THE long weekend in March saw a horsepower invasion take over the city of Albany, the normally peaceful community on the Southern Ocean about five hours south of Perth. Yep, the Motul Racewars crew had rolled into town, but you won’t hear any complaints from the locals. In fact, Albany promotes the event as one of its Amazing Albany tourist attractions. It’s pretty obvious by attending the Sunday-morning Cars & Coffee event down at the marina that there’s a solid car scene in this city of just over 30,000 people. Rolling up to the event on Saturday, it appeared that around 10,000 of those people were at Albany Airport watching the competitors familiarise themselves with the track and conditions. Racewars starts off pretty cruisy with side-by-side roll-on 400m sprints, but that doesn’t mean people take it easy, with bragging rights up for grabs right from the start. This event is where some of the older stuff can shine: steel-bumper cars more at home on the drag strip with their short gears and big-cube V8 engines, more often than not helped along by a spray of nitrous. Many a turbo Japanese car and high-dollar Euro trash saw the tail-lights of Mark Grose’s HT Monaro or Brad Gardiner’s HT ute. It’s when the track gets extended to 800m that things start to get interesting and where the shortcomings of driving something almost 50 years old become apparent. But to their credit, many of the old-school racers still have a crack. They usually roll out of it after 400m before pegging it again just before the 800m mark, going through the timing traps on the limiter around 230-240km/h – about 145- 150mph in the old money or about the speed many of these nine-second cars get to over the quarter-mile. Hopefully one year someone will put some highway gears in an old classic
BEST ON THE DAY WAS EDDY TASSONE IN HIS VZ GTO. HIS 334.93KM/H RUN WAS ALMOST 10KM/H FASTER THAN LAST YEAR’S WINNER
and see how fast a 60s or 70s brick can actually go. While the preferred weapon of choice still appears to an R30-something Skyline, it was turbocharged LS power that dominated the leaderboard at this year’s event, with six of the 11 cars topping 300km/h using the boosted V8 combo. The best on the day was Eddy Tassone in his VZ GTO, an absolute weapon of a machine that really is more at home on the quarter-mile. His 334.93km/h run was almost 10km/h faster than last year’s winner. Peter Gray’s R33 Skyline is still a force to be reckoned with, finishing second but almost 10km/h slower than Tassone. Interestingly, his speed would have also earned him second place last year – by just 0.03km/h. Jose Jardim came oh-so-close to cracking the 200mph barrier with his Supra – he likes old-school stuff too – clocking 321.20km/h, just 0.4mph off the mark. After an excursion into the dirt on his first run, he did well to gather up the car and himself to finish third overall. It was also fantastic to see regular Racewars competitors Adam Monck and Royce Hall join the 300 Club after many years of trying. Adam has to be commended for taking a car that was designed to go sideways around a race track and manhandling it to behave itself in a straight line at over 300km/h. Royce’s achievement is that he’s taken his regular road car, a fourdoor 1989 Skyline, and developed it from over 260km/h at the inaugural Racewars event to a machine capable of over 300km/h using an H-pattern gearbox. But spare a thought for Jacob Copeman- Mitchell, whose FG XR6 reeled off a mightily impressive 299.30km/h, just missing out on 300 Club membership. Keep in mind there was a 30km/h headwind on the day, so the car is clearly capable of cracking that magic number. The FG had a 930hp tune courtesy of Monsta Torque; maybe they’ll turn up the wick even more next year to make sure the job gets done. Racewars 2018 was another very successful event, and is becoming a highlight on the calendar for top-speed racers – not just locally but nationwide. As I write this, we’re barely two weeks out of the event and people are already talking about improvements and upgrades for next year. Will we see the Aussie record tumble in 2019? I hope so, especially if we can get that wind to die down a touch!
AT THIS YEAR’S EVENT, SIX OF THE 11 CARS TOPPING 300KM/H USED TURBOCHARGED LS POWER