A time attack is a type of motorsport where the race cars compete against a clock, and not directly against each other. Each car is timed through one circuit of the track, and there are no other cars on the track at that time. The car makes a preliminary circuit, then runs the timed lap, and then finishes with a cool-down lap.
Time attack and time trial events differ by competition format and rules. Time attack has a limited number of laps, time trial has open sessions.
Unlike other timed motorsport disciplines such as sprinting and hillclimbing, the car is required to start off under full rolling start conditions following a warm up lap where they will have to accelerate out as fast as possible to determine how fast they enter their timed lap. Commonly, as cars consist of modified road going cars, cars are required to have tires authorized for road use.
Time attack events began in Japan in the mid-1960s. They have since spread around the world. An international event known as World Time Attack Challenge has been held at Sydney Motorsport Park, Australia since 2010 attracting the fastest time attack teams from around the globe to compete.
National Auto Sport Association Time Trial (NASA TT) series is a national auto competition program, utilizing regional series based on a time trial style format, with rules that establish car classifications to provide a contest of driver skill. NASA TT is designed to bridge the gap between NASA HPDE (High Performance Driving Events), and wheel-to-wheel racing.
NASA TT provides a venue for spirited on-track competition with a high degree of both safety and convenience. NASA TT competition will take place during NASA HPDE-4 sessions or in separate TT run groups, depending on the event schedule and number of participants. In addition to having a set of National NASA TT Rules, the rules, safety guidelines, and driving requirements of the HPDE-4 program apply to NASA TT. These rules can be found in the NASA CCR (Club Codes and Regs).
Many computer and video games include a time attack (or time trial) mode, in which the main goal is to complete levels — or, in some cases, the entire game — as quickly as possible. This mode prioritizes completion time ahead of other measures of success such as high scores. In cases where a game does not have a dedicated time attack or trial mode, a fast completion is frequently known as a speedrun.
Usually the best results achieved in a time attack mode are stored in long-term memory by the game (on a hard disk or non-volatile memory), so they can be shared with friends or improved upon at a later date. Racing games often feature "ghost cars" which are saved when the player sets a record time. In subsequent races, the ghost car follows the path the player took when setting that record, allowing them to clearly gauge how they are performing against the previous achievement. Saved ghost cars can often be shared with other players.
The inclusion of a time attack mode can often be an effective way of adding replay value to a game. Racing games may also include ghost cars recorded by the development staff — attempting to beat their times can provide a final challenge to players who have mastered the rest of the game. Often the game provides other incentives to use the time attack feature; GoldenEye 007, a first-person shooter on the Nintendo 64, encouraged players to revisit levels more than once by offering unlockable cheat options as a reward for completing them within target times.
Sometimes the settings of a time attack mode are "locked" in order to standardize competition between players. For example, Soul Calibur features a time attack mode automatically set to two rounds for a win, the normal difficulty setting and a default time limit; but it also features an alternative Arcade mode, which allows any option settings to be used and saves record times separately.