Wild 427-cube, 106mm turbo LC Torana gears up for Drag Challenge

Alexis Margaritis will gunning for a seven-second hat in his turbo LSX hottie


Few last-minute Drag Challenge rushes are as tight as Alexis Margaritis’s mission to get his epic LC Torana ready for our 2022/23 gig earlier this year

“We were biting off a lot and we had to chew real fast,” the Tassie bloke laughs. “It was finished literally the day before we had to leave – four years to build it, and straight on the trailer. We’d only driven it around a racetrack for a couple of laps to make sure nothing fell off it.”

Racing in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown, the uber-tough LC features a 427-cube LSX up front; for DC22/23, it ran a a single Garrett 94mm hairdryer. Underneath is a ‘Glide, full-floater nine-inch rear, and Southern Chassis Works coil-over front end. It’s all controlled by a Haltech Nexus ECU tuned by Stix at QuickBitz. “Stix has done wonders,” Alex says. “Without him we’d be in a bit of strife, I reckon!” Paint aside, Alex and his mates handled just about everything in his shed at home. Alex has previously campaigned at DC in a tough VY Maloo, but bringing along a totally unproven car was always going to be an uphill fight. 

Turbo LSX Torana engine bay

“We tested on Sunday and found a couple of issues with the car,” Alex says. “So we did scrutineering and then raced down to Melbourne and asked Stix to use his workshop to have a couple of things adjusted. We spent all night working on the car to get it ready, and got back at 5am on Tuesday for the start of Drag Challenge.” The car’s maiden passes yielded lazy mid-9s, which left Alex and his crew plenty happy.

The feeling was short-lived though, as the temperature gauge crept up early on the first road leg. “We’d miscalculated how hot the car would run,” Alex admits. “We were just pulling over every half an hour to cool the car down, and it was going to be a long drive on terrible roads at night. We weren’t gonna make it without damaging the car, so we called it and pulled out.” 

After a night camped out in the Torrie, they headed back to Melbourne with the car in tow to iron out as many dramas as possible. The boys returned on the final day of DC for a couple of non-competition passes, knocking the car’s ETs down to the 8.4 range. “We were pretty happy knocking a second off our time with four runs,” Alex grins.

Back in Tassie, they instantly got to work beefing up the cooling system alongside a few other trick touches. “We pretty much cut the whole front of the car open to fit a much bigger radiator and a much bigger turbo – we put a 106mm on,” Alex explains. “The car was going to run on methanol so we changed the 16 injectors, and we’ve changed all the exhaust manifolds. We haven’t stopped on it!”

He hopes to have the car back in Melbourne with Stix in early September for a re-tune, before fronting up at The Bend on 9 October for Drag Challenge 2023 scrutineering. “Fingers crossed, we should be ready to have a real crack at it,” Alex says. “We’re aiming to get into the sevens; I want that hat!” If the car holds together and is as quick as Alex hopes, he could wind up among names like Luke Foley, Dan Szabolics, and even Harry Haig.

In his own words, he isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel from the combo they brought to DC22/23. “We just want to improve on everything a bit: get the 60 down and a few more miles per hour – the car felt very capable.

“Consistency’s key, and that’s what I really do like about the event. You’re trying to get a lot of power out of these things and also reliability. It’s a difficult game, and hats off to people who’ve done it year-in, year-out and got through the whole week!”