Maintenance on vehicles is no foreign concept to drag racers, but driver Paul Carey has discovered that all elements of his machine need attention – including the pilot.
Carey campaigns a unique Toyota-powered Top Alcohol Altered, the latest evolution of a supercharged engine combination he has been experimenting with for two decades.
He heads into this Saturday’s Night of Fire at Perth Motorplex with his goal of a five second pass looking closer than ever before and a car that has been handling much better in recent events.
His season started with an enormous wheelstand, where the front wheels climbed off the ground under acceleration before slamming back down to the track. The chassis was damaged and needed much attention from fabricator Clyde Carstairs. The silver lining was that the repairs unearthed some issues with the chassis.
“After the wheelstand we had front halved the car (replaced the front of the chassis) and Clyde found a few things that were contributing to the mishandling,” Carey said. “We now have a perfectly square chassis to work with.”
Carey’s race car is quick, reaching 100kmh in less than a second. That kind of G-force is tough on the human body and Carey – like the chassis – found he needed some work done.
“I’m nearly 60 and it was all getting too much physically; I had lost confidence as a driver,” he said.
“I got in touch with my personal trainer Shayne, who works at Liftlab and specialises in preparing athletes for competition. The training helped me lose weight, get fit, and work on situational awareness and I’ve now got my confidence back. I’d like to master this engine combo.”
Most cars in Carey’s class use a Hemi motor with twice the cubic capacity. His Toyota is certainly a David among Goliaths and needs to be worked hard in the first half of the track.
“We have no real advantage over the big Hemis except maybe being quick early in the run and not so prone to tyre shake,” he said.
“At the Night of Fire we will be trialling some more changes to the design to get from A to B more consistently and the rest will follow.”
The Night of Fire features Jet Dragsters and the Summer Slam, plus all the classes of the WA Drag Racing Championship. Qualifying begins from 11am with the feature program commencing from 5.30pm. For more information, go to www.motorplex.com.au
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: High Octane Photos