Events: Snowy 1000 2015

By: Glenn Torrens, Photography by: Glenn Torrens

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We go ballistic for one magic kilometre at this year's Snowy 1000


Snowy 1000 2015

Three Hundred And twenty eight kilometres per hour. That’s the new 1000m sprint record for Australia, set at the Snowy Mountains 1000 airport sprint in November. Running that astonishing number was the Willall Racing-prepped present-gen Nissan GTR driven by Keir Wilson; its incredible twin-turbo, Australian-blocked (designed and machined in Adelaide) and – of course – all-wheel drive chassis blasting down the kay in 16.829 seconds. Yep, that’s about the time required for a normal car to do the bench-mark quarter mile…by which time this Nissan is 600m away and moving at waaay more than double the velocity of the typical sedan’s quarter-mile terminal speed!

Although the Snowy 1000 (held at the Snowy Mountains airport, just outside the NSW ski-fields gateway town of Cooma) attracts plenty of wicked-up full-blown turbocharged animals, it’s also had a good number of classic and muscle-car stuff waltz down the runway over its four years, too. Again, this year there was a scattering of toughie local Holden and Ford performance cars – both early and later-model – plus a good backup of more modest Japanese performance legends, one or two Porsches, an electric car and a few dak-daks, including my own long-suffering yellow VW Beetle.

The event promotor, Adam Drake has - with partner in crime, Angela Bartlett - put plenty of effort into ‘Australia’s fastest runway sprint’. Two years ago, the starting area was upgraded with a 50m-long section of smooth and grippy hot-mix bitumen but the remainder of the airport’s 2.2km surface retains a scattering of gravel that, no matter how hard the sweeper tries, takes its toll on paint. But every chip is a trophy, right?

The sound of some of the fastest and most powerful cars in Australia wailing into wheelspin at upwards of 250km/h is incredible. Until you’ve heard that – and it’s really only here at the Snowy 1000 or at the dry salt-lake speed-fest of Lake Gairdner’s Australian Speed Week you get the chance to experience this – you haven’t quite been subjected to everything a fast car can do to your soul. Put it on your bucket list, folks!


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Rob Duggan's LJ Torana

Rob’s LJ Torana ran a 199.3km/h, good enough for the event’s fastest natural aspirated six. "I was aiming for 200 kays, wasn’t I?" said Rob. "I missed it by that much!" The engine in his Torana that he’s owned for a couple of years is a Black (Commodore) blocked 3.3-litre wearing triple carbs and filled with some tough internals. Behind it is a M21 four-speed box and original Torana banjo-type diff. "There’s no computers in this one, mate!" reckons Rob.

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Bill Mackintosh's Ford XY Falcon GT

After a rebuild, Tasmanian Bill Mackintosh ran-in his 460-cube V8 installed in his XY Falcon by driving it most of the way from Tassie in convoy with a few mates – Rob Duggan and his LJ Torana, and Scott ‘Scooter’ Turnbull in his Subaru WRX. He ran a modest 165km/h on his first run but next time out, the engine went boom. Lucky for the ever-smiling Billy, he had his trailer and tow car for the road trip and ferry back to Tassie. It knocked a hole in the sump - which is better than a hole in the block!

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Keir Wilson, Willall Racing Nissan GTR

Driven by Keir Wilson, the Willall Racing Nissan GTR is Australia’s fastest car over the 1000m, setting a new record of 16.829/328.3km/h on its – and the 2015 event’s – first run. The billet-blocked 4.4-litre twin-turbo V6 and extensive driveline mods are developed for track work but of course more than 1000hp is handy for airport sprints too. "It’s a circuit car, so it has wheel alignment specs, camber and all that, that aren’t really great for top speed," reckons Martin Donnan, who has had a big hand in the car’s development.  "And this year we lost drive to the front wheels on the first run - the front clutches had had enough. 350 kays is the aim for next year!" 

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Bill Mackintosh's Walkinshaw Commodore

Sydney's BoB Parkin has owned his Walkinshaw since it was brand new. A regular at club track days - and at the Snowy - the mostly original Aussie muscle legend has 197,000km on the clock but these days, it runs an eight throttle injection system and puts out around 400kW. Lots of track time has led to a heap of development to suspension and brakes. "I usually run it once a month in sprints," says Bob. "The only let down is the T5 gearbox – you can’t change it fast enough!"  He ran a best of 223.4km/h and 24.784 seconds. 


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