New and upgraded Top Doorslammers target NZ's first 5-second pass
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
In most forms of motorsport two-tenths of a second is a small increment.
But in the fastest classes of quarter-mile drag racing it’s a massive leap in performance — and also what stands between current benchmarks and the first 5-second pass by a Top Doorslammer on a New Zealand dragstrip.
New and upgraded cars breathed 5-second anticipation into Top Doorslammer racing last summer and the theme has continued in early 2017-18 season meetings.
There’s a short queue of Kiwi teams with a 5-second time slip not far from their grasp and the Masterton Motorplex has posted a $5000 bounty if a Doorslammer team can deliver the history-making 5secs pass on its track.
Last season’s quickest ‘Slammer pass was posted by Hamilton’s Nigel Dixon with a 6.197secs/237.5mph effort in his supercharged BF Ford Falcon. Dixon has raced the Falcon twice this year with a 6.325s qualifying run at Masterton’s Central Nationals being his best to date.
Dixon says finding a 0.2s improvement to blast into the 5sec bracket is a big performance leap and one that requires attention to detail.
‘‘We know the car is capable. It’s about getting the right conditions and sorting through all the little teething problems,’’ says Dixon.
Wellington's Rod Benjes has raced to a personal best of 6.330secs in his `92 Chev Beretta Doorslammer. Photo / Colin Smith
While Dixon posted last year’s single best ‘Slammer pass a new national record of 6.261s (which requires two runs within a 1 per cent tolerance) was set by Beachlands racer Trevor Smith in his ‘75 Holden Statesman. And Wellington racers Rod Benjes (Chevrolet Beretta) and Mark Thomas (Ford Customline) also powered into the 6.3secs range late last season.
There are different technology routes to blasting a production bodied car with functioning doors into the 5secs bracket — although something in the region of 2500-horsepower is a pre-requisite.
Traditional supercharged cars are now being challenged by both turbocharged and nitrous oxide-injected cars and this summer’s best performance belongs to Auckland’s Barry Plumpton with his new ‘68 Camaro clocking a 6.209s pass at Masterton in early December.
The US-built Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro is a new contender for Plumpton and the talking point is found under the bonnet with an enormous 959-cubic inch (that’s 15.7-litres in metric currency) nitrous-injected V8 — believed to be the biggest displacement drag racing engine ever seen in New Zealand.
The official New Zealand record for a Top Doorslammer is held by Beachlands racer Trevor Smith with the `75 Holden Statesman at 6.261secs. Photo / Colin Smith
Plumpton raced successfully in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo with an 832-inch nitrous engine that had run in the 6.5secs range. His team is working through the set-up on the new car with its early promise reflected by the improved elapsed time but no gain yet over the top-end speeds achieved by the Monte Carlo.
‘‘The Camaro is a PDRA (Professional Drag Racers Association) Pro Nitrous car and they run eighth-mile. So the early runs with the car have been to sort out the set-up and gearchanges for the quarter-mile,’’ says Plumpton.
Plumpton has his eye on the 5secs barrier but says it’s not his immediate target.
‘‘It’s not my specific goal. I just like going fast and our goal is to go to a race track and run faster than we’ve been before,’’ said Plumpton.
Exploring the turbo Doorslammer route is Taranaki’s Jeff Dobson who has a been a successful runner in Top Street racing with a Camaro. His new twin turbocharged 2012 Pontiac Grand-Am debuted at Masterton’s December meet.
The Top Doorslammer class is in action at the ‘‘Wellington Invasion’’ meeting at Meremere Dragway on Saturday January 13 which will also feature IHRA national series racing for Top Alcohol racers. A reciprocal ‘‘Auckland Invasion’’ meet will run at Masterton on February 17-18.