Kool Wrap 235 Aspirated was one of the most tightly-contested classes at Drag Challenge 2022/23, with just over a second between the top three contenders.
Shepparton’s Donnie Zurcas finished the week on top of the all-motor, small-tyre bracket, having also won at Drag Challenge Weekend ’22.
Donnie is a DC regular, having also competed in 2017 and 2018 in his Chev-swapped EK Holden, before swapping to the Capri in 2019, taking out third place in 235 Aspo.
The Ford Capri you see here has seen a few driveline changes over Donnie’s 20-year ownership, and runs a 434ci small-block Chev in lieu of 2019’s 388-cuber.
“It’s probably getting settled down now as we want it,” he explains. “I can’t let too much out, but we’ve just gone to slightly bigger cubes. The cylinder head match-up and that probably isn’t right, but it worked better than we thought it would.”
It’s topped by a Holley EFI set-up, which Donnie and his crew are still wrapping their heads around. “It’s just a few teething problems, and on Drag Challenge Weekend it didn’t perform the way we wanted it to,” he says.
“We had another six months to work on the tune and it paid off; the car got faster and faster as the week went on.” The 580-600hp mill is bolted to a ‘Glide and nine-inch rear.
Donnie edged out regular class rival and fellow Capri racer Nathan Ghosn on day one of DC22/23 by handing over a 9.90@135mph, hanging onto the top spot all week. He managed a PB over the eighth at Portland with a 6.12@111mph, and wrapped up the week with another PB of 9.76@137mph on day five for cumulative 41.70. “
Everything came together at the right time; the car went really well, and the driver error was minimal,” he says.
Aaron James took out second in his Valiant with a 42.05, with Nathan totaling 42.19 in third. “All in all it was a really good week, because the three of us were sort of jostling for position,” Donnie says. “There was pressure on all of us but it was really good racing. A couple of the previous entrants were talking about how good the 235 Aspirated class was, just because it was so close.”
While the racing was fruitful, Donnie’s week almost came unstuck thanks to a literal bump in the road on day four. “We flipped our trailer on Friday, just down at Robinvale,” he recounts. “That held us up a little bit as I had to drive back to Swan Hill and weld up the drawbar and get some bits. I was a bit worried we weren’t going to make it in time.”
Donnie says his two-man crew, Peter and Robbie, played a big role in getting the car to the top of its class. “There’s a lot of work involved getting the car ready at the track, then packing it all up to get ready for the road. Crews are probably overlooked a bit, but they’re key to making it happen. If you haven’t got a good crew it’s very hard to do things efficiently, especially if you’re running late and your class is up.”
He’s considering taking the Capri to Sydney for some testing with Nathan Ghosn and Alon Vella before coming back to defend his 235 Aspirated title. “We all get along really well and try to help each other wherever we can,” he says.
“Nathan didn’t have the best week, but I know he’s going to come back tougher and harder on the next one, and so will Aaron, so it’ll be tight again.”
Aaron James brought his stunning VG Valiant all the way from Perth for another swing at DC. He finished runner-up in Kool Wrap 235 Aspirated, won the Quickest Mopar gong and ran a new PB of 9.80sec on Day Five!
Nathan Ghosn’s SBF-powered Capri didn’t quite have the stonk to defend the 235 Aspirated crown, ending the week by rounding out the podium in class.