Radial tyre drag racing is a booming scene worldwide, and Western Australia is beginning to see some top-line cars appear – including Lorenzo Gullotto’s new Ford Mustang.
Gullotto will be in action as part of this Sunday’s Super Sportsman Showdown (February 14) at the Perth Motorplex.
Most high horsepower drag cars use a bias ply slick tyre, which can scrunch up on launch to absorb power. Radial tyres use a much stiffer sidewall, meaning racers must be more delicate on the start line. The result is a class where the tyre is a more limiting factor than horsepower.
Gullotto used radial tyres on his former race machine of choice, a Holden VL Commodore. But as his speeds climbed, Gullotto found himself uncomfortable with the safety of what was still essentially a street car.
“Doing the times and speeds we were in the Commodore was cool, but doing it on a standard six-point cage was starting to get to a point where I wanted something with more safety,” he said. “There were options to put more of a cage in the Commodore but with the money we would have spent and the weight we would have added it wasn’t feasible to stay on that route.”
Gullotto sold his Commodore and its turbocharged Chevy LS motor, and then found a Ford Mustang ‘Fox Body’ for sale in Victoria.
“The car was built in Los Angeles to X275-class radial specs in the USA. I was going to put an LS deal back in but then I looked at doing something more out there.”
That was where Gullotto’s new power plant of choice came in: a 572 cubic inch big block Chev with twin Precision 88mm turbochargers. It’s an incredible 2656 horsepower combination that will have more than enough power for radial tyres.
“We will never be able to use that much power at the Motorplex, so we just wanted to make sure the engine was healthy,” he said. “On its first full track pass it went 8.08sec at 289kmh, and the thing is still like driving a tractor. We only got to 8psi which is just gate pressure, so it has got a lot up its sleeve, but it is about getting that power to the track.”
With his licensing stages complete, Gullotto is looking forward to entering competition in the Outlaw Radial class at the Super Sportsman Showdown on Saturday, February 14 and testing his new beast against its rivals.
“The Super Sportsman Showdown will be my first meeting racing with the car, so hopefully we can first get it into the 7sec. zone and then just chip away at the times,” he said. “The ultimate goal for the next few meetings would be to get the first 6sec. pass on radial tyres in WA. We know there are some more cars coming out soon that are going to be capable of those times.”
The Super Sportsman Showdown features Top Comp, Supercharged Outlaws and Outlaw Radial drag racing, with $25 all-access spectator pricing including pit entry. On-track action will run from 11.00am to 6.00pm (approx). For more information, visit www.motorplex.com.au
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: Jay Treasure