A forecast that this weekend's World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney will be affected by rain has raised hopes of victory amongst a combined team of Australians and Japanese.
The Just Jap / ATTKD Select team says rain will suit their powerful but relatively heavy Nissan R35 GT-R - the only model of its kind competing for outright honours at the international event.
Team manager Stephen Thatcher says he will be doing a rain dance in preparation for the first competitive timed runs at Sydney Motorsport Park tomorrow (Friday 10 August).
"We're definitely hoping for some rain to take advantage of the car's four-wheel drive system. This car thrives in the worst conditions," said Thatcher.
In a case of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em', the GT-R is a joint project between Sydney firm Just Jap Imports and Japanese tuning house Autech Tsukada.
It's a serious attempt by Australians to match the visiting Japanese teams that have dominated the annual World Time Attack Challenge since 2010.
The GT-R combines a stroked 4.1-litre V6 engine built by Autech Tsukada producing roughly 600kW, with a Dodson-modified transmission and ATS limited-slip differential assembled by Just Jap Imports.
The car is stiffened by a Just Jap-fabricated Australian-spec roll cage, while suspension developed by Autech Tsukada keeps the Hankook tyres in contact with the circuit.
Adding to the multinational flavour of the project is Japanese Super GT Championship legend and Hankook factory driver, Mitushiro Kinoshita.
After finishing third in last year's World Time Attack Challenge in the Hankook Garage Revolution RX-7, Kinoshita says he "feels at home" at the Eastern Creek circuit.
"I do most of my driving in Japan but I'm very excited about coming back to Australia.
"World Time Attack is a great place to see some different teams and the work of different tuners from all over the world," said Kinoshita.
The Just Jap / ATTKD Select car has already proven competitive on Hankook tyres during testing and competition in Japan, where it has done more than 10,000 kilometres in the lead-up to the Sydney event.
Results have included winning the radial class of Time Attack 2011 at the legendary Tsukuba circuit.
At Sydney Motorsport Park the R35 will for the first time be competing on Hankook Ventus TD Z221 semi-slicks rather than fully-treaded road tyres.
Kinoshita wants to show what can be achieved with the Hankook tyres.
"I worked with the Hankook team to develop these tyres and I have a strong emotional attachment to them.
"I'm determined to do well with them," he said.
The World Time Attack Challenge will see more than 90 cars from five nations compete in Sydney on Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th of August.