DRAG Challenge is unashamedly based on Hot Rod’s highly successful Drag Week. And, while Australia’s road rules are significantly more restrictive than those in the US, we thought a Drag Week-style event could work in Oz.
We kept the rules as loose as possible, essentially opening it up to any street-registered car that could do the trip. The kicker that separates Drag Challenge from any other event in Australia is that each car has to complete the road course under its own steam – no car trailers allowed! Any necessary gear has to be carried in the car, or in a trailer no more than 1.9m high.
The cars were divided up into simple classes: Radial Aspirated and Blown (for cars competing on radial tyres no bigger than 275) and Outlaw Aspirated and Blown (for cars running any other type of rubber, such as M/T streets or full slicks).
Fuel was open and exhausts could be removed when permitted by the tracks.
WE arranged to run at four tracks: Sydney Dragway, Motorsport Training Australia outside Albury, Calder Park Raceway and Heathcote Park. The plan was for racers to hand in their best time slips from Sydney, Calder and Heathcote, and the class winners were awarded to those who had the best average time across the three tracks.
The racing, at Motorsport Training Australia, was Street Outlaws-style over 150m, with no time slips and with the competitors racing for trophies, bragging rights and a $500 Pro Flow voucher.
IT was decided to keep the first event small and we only sent out 50 invitations. Of those, 18 entrants made it to Sydney Dragway for the start of play –a handful were unable to make it due to other commitments, or having cars that were not quite ready. We also kept the event strictly under wraps to keep things simple for our first hit out. The field was a cracker, with Terry Seng’s twin-turbo VC Commodore the fastest car of the lot, with a 7.97sec time slip to its name.
Other heavy hitters included Mark Arblaster’s WAR440 Val – a car expressly designed for Drag Week-style events and with an 8.5sec PB – and Quentin Feast’s twin-turbo LS-powered Torana, which ran a new PB of 8.59sec during the event. There were also a bunch of nine and 10-second cars and a few staunch 11-second streeters – including Brenton Miller’s Centura driven all the way from Cairns.
Some pulled trailers, some didn’t. Some dropped their exhausts and fitted race rubber at the tracks; others ran them in full highway mode. All of them put in a massive effort to be there and every single car made it through the road course – although some did it easier than others!
LUKE Foley’s single turbo LS-powered VH Commodore suffered the most drama, but Luke and his mates pulled off a series of herculean all-nighters to keep the car running for the whole trip.
There are a heap of great ‘against-the-odds’ stories of teamwork and we’ll cover them all in the January 2014 issue of Street Machine – and in a 45-minute documentary that should be available for download in December. We’ll also have a story on the Street Machine Shootout online in a day or two. In the meantime, click through the gallery for the results and keep your eyes peeled for some preview videos over the next couple of weeks.