PERFORMANCE Car Mania returned to Winton Raceway in September for three fun-packed days of smoke-filled mayhem. A variety of driving events, including powerskids, drag racing, burnouts and plenty of track time on the circuit, saw carloads of mates smoking the tyres.
After 10 years, PCM still has its original relaxed country atmosphere, and thanks to redevelopment over the past decade, Winton is now a first-class facility, with a great pit area and plenty of shed space available to competitors. Some of the pit garages resembled rubber forts, with stacks of innocent, unsuspecting new treads awaiting destruction.
There was no prize money on offer, just bragging rights for those who came out on top in the competition events.
A bumper crowd turned out to watch the Saturday arvo heads-up drag racing. It was a hotly contested affair, with genuine eight-second quarter-mile street cars fighting for traction and battling the bumps on an un-prepped short track of around 200 metres.
In the final it came down to reigning champ Mick Watt’s UTRIED Cortina against Justin Robinson’s big-block LX Torana, SKIDIT. Watto ended up with the win. “I was running him down at the end but just ran out of track,” Justin said. “He beat me by half a guard length at the finish line.”
Justin has run as quick as 9.2@156mph over the quartermile with his 555ci big block-powered Torry, and is a PCM regular. “I really like PCM,” he said. “The nature of the backto- back runs in the drags means your car’s cooling and charging system has to be A1, and your car has to be fast.
The track is also quite challenging, with limited traction and an undulating surface.”
Burnout qualifying was almost overrun with stock latemodel LS-powered Commodores using their rev-limiters as throttle stops, until Paul ‘Grump’ Cook came out in BLWNVC. The supercharged big-block VC puts out over 1100hp, and Paul had the crowd on their feet the second he hit the throttle. He pulled one of the strongest burnouts of the weekend, but stopped before popping the tyres; the car was pushed from the track and didn’t return for the finals.
Other top qualifiers included Mick Hughes in his blown small block-powered UC Torana hatch, and Lloyd McLeod in JAILB-8. Lloyd made great use of the pad with one of the toughest aspirated burnouts of the weekend, but an issue with a throttle position sensor in the last cruise session saw the black LS-powered VK sitting out the finals.
In Sunday morning’s finals, Brendan Johnson’s PRO400 Camaro was looking the goods thanks to a huge tip-in, and was going well until he got lost in the smoke, got off it and backed away from the guard rail.
Emilio Williams had his blown big-block Monaro on-song
Shane D’Amato’s LS-powered VS Commodore ute took out the burnout comp and came runner-up to Charles Gipp’s eardrum-bursting 20B turbo-powered Mazda RX-7 in the powerskids
Graham Longhurst from Canberra stomped all over the competition on the dyno with his ProCharged big-block HZ Holden (see SM, Nov 2008)
Winton local Justin Robinson’s Torana is powered by a methanol-fed 555ci big-block Chev. The beast took out the aspirated class on the dyno with 609rwhp and also came runner-up in the drags. It did well in the powerskids, too!
Mick Watts took out the street drags for the second year running in his 369ci UTRIED TD Cortina, edging out Justin Robinson’s big-block Torana
and heading for the win, but after a great start he got stuck at one end of the pad and clipped the tyre barrier, taking him out of contention.
In the end it was Shane D’Amato in GHETTO who grabbed top honours. Shane threw the naturally aspirated VS Commodore ute around the pad with wild abandon. Bouncing off the rev-limiter the whole run, Shane pulled a top skid to take a well-deserved win – albeit over a heavily depleted field; by that time the weekend’s track carnage had taken its toll on several of the listed finalists!
The pace slowed down at PCM twice a day for one of the coolest parts of the event. Fast becoming a bucket-list item for anyone with offspring and a modified car, the kids’ cruise had a level of excitement all of its own, as cars lined up filled with kids happily strapped in waiting for their turn on a real race track with Dad. While the pace was sedate compared to some of the other events, a few hits of the throttle, a chirp or two of the tyres and a quick squirt down the straights put smiles on plenty of young faces – not to mention some pretty proud parents chuffed to be introducing the next generation of little revheads to the sport!
In contrast, the ‘adults’ cruise session got pretty wild at times, with some cars copping more punishment and smashing more tyres than in the burnout comp! But for people like Michael Sapardanis, that’s what PCM is all about. His VT Commodore was one of many at the event moving to LS power, and while it mightn’t be the prettiest ride, it sure got the job done. “It only owes me three grand,” Michael said.
“It’s only got a bit of a cam, some head work and been re-tuned, but me and the boys have been having a ball in it all weekend and we’ve gone through about 20 sets of tyres.”
Kyle Foster brought his recently built blown 355ci HG Premier down from Wagga Wagga for some testing and track time. “The best bit about PCM is you can do things here that you can’t do out on the streets,” he said. “Basically give the cars a good old-fashioned flogging without having to worry about the police giving you a hard time.”
Matt Smoors is a PCM regular, and brought along his Magnusonsupercharged LS3-powered VK Commodore, FSTGMH, to compete in the powerskids and hit the track. Matt echoed the sentiments of most PCM participants: “I’ve been coming to PCM for eight years and it’s a killer event. There’s nothing like cruising around the track frying tyres with your mates.” s