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As a new 400 Thunder season beckons with the running of the opening round, East Coast Thunder, this Friday and Saturday, John Zappia believes the championship is wide open.

Zappia will take on a field that includes some of Australia's toughest Pro Slammer racers including Steven Ham, Mark Hinchelwood and Kelvin Lyle.

“There's guys who are finding regular 5.6s and 5.7s and that means every race becomes a tough race,” Zappia said. “Pro Slammers by their nature are so unpredictable, so the guys who can tame them – like Steve Ham right now – are the ones you really have to watch out for.

“We were looking forward to battling with Paul Mouhayet again this season but he is taking a break and we wish him all the best, he and Moits Racing were great competitors.”

Part of the reason for Zappia's phenomenal success in drag racing has been a commitment to testing, and that has not changed this season. Zappia took the opportunity to hit Sydney Dragway early with the aim of sorting out a gremlin that had been plaguing the Monaro for several events.

“We traced down an electrical glitch that was making the lockup clutch malfunction,” he said. “We did some testing on Tuesday and found the problem, so we just put the manual shift buttons back on and I drove it like I used to. Straight away it went 5.76/249mph even though it rattled and I needed to pedal.

“Then on Wednesday we changed a few things around on the motor, came back out and launched with a .971 60 foot time, carried the wheels a long way and managed a 5.71/254mph in pretty hot conditions. We experimented with stepping it up a little after that but we found the limit and now we have our baseline for East Coast Thunder.”

Joining Zappia Racing once again this season will be major sponsors Fuchs Lubricants, Dananni Hotshots, Crow Cams, Noonan Race Engineering, Hoosier Tires, Muscle Car Warehouse and Speedflow.

"We are proud to carry their names across Australia's quickest Holden Monaro,” Zappia said. "We also welcome our many supporting sponsors for another season of drag racing."

The car will have a new look with naming rights sponsorship being available.

“We've had a fantastic long term relationship with Fuchs and we are happy they are remaining a part of the team as a major sponsor. Dananni Hotshots is also remaining on board as a major sponsor. What this means is that for the first time in many years our naming rights advertising is available. We would certainly welcome anyone who is interested in joining with Australia's most successful Pro Slammer team to come to the pits and have a talk with us about how we can help promote their business.”