Ballarat drag racer Matt Forbes is sparing no expense to take a shot at the Super Gas title come the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship at Fuchs South Coast Raceway in Portland on January 5 and 6.
Forbes said the car suffered from a mysterious lack of horsepower at the Australian Nationals recently in Sydney and the team has been going over his Lucas Oil Products hot rod one piece at a time to find the gremlin.
“We stripped the car, had the motor back on the dynamometer, rebuilt the transmission, refitted the fuel system - you name it, we did it,” he said.
“We have also had a new configuration torque converter built for it and this seems to have cured our issues. We feel very confident that now we have these issues out of the way our season will really take off from here.”
It will be a special moment when Forbes burns out in Portland, getting the opportunity to show his race skills in front of local family and friends for the first time since 2001.
“Having a round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship in our home state is huge for us, we raced at the last championship meeting in Victoria in 2001 so it has been a long time coming,” he said.
“We have done the hard yards travelling long distances to race so to be able to race at this level locally and have our family and friends in attendance and see what we are so passionate about is a great thing.
“It’s great news for our sponsors as well, the exposure into this new region will certainly open up new avenues and the commercial reality is that we will all benefit from this new spectator base.”
The Portland round will be unique as the first Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship event run over an eighth mile distance (201m) as opposed to the more traditional drag racing length of a quarter mile (402m).
“The eighth mile can certainly be a challenging environment if you haven’t honed your skills on it before,” Forbes said.
“There is a lot less time to make the decisions you need to make, the margin of victory is usually tight and the car is set up differently to when we run Super Gas over the quarter mile. We are in a fortunate position that Fuchs South Coast Raceway in Portland is a track where we have spent considerable time and know the track well.”
It’s that intimate knowledge of the Portland surface that Forbes sees as key to a win.
“There are a number of variables that are required to win and they are a good car, a good pit crew, a good driver and a bit of good luck,” he said.
“We have really good knowledge of the track and our crew are excellent, I have been driving pretty well of late, made solid decisions and have only lost by hundredths of a second."
“I have some really good people in my corner and it’s just not possible to do what we do without these guys, my sponsors Lucas Oil Products, K&N Filters, Manton Pushrods and Fast Time Design Race Transmissions, plus my crew and family are behind our racing efforts 100% and I can’t ask for any more than that.”
The Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship hits Fuchs South Coast Raceway in Portland on January 5 and 6.