The Tuff Mounts 235 Blown Drag Challenge class has been a hit since we introduced it at Drag Challenge Weekend in 2019. The class always attracts a cool variety of rides and also tends to be hugely competitive at the pointy end.
Our class winners so far have been Jason Ross’s UC Torana (DCW 2019 and 2020), Todd Foley’s VH Commodore (Drag Challenge 2019), Jason Kenny’s VN (DCW 2022) and Dom Pelle’s storming Sigma (DC 2022/23). Now, Tom Wright’s HG Premier joins the honour roll, after five testing days against a large field at Street Machine Drag Challenge 2023.
Tom hails from Kirkstall in southwest Victoria and had his first hit out at Drag Challenge in 2019. Tom surprised himself to finish second in Dial-your-own behind Paul Turner’s HQ. Back then the turbo LS-powered HG was running in the low 11s at DC, but has come a long way since then!
For starters, the HG won 235 Radial class at Holden Nationals 2021and finished second in Tuff Mounts 235 Blown at Drag Challenge Weekend 2022, behind Jason Kenny’s infamous VN.
Tom has recently given the HG a birthday including a new 388ci Dart-based engine combo by TDR Engines in Geelong. “It is essentially a complete new combo,” says Tom.
“We’re running AFR heads, a Brian Tooley Racing camshaft and 10:1 compression on methanol. The turbo is an 88mm GT55 and the ECU is a Fueltech tuned by Nads. The Powerglide is by DTM, the tailshaft by GJ Drivelines and the 9in by Matt at Geelong Diffs.”
The new combo has made 1230hp at the hubs and with just two weeks to go until Drag Challenge, Tom had the HG out at Heathcote Park Raceway on the weekend for some much-needed testing.
“We ran 8.471 seconds at 165mph off the trailer, hitting the limiter twice,” says Tom.
At Drag Challenge, the large 235B field was headed by Daniel Smith in the K24-swapped Celica all week, until the car torched a head on its first and only pass of the days. The team got the car runnign again with a fresh head, but weren’t able to make it back to the lanes.
That meant the Celica was awarded a 20-second time for the day, opening the door for Tom to take victory, handing in a 8.75@167mph slip.
“What a huge week,” said Tom. “This week felt longer than previous years. We drove approximately 1800km and PBd in both the eighth and quarter mile.
“We really struggled some days to get the car passed the 60 foot, due to how heavy this thing is and the tyre we were on. But never the less we had a great result, managed to win our class and came 10th over all! We did get lucky with the leader in our class having a mechanical failure on the last day but I guess that’s Drag Challenge!”