Locked and loaded
As you may have seen in the last few issues of NZV8, 26 of New Zealand’s toughest muscle cars have been confirmed to compete in the 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, being held over October 6–9. The cars, all of which compete in the local Enzed Central Muscle Cars (CMC) series, were loaded into containers over the weekend of September 10–11 for the long, slow trip across the Tasman.
Included in the cars heading abroad are vehicles synonymous with Bathurst from days gone by — cars such as Dr John Elliott’s six-cylinder LJ Torana and Greg Cuttance’s XE Falcon, both wearing period-correct graphics.
However, a handful of cars more associated with racing in America than in Australia are also making the trip — for example, Duane Ingley’s Dodge Challenger and Paul Clarke’s Mustang — and they are sure to impress the crowds as much.
To avoid any customs delays on the other side, the vehicles were all cleaned to a spotless state and had brand-new tyres fitted before being loaded — two per container. Once landed in Australia, the containers will be trucked to Bathurst for the great race.
The schedule includes three seven-lap races against the similarly specced Australian Touring Car Masters (TCM) class, occasions bound to have the crowds on their feet. Imagine the sight and sound of 50 old muscle cars flying over the mountain!
Control in the wet
While the class has had a control tyre for many seasons now, the choice of wet-weather tyres has always been up to the individual driver’s preference. That’s all set to change for the 2017–2018 season, as the Hankook Ventus Z207 Wet has been confirmed as the class’s wet-weather tyre to a maximum size of 240/610R17. While, ideally, the class would run a full season without the need for wets, the rule should help with parity, if required.
Andrews aiming high
One member of the team headed to Bathurst is Calvin Andrew in his VB Commodore. The fitter/turner/welder by trade has raced the car since 2001, stepping up to join CMC in 2013, and soon being named Rookie of the Year.
A long-time follower of Jim Richards’ career, and having watched Peter Brock win three in a row at Bathurst, Calvin never thought he’d get the chance to race there himself. Ever since the first mention of CMC going to the great race, he’s been determined to be part of the action and now that’s set to become a reality. For this, Calvin has decided to make the most of the opportunity by having Track Sport Engines build a new 308-based engine combo for the car.
The block and heads remain cast iron “true muscle car stuff”, according to Calvin, but the internals are far from stock and, as such, the combo is now good for 530hp and 480lb·ft.
This will be a big step up from the old 380hp 320lb·ft combo that Calvin has been competing with to date.
The engine package is backed up by a Tilton triple-plate clutch, Tex Racing four-speed gearbox, and spooled Holden diff.
With the new power on tap and Calvin’s talents behind the wheel, we’re sure that both the Bathurst experience and the whole coming season will be events to remember.
In our last issue, when we announced the team making the trip to Bathurst, we inadvertently stated that Greg Cuttance would be competing a Ford Mustang, rather than the XE Falcon that we’re well aware he drives. We also managed to call Greg Holden’s XR Falcon an XT. Our apologies to both drivers.