Mark Whitla wins Turbosmart Outlaw Blown at Drag Challenge Weekend 2022

The Tasmanian’s balls-out Capri topped the Turbosmart Outlaw Blown leaderboard and came second overall


Mark Whitla and his RUNS7S Ford Capri have become infamous on Drag
. While some do the event easy with high-tech combos in late-model cars, the Tasmanian brings along a big-tyre pro streeter packing a nitrous-snorting big-block Chev – and no trailer.

At Drag Challenge Weekend 2022, Mark and the Capri dominated Turbosmart Outlaw Blown and also got within a sniff of taking out the overall win, despite having to do the huge road legs at 80km/h in one of the nastiest streeters in Oz.

After clawing back Adam Rogash’s half-second Day One lead at Mildura’s eighth-mile on Saturday, Mark and the crew threw everything at the Heathcote Park track on Day Three to try and claim the win. With the help of BG Engines’ Damian Baker, the Tassie devils got a second 200hp hit of gas plumbed and wired on the 540ci BBC in just 40 minutes, and made it back to the staging lanes.

“I forgot to turn the first kit on for that run, and then we brought it back around,” Mark said. “Just as the car went to launch, with only a couple of minutes to go, it just died on the line.”

It turned out a fusible link had blown and killed all electrical power in the Capri. The purple coupe was pushed back and it was a mad thrash to find the problem and hard-wire it to get it through one last Hail Mary pass.

“Somehow we got it fixed right at the last minute, and it left hard,” said Mark. “I
shifted it into top but forgot to hit the second-stage nitrous until the run was almost over!”

While Mark had to settle for second place overall, he was just happy to have finished the weekend with the Capri in one piece. “Just to come back down the return road with the car alive is a massive relief,” he said. “I actually couldn’t be happier.”

The crazy part of this story is how little prep work went into bringing such a hardcore machine to Australia’s toughest street car challenge.

“We haven’t raced this car since DC ’19, and I only took it for a couple of runs up and down the road a month ago, so I was very nervous to see how it was going to go with all the driving we do here,” said Mark. “There is no track in Tassie, so we had zero testing, but we made it all work.

“I have to thank Nathan Rainbird, Steve Paech, Chris Francis, Pete Eastley, Scott Calvert, Anthony Raschella, Anthony Grivell, Chris Palfreyman, and most of all my wife Lizzie and daughter Willow.”