THE boys at MPW Performance certainly know how to build stupidly tough street cars, and they also know how to get those cars to run right at the pointy end of the Drag Challenge field.
The newest addition to the MPW stable – joining the likes of Adam Rogash’s seven-second ALLSHOW VK Commodore and Luke Foley’s VH Commodore – is Riccardo Pontonio’s VK. Ric has taken on Drag Challenge before in the VK, albeit with an LSA and no rollcage. With a PB of 9.20 under its belt, the car was no slouch, but for Drag Challenge 2019 Ric wanted to take it to the next level.
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“Ric’s new goals for the car were 1000kW at the hubs and seven-second timeslips,” says MPW’s Adam Rogash.
While the boys could’ve persisted with the blown LSA set-up, they decided to simplify the process by ditching the LSA entirely for a twin-turbo Dart LS combo. The mill was thrown together by Powerhouse Engines, consisting of a 427ci LS Next Dart 2 block, retaining the hydraulic-roller cam set-up and a whole bunch of good fruit.
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Feeding the mill through the Plazmaman intercooler and intake manifold is a pair of 72mm BorgWarner hairdryers from GCG, controlled by a Haltech Elite 2500. The rest of the driveline consists of a Trans Specialties two-speed Powerglide and nine-inch diff.
Less than a week out from the start of Drag Challenge, the car hit the dyno at Tunnel Vision Turbocharging in Dandenong, cranking out 1127kW/1511hp at the hubs, well and truly smashing Ric’s expectations. “Adam took me for a drive in it and I was shitting myself; I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get it down the track!” Ric exclaims.
The boys now have just a few days to do some street miles, and the car will go into Drag Challenge with no test passes. Talk about a baptism of fire!