LEAHY DEBUTS 'HOT WHEELS' FUNNY CAR THIS WEEKEND
Prominent Gold Coast nostalgia drag racer Peter Leahy is well-known for his dragster exploits.
Come this Saturday (25 February) however, Leahy will change things up a bit, making his 'full bodied' debut aboard the Peter Leahy Custom Imports Nostalgia Funny Car at the Cruzin Magazine Nostalgia Drags at Willowbank Raceway.
The car itself - immortalised in the USA thanks to Hot Wheels who released a series of Funny Car matchbox cars including a replica of Leahy's new ride - will also be making its competitive debut since arriving in Australia last year, competing in the Winters Smash Repairs Top Eliminator category.
Leahy will be one of more than 170 nostalgia racers heading to Queensland's premier drag racing facility for what will be the first nostalgia event run at Willowbank under the track's management.
"In my entire drag racing career, this will be the first time that I race a full-bodied car," said Leahy.
"To be honest, when I was getting ready to take my first passes, I was wondering if I would feel claustrophobic when they lowered the body over me, but to be honest, it was unreal!
"While it is essentially the same horsepower as a dragster, it is a completely different driving experience, one that I found challenging, and a lot of fun!"
The body, bought from a contact in the United States, arrived in Australia in August 2011 before a rolling chassis to match it made its way here in September 2011. With perfect paint all that was needed to complete the six month build process was the engine and transmission from Leahy's dragster.
"I didn't want to touch the paint job, as it’s the livery that is featured on the Hot Wheels car," said Leahy.
"My kids have a couple of them and I have one, it is just pretty cool isn't it, to have an official Hot Wheels Model of your race car!
"We were so lucky to find a great rolling chassis to match the body, and with the engine and transmission coming from the dragster it all came together perfectly."
Testing for car and racer last weekend showed promise for this weekend's debut.
"The index for this class is 6.60 seconds, and I really think we will be able to run as close to that as possible at around 210 to 215 miles per hour," said Leahy.
"During our licensing and testing last weekend we were able to run 7.1 seconds and that was at three quarters throttle and backing off at 1000 foot, so the signs are good!
"With a new package there is always the risk of teething problems, but so far, so good, and we can't wait to get out there this weekend at Willowbank Raceway!"
If all goes well, there is no doubt as to who Leahy will be tipping his hat too on the podium.
"Our crew chief Mick Atholwood is an integral part of this team, he is my best mate, and we don't go anywhere without him usually," said Leahy
"Unfortunately Mick is quite unwell at the moment, but we wouldn’t be the team we are without him so if we can make it work this weekend, it will all be dedicated to him, he really drives this team."
The Cruzin Magazine Nostalgia Drags event will be held at Queensland’s premier drag racing facility on February 25, 2012, and will be the first since a brand new concept was developed between the drag way and Nostalgia racers to revolutionise the management of these popular events .
A long list of sponsors have gotten on board while more than 170 racers have signed up for what will be one of two nostalgia events for 2012 (the second will be held on 11 and 12 August 2012), with management looking to expand the calendar to three outings in 2013.
The action on February 25 will not be restricted to the quarter-mile, with a great show and shine and a full trade alley also planned. Further information can be found at www.willowbankraceway.com.au