SYDNEY Motorsport Park's outright lap record has stood untouched for 15 years but Bathurst's Brad Shiels is confident he has the pace to get within striking distance of that mark during the upcoming World Time Attack Challenge.
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Shiels makes a long awaited return to the event this Friday and Saturday, which hasn't been able to run since 2019, and he goes into the Pro Class as the defending champion from that division three years ago.
Taking top spot with his Tilton Racing Mitsubishi Evo isn't the only thing on Shiels' agenda this year, he has Nico Hulkenberg's long standing lap record of 1:19.1420 in his sights.
The Formula 1 driver's lap time was threatened at the previous edition of the World Time Attack Challenge, with drivers less than two tenths of a second away.
Drivers will need the weather on their side, and a possible break in this week's wet weather is predicted for the weekend.
Shiels said if the rain can stay away then drivers will be giving a record-breaking performance a red hot crack.
"This is one of the fastest cars that you could ever drive. Next to a Formula 1 car it's probably one of the fastest cars in the world. We're aiming to take the overall track record at Eastern Creek.
"We're fairly confident we can get near that. The record is currently a 1:19.1 around Sydney Motorsport Park. Our aim is to beat that.
"To put that into perspective, that's 10 seconds faster a lap than a V8 Supercar."
The cancellation of last year's Australian Time Attack only further fuelled Shiels' desire to get back to one of his favourite events.
It's only a small field in the top class for the upcoming World Time Attack Challenge but Shiels said it's going to provide a great test.
"It's unfortunate that it hasn't been able to run over the last couple of years so hopefully this one will be better than ever," he said.
"Everyone will be feeling the same, no doubt. Just itching to get out there again. It'll be myself, Tim Slade and Barton Mawer in the pro class having a shoot out to see who can get the top time."
Shiels and Tilton Racing had a disrupted lead up to the challenge due to a mix of mechanical and weather issues.
The Bathurst driver has familiarity with the Evo but said the team are going into the 2022 World Time Attack Challenge well short of an ideal preparation.
"We were due to have a test day a month ago but unfortunately as soon as we drove out of the pits it blew an engine so we didn't get to do anything that day.
"We then went for testing on Thursday last week and it rained pretty much all day. We've been really unlucky with our preparation.
"We'll just have to get out there and see how we go. The car hasn't really done anything. The last time I drove it properly was in May last year, so it's almost been a year since I've driven it."
Shiels and the pro class start their World Time Attack Challenge from Friday at 4.30pm.
The showpiece final shootout event will take place at 9.30pm on Saturday night.
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