Time Attack is a relatively new style of motorsport that has been taking the world by storm in recent years. Originating on the race tracks of Japan, Time Attack ignores the traditional head to head style of racing, instead focusing upon the pursuit of the perfect lap – one car, one driver, one track…
Following its introduction in 2006, the UK Time Attack Championship has grown to become the largest and most professional Time Attack Championship in the World – being formally recognised by the UK motorsport governing body, the MotorSport Association, in 2010.
One of the most recognisable names to emanate from Time Attack is world-famous Subaru tuning house, and official Öhlins Centre, Roger Clark Motorsport. Founded in 1991 by the late Roger Clark, himself a highly established rally driver, the company's first Time Attack vehicle was a highly tuned GC8 Impreza nicknamed 'Gobstopper' with which the team secured the 2008 and 2009 titles (along with a whole host of silverware) and made headlines around the world, winning the hearts of fans in the process.
Following several years away, 2014 sees the team make their long awaited full-time return to the UK Time Attack Championship with Gobstopper 2, a car three years in the making. And after two rounds, the car has again made headlines for all the right reasons! We caught up with Matt Clark from Roger Clark Motorsport to find out a little more.
"Time Attack is a special Championship for us, it's one of the last few motorsport series that allows completely open and unlimited tuning – something that we as a company based around performance tuning can use to show off our skills. In fact, in the tuning world, Time Attack and our old car Gobstopper really put us on the map. We specialise in Subaru, tuning customer's cars for a whole number of reasons – from drag racing to rallying, racing, track-days and even general road use. We've always had a strong customer base, but after winning the title in 2008 and again in 2009 we really set ourselves up as the leaders in Subaru tuning and have customers coming from all over the globe."
While they might not have completed a full season in Time Attack since their title winning year in 2009, the team at Roger Clark Motorsport have not been resting on their laurels. They spent the interim years expanding the business, moving into a highly impressive facility based in Hinckley, near Leicester. The new facility provided them complete control over the expanding business, enabling them to now control their parts and shipping in-house thanks to a large and efficient storage area, a smart meeting room for presentations and interviews, a big workspace including an engine building room and most importantly their own Dyno room.
"Our new facility is something we're really proud of," continued Matt, "it lets us control everything in-house which is something we continue into our racing exploits too. We're a small team of people, preparing the race car during the week before we all go to each round where my brother Olly actually races the car. This gives us a real family feel, people can see us at the race circuit on Sunday then again Monday morning working on the cars in the workshop."
Their return to competing full-time in Time Attack follows three years of building the follow up to their Championship winning machine. Gobstopper 2 represents the pinnacle of Subaru power and has already proved popular amongst fans. "We've entered the Pro category in this year's Time Attack Championship. It's the top category and although we'll be going head to head with some of the country's leading car tuners, the Championship is open to anyone as there's multiple classes that run throughout the weekend, from entry level street classes to the very best of the best."
"Gobstopper 2 has been some three years in the making and we've gone all out to make sure it lives up to its predecessor. That first car has given us so much over the years that we wanted to make sure the next one we rolled out would cause just as much of a stir.Although we've started from scratch, the car is more evolution than revolution when compared to the first one.
There is no limit to what you can do in Time Attack, so we've boosted power and saved weight in every area possible but in order to achieve the 'perfect' lap, you need a car that can handle, which is why we chose to use custom Öhlins TTX46 Coilover units."
It's clear from talking to the guys at RCM the passion they have for their vehicles and what sets them apart is their pure openness. There is no hiding away their tricks of the trade, if you need advice they are more than willing to share it and almost every part in the car is available to buy from the team.
The 2014 Time Attack Championship kicked off at April 6th at Silverstone. The Roger Clark Motorsport Team posted an incredible sub one minute lap round the National circuit topping the times with a 58.488 second lap. At the next round in Knockhill, Scotland the team posted the fastest time in each of the four sessions, despite some 'dodgy' weather throughout, to take overall victory.
The series has rounds at Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch. For more on Time Attack visit www.timeattack.co.uk and to learn about Roger Clark Motorsport, visit www.rogerclarkmotorsport.co.uk.
Gobstopper II Tech Spec
Weight – 1160kg
Power – 780bhp
Powerplant: RCM 2.0L Race Engine
Drivetrain – 6 speed gearbox with Zytek Paddle Shift system
Brakes – AP Racing 380mm front and 340mm rear
Suspension spec: TTX46 MT MKII, TTX McPherson type dampers as used in WTCC The valving specification is specific to the Gobstopper II and characterised by RCM to suit their requirements with assistance from the special Öhlins VRP (Valve Referencing Programme).