11-second VF Commodore SS-V Redline Sportwagon

Darren Parker and his Commodore wagon were models of consistency all week in Drag Challenge 2018 to take out the K&N DYO class

Photographers: Michelle Porobic, Chris Thorogood

IN RACING, as in many areas of life, consistency is the key. And it was the razor-sharp thousandths-of-a-second consistency of Darren Parker, driving his VFII Commodore SS-V Redline Sportwagon, that earned him the K&N Dial Your Own winner’s trophy at Drag Challenge 2018.

Holden VF SportwagonWith timeslips in the 11s, his Commodore daily obviously isn’t standard under the bonnet. Being one of the last built, his SS-V Sportwagon has a 6.2-litre mill from the factory, which Darren has upgraded with a CNC-ported heads-and-cam kit. The trans and exhaust have been tweaked, too, and the diff gears dropped. The result is 470hp at the wheels. The rear suspension – independent in all Commodores for the past two decades – has been settled down with a bunch of bits imported from the US and intended for a Camaro.

Holden VF sportwagonBut there was more to Darren’s effort and success than simply putting his car in D and flooring it. He has been running cars down the quarter for a long time – he’s a past National Super Stock champ – so he used brains as well as brawn to beat the other 68 finishers in Dial Your Own.

Holden VF Sportwagon“I’ve done a few quarter-miles; I’m very competitive!” he told us on Day Four when we asked him about knocking the similarly enthusiastic and experienced Alysha Teale from her Top 10 position (she bounced back on Friday to finish ninth in class).

Holden VFII SportwagonAs with most winners, Darren’s process was more about management of the situation than she’ll-be-right. A close look at his pit kit reveals a miniature portable weather station jobbie, and, like many other bracket racers, he used tactics such as loading his spare wheel back into the car to slow it slightly and keep his target times ‘in the spread’. “I slowed the car down at Calder on Day One to keep something up my sleeve,” he explained on Day Four. “It’s easier to slow down than to speed up. This is a great fun event, but I’m here to win!”

Mission accomplished!

Holden VF sportwagon engine bayTROPHY:


Class: K&N Dial Your Own

Engine: GM/Holden LS3 6.2-litre
Transmission: Holden six-speed auto
Converter: SDE 3200rpm
Diff: 3.73:1 gears
Power: 470hp
Previous PB: N/A
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 11.59@118mph