Rear-mount turbo HSV E3 R8 Maloo

Kim Smith’s Drag Challenge-forged E3 Maloo is shooting for the nine-second zone

Photographers: Ben Hosking

HAVING successfully completed Drag Challenge 2016 and 2017, DC 2018 was to be a turning point for Kim Smith and her Sting Red HSV Maloo. At the time, the ute’s stick-shifted, LSA-blown LS combo was good for 642rwhp and 11.57@125mph. However, during DC ’18 at Swan Hill, an issue with the tune turned the LS into a magnificent coffee table with nine piston holes instead of eight!

First published in the October 2021 issue of Street Machine

Fortunately, Kim’s hyper-positive attitude, combined with her dread of never going back to DC, meant she was sure to bounce back from that catastrophe. So, driven by a ton of encouragement and support from hubby Ken and fellow DC racers, she picked herself up and set about rebuilding her baby better, stronger and faster!

“I’ve become good friends with DC legends like Quentin Feast, Carolyn O’Brien, Steve and Daniel Grima, Paul Helmrich, Nathan Ghosn, Alysha Teale and so many more,” says Kim. “Several of them recommended I talk with Troy from Warspeed about a new motor. He asked me how much power I wanted. Initially I told him 800hp. Then I thought, what the heck, let’s double the output of the old combo!”

With those goal posts set, Troy didn’t disappoint. Starting with an LY6 block, he punched it out to 403ci with a set of CP Bullet pistons and a 4.00-inch Molnar crank. The rest of the parts list includes Higgins LS3 heads, Manton pushrods, CHE trunnion kit, LS7 lifters, Rollmaster timing chain, Melling oil pump, HSV coils, flow-matched Bosch 1650 injectors, L98 intake and a Kelford roller cam ground to Warspeed’s specs.

However, the real fun is mounted under the tray in the space once occupied by the spare wheel – a stonking 88mm Garrett GTX4720R turbo! There’s also a Turbosmart 60mm wastegate and 50mm blow-off valve.

“The K&N air filter is a one-off – the biggest they make for this application,” says Kim. “I fear for our little dog if it’s anywhere near it when that massive turbo wants a gutful of air!

“I loved the supercharger set-up, but it wasn’t going to deliver the power I wanted,” Kim continues. “I’ve known Danny from Fraser Race Fab for 21 years and he always has my back. He sold me on the idea of the rear-mounted turbo. It has tons of power, gets rid of a lot of under-bonnet heat, leaves loads of room for other stuff and means I’m not just another turbo LS racer. Like my husband Ken, Danny is infused in this car and can take a lot of the credit. He did all the turbo fab and pipe work, the 120-litre fuel tank, and heaps of other stuff.”

After being let down by a mate who was going to help with plumbing the fuel and oiling systems, Kim decided to grab a heap of Speedflow fittings and braided line, watch a few YouTube videos and tackle the job herself. “So far no fires, so all good,” she laughs.

The factory ECU and harness was ditched, replaced by a MoTeC M150 (with GPR Drag Pack) and E888 expander. It uses two custom harnesses joined by a 64-pin motorsport connector at the firewall, similar to a V8 Supercar. Tuning duties are now taken care of by Tyson from Northmead Auto Centre. Due to the COVID lockdown, final tuning has yet to be completed, but indications are that the Maloo should make an easy 1100hp on E85. Although that’s enough to push this brute ute into the low nines, Kim’s DC game plan is to dial it back a few notches and run on PULP.

After her Swan Hill mishap during Drag Challenge 2018, Kim spent a couple of days as a passenger with Daniel Grima, who commented that he wished he had an overdrive for the long treks between tracks. With those words of wisdom in mind, Kim gave the nod to a bulletproof 4L80E trans. The manualised four-speed runs a custom SDE stator; extra clutches; reverse-pattern valvebody; billet input shaft and clutch hub; transbrake; and a huge oil cooler. Gibson Driveshaft Services built the one-piece chrome-moly tailshaft, while Shift Right supplied the Reid bellhousing. Kim attests the Maloo drives great on the freeway.

Kim calls her ute ‘the car that Drag Challenge built’, as every choice has been made based on her DC experiences. However, what you see here is far from the end; rather, it’s just the beginning. Since the photoshoot, it’s been fitted with a rollcage, and there’s plenty more in store.

“Once I get some racing under my belt and get my head around the new combo, I’ll turn it up to see what it can really do,” Kim says. “With all the extra power, I suspect the IRS might suffer. I can see it being upgraded as well.”

The next level after that is to go to wider race rubber, Velo race seats and possibly start stripping out some other weight to further improve those timeslips – Kim is none too sure where it will all end. Look out Drag Challenge: Kim Smith and her Maloo are muscled up and keen to show everybody what they’re capable of!


REAR-mount turbo systems are seeing a surge in popularity at the moment. On Kim’s set-up, the turbine side runs 15/8in header primaries and twin 2.5in collectors into a single 3in that runs back to the turbo. There’s a single 5in out of the turbine, splitting into twin 3in pipes dumping out through a pair of MagnaFlow mufflers.

The compressor side starts with 6in from the filter into the turbo, then a single 3in pipe out of the compressor running up to the front-mounted Plazmaman intercooler. A single 3.5in feed out of the intercooler steps up to 4in into the throttlebody.

The set-up also relies on a Tilton oil pump for the oil return to the sump.

2011 HSV E3 R8 MALOO

Paint: Sting Red
Brand: 403ci LY6-block LS
Heads: Higgins LS3
Turbo: 88mm Garrett GTX4720R 
Wastegate: Turbosmart 60mm
Intercooler: Plazmaman Pro Series
ECU: MoTeC M150 with E888 expander
Injectors: Bosch 1650
Intake: L98
Camshaft: Kelford (Warspeed specs)
Fuel pump: Aeromotive and Holley
Fuel system: Speedflow
Exhaust: HSV headers with EGT sensors
Mufflers: MagnaFlow
Ignition: Factory coils
Gearbox: 4L80E
Converter: SDE
Bellhousing: Reid
Tailshaft: One-piece
Diff: HSV, 3.7:1 gears, Truetrac
Rims: 20×8 (f), 20×9.5 (r)
Rubber: 245/35R20 (f), 275/30R20 (street) or Mickey Thompson ET Street 275/45R18
(race) (r)

Danny Fraser at Fraser Race Fab; Tyson at Northmead Auto Centre; Troy Worsley at Warspeed; Stephen at Shift Right Transmissions; Speedflow; my Drag Challenge family; my husband Ken who has encouraged and supported me with my racing as well as the rebuild