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The names Rod Harvey and Terry Bowden should be familiar to almost anyone reading this magazine. Over the years the Insane Racing duo have built and raced some of the finest drag cars the country has ever seen, from an 8-second, street-driven Ford Mustang back in the day, to the quickest four-cylinder-powered car in Australasia — the famed Rayglass Datsun. Rod and Terry are two guys who don’t do things by halves, and now they’re really upping the ante with a new car that’s set to take local import drag racing by storm.
It all started in the middle of last year, when a rumour began circulating around the traps that Rod and Terry were about to import a new turnkey race car from the USA. Considering the Datsun that they had campaigned for the previous few years had become a proven 7-second performer and the second-quickest import in the land, anything new was going to be very serious. The question had to be asked though. Why would Terry (aka Chassisman), a talented guy who is widely regarded as the country’s finest drag chassis builder, let his good mate buy a car from the other side of the world when he could build one himself?
It was a no-brainer really. At the time the Kiwi dollar was holding very strong against the US greenback, meaning that Rod’s hard-earned wedge was going to go a lot further. Secondly, Rod wasn’t all that keen on going through the time-consuming (and extremely expensive) process of developing a reliable package as had been done with the Datsun. Buying a car that had already run the numbers — and proved its worth — was a sensible option. The guys knew what to look for in a good car, and after a bit of hunting around they found exactly what they were after.
Based upon a late-model Toyota Celica, the Rick Jones-engineered Pro Stock car had been run by Scranton Brothers Racing since ’04 in the NHRA’s hotly contested Pro RWD class. With a Scranton-built Toyota 2JZ engine up front, it had plenty of success, and with ongoing performance development would ultimately end up running in the 6-second zone.
For the money it was a lot of race car and an opportunity not to be missed. Rod had tested the car in the USA, and liked what he saw. When the car landed in New Zealand in September after being completely re-built in the States, Terry did too.
“There are so many little details on the car — so many seemingly simple things that separate this car from any other car like it in the country,” said the Chassisman. “The amount of cars that workshops like RJ Race Cars have built puts them years ahead of the competition in terms of development.”
Terry’s comments ring true and apply to the entire race car. Everywhere you look you will find some very clever engineering or fabrication. Take for example the carbon fibre that adorns the car inside and out. If you think local carbon is light, then prepare for a shock if you ever get the chance to pick up a panel off this vehicle. The beautiful formed panels are not only paper light, they’re also perfectly formed.
The engine, too, is an impressive piece of hardware that’s reputably good for more than 1500hp. In fact, it was the 2JZ engine that prompted Insane Racing to make the switch from a Nissan-powered car to the Toyota.
“We knew the Toyota motors were proven to be reliable at the horsepower levels we were after,” says Rod. “After dealing with a fragile engine like the SR20DET in the Datsun, we didn’t want to have to be so careful not to hurt a motor. The 2JZs have been hugely successful in America and now Australia, so we think there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel by trying to use something else.”
Despite the car being built to an extremely high standard, there has still been room for a few tweaks since it landed and, of course, the complete re-spray and sticker-up in Rayglass Boats livery. Terry knocked out a new alloy oil catch can, and is currently in the midst of hand-forming a new exhaust manifold. A few safety measures have also been added for the car to meet New Zealand and Australian drag racing requirements. As it did with the Datsun, the Insane Racing team intends to regularly take the Rayglass car across the ditch to compete against Australia’s quickest Pro RWD racers.
There’s little doubt that with Rod’s driving ability, Terry’s hands-on know-how, and support from Insane Racing’s behind-the-scenes team and valuable sponsors, the new Rayglass Celica is destined for big things — and low numbers. As far as short-term goals go, however, the guys will be taking every meeting as it comes. “Obviously we would love to be the first New Zealand import car into the NZPC 6-Second Club zone — but we aren’t going to talk it up,” says Rod. “Getting a handle on a car like this is no easy task, and it takes a lot of seat time to get your confidence. But in saying that, with the added length of the car, it should be a lot easier to drive than the Datsun ever was. We’ll see what happens.”
2004 Toyota Celica Pro Stock Drag Car
Engine: Toyota 2JZ-GTE inline six DOHC 24V, 3.25-litre, custom billet stroker crank, custom forged pistons, custom forged H-beam rods, race ported cylinder head, custom camshafts, custom plenum, 100mm throttle body, custom head studs, metal headgasket, custom-spec Garrett turbo, custom exhaust manifold, Turbonetics external wastegate, 6-inch exhaust system, Tial 360-degree blow-off valve, Peterson mechanical fuel pump, 12x injectors, MSD ignition, alloy radiator, electric water pump, RacePak data logger, MoTeC data logging, alloy catch can, AEM engine management system
Driveline: Lenco 5-speed air-shifted gearbox, Liberty ratchet shifter, custom flywheel, East West 7.5-inch slider clutch, custom 9.5-inch Strange diff, 40-spline Moser axles, chromoly drive shaft
Chassis/Suspension: RJ Race Cars chromoly Pro Stock chassis, Lamb front struts, Koni electronically adjustable shocks, custom springs
Brakes: Lamb 2-pot callipers, lightweight discs, Strange 4-pot rear callipers, air-assisted parachute
Wheels/tyres: Front — Weld spindle-mount rims, Mickey Thompson Front Runner tyres. Rear — 16×16-inch Weld rims, Mickey Thompson 33.5×16.5×16 slicks
Exterior: Carbon fibre body shell, one-piece nose cone, Lexan windows, carbon fibre rear wing, carbon inner guards, custom paint/graphics
Interior: Carbon fibre seat, carbon fibre panelling, RacePak dash, MoTeC data logger, plumbed fire extinguisher, custom steering column
Performance: Estimated 1500+hp
Length of ownership: 6 months
Insane Racing crew chief: Terry Bowden
Insane Racing crew: Natalie Harvey, Liz and Earl Edwards, Kyle Bowden, Glen Cupit
Rod thanks: Rayglass Boats — Tony and the team, Terry @ Terry’s Chassis Shoppe, Glen and Harry @ Dodson Motorsport, RJ Construction, Shane @ Kumeu Car Painters, Ewin & the team @ Engine Rebuilders, Steve @ Letter Rip, Exquise Valet, Lee Angell for creating www.insane-racing.co.nz
The HUMMER HX concept may ride similar to its predecessors but there are big differences — including its size and fuel source. The vehicle, which made its debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, is smaller than the brand’s current models, measuring 171 inches long, 81 inches wide and 72 inches tall.
The HUMMER HX concept also downsized its fuel-consumption, running on a 3.6L V6 engine that can burn E85. General Motors reports three designers, fresh out of school, sketched the vehicle before it was put into production. The vehicle also features a built-in, forward-facing camera that drivers can use to record their off-road excursions, and then replay on the monitor located inside the SUV. While the HUMMER HX concept does not include a radio, it does contain speakers that enable drivers to plug in their MP3 players or other similar devices.
If you have been on the lookout for attractive design films in a carbon look, the prospects at FOLIATEC®.com have been continuously bright so far: Now the coveted product is also available with a matt-gloss surface for the most authentic carbon fibre look possible. Regardless of whether it is on the bonnet or the roof the film is extremely robust, just like the dark high-tech fibre it is named after. It can brave polar colds of up to minus 40 degrees as well as oven temperatures of 120 degree and maintains – with its full adhesive power — its shape at all times. This is also important if it is fitted in the interior of a car, as there are high temperatures in this area in the summer. Its 3D adhesiveness means that the films of FOLIATEC®.com are particularly suitable for use on the dashboard and other arched or plasticformed surfaces.
When used on the exterior the film endures car-washes and all sorts of weather and no particular maintenance is necessary. The installation of the CARBODY carbon film from FOLIATEC®.com is just as uncomplicated, particularly as together with comprehensive instructions, important installation accessories such as a cutter knife and a mounting blade are already supplied.
CARBODY carbon films are available for large chasses in 150 x 130cm or for smaller applications and the interior in 50 x 50cm.
CARBODY carbon films are available from specialist shops and online at shop.foliatec.com.
The PROFESSIONAL styling team fitting partners of FOLIATEC®.com will be happy to provide a specialist fitting service. They can be found at
The biggest question posed by this weekend’s (24-27 January 2008) Monte Carlo Rally, the first round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, is can Sebastien Loeb keep his crown, with four wins and two second places after six WRC starts, as the King of the Monte Carlo Rally?
A unique blend of mountain passes, death defying drops, roads that can be anything between dry, icy and covered in snow — on the same stage — make this, the oldest event in the World Rally Championship, a unique test of skill and, it must be said, bravery, as well as tactics by the team managers. Last year’s event saw the return of legendary stages like Saint Jean en Royans, Burzet and Saint Bonnet le Froid, and this year’s menu features the comeback of yet another classic: the Col du Turini.
Loeb’s first appearance was in the Junior WRC class with a Citroen Saxo, and then came the Citroen Xsara with three wins and two seconds. Last year, on its debut outing, he took the new Citroen C4 WRC to the top step of the podium en route to his fourth world title.
“I’m obviously dreaming of a white Monte Carlo, with real wintry conditions,” says Sebastien Loeb. “The route focuses on three different regions, so the stages will be very varied. Thursday evening’s tests are wide, fast and smooth. Those in the ArdÃ¨che are more technical, narrower and occasionally bumpy. Last year, the conditions were particularly dry but it should be fun if we get snow and ice this time round! I am delighted to see that the Col du Turini and some other classic stages in the southeast corner of France are back. That said, the challenge of having to contest the final day’s four stages with the same tyres could well turn out to be quite delicate.”
The stage conditions encountered on the Monte Carlo Rally have always been one of this fixture’s main difficulties. The asphalt tests take place to a mountainous backdrop, with numerous high mountain passes to cross, and competitors constantly switch from shade to roads that are more exposed to sunshine. In the course of a single stage, it is consequently by no means rare to come across portions of clear asphalt and other parts that are covered in ice and/or snow, so tyres frequently play a decisive role.
“We will have the choice between three types of tyre,” explains Citroen Sport’s Technical Manager Xavier Mestelan-Pinon. “If the conditions are dry, the only option we will have will be the soft compound dry weather tyre. If it snows, our crews will be able to choose between studded and non-studded snow tyres, depending on the temperature and how much snow they expect to find. The Monte Carlo Rally promises to be a particularly tough rally because, like the other teams, we have no real hindsight following the work we have put in with our cars running on Pirelli tyres. As far as the evolutions to the C4 WRC are concerned, we will have a new engine — the ‘EW’ — for the Monte Carlo Rally, as well as some aerodynamic evolutions at the front.”
This event marks the debut of a new boss for the Citroen Team, with Olivier Quesnel taking over from Guy Frequelin, the man who made Citroen one of the most successful WRC teams of all time.
“We will take a measured approach to the start of our 2008 WRC campaign,” points out Citroen Sport’s new director, Olivier Quesnel. “The switch to a single tyre manufacturer will be the principal change for the first round of the championship and, as always in such cases, we will need time to adapt. We have done as much work as we can to amass as much data as possible concerning the tyres we will have for the Monte Carlo Rally but we are aware that we still have a great deal to learn. The Monte Carlo Rally has always been a challenging event, not only because of its stages but also because it is the first round of the season. It will be especially difficult this year because of the tyre factor with which we will have to come to terms on the event itself. The competition promises to be extremely fierce, too, but I have every confidence in our technical staff who have worked hard to make the Citroen C4 WRC even more competitive. I also believe that Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc MartÃ form a very strong line-up and I know they will be looking to start the year with a repeat of their exploit of last year. Our objective for 2008 is to win both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ world titles, so a top result would obviously be a first class omen.”
Should Seb and Daniel succeed in adding a fifth Monte Carlo victory to their record, they will become the most successful crew in the winter classic’s history.
“As is often the case at the start of a new season, there are a lot of unknown factors,” explains Sebastien . “We will need to find the best match between the tyres we have and the stage conditions, but our aim is to try to win and get the year off to a positive start.”
“I’m very much looking forward to the start of the Monte Carlo Rally, although we will probably need time to adapt to our new tyres,” echoes Dani. “We have prepared thoroughly for this event but nothing can replace actually being on the rally. The Monte’s stages are fantastic but we will need to stay focused from start to finish if we want to achieve our objective which is a top-three finish with a view to scoring as many points as possible for Citroen.”
Event notes: the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally
- The 76th Monte Carlo Rally (January 24-27): round 1 of 15
- Surface type: dry or wet asphalt, ice, snow
- Where: Valence, the ArdÃ¨che mountains, Monaco, the southeast French Alps Service Park in Valence from Thursday to Saturday.
- Technical matters: the engines and chassis of the C4s are sealed and will also be used in Sweden. The engine will also go on to compete in Mexico. Two gearbox/differential packages are authorised per driver. Five sets of dampers and five hub carriers are authorised per event.
- Tyres: tyres a draw will decide the allocation of tyres to teams by the FIA. For the Monte Carlo Rally, three types of tyre will be available: soft compound asphalt tyres, studded tyres on 18-inch rims and non-studded snow tyres on 18-inch rims. The number of tyres that can be used during shakedown is limited. It is mandatory to fit fresh tyres at the start of each group of stages. It is possible to carry two spares.
- Recce: Monday January 21, Tuesday January 22 and Wednesday January 23. Two passes authorised at a maximum speed of 90kph.
- Shakedown: Thursday January 24 (08.00 until 12.00). The test stage is new this year and uses a 5.03km portion of the D21 near Vernoux-en-Vivarais, 42.73km west of the service park in Valence.
- Press conference: Thursday January 24 (from 14.00) in the conference room of Valence’s Exhibition Centre.
- Start ceremony: Thursday January 24, from 17.30, Place du Champ de Mars, Valence.
- Route: total distance is 1,481.25km, including 365.09km divided into 19 stages (11 different).
- Day 1 (Thursday January 24): 169.31km, including 45.70km divided into 2 stages (2 different).
- Starts from the service park, Valence (17.30). SS1 (St Jean en Royans, 28.12km) and SS2 (La Cime du Mas-Col de Gaudissart, 17.58km). Service A (21.01, 45 minutes). Last car due into parc ferme at 23.15.
- Day 2 (Friday January 25): 544.25km, including 116.96km divided into 6 stages (3 different).
- Starts from parc ferme. Service B (06.50, 15 minutes). SS3 (St Pierreville-Col de la Fayolle 1, 29.52km), SS4 (Burzet-Lachamp Raphael 1, 16.30km) and SS5 (St Martial-Le Chambon-Beleac 1, 12.66km). Regroup (12.44, 18 minutes). Service C (13.02, 30 minutes). SS6 (St Pierreville-Col de la Fayolle 2), SS7 (Burzet-Lachamp Raphael 2) and SS8 (St Martial-Le Chambon-Beleac 2). Service D (19.11, 45 minutes). Last car due into parc ferme at 21.35.
- Day 3 (Saturday January 26): 443.26km, including 132.78km divided into 6 stages (3 different). Starts from parc ferme. Service E (05.55, 15 minutes). SS9 (Labatie d’Andaure-Lalouvesc 1, 19.37km), SS10 (St Bonnet-St Bonnet 1, 25.36km) and SS11 (Lamastre-Gilhoc-AlboussiÃ¨re 1, 21.66km). Regroup (10.43, 18 minutes). Service F (11.01, 30 minutes). SS12 (Labatie d’Andaure- Lalouvesc 2), SS13 (St Bonnet-St Bonnet 2 and ES14 (Lamastre-Gilhoc-AlboussiÃ¨re 2. Service G (16.04, 45 minutes). Last car due into parc ferme in Monaco at 00.30.
- Day 4 (Sunday January 27): 324.43km, including 69.65km divided into 5 stages (3 different).
- Starts from parc ferme (07.50). remote service, Gilette (08.50, 15 minutes). SS15 (La Bollene Vesubie-Moulinet 1, 22.68km), SS16 (Luceram-Loda 1, 15.34km), SS17 (La Bollene Vesubie-Moulinet 2), SS18 (Luceram-Loda 2) and SS19 (Circuit de Monaco, 2.70km).
- Finish ceremony: Sunday January 27, Place du Palais Princier, Monaco (from 16.30).
- Post-event press conference: Sunday January 27 (from 17.30), press office, Sporting d’Hiver, Monaco.
- New: this year’s rally takes place a week later than it did in 2007. The ArdÃ¨che stages have been modified. The portion between Col de la Fayolle (SS3/6) and Antraigues will be run as a road section. The finish of St Bonnet (SS10/13) has been slightly modified and SS11/14 now runs from Lamastre to AlboussiÃ¨re. The major difference compared with 2007 is the return of stages in the mountains near Nice.
- Citroen’s Monte Carlo Rally record: six wins: 1959 (Coltelloni/Alexandre/Derosiers, ID19), 1966 (Toivonen/Mikkander, DS21), 2003, 2004 and 2005 (Loeb/Elena, Xsara WRC) and 2007 (Loeb/Elena, C4 WRC).
The crews’ statistics (before the rally):
- Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: WRC debut: Catalonia 1999 (Saxo Kit-Car, retired). WRC starts: 98. First WRC win: Germany, 2002 (Xsara). WRC wins: 36. WRC world titles: 4 (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007).
- Dani Sordo/Marc MartÃ: First WRC rally together: Monte Carlo 2005 (C2S1600/15th) (Dani’s
- WRC debut: Catalonia 2003/18th). WRC starts together: 38 (Dani without Marc: 44). Junior title: 2005.
The crews’ Monte Carlo Rally records:
- Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: this will be their eighth start together: 2007 (C4 WRC, 1st), 2006 (Xsara WRC, 2nd), 2005, 2004 and 2003 (Xsara, 1st), 2002 (Xsara, 2nd) and 2001 (Saxo Kit-Car, 15th). Daniel Elena also contested the Monte Carlo Rally as a driver in 1997 (106 Rallye, retired) and 1998 (106 Rallye, 36th overall, 2nd Class N1).
- Dani Sordo: this will be his fourth start with Marc MartÃ: 2007 (C4 WRC, 2nd), 2006 (Xsara WRC, 8th) and 2005 (C2 S1600, 15th).
- Marc MartÃ: this will be his tenth start: 2007 (C4 WRC with Dani Sordo, 2nd), 2006 (Xsara WRC with Dani Sordo, 8th), 2005 (C2 S1600 with Dani Sordo, 15th), 2004 (Xsara WRC with Carlos Sainz, retired), 2003 (Xsara WRC with Carlos Sainz, 3rd), 2001 and 1999 (Saxo Kit-Car with Jesus Puras, retired), 1998 (Ibiza GTI with Oriol GÃ³mez, retired) and 1997 (Ibiza GTI with Oriol GÃ³mez, 15th).
- A PH Sport-prepared and run Xsara WRC has been entered privately by Conrad Rautenbach/David Senior.
Just in time for the opening round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, which kicks off in Monte Carlo this weekend (24-27 January 2008), the Citroen Motorsport Team has launched a new web site for fans.
The site — www.citroen-wrc.com — contains a wealth of information and exclusive content, everything from videos and pictures to mobile phone ring tones of the Citroen C4 WRC in action, as well as a venue for fans of Citroen, Sebastien Loeb and the team to communicate with each other, as well as with the team.
By becoming a member of Citroen Team via web site, fans can also be provided with results live from events, bulletins and access to competitions, including the ultimate prize — a ride in a Citroen C4 WRC with four time World Champion, Sebastien Loeb!