THE HEAT IS ON

JIM WHITEHURST SWAPS HIS HIGHLY STRUNG RB FOR A SIX-SECOND TURBO EIGHT PACKAGE IN HIS STUNNING VL CALAIS

MARK ARBLASTER

ANOTHER big hitter ready to join the growing ranks of six-second cars is Jim Whitehurst’s VL Calais. Many would recognise the car as VL to run a seven-second pass with an RB engine, with a best of 7.70. But since then Jim has struggled with the reliability of the factory Nissan engine blocks, so he has ditched the unreliable combo and is now destined for six-second glory thanks to a new twin-turbo, 427ci LS package from Castle Hill Performance, capable of pumping out in excess of 2000hp.

“I’ve owned this car for around 20 years,” Jim says. “It was the first RB-powered VL into the sevens, but even with help from workshops you cannot compete with workshop-owned cars, so the transition from the RB is a no-brainer. I’m looking for something consistent; I just want to get out and do some racing and it’s hard to do that with a stock-block RB engine. They are on the limit all the time without a billet block, so for years my car has done very little racing.”

Castle Hill Performance’s Dale Heiler is no stranger to big-horsepower LS combinations, having already run into the bottom 6.70s with one of his cars and reportedly been given the nod to tune two new Pro Stock deals. This will have his stable tuning the three quickest LS cars Down Under.

“Dale seems to know a good tune for these combinations and can keep them alive,” Jim says.

The mega LS that Castle Hill built for Jim is loaded with all the best bits: LSX block, GRP alloy conrods, Ross pistons that yield a static compression ratio of 10:1, and a Dart counterweighted crank.

The block is topped with a set of Brodix BR7 heads with Crower 1.7:1 shaft-mounted rocker arms, Crower lifters, Manton pushrods, and a five-stage dry sump with a Stock Car Products pan.

The LS is a good fit in the VL engine bay and the tubular front end has made a lot of the fabrication work easier due to the better access it allows.

On the hot side, the boys have gone with two-inch primaries off the head, dumping into a five-inch exhaust with a pair of Tial 60mm wastegates and two Garrett GTX 47/88 turbochargers.

JUST WANT TO GET OUT AND DO SOME RACING AND IT’S HARD TO DO THAT WITH A STOCK-BLOCK RB. THEY ARE ON THE LIMIT ALL THE TIME WITHOUT A BILLET BLOCK

As the engine runs on alcohol, there is no intercooler, and also no blow-off valve. The boost pipes run straight from the compressor housings to a CNC-machined billet Plazmaman intake manifold loaded with 16 Siemens 2400cc injectors. It’s controlled by a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU with eight EGT probes, wheel speed sensor, all the usual engine-monitoring sensors and dual wideband exhaust sampling.

Backing up the powerhouse is a Reid-case Powerglide built by Al’s Race Glides, while the four-link rear end was built many years back by Mick’s Metalcraft.

ARBY CHAT

1000HP HEMI STREETER

MACKAY racer Warren Borg has ditched the ProCharger in his Chrysler 300C in favour of a rear-mount turbo set-up, as he found it way too aggressive for daily street use. But the Manny Dalakakis-built 397ci Hemi with Manley rotating assembly and forged internals is still running strong, backed by a Viking transmission built by Southern Hotrod, a USAsourced upgraded driveshaft and 3.73 rear-end ratio.

All turbo fabrication is being done by Matty Howman at North Coast Custom. They have gone with a S480 billet-wheel turbo from Proboost and will feed the PWR intercooler that worked so well on the ProCharger set-up. An RB Racing rear oil pump will scavenge oil and an e-Boost will control the Tial 60mm wastegate.

The goal is for over 1000hp at the bags – not too shabby for a luxo-barge!

WILD RIDE

SAM Fenech’s JSS Racing Camaro Pro Slammer has been in blistering form lately, but at the recent Santo’s Summer Thunder meeting at Sydney Dragway, the Camaro was involved in a horrific accident. It ran 5.66@255mph to win in the final against Paul Mouhayet, but after crossing the finish line the ’chutes failed to open. The car speared through the sand trap and then the safety net, ending up in the back tyre-wall fence. Fortunately, Sam walked away virtually unscathed from the terrifying crash.

Despite being in the number two spot in the championship, it is uncertain whether Sam and JSS can continue this season. “The chances of making it back are slim,” he says. “We need to make a decision on a new car and look at what’s available; we don’t want to rush it. We want a winning car, which will probably be another Jerry Bickel car.”

PHIL DOUBLES DOWN

SOUTH Australia’s Phil Edmondson just never seems to stop when it comes to developing his tough-asnails, twin-turbo XB Falcon coupe.

After Drag Challenge 2018 he pulled the engine for a freshen-up and a general health check. The plan was to keep the current set-up with a single 88mm turbo until after DC 2019, before building a stronger and bigger-cube small-block with twin turbos for next year. That plan went balls-up when Phil saw that Frank Marchese had posted a pair of new Precision 7675 turbos on Facebook, so the front end of the coupe is currently in pieces and the angle grinder is getting a heavy workout to make it all fit.

“The engine should make around 1500hp at the flywheel, and my goal is to run a low-eight each day at DC and crack into the sevens,” Phil says.

While the car does have a tubular front end, it retains the stock chassis rails and is pretty much a fully specced VL body, which makes it radial-legal. A 15-litre front-mounted fuel cell has been also fabricated by Castle Hill, and as the motor does not run water, it keeps the plumbing pretty simple up front.

I DON’T WANT TO SPEAK TOO SOON, BUT THIS COMBINATION IS LIGHTER AND ON A BIGGER TYRE; NO MATTER HOW I ADD IT UP, IT ALL POINTS TO SIXES

As the car has been back-halved, it can squeeze a pretty hefty 32x14 rear slick under the guards, and while it will make some shakedown passes in this configuration, Dale is confident they will then make the transition to radial tyres.

Weight-wise, the car is within 100lb of the RB engine configuration, and when you consider that with around 35psi of boost the new mill will make a solid 2000hp, we are looking at real six-second capabilities.

“The plan is to start on low boost, somewhere around 18psi,” Jim says cautiously. “I don’t want to speak too soon, but this combination is lighter and on a bigger tyre; no matter how I add it up, it all points to sixes. To date, the car has never gone faster than a 7.70, as no matter what combination the car has run, the block always failed.

“Dale has been great with this deal – always available,” he continues. “But while he built the motor and did a lot of the hot and cold side, I’ve done most of the fit-up work, including engine-plating the motor in the car.

“The car is ready to go, and we are entered for the Lights Out event on 22 February – that’s the sort of racing I want to be doing.

“A good result would be somewhere close to a six or a low seven-second pass on 18psi, and Dale reckons we need to pull the motor done for inspection that in 10 every years 16 with passes. the RB!” Hell, s I have not