RACING ROD’S DRIVEWAY
ROD MILLEN’S LEADFOOT FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR 2015
It’s been a few years in the making, but New Zealand’s most iconic import drag car has made a return to the strip, at the recent V 4&Rotary Nationals. Now owned by Hamilton-based Andrew Browning, the car was originally built and developed by Ronnie Lim, and graced the cover of NZPC twice — first in 1999 when it was still in street trim (of sorts) and blasting mid 12s down the quarter, and then later in Issue No. 74 circa 2003 in a wild, full race trim sporting a 438kW (587hp) B18C equipped with some of Ronnie’s infamous headers and a Turbonetics turbo.
Ronnie and the Integra ruled the roost when it came to FWD drag cars, and held the Australasian record for well over 10 years at 9.88 at 236kph (147mph). But after retiring the car from racing, it was stripped and passed through a few pairs of hands until late 2011, when Andrew purchased the bare shell. Over the past few years he has worked away, fitting a B18C block equipped with a B16A head, a HyTech replica exhaust manifold and a Hondata S300 ECU. The drivetrain consists of a ’96 Type R Integra gearbox, Exedy twin-plate clutch and 745kW-rated Insane Shaft axles. Things have been kept simple (lightweight) inside, with only an alloy Kirkey seat, TunerView RD1 dash, ARC 8000 (Auto Rod Control) switchboard, and the same minimal roll cage Ronnie had run.
The current engine is only there to get Andrew out on track and familiar with the chassis before a turbo engine finds its way back into the shell, as he explained. “There was no point putting together a bigpower engine and getting out there without having tested it. I have learned so much in the two meetings I’ve raced. If it had the big engine in I would have been stressing way more.” This is not to say the $150 engine hasn’t outperformed its expectations, “I based it on Adam Plews’ old DC2, which had a similar engine set-up with DOT slicks and ran 13.5. I thought if I could run that I would be happy, but in two meetings I have gone faster than that with a PB of 13.459 at 99.86mph (160.7kph). I wasn’t expecting that at all, and my goal now is to run a 12 on the $150 engine.” Over the winter Andrew will finish off the methanol-fed 1800cc turbo engine that he is currently piecing together, which should produce up to 520kW (700hp), maxing out his turbo, although Andrew will run it at around 300kW to begin with, then move up from there.
With plenty more racing between now and the season’s end, we have no doubt Andrew will lower his PB again. It’s great to see additional fwd drive cars out and racing, we only hope it spurs on a few more guys to slap on some slicks and join them.
Andrew would like to thank Adam from Speed Science for his help with the project so far.