Turbocharged V8 FPV BA ute at Drag Challenge Weekend 2019

With Barras now the norm in quick Aussie Fords, Josh Prescott’s V8-powered BA Pursuit ute takes a more unorthodox route to big power

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

WITH the emergence of the Barra six as Australia’s favourite go-fast Ford engine, the modern-day Ford V8s seem to have been somewhat forgotten. That’s not the case for Ford nut Josh Prescott though, who decided to explore the world of the neglected modular V8 in his 2003 FPV BA Pursuit ute.

Josh bought the ute straight from the dealer as an ex-demo, with the factory 290kW dual-cam 5.4-litre V8 and six-speed manual. He then threw a Vortech V2 supercharger on the unopened mill, before rebuilding it with some better fruit after some pistons got upset, and strapped a 2.6-litre Kenne Bell blower on top.

“I’ve always liked the Ford V8s, and it was just something different to explore one of these engines instead of a Barra or LS,” said Josh.

He hit the track with the manual ’box still in tow, punching out a best of 10.90 before getting a tap on the shoulder for running too quick without a ’cage.

| Watch next: Coyote-powered EA Falcon in the build – Video

Fast-forward a couple of years and the ute is a very different beast. While it still runs a 5.4-litre DOHC Ford V8, the new mill has been plucked from a 2011 GT500 Mustang. While that engine left the Ford showrooms with a blower already on top, Josh decided to go a different direction again. “Instead of the blower, it’s got an 86mm Precision turbo, running around 15psi,” he said. “Again, it was just to try something different. I’d already had a blown 5.4, so I decided to do the turbo this time.” Being a mechanic by trade, Josh did 90 per cent of the work himself, with the help of a few mates and some frosty-cold beverages.

Running E85 and a Haltech Elite 2500, the new package made 525rwkW on Castle Hill Performance’s dyno with a standard engine. The driveline also got a refresh, the manual being binned for a Reid two-speed Powerglide and Race Products nine-inch rear with 35-spline axles and a slightly tamer 3.25:1 gearset.

Heath from HBR Race Cages in Toowoomba made sure the new rollcage would allow Josh to chase some solid numbers down the track, and with just two shakedown passes under their belt the boys headed north from Cessnock to Queensland take on Drag Challenge Weekend 2019.

| Read next: 2003 FPV Pursuit 290 review: classic MOTOR

“We decided to do Drag Challenge for something different to Powercruise, which is what we’d usually do,” said Josh.

He had a pretty stout weekend. After running 10.05@130mph on Day One at Willowbank, Josh returned on Day Three to run a PB of 9.77@143mph, finish ninth in the Haltech Radial Blown class and 18th overall.

Despite the good pace, Josh reckoned the racing wasn’t the main highlight of the event. “The best part is the camaraderie, which isn’t something you get at any other event like this,” he said. “Myself and my mate Peachy had an absolute ball. The best part was we didn’t have to turn a spanner on the car all week – I shouldn’t have packed so much stuff!”

| Watch next: Drag Challenge Weekend 2019 day one results and video

Shortly after DCW, Josh lowered his PB to a 9.54@146mph at Sydney Dragway, but did slightly hurt the engine in the process. Undeterred, the donk is already on the mend and Josh has big plans for the future. “It’s at the machine shop now, and then I’ll put it back together will all-new forged internals,” he said. “We’ll be going a pair of twin Garrett G42s to replace the single, with a Plazmaman intake, and we’ll switch the car to meth for the track as well.”

Josh is hoping that the revitalised package will yield him around 900rwkW and mid-eight second ETs, with plans to tackle Drag Challenge again soon. “We’re planning to do Drag Challenge Weekend again next year, and hopefully the full-length one as well,” he said.



Class: Haltech Radial Blown

Engine: Mustang 5.4L DOHC V8

Turbo: 86mm Precision

ECU: Haltech Elite 2500T

Transmission: Powerglide

Converter: Dominator, 3000rpm

Diff: 9in, 35-spline 3.25:1 gears

Best DCW pass: 9.77@143mph