Drag racing: Powering up to break records
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A new entrant to the high-speed elite of New Zealand drag racing is able to lay claim to a five-second time slip and a top-end speed above 250mph.
And for Waiuku-based Gubb Racing, the quarter-mile benchmarks have been broken in a way no other team has managed -- by campaigning a turbocharged dragster.
On Saturday at Meremere Dragway with Russell Christoffersen at the wheel, the 8.4-litre big-block Chevrolet twin turbo car easily powered past its three-week-old previous best 6.043s pass with an impressive sequence of 5secs performances -- firstly 5.967s/248.6mph then 5.887s/248.3mph and followed up with a 5.855s/254.3mph effort.
The twin turbo rear engine machine debuted in October and reaching 5secs performance has taken only five race days with Christoffersen and Raymond Gubb sharing the driving duties.
"I knew the car had it in it but I never expected to chop down into the 5.80s so soon," said Christoffersen. "We are still in the middle of learning how the car behaves.
"It's about power management and conditions. We've been learning how the turbos spool up on the start line and, to begin with, the pressures were all over the place. But we are getting them evened out now.
"As we continue to improve our 60-foot times we'll be able to run a bit faster."
If the start line techniques are a new challenge, so is flashing through the finish line at more than 250mph.
"At the finish line it's all about getting the 'chutes out quickly."
The numbers which the Gubb Racing dragster laid down latest weekend make for interesting comparison.
Equipped with turbos and electronic engine management the car runs in the new AAi Dragster class, which is separate from traditional mechanically supercharged dragsters.
The IHRA national records for a Top Alcohol dragster (supercharged) are quicker at 5.516s but only fractionally faster at 256.6mph.
There was another turbo team on record pace last weekend. Tauranga's Karen Hay driving her family's 27 Ford T Roadster with twin turbo Chevrolet power nudged her BBi Altered record with 6.448s and 213.7mph performances.
A national class record fell to Te Puke's Dave Gauld (above) with his 34 Ford Coupe Top Fuel Altered with an early 7.444s run at 186.9mph.
He later improved to 6.994s/192.7mph which he's unable to claim as the record as its beyond the 1 per cent "back-up" margin of his earlier run.
A couple of personal bests achieved on Saturday have set potential match-ups at the upcoming IHRA Nationals.
New Plymouth's Wayne Curry (bellow) made a big gain on his PB to run 6.159s/222.0mph in his Top Alcohol 27 T Altered, numbers which all but duplicate the early season 6.159s/225.5mph best from the Christchurch-based Alsop Brothers team in its new Altered.
And in Top Doorslammer, last weekend's strongest run was a new PB for Upper Hutt racer Rod Benjes in the DB Racecars 92 Chev Beretta on its first appearance after a winter rebuild and upgrade.
Benjes stopped the clocks with a 6.444s/223.1mph pass in the semi-finals.
In the final, Aucklander Mark Bardsley (68 Camaro) ran an unopposed 6.806s/212.2mph after Benjes (Bellow) shut down following his burn-out. His run almost matches the best Doorslammer performance of the summer by Hamilton's Nigel Dixon in his BF Ford Falcon.
The IHRA Nationals are raced at Meremere Dragway over the March 11-12 weekend and also double as the final round of the 2016-17 IHRA points series.