Ben Vlekken’s turbo LS VH Commodore wagon

Ben Vlekken's single-turbo LS-powered VH Commodore is heading to Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

Photographers: Nathan Jacobs

UPDATE: BEN Vlekken from Elite Automatics is back for another crack at Drag Challenge Weekend. Ben finished third overall at the first event in 2018 and then then placed seventh overall the full Drag Challenge that year, driving his VH wagon all the way down from Brisbane!

Ben recently gave the wagon a serious birthday, adding a 400ci Dart-block LS with Brodix heads and a GTX55 turbo. The car broke into the sevens in spectacular style on 5 September, running a 7.564-second pass at 184mph. And he then set a new eighth-mile PB to the tune of 4.84-seconds at 150mph at the Kenda Radial Redemption meeting on the weekend just gone.

The wagon also came runner-up in the Small Tyre class at the first Junga Bunga No Prep Cash Days, showing that he can put the car down the track under just about any conditions.

All of which puts Ben firmly amongst the front runners for the Haltech Radial Blown title and the overall win.

(April 2018) BEN Vlekken’s VH Commodore wagon has been a rocket ship since Day One of Street Machine Drag Challenge Weekend. Running in Tuff Mounts Radial Blown, the two-tone first-generation Commodore packs an alloy Gen IV six-litre L98 engine stuffed with 22psi from a Garrett GT4788 turbo.

Ben bought the wagon as a roller in late 2016 and fitted the alloy LS after changing the rods and pistons to heavier-duty items than the factory provided. Ben and his mate Ricky Fenwick then added CNC-ported rectangle-port heads before Spot On Performance welded up the turbo exhaust system, and tuned up the Holley EFI management.

The wagon runs on E85, sucked from a mechanical pump, while Ben built his own two-speed Powerglide, as he is the boss at Elite Automatics. The diff rounding out the combo is a narrowed nine-inch rocking 35-spline axles.

While the wagon had recorded an 8.48 PB only a few weeks before the start of Drag Challenge Weekend, Ben wasn’t quite able to match that.

Straight off the bat he threw down an 8.52@161mph on Day One at Willowbank, which was his best pass for the day and good enough to land him in fifth outright. “It was too hot to go any faster in the end,” he said.

Cooler temps on Day Two at Warwick saw Ben make the quickest pass in the class, running a 5.666 on the eighth-mile and putting him in second place. However, his 8.588 on Day Three back at Willowbank wasn’t enough to fend off Jamie Farmer, who snuck by to take second in class and overall.

“It has been a great event and we haven’t had any issues on the road, even towing the trailer,” Ben said. “We drive it fairly regularly on the street, so it was able to cruise at 100km/h pretty easily.”