HE might be better known as a endurance driver, but on Friday at Sydney Motorsport Park it was all about one-lap flyers for Bathurst’s Brad Shiels.
He was taking part in the sixth edition of the annual World Time Attack Challenge, two days of racing in which drivers from across the globe put their skills to the test.
Shiels competed in the Pro Class in a Holden Astra. His best lap time of 1:32.03 ranked him as the fastest front wheel drive in his division and third quickest of all front wheel drive competitors.
It was an improvement on his 1:38.3420 in the Insight Motorsport entry 12 months earlier, but Shiels knows the car could go faster.
“We were a lot faster than last year, but we hadn’t done any testing prior to the event this year,” Shiels said.
“It was a six seconds improvement from last year – I expected an improvement, but that was pretty huge. We still have got a lot of time in the car as well, because we didn’t get to do testing we had a few little set up issues.
“So we are not where we need to be yet, but I didn’t expect to be that fast and next year I think we will be faster again.”
The winner of Shiels’ class was Supercars driver Tim Slade.
Driving a Nissan Silvia, Slade clocked a record 1:22.19 lap, bettering the old mark of 1:23.77.
“That was an amazing time for a car – that’s an open wheeler time,” Shiels said.
“We obviously can’t compete with that, front wheel drive and rear wheel drive cars are very different, so we just aim to compete with the other front wheel drive cars.”
Shiels, who heads to New Zealand’s Hampton Downs for the third round of the GT Australian Endurance Championships in the last week of October, enjoyed the short format racing.
“It is completely different to what I am used to, usually we go out and have a couple of days testing before I have to set a lap time,” Shiels said.
“For this I only did three laps the whole weekend, the cars are that highly strung that they can only do one lap at a time.
“The cold tyres are that sticky when you come out of the pits and cruise around for your out lap, but after you’ve done your one lap flyer the tyres are done.
“I actually work there, my job is doing race driver coaching, so I have done thousands of laps there and know the track pretty well.
“It is one advantage I have over the overseas guys.”