STAGE WRITE

SONNY LEONARD ADVERTISES HIS 1005CI ‘GODFATHER’ ENGINE AT 2100HP, BUT SAYS HE CAN GET 2250HP USING PRO STOCK TECHNOLOGY, AND IN A 2350LB DOORSLAMMER IT COULD THEORETICALLY RUN A 5.98@235MPH

BOB KOTMEL

ECORDS are made to be broken. As I write this, Jason Carter and Mark Micke have just run 3.67@221mph Rover the eighth-mile in qualifying at the Sweet 16 event in Georgia, USA, in their 1978 Malibu radial doorslammer. While everyone is going nuts over the 3.67 ET, the 221mph is what I’m thinking about. By rights that would equate to a 5.82@274mph over the quarter!

Last year I asked Sonny Leonard if anyone had run a five-second pass naturally aspirated in a doorslammer. No one at the time in the US had, but Sonny reckoned it would be possible using one of his 1005-cube motors. Sonny advertises his ‘Godfather’ engine at 2100hp, but says he can get 2250hp using Pro Stock technology, and in a 2350lb doorslammer it could theoretically run a 5.98@235mph.

Sonny’s reasoning is as follows. A PRDA Pro Stock 825ci mill will produce 1975hp at 8300rpm. Over several runs, a 2425lb, fivespeed car with this motor has achieved 6.186.21 seconds at 227-228mph. If you took 75lb out of the car you’d shave 0.04 seconds off the ET, so 6.14@229mph. The 2250hp that Sonny’s Godfather engine makes is an increase of 275hp over that 825ci Pro Stock mill, and you’d pick up an average of 0.05-0.06 seconds for each 100hp increase. This would give you 5.97-5.99@235mph.

Aussie racer John Zappia became the first person in the world to run a five in a blown doorslammer. There’s no reason why another Aussie couldn’t become the first doorslammer racer in the world to run a five aspirated. I’ve already spoken to one racer who might be interested in taking his 2500hp blown engine out, stripping his class-minimum 2700lb doorslammer down to 2350lb with driver, fitting a six-speed gearbox and buying one of Sonny’s 1005ci ‘Godfather’ donks. I’ve got my fingers crossed he takes up the challenge and immortalises his name worldwide in an Aussie-built car.

Several racers are selling off their trailer-only drag cars to build tough streeters for Street Machine Drag Challenge. One of them is Jai Schluter, who has sold his wheelstanding ‘Killer Tomata’ XC hardtop to make way for a ’68 Mustang streeter. It will be powered by a Cleveland-based 408-cube small-block dynoed at 708hp on pump 98, and will start life as a high-nine-second N/A car that Jai’s daughter Taylah can drive. But watch this space: Jai won’t be able to help himself, and I reckon within a year it will evolve into a streetdriven, eight-second, naturally aspirated weapon competing in Drag Challenge.

While our Drag Challenge event takes its cue from Hot Rod’s Drag Week in the US, there are important differences. The concept of driving from track to track unassisted and racing at each track is the same, but the rules governing the Aussie event, whether set down by ANDRA, the transport department or Drag Challenge itself, are completely different to its US counterpart. At this point in time there are no minimum weight restrictions like there is at Hot Rod Drag Week, which has a 3200lb minimum for 2018. We have legally streetregistered and driven cars here that weigh less, and any car that is legally registered, ANDRA-compliant and street-driven is eligible for Drag Challenge.

SONNY LEONARD ADVERTISES HIS 1005CI ‘GODFATHER’ ENGINE AT 2100HP, BUT SAYS HE CAN GET 2250HP USING PRO STOCK TECHNOLOGY, AND IN A 2350LB DOORSLAMMER IT COULD THEORETICALLY RUN A 5.98@235MPH

When I saw Bob Rizzoli driving along and pulling up at traffic lights in the US in his blown, black ’37 Fiat Topolino on Facebook recently, I thought: What’s next, a street-driven blown funny car with indicators? Australian road rules might prohibit such an extreme altered on the roads here, but conceivably someone could build a lightweight 460-cube turbo fibreglass-bodied hot rod that complies with the Australian Government’s Street Rod Manual and weighs in around 2350lb with driver. For road use, the maximum engine size is 460ci, and boost is limited to 9psi whether turbocharged or supercharged. There’s no boost restriction at the track though, and it can be cranked up to make 6hp per cube, which is 2760hp. A street-legal, ANDRAcompliant hot rod like Rizzoli’s Fiat altered could be built in Australia that could run in the high five seconds.

If you think I’m going senile in my old age, think about this: Sonny Leonard makes a 711cube Donovan-block blown boat motor that makes 1600hp all day on 91-octane unleaded, and over 2000hp on race fuel. Conservatively, if the little Donovan motor was twin-turboed and made 6hp per cube, 4200hp should be achievable. And if this engine was dropped into a 2350lb car, high four-second ETs should be theoretically possible.

Even more insane is this: Sonny makes a 940ci street engine. I’m not sure if it could live at 6hp per cube, but theoretically, 5640hp in a 2350lb car is over 300mph. I’m wondering how long it will be before we see a foursecond pass and the 300mph barrier broken by an Outlaw doorslammer.

As Billy Thorpe sang, most people I know think that I’m crazy!