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> MISS SUMMERNATS RIDES ALONG WITH TEAM FABIETTI AT SYDNEY DRAGWAY

STORY MATT REEKIE PHOTOS MATT REEKIE & GRANT STEPHENS

THE ACDelco Monaro Slammer car had a little extra heat in the tyres at Sydney Dragway on 27 May, with Miss Summernats 30, Jazmyne Wardell, taking a ride down the quarter with driver Mark Belleri.

“I absolutely loved it,” Jazmyne gushed after her experience. “That was so much fun; such an adrenaline rush. I can see why Mark does this all the time.”

Car owner Maurice Fabietti and the team were out making a few test hits ahead of the June Winternationals at Willowbank, the final round of the 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Series, in which Belleri held a 39-point lead over nearest rival Gary Phillips.

“It’s always great to get a newbie on board to gauge their excitement and their fear,” Maurice said. “I love seeing the look on their face when they hear the engine start up, because this is such a weapon of a thing.

“It’s a sedan-bodied car making 3500hp, and goes from zero to 100 kays in less than one second. With 3.3G off the startline and negative 4.4G when then ’chutes come out, it’s quite a ride.”

With Jazmyne in the passenger seat, the car ran a dead-straight pass of 7.355@175mph, buttoning off at half-track.

“For safety reasons we are only allowed to go as fast as 185mph (297km/h) with a passenger on board,” Maurice said. “So even with a shutoff at half-track, Jazmyne’s pass was right up near that.”

The team spent the rest of the day dialling in a fresh 500-cube engine combo in hopes of besting the Monaro’s current PB of 5.77@251.41mph.

“It’s a different bore/stroke combination, and it’s a short-deck block, which makes the engine lighter and the rotating components lighter,” Maurice explained. “We’re just looking for those last thousandths of a second that

you need when you get to this level of racing.”

While tyre shake conspired to foil their plans in testing, there remains a firm belief that a 5.6-second pass is not too far off.

“Our challenge at the moment is trying to get the car off the line properly,” Maurice said. “It’s pretty good, but it’s not perfect. I’m confident this new combo will help us run quicker times; we’ve just got to get the right conditions and get it right on the day.”

Want to ride shotgun like Jazmyne? Visit the ACDelco website (acdelco.com.au) for details of how to win a once-in-a-lifetime ride in the ACDelco Monaro.

H A N G I N G U P T H E H E L M E T

“THIRTY-five years of racing takes its toll,” said Maurice, who handed over the driving reins to Belleri in 2015. “I’ve got some collapsed vertebrae in my neck due to G-forces and crashes that I’ve had, so the doctor said: ‘Best you park the helmet or else you could end up in a wheelchair.’

So I formed this partnership with Mark and Lucky Belleri; Mark’s doing an awesome job in the car and it gives me more time to concentrate on tuning it and keeping up with the changing conditions.

I’m not spread as thin on race day. Proof’s in the pudding; we’re having a great season.”