Last year we covered the TimeToAttack event held at Sepang in November. It was the last round for 2013 and I had a blast covering it. I guess it was because of the lively atmosphere as well as the abundance of awesome cars participating. But it was also because I had friends who participated in the event under the Volkswagen Category sponsored by Wing Hin Autohaus.
It is now 2014 and the first round of TimeToAttack was upon us and I wanted it to be a little different. I mean I could have just applied for a media pass and went around capturing all of the events that were going on around Sepang at the time as well as camped at the various corners throughout the track capturing the cars as it zooms by.
I wanted it to be from a participants perspective so I signed up for the event without thinking much about what sort of crazy idea I had gotten myself into. Why did I think it was crazy? Well firstly, the event catered to many categories but looking at all of them, I didn’t know where my car was meant to be fitted in. Secondly, my car was running rather stock with me changing to slightly stickier tyres to keep up with the rest of the other cars. Lastly, my car was a diesel. There weren’t any diesel categories so I knew I was going to be the lone ranger during the event.
Eventually I ended up within the Euro Street category. Street meaning I had to use road legal tyres with thread wear of 140 and above. My Toyo R1R just fitted the bill (thread wear 140) and I ran them on my stock 17″ M-Sports rims (225/45/17 & 255/40/17).
The event format had changed with the registration process and car scrutinising done at the open car park. Compared to last year where there were delays with the registration process, this time everything went very smoothly. I arrived at Sepang at around 9.30am, registered at the booth and stuck the required stickers on my car. Then I headed to the scrutinising tent and when the marshals saw my car they must have been snickering as the check was as simple as just showing that my hazard lights worked. That was how plain and boring my car was. I mean, how could I compete against a chrome Nissan GTR R35?
After the registration process was completed, I headed to my designated pits to unload my car of my blower, spare tyre and other miscellaneous items. If I knew how to remove my rear seats, I would have probably done it because everyone else had already done that. I grew green with envy looking at the amazing cars that were competing, from supercars to JDM spec cars as well as other BMW’s such as the M3.
The driver’s briefing was a straightforward affair and safety was always prioritised. All drivers then headed to their cars to do a couple of parade laps. This parade lap wasn’t a lap around the track but just a simple circle around the straights in order for us to try out our transponders to make sure that it is indeed working.
Euro and GT cars were the first group out and by the time I left the pits, it was already 12.45pm. That meant the sun was blazing hot and I made the mistake of going out with tyres pumped with too much pressure. I started off with 32 PSI and by the time I did 2 laps, I knew I was losing grip because the tyres had too much air in it and they couldn’t grip. I quickly drove back into the pits and wasted time trying to find an air pressure gauge to release the air off my tyres. The gauged showed 40 PSI.
After the first round I was rather disappointed with myself. It was a rookie mistake going out with tyres that inflated and I paid the price for it by clocking 2.50 in my first round, a second slower than my personal best. So in order to ensure I didn’t make the same mistake, I went about talking to some friends who also participated in the event and tried to learn from them. Word on the grapevine taught me a couple of tricks which I applied for the 2nd round.
The clouds were dark and rain was almost upon us. Weather reports from the surrounding areas showed that it was already pouring but luckily by the time I headed out for the next round, ambient temperatures dropped about 5 degrees and away I went. Thanks to the advise I got, I managed to achieve my target time of 2.49. Although I did want to break my personal best timing but as much as I tried, I just couldn’t do it.
At the end of the day, I am happy. Happy that I managed to be the only guy driving a diesel at the event, happy that I managed to set an official time (well somewhat official) and happy that although I ran with an almost complete stock setup, I didn’t embarrass myself on the track, in front of so many spectators.
I do encourage everyone to actually try to make it for these local events. It is a lot of fun, it is also kid friendly and also the best place to let your family see up close to some of the amazing cars about as well as enjoy the atmosphere of the event.
For a full lap times list, click on this link.