Nitrous Windsor-powered Ford Capri runs nines at Drag Challenge 2018

Mark Whitla’s sweet Tassie Capri cracked the nine-second barrier on Day Four of Drag Challenge 2018

Photographers: Michelle Porobic, Chris Thorogood

AFTER running in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown in his RUNS7S Ford Capri at Drag Challenge last year, Tasmanian Mark Whitla came to the 2018 event with a different, nitrous-huffing Capri.

Ford Capri“I am putting a new blown 540ci combo together for RUNS7S, but it wasn’t ready in time for Drag Challenge, so this is a car I thought I’d bring along instead,” Mark said. “It was a massive thrash to make it though, working ’til 2am every day so we could get this car done in time. The first time I had driven it was on the road leg from Calder to Swan Hill!”

Powered by a 302ci Windsor, the stock-block build runs a roller cam, alloy heads, 12.5:1 compression and swallows a 150-shot of gas. Behind the donk is a 4000rpm converter, C4 transmission and a nine-inch stuffed with 3.5:1 gears.

Ford Capri“I run pump 98 on the street and we chuck 105-octane race gas in it at the track,” said Mark on Day Two at Swan Hill. “It should run 9.70 if I can get it out of the hole. We have had an issue with a miss for a few days, but we think we fixed it last night and now I have to relearn how to drive the car! I was up ’til 2am rewiring the whole nitrous system.”

Ford CapriHaving run 10.14@129mph at Swan Hill on Day Two, Mark was keen to get his passes done and hit the road, as the Capri has speed-limiting issues requiring him to drive below the speed limit. “We have to drive at 80km/h on the road because the radiator in this thing just isn’t doing a good enough job, so it makes for a slow trip,” he said. “It’s also absolutely chock-a-block in there, as we carry everything in the car – wheels, tools, six bottles of nitrous, the lot!”

Ford CapriHappily, Mark achieved his goal of running nines on Day Four at Swan Hill, with the Capri posting a stout 9.98@135mph timeslip. His strong form continued into the final day at Calder, posting a PB over the 1000ft of 8.01@127mph to finish off the week in style before the long drive back down to Tasmania.


Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

Engine: 302ci Windsor
Nitrous: 150hp shot
Transmission: C4
Converter: 4000rpm
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 gears
Power: 523rwhp
Previous PB: N/A
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 9.98@135mph