Australian Tarmac Challenge 2009

Last week we attended the first two events of this year's NSW leg of the Australian Tarmac Challenge at Eastern Creek.

Derek Fung attended the Australian Tarmac Challenge as a guest of Jabra.

Formerly known as the Dutton Rally, this year's ATC is taking place across three states. The NSW leg had 21 events at a number of venues, including Eastern Creek Raceway, the Western Sydney International Dragway, a hill climb at Raymond Terrace, Raleigh Raceway, and locations, like Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Casino.

The first event we saw was a timed run of the Eastern Creek course and the car seen here is a 1998 Subaru WRX STi 22B coupe raced by Nick Hutchin.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Where there's smoke...

If there are WRXes running around a track, an Evo can't be far behind. Car 24 is David Pennicook's 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Enter stage left

There are three competition classes (street, club and motorsport) depending on the number and type of modifications made to your car. All cars need to be road registrable and run on road worthy tyres.

Never officially sold here, this is Geoff Stean's 1997 Mitsubishi FTO, which comes from a long history of oddly named Mitsubishi cars — FTO stands for Fresh Touring Origination, if you're curious.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Let's go to the gym

By 2001 American muscle cars were thin on the ground, with Trevor Dunstan's 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra one of the last ones standing.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

German brawn

AMG was originally an independent German tuning house specialising in Mercedes-Benz cars. Vince Muriti's 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG was produced 10 years after the German luxury giant bought up this purveyor of insanity.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia


The last generation of Mazda's RX-7 won, outright, the Bathurst 12-hour race for three consecutive years between 1992 to 1994. To honour this achievement, every limited edition run of RX-7s in Japan bears the Bathurst name.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Not the Monaro

Holden's tuning arm, HSV, added four-wheel drive, flared wheel arches and a hotter engine to the Monaro to create the Coupe 4.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R

A car a little bit like this one took on the V8s at Bathurst, winning in 1991 and 1992 before being effectively banned.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia


David Boucher's 2008 Porsche Cayman S is named after the caiman, a type of alligator, not the islands famous for being a tax haven.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Thumb twiddling

Cars sit in the lot waiting for their turn on either the circuit or figure-eight skid pan.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

No, the other left

The second event during our viewing period was the skid pan run. This Porsche 911's time was ruined because the driver forgot which way the figure eight ran.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia


Simon Tate and Jason Hay's 2002 BMW M3 goes a little bit sideways as it crosses the finishing line.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

2008 Holden Commodore Ute

With virtually no weight over the rear wheels, utes are prone to the odd bit of power sliding.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Who you calling cute?

Low weight, grippy tyres, it's little surprise to find that this 1997 Lotus Elise set a good time.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

I'll be here all night

Replica Cobras have a reputation for tail-sliding action and this Cobra lived up to it, spinning out twice.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia


This Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG may not have set a scorching time, but it did light up its rear tyres.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia

I ain't no hairdresser!

Macho it may not have been, but this modified 1991 Mazda MX-5 set the second fastest time on the skid pan. Possibly helped out by the turbo we heard snarling under its bonnet.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia
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