Finding Nemo


We were shocked to hear this number, if true, it’s typical of the top 4WD Time Attack cars and at least one current top three is a good bit lighter.  It seems all that work in the rear end didn’t impact the weight much, some gains in strength, but that’s a small effect. The primary gain from all that; as it turned out, was making space for the aerodynamics.


It got even more interesting to find out the truth on the power claims, David Lenthall of GT Auto Garage gave us the numbers and Andrew Brilliant explained the full story of the lead up.  According to Andrew, the car had blown up multiple engines in testing prior to the event, one quite violently;


“The owner had chased these big power engines and they kept falling apart, the car had not done a lap in anger, we all knew it would be an unhappy ending if we didn’t start running reliable laps.  For the third engine, we set the car to an ultra conservative power number, just to let us shake it down properly.  That setting ended up being what we ran at WTAC.  The simple fact is the engine side of the program needed more time to be competitive, it was not up to the level of some of the other teams.  Changes were made in who was involved in the program, but there was no time left before the race.”


David Lenthall from GT Auto verified this: “Chris brought the car for us to tune a new engine for WTAC.  I set the boost for 20psi on the 25.7 sec lap and we got as high as 22-23psi on the 25.0 sec lap, that should be around 340-380 kW, the turbo is not very happy in that range. We had heard about the prior engines, they asked us to set it up conservatively until they got to the bottom of their engine program.”  For us Yankees, that translates to about 450-500 wheel HP.


So what truly made this car so fast if it weighed approximately 1200 kg and only had 500 HP?   I can only give my opinion, but I’d say it was a great combination of aerodynamics, a well-run professional Motorsport team and of course a very capable driver.


The aero was called extreme by many, no longer resembling an Evo. However in retrospect, and taking into consideration some current cars, what was once extreme is now, well, standard.  Those once distinct characteristics of Nemo are pretty much scattered across all of the cars competing at the top of the field.


Most of the people involved in the Nemo project were tight-lipped about the car’s fate, it took some digging, but I confirmed the owner owed a lot of money to suppliers.  It’s a sad but typical story in the motorsport business.  We also know the owner transported the car from the track and it hasn't been seen since.  People have tried to purchase the car without success.  We can only assume the car that once changed everything, is now collecting dust in a garage somewhere in Australia.

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