughed Fire. “We will be pushing hard for the win this year and have made the changes we hope will bring it to fruition.”