Mark Berry Reveals How His Advan / Hi Octane R34 GT-R Went 2.2 Seconds Faster At 2011 World Time Attack Challenge
In an exclusive interview today with The Tuners Group, Mark Berry, the owner and driver of the Advan / Hi Octane R34 GT-R pro class World Time Attack Challenge car, has revealed how the dramatic 2.2 second lap time reduction witnessed at last week's 2011 World Time Attack Challenge was achieved.
As detailed in our 2011 World Time Attack Challenge Wrap Up article, "Last year at the 2010 WTAC, the car ran a 1 min 34.109 second lap. This weekend the car ran a 1 minute 31.905 second lap ... a full 2.2 seconds faster than last year."
At this level in Pro Class, where improvements are hard to make and are measured in hundreds of a second, 2.2 seconds is a truly massive improvement.
There was speculation after the event about exactly how this huge improvement was achieved on such an already highly developed pro class car.
A new aero package was developed for the car for 2011, with a Formula One designer hired to work on the aero for Mark's car, and the car is now running one of our DJ Engineering wings designed by world renowned wing designer and aerodynamics author Simon McBeath.
Despite the fact that a Formula One designer had worked on the car's aero, and that Simon McBeath had designed the rear wing, some people outside of Mark's team were wondering how much difference the new aero package and new rear wing made to the car's laptime.
How had the dramatic 2.2 second lap time improvement at the 2011 World Time Attack Challenge been achieved ? Had the car been lightened ? Was the car making more power this year than last year ? Had Mark's driving skills improved ?Mark Berry at the wheel of the R34 GT-R. Photo by Mark Pakula
So to set the record straight, we went directly to Mark Berry and asked him to explain how the dramatic 2.2 second lap time improvement was achieved.
In the interview today, Mark Berry said ...
"The car is 80 kg (176 lbs) heavier than last year, and has less power.
All the speed in the car this year was from aero."
When we then asked Mark if his driving skills had improved since last year, he replied that after last year's 2010 World Time Attack Challenge, he only drove in one event - an event at Lakeside Raceway in which he drove the Hi Octane R32 GT-R (the other Advan / Hi Octane GT-R).
Kudos to Mark for being so honest about the suggestion that his driving skills had improved. Many drivers would be all too happy to place the credit for lap time improvements on their own driving skills. But Mark clearly understands that racing is a team sport with many people working very hard to achieve the results, and Mark clearly has great respect for the hard work of everyone involved with the car.
It also must be said that for Mark to have done so little track driving after the 2010 World Time Attack Challenge, for him to be able to jump straight back into the R34 at the 2011 event and run right up there with the fastest time attack drivers in the world, finishing 6th in the top level international Pro Class, is an absolute testament to Mark's outstanding talent as a driver.
So there you have it. Direct confirmation from Mark Berry that "All the speed in the car this year was from aero".
So even though Mark advises that the car was 80kg heavier than last year and had less power, the car ran 2.2 seconds faster.
As lighter versions of certain parts on the car are built in the future, the car's weight will drop, and we expect the car will then be even faster.
The rear wing is already very light indeed, as it is made from genuine pre-preg carbon fibre.
This result is of course yet another example of how important properly engineered aero is in time attack racing, and a great example of how much of a reduction in lap times that properly engineered aero can make. The 2.2 second improvement on Mark's car speaks for itself.
A huge congratulations to DJ Engineering, to Simon McBeath (the designer of the DJ Engineering rear wing run on Mark's car), to the Formula One designer who has been working on the aero on Mark's car, to Mark Berry, to Mark's extremely dedicated and hardworking crew, and to all the people and sponsors involved with the car.
Info on The Tuners Group's Racecar Engineering & Development Team is here ...
Our tech article titled "An Introduction To Racecar Aerodynamics & How Aero Can Improve Your Laptimes" is here ...
More info on Mark's R34 can be found in our customer cars gallery here ...