Local revheads reach 266 miles per hour in modified Holden Commodore

The Bronze Aussie team from Elphinstone have continued their impressive performances at the Dry Lakes Racers Australia speed week.

Held at a Lake Gairdner in South Australia, the team hit a speed of 266 miles per hour to set the top speed of the meet.

In previous years they have hit 271m/ph and 250m/ph in their modified VR Holden Commodore.

After forming and building the car in 2001, Lionel West took over driving duties from team founder Rod Hadfield in 2016.

“The car is owned by Denny Hancock, my brother Brian West and myself but Rod had been competing for 25 years before he handed it over to us,” Lionel said.

“It was Rod’s idea to build an Australian built car and take it to Bonneville (Salt Flat in America) and do 300 miles an hour. Every year we have gone a little bit better.

“When Rod decided to retire I was his co-driver. He said ‘the car’s no good to me’ and gave it to use. We have endevoured to get it to 300 miles an hour and keep the dream alive.”

Lionel said the successful run of 266m/ph in South Australia almost didn’t happen.

The team had to rebuild the engine on day two and with rain interfering, it left them little time to complete a run.

“We had a major engine failure on Monday afternoon and luckily had had enough parts to rebuild the engine,” Lionel said.

“We put in new valves, pistons, a conrod and rings in on Tuesday and ran it on Wednesday. On Thursday we ran it to 266m/ph.

“On Thursday we decided to pack up after rain made the track wet and conditions weren't favourable to go faster and be safe.”

Lionel said the engine builders did a power of work to get the car ready in a short period of time.

“Without the engine builders we wouldn’t have made the second day,” he said.

“The engine is built by Leo Nankervis from Nankervis Performance Boats in Bendigo. They built and tuned the engine for the whole thing.

“There is a whole support network for the car and we run as privateers. We’re not on a huge budget like other teams. It is a network of sponsors that chip in and keep us going.”

The Bronze Aussie began life as a HSV precision driving car for Holden before Lionel, Rod and the other team members built it into it’s current evolution.

“We changed the car to get more aerodynamics from car, it doesn't look different visually (to last year) but underneath it’s very different,” he said.

Lionel said there isn’t a chance to enjoy travelling at 266m/ph.

“You just have to keep focus on the track,” he said.