Kiwi to face world's fastest 5-second dragsters in 2500hp Toyota
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Auckland’s Rod Harvey will carry the quarter-mile hopes of both New Zealand and Australia when the quickest 5-second sport compact drag racing cars in the world meet in Orlando, Florida next month.
Harvey has shipped his new Toyota Camry to the Sports Compact World Challenge 8 event at Orlando Speedworld where he will compete against the best from the US, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the Middle East — the global hot beds of ‘‘import’’ drag racing for six-cylinder, four-cylinder and rotary engine ‘‘door’’ cars.
‘‘It will be the first time the top-10 Sport Compact cars from around the world will be in the same place at the same time, lining up to see who is the best in the world,’’ said Harvey.
‘‘It’s a chance to measure our team and our new car against the best and potentially a chance to be the best.’’
The pace is expected to be hot during the October 26-28 World Challenge 8.
‘‘Orlando is a really fast track. A lot of records have been set there, especially in the import racing world,’’ said Harvey.
The East Auckland builder has based his drag racing campaign in Australia for the last seven years and enjoyed a temporary reign as the quickest import racer in the world. His previous 2500-horsepower Toyota Celica clocked a 5.909secs time slip at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway in 2017 — the first 5secs run by an ‘‘import’’ racer in Australasia.
That performance still rates as Harvey’s personal best and currently ranks him with the fifth quickest ET (elapsed time) in the world while his best 253mph speed trap performance has been bettered by two rivals.
Harvey is now planning to achieve a performance step-up with the new Yuasa Batteries Camry.
‘‘I’ve always had the heaviest car and one of the oldest cars,’’ said Harvey.
Kiwi drag racer Rod Harvey in his Camry at the Brisbane Jamboree. Photo / Rod Harvey Racing
The new Camry is based on a US-built Pro Modified chassis and achieves a 90kg weight reduction compared to the Celica. It also offers improved aerodynamics while the Toyota 2JZ-based engine tuned by Glenn Cupit at Dodson Motorsport is carried over from the Celica with some updates.
The hand-built, six-cylinder Toyota 2JZ engine runs a single turbo and Motec engine management with its power applied through a five-speed Lenco transmission and custom-built 9.5-inch diff. Harvey believes the ultimate potential for the Camry is to run as quick as 5.70secs.
The car has been shipped from Brisbane to Florida following some promising early test runs but it has yet to complete a full quarter-mile pass.
‘‘We started on the new car straight after this year’s Winternationals (in June at Willowbank Raceway). We finished it in three months and tested for the first time at the Brisbane Jamboree (in August).
‘‘We’ve only made half-track runs but the increments are already on target for a 5secs pass and it’s gone quicker in the 60-foot than the Celica ever did in nine years.’’
But the running was restricted to Willowbank pre-event testing and qualifying rounds because the Jamboree race-day was washed out.
‘‘Unfortunately it rained and we had to put the car straight in the container and send it to Orlando. But we are flying out in time to test during the week before the World Challenge.’’
Harvey is racing in the Extreme Pro class — the fastest category of ‘‘door’’ car competition at World Challenge 8 — which will see a 16-car field racing through eliminations for a US$20,000 first prize.
Harvey’s upcoming US racing campaign will also include the Sport Compact Finals, also at Orlando Speedworld, over the December 1-2 weekend.