Ex-highway patrol VL Commodore runs sevens at Drag Challenge 2018 – Video

John Ricca’s 3.2-litre DOHC RB30 six-powered BT1 VL ran a 7.91 PB at Drag Challenge 2018

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic

YOU simply can’t miss John Ricca’s eye-searing VL Commodore. The factory Absynth Yellow BT1 ex-highway patrol car is a valuable collector’s piece today, but that hasn’t stopped John from enjoying sending it down the quarter-mile in under eight seconds!

John Ricca VL CommodoreRunning in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown at Drag Challenge 2018, the first-gen Commodore wears 30-inch tyres under a tubbed rear end, with a wild stroked three-litre RB six (built off the original block!) up front topped with the twin-cam head from a GT-R Skyline.

John Ricca VL Commodore“It has a 3.2-litre Nitto stroker bottom end, including a billet crank, with an RB26DETT DOHC head on top and a Wolf ECU,” said John of his hybrid inline six-cylinder – an engine with status and performance in the turbo Japanese six-pot scene, comparable to a stroked all-alloy Chrysler Hemi.

“The turbocharger is a Gen II Garrett GTX4720, which is good for up to 60psi on the E98 ethanol we’re using, although we’re only running it at 47psi at the moment.”

John Ricca VL CommodoreThe stout six is backed up by a two-speed Powerglide with a 2800 converter, and a nine-inch running short 4.11 gears.

John, who owns Race Parts Melbourne, laid down an impressive 8.08@171mph at Swan Hill on Day Two of Drag Challenge, showing the car had the snot to hang with the turbo V8s leading the charge. He went 5.26@ 134mph at Mildura on Day Three, before smashing a 7.91@171mph at Swan Hill on Day Four to be the first six-pot car into the sevens at Drag Challenge. Impressively, that seven was set on only 41psi, so there is plenty of headroom left in the combo.

John Ricca VL Commodore“I’ve had it about 12 months, and I’d really like to see a 7.40 or 7.50 out of it if the tracks can handle that,” John said. “The back end has a full clip and we’re running a 30-inch tyre, so we aren’t struggling with traction too much.”

The BT1 was on a mission at Calder on Day Five, with a 6.64@158mph over the 1000ft enough to lock in second place in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown and fifth Outright, as well as taking home Quickest Six-Cylinder.

John Ricca VL CommodoreTROPHIES
Runner-up – Turbosmart Outlaw Blown
Quickest six-cylinder


Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown


Engine: 3.2-litre Nissan RB30DET
Turbocharger: Garrett GTX4720 Gen II
Transmission: Powerglide
Converter: 2800rpm
Diff: 9in, 4.11 gears
Power: Untested
Previous PB: N/A
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 7.91@171mph