CHRIS DEGERING'S little Victor is powered by a much-toughened version of Holden’s oft-maligned Starfire four, complete with a 3/71 blower and a diet of methanol. These days, however, Chris is getting his kicks in a whole new scene.
This article was first published in the August 2020 issue of Street Machine
So, TURTLE has new owners?
Yep! Apparently it has run an 11.9 on slicks – the quickest I ever did was 12.1.
That is incredible for a Starfire; there are guys with blown Holden sixes who would be jealous of those times.
It is such a lightweight little car; I think that has a lot to do with it!
Watch next: Chris's TURTLE Vauxhall at Summernats 29 - video
And now you’ve turned your attention to Hyundai Excel racing?
Yep! I’m aiming to race in the Excel Series, so I did a bunch of research and built a car. For now, I’m getting the hang of it at Nugget Nationals meetings. They are a bunch of racers who do sprints and hillclimbs, running to better their lap times rather than full-on racing.
We’ve heard the Excel Series is a lot of fun. Are the rules pretty tight?
Yep, you can only modify the engine upstream of the throttlebody and after the exhaust manifold. And when you build an engine, someone comes and inspects the assembly and then seals the motor – to prevent guys building highly modified engines.
And you’ve built most of it yourself?
Yep, but I bought the bolt-in rollcage from AGI. They make ’cages for all kinds of little cars and they are really cost-effective.
Did you have much experience in circuit racing before this?
None! I’ve done two Nugget Nationals meetings so far – one at Winton and one at Broadford. It’s awesome and they are a great bunch of people; really welcoming.
How did you prepare for the driving aspect of it?
Actually, with all the COVID stuff going on, I did some iRacing stuff with the Excel Series guys. It sounds funny, but I actually learned a heap from that. I think people really underestimate the power of iRacing as a teaching tool.
How does circuit racing compare to burnouts in terms of adrenaline?
I really enjoy both. The general feedback, noise and fury of burnouts are great, whereas the adrenaline from the circuit stuff comes from hitting your apexes, the hard braking and chasing your PBs. What is better about the circuit stuff at my level is that when things go wrong, it is a lot cheaper and quicker to get back into it!
Have you still got some more traditional street machine projects?
Yep, I’ve got an EH that I’ve been working on for a while. It’s just been painted Saltbush Green with a white roof. It’s got a red motor with EFI, Commodore disc brakes all ’round – all that stuff. I’ve also got another Victor – a dead-stocker that was an ex-CEO car back in the day – and a WB ute with a 308.