Magnuson-blown VZ ClubSport at Drag Challenge Weekend 2022

Matt Sadler’s slick HSV was one of many Dial Your Own debutants at DCW 2022

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Shaun Tanner, Michelle Porobic

One of the best things about our Drag Challenge class sponsors is that they’re all car nuts themselves. In fact, many of them brought along their own cars for a crack at Drag Challenge Weekend 2022, with resounding success.

Matt Sadler of Outlaw Aspirated sponsor GJ Drivelines was one of them, fronting up in his tough, freshly built VZ ClubSport for his first Drag Challenge event. Matt’s owned the Clubby for a few years, but says its entry into DCW in the Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own class was a last-minute operation.

The stock 6.0-litre donk was yanked, with Matt and his GJ crew screwing together a force-fed LS3 combo to take its place. There’s a set of Callies rods and JE pistons hanging off the crank, while ported Higgins heads replace the stock units. Topping it all off is a Magnuson 2300 supercharger hooked to an interchiller set-up.

On a diet of straight E85 and tuned by former DC racer Mark Sass of Sass Automotive, the mill is good for 550kW at the wheels. “It was sort of last-minute that we screwed the engine together,” Matt admits. “We tuned the car on the Wednesday, and Sass did an awesome job to get it ready.”

The combo is matched to a transbraked, RVO Automatics-built 4L65 four-speed auto with a 2500rpm SDE converter. Behind that is a three-inch, one-piece aluminium tailshaft, unsurprisingly built by the team at GJ. The rear is a mostly stock affair, though it now packs GForce Engineering axles and a Truetrac centre with 3.45 diff gears thanks to MDR Differential Services.

The arrangement makes for a fairly sedate road drive compared to many of the hard-launching combos you’ll find at DC. “It was really comfortable on the highway,” Matt enthuses, “though the trans was getting hot on the highway in overdrive, so we drove it in third quite a bit.”

Matt had planned to debut the Clubby at the Holden Nationals a month ago, but a hurt auto prevented him from running a number. DCW was therefore the car’s first opportunity to prove itself, which it did by reliably running in the mid-10s.

Day One saw Matt dial in with a 10.66 ET. On Saturday at Mildura’s eighth-mile strip, he ran a quarter-mile-adjusted 10.61, before breaking out with a 10.46@132mph on Sunday.

Matt was happy to place mid-pack on the car’s first time out, especially in such an unforgiving bracket. That said, he’s only planning to get quicker. “The car’s allowed to do a 10.0, and I want to get it consistent at that,” he explains.

As for the driving side of the DCW equation, it was relatively smooth sailing. “It’s running straight E85, so we were getting close to running out of fuel a few times,” Matt admits. “I have to change the starter motor, as it started to die over the weekend, but overall there were no dramas, which is really good!”

All things going well, you’ll see Matt bring a much angrier piece of Aussie muscle to our next five-day DC, in the form of a 450ci LS-powered VS ute. Described as a “dedicated Drag Challenge car”, it’s an 850hp aspirated stonker that’s destined to run a Reid-cased Powerglide, full-floater nine-inch rear and 275 tyre. Matt could be taking it to the big boys with figures like that, so the naturally aspirated crew had best watch out.