Driver: John Richardson’s R33 Skyline GTS-T

If you’ve attended a track day in Victoria, chances are you’ve seen John Richardson putting his Skyline through the paces or honing his skills in his daily driver. So with World Time Attack around the corner we took the opportunity to catch up with John to see how preparations were going for his assault on the Clubsprint Class and find out what he thinks of time attack and how he got started.

“It’s (Time Attack) great for everyone. More demand means more competition, means it’s more accessible for everyone. It’s a great place to push yourself and gives you the chance to meet a whole lot of people you wouldn’t normally.”
John Richardson R33 GTST Winton

“My younger brother mentioned one day he was going to buy a Skyline. I Thought it was a good idea so I bought one as well.” As most Skyline owners quickly find out, the Skylines Australia forums hold an abundance of information for owners and John soon entered the DECA days organised by SAU Vic to freely discover the limits of his new car. “It (DECA) was geared towards beginners, so I went along and have been hooked ever since. I’ve met a heap of good people and have listened to some great advice along the way.”

As John’s driving abilities evolved, so has the GTS-T and 2014 will be the third time he makes the journey to Sydney for WTAC.
John Richardson R33 GTST WTAC

“The first year was an eye opener. The amount of money spent in club sprint was incredible. There were engines with more money spent than my whole car (still are).” This is one of the reasons why we’ve enjoyed following John’s Skyline so much. It truly represents that dedication and working on driver skill can put you at the pointy end of the biggest time attack event in the world.

“The second year, we’d changed a few things under the bonnet in an effort to get closer to the front (more power). But hadn’t had the time to properly test them. This left us with very little track time sorting out issues.”
John Richardson R33 GTST WTAC Garage

Even with reliability issues, John’s trusty pit crew helped him get the car on track so he could steer his way to 5th place in Clubsprint with a time of 1.42.0590 (a bit over 2 seconds off Clubsprint first place!). Check out the in-car of last year’s WTAC run or subscribe to the Youtube Channel.

“This year you’d think I would have learnt…I’ve spent my money on reliability this year. With cooler piping and exhaust modifications from HAVOC Fab, bushes and joints and a replacement gearbox”

Not a lot will change on the Skyline for this year “which is going to be a challenge” and as John sums it up “staying static in time attack you might as well be going backwards.”

There are plenty of things to look forward to this year though, as the improved reliability should give him a better opportunity to achieve faster lap times. “I’m also hoping to fit a new suspension setup before the event as my basic Greddy Type S setup is lacking now. We have a test day at PI running much the same setup as WTAC last year. Then hopefully new suspension will arrive and we’ll get in a test day at Winton before WTAC. I’ve got a list of parts and areas on the car to address to make it faster, but it comes down to where to spend the money available.”

The Clubsprint Class is littered with AWDs so its a common sight seeing the Skyline line up against cars like the RTR Evo. However John doesn’t see this holding him back. “The 4WD cars generally have a weight disadvantage over the RWD cars and with the front wheel bias it generally results in less mid corner speed.”
John Richardson R33 GTST vs RTR Evo

“I think MCA and Under Suzuki have demonstrated the capabilities of a RWD chassis, even in club sprint the BYP S2000 is formidable against the top Evo’s.”

“Those three RWD cars I mentioned have been able to achieve a very neutral chassis and that is not an easy task. I enjoy the challenges of both drive types. I’m still trying to find the right balance in my car, there is far too much corner exit over-steer at the moment.” As John demonstrates, testing is crucial in achieving optimal lap times and his words of advice for anyone taking their car to the track makes perfect sense too – “Allow time for testing. You can put all these great mods on your car, but if you haven’t tested before you will come away disappointed.”
John Richardson R33 GTST Winton Testing

Big thanks to John for giving us an insight into what it takes to challenge WTAC and good luck! We’ll be heading up to Sydney again this year and can’t wait to see all the action! No competitor can get to WTAC without the help of a few people so John would like to thank the following Sponsors for their continued support:

  • Motul for keeping the car going with their gear, engine, brake and coolant fluids.
  • Hypergear have been able to develop a range of responsive bolt on turbo options for RB and SR owners and the 21U PU highflow I use is great. I’m still using the standard manifold with 18PSI and pump e85 the car makes 300kw at the wheels.
  • The team at Tyrepower Frankston sort out all the wheel alignment magic.
  • Trent and Cat from Chequered Tuning who have providing great advice and have been invaluable. Not only in sorting out the tune in getting the best out of the now 18yr old engine but in finding parts and bouncing ideas off.
  • Last but not least my mates, brother and old man for all the spanner time and help at track days.

John Richardson R33 GTST Garage

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