1200hp Barra-swapped XD Falcon – Drag Challenge 2019

Chris Palfreyman’s stonking XD Falcon survived the odds to nab second place in the Six-Cylinder class at Drag Challenge 2019

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic, Luke Hunter, Shaun Tanner

DRAG Challenge 2019 was Chris Palfreyman’s first stab at the event, bringing his Barra-swapped XD Falcon all the way up from Hobart to be part of the week-long circus.

“A few of my mates have done it before and it’s a really cool event, so I wanted to come over and give it a shot,” said Chris.

Chris built most of the car himself at home on jack stands with a bunch of mates, tackling the engine, wiring, gearbox, chassis mods and also the tuning independently. “There’s no big-name shops,” said Chris, “just a budget rod-and-piston engine built by me, a half-decent ’Glide built by me and a big old stinky turbocharger.”

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The basic combo comprises an FG Barra with rods, pistons and custom cams, force-fed by a 94mm Garrett GTX 55 controlled by an MS3Pro Ultimate. “I’m not sure on the power, because we’ve never had it on a dyno, but I’m thinking it should be around 1250hp at the crank,” Chris said.

The rest of the driveline includes a two-speed Powerglide with an SDE 4000rpm converter, sending power to a nine-inch rear end with 40-spline axles and 3.7:1 gears, and rolling on 275 radials – which Chris drove all the DC road miles on as well.

Coming into the week, Chris had a PB of 9.35@158mph to his name. Having never run the XD on the mainland, and given the lack of prepped drag strips in the Apple Isle, Chris had never really had a chance to put some proper R&D into the car when he fronted up to Calder Park for Day One. “If we could run some mid-eights on Friday I’d be super-happy, and just make it through the week,” he said at the time.

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By the end of Day One, Chris handed in a PB of 9.14@160mph, before the real drama began on the road to Mildura. “We hit a kangaroo after we stopped to help a competitor, plus we had coolant and fuel leaks to fix and a couple of other dramas,” he said.

On the three days of eighth-mile tracks, Chris laid down 6.32@116mph and 6.21@119mph on Day Two and Three at Mildura respectively, before a 5.9@120mph on Day Four at Portland left just 0.823sec between him and class leader George Lyras heading into the final day back at Calder.

George was struggling to get a decent number out of his Cortina, and when Chris went out and smashed his PB with an 8.71@157mph, it looked as though the race for the top gong in the XR6 Turbo Developments Six-Cylinder class was heating right up. Sadly, that was all Chris could muster. “We’ve been overheating the ’box on the road a bit this week, and that last pass finally killed first gear in it,” he said.

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Chris was still all smiles though, finishing second in class and walking away with his ‘I Survived Drag Challenge 2019’ sticker and a killer PB. “Wait ’til we come back next year with more boost, methanol and around 100-150lb less weight,” he enthused. “We’ll get it going fast!”



Class: XR6 Turbo Developments Six-Cylinder

Engine: Barra turbo
Turbo: Garrett GTX 55
Transmission: Powerglide
Converter: SDE 4000rpm
Diff: 9in, 3.7:1 gears
Previous PB: 9.35@158mph
Best DC 2019 pass: 8.71@157mph