Willowwbank workld's fastest Pro-Mod race

Thanks to Dave Mead <meadd@pop.ihug.co.nz> and Robert Ryan ( 02)9598 6315" <robert.ryan@tafensw.edu.au> for this report > History was made in Australia recently. They staged the world's > first side by side 220 mph doorslammer ...

Willowwbank workld's fastest Pro-Mod race

Thanks to Dave Mead <meadd@pop.ihug.co.nz> and Robert Ryan ( 02)9598 6315" <robert.ryan@tafensw.edu.au> for this report

> History was made in Australia recently. They staged the world's > first side by side 220 mph doorslammer race. Now, the rules are > more liberal down there, but this *still* is quite an achievement.

Thought I would add some background details to Roberts report...

As you probably all know the Australian Top Doorslammer class regs are more liberal in the engine department than ProMod, allowing Top Alcohol type combination including screw-blowers. However the cars are limited in blower over-drive and carry a hefty 2700 lb minimum wieght.

That is where Willowbank Raceway decided to make things interesting, setting up a run-what-ya-brung no-limit match race between the 2 quickest cars in the country, Victor Bray vs Peter Gratz.

While both Gratz & Bray campaign carbon-fibre '57 Chevy bodies over a Murray Andersen double-rail chassis, there are _major_ differences in their team operations.

Victor Bray, a national icon in Australian motorsport, runs a smart 3-car team (2x Doorslammer + 1x TAFC) which enjoys major backing from Castrol, allowing them the resources to race (and win!) at tracks from coast to coast. Victor also has an impressive inventory of modern BAE6 engines, and has a very close working relationship with Norm Drazy who supplies his PSI blowers.

In relation to his very seasoned rival, Peter "Yahoo!" Gratz is a relative newcomer to the sport and his Valvoline Chev is run on a shoe-string sportsman budget. His step up this season from a 14-71 to Whipple screw-blower has gained the team performance, but the price has been heavy in increased maintenance to their one-and-only engine. A dicey situation for a team that does not have deep pockets!!

The third component in this match race was of course the legendary track conditions at Willowbank Raceway. During the winter months in South Queensland, a chill creeps into the normally balmy weather and the air conditions for motor-sport are just about unbelievable. In fact if you have never been to a race such as the famous ANDRA WinterNationals, you may _not_ believe that the corrected altitude at this racetrack has been known to hit MINUS 500 feet!!! These condition combined with world class track prep is what makes this the home of some awfully stout track records <grin>.

Robert has already fed you the results, but I thought you might like to see the actual run numbers (courtesy of Dennis Syrmis & Willowbank Raceway) from the match race:

1221 - VICTOR BRAY 57 CHEV TFX 514 1786 - PETER GRATZ 57 CHEV 526KB

ROUND ONE - VICTOR BRAY VS PETER GRATZ 30/08/1997 6:08 pm

60 330 660 MPH 1000 ET MPH Gratz Bray 1.092 2.865 4.276 177.72 5.474 6.482 221.79

ROUND TWO - VICTOR BRAY VS PETER GRATZ 30/08/1997 7:42 pm 13Deg,70%H,1025mB,-268RA,(TT)18Deg

60 330 660 MPH 1000 ET MPH Bray 1.056 2.824 4.225 176.75 5.420 6.425 224.55 Gratz 1.084 2.800 4.179 178.01 5.378 6.395 220.91

ROUND THREE - VICTOR BRAY VS PETER GRATZ 30/08/1997 9:34 pm 12Deg,78%H,1025mB,-409RA,(TT)15Deg

NUM 60 330 660 MPH 1000 ET MPH 1221 1.161 2.863 4.227 178.57 5.490 6.550 609.75|? F 1786 1.085 2.783 4.150 180.43 5.342 6.360 217.92

(Note: Debris from Gratz's car caused the erroneous speed!)

The aftermath of that final pass was that although Gratz ran his person best he also lost an engine in the lights. In Dennis Syrmis words, " the sky lit up like a roman candle as the engine exploded, nitro Funny Car style. The car crossed lanes, causing Bray to brake heavily and then hit the Armco hard, eventually coming to a halt at the end of the asphalt ".

Both drivers were un-hurt and Victors car is repairable. However Gratz could only salvage a few spare parts left out of the pile of junk remaining from what was his only engine. With Scotty Cannon arriving down-under for the USA vs. AUS tour in just under 8 weeks, it looks unlikely Peter will be racing unless he can find some serious support....

Hope this was of interest, Dave M. _________________________________________________

E-mail from Dave Mead, please reply to:

P O Box 58-340 E-mail: meadd@fp.co.nz (Bus) Greenmount 1701 E-mail: meadd@ihug.co.nz (Hm) Auckland, N.Z. Compuserve ID: 100236,3310 __________________________________________________

shares
comments
This Week in Racing History (September 14-20)

Previous article

This Week in Racing History (September 14-20)

Next article

Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Prime

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 20, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Prime

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. Mark Gallagher analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

General
May 2, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Prime

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be.

General
Apr 21, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Prime

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them.

General
Jan 31, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
Why motorsport should consider a mid-week future Prime

Why motorsport should consider a mid-week future

International motorsport has been the preserve of weekends, but the pandemic forced Formula E to get creative with its Berlin season finale as four races were held mid-week. Should FE and other series break with tradition and repeat the experiment?

General
Oct 5, 2020
How pragmatic principles made Ron Tauranac a design legend Prime

How pragmatic principles made Ron Tauranac a design legend

Jack Brabham's 1966 world championship campaign in his eponymous car was also a defining moment in the career of designer Ron Tauranac, who would apply the same ethos to his ultra-successful production racing car business, Ralt.

General
Jul 23, 2020
The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars' Prime

The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars'

OPINION: The FIA has warned that the major motorsport championships must not get engaged in 'turf wars' when it comes to the urgent need to re-organising the 2020 calendars, but there are tedious past problems that must be addressed to satisfy all.

General
May 3, 2020