The VE Com­modore’s Zeta plat­form is shared with the fifth-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro in the US, and, while an off-the-shelf Ca­maro kit was avail­able at the time, it was well out­side the team’s bud­get. “Our ones are sim­i­lar to the bil­let ones from the US, but we have about 15 ad­just­ment points,” Fanga tells us. “The prob­lem is that we don’t have the bud­get just to hire the track and run all-day test­ing of each of the ad­just­ments. We have changed it a few times, but hav­ing mas­sive amounts of lock isn’t al­ways the best. Sure, it’s a good in­sur­ance not to spin, but plenty of the guys in the US still do, and look at cars with lots of an­gle — you can see ev­ery lit­tle ad­just­ment, and it’s cost­ing them points from the judges.” While a crazy amount of unseen wiz­ardry has gone into making the big Com­modore drive the way it does, the method of get­ting it there is more than ob­vi­ous. If the sheer bru­tal­ity of power de­liv­ery is not ap­par­ent, the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sound­track cer­tainly is — it’s hard enough to give a jel­ly­fish a boner. As the ve­hi­cle en­velop­ing the power plant is about as mod­ern as it gets, Fanga has cho­sen the most mod­ern way to get an old-school power plant. Built by Zane Shel­ley at Check­ered Flag Au­to­mo­tive, the six-litre L98 is an ab­so­lute weapon. The Vortech V-1 su­per­charged war­head has been de­signed to pro­vide the most power and torque that can be re­li­ably made, while sur­viv­ing the rigours of a full drift event — of­ten spent at high revs, and un­der high lat­eral g — in ad­di­tion to be­ing eas­ily switch­able be­tween boosted and as­pi­rated. “I looked at all the types of boost — twin-turbo would have had bet­ter re­sponse, but it puts a lot more heat into the en­gine bay,” Fanga says. “With the Vortech, you can still run the car nat­u­rally as­pi­rated [NA] if some­thing goes wrong at an event. To win a cham­pi­onship, you have to fin­ish each round, and if I put in a top-mount [su­per­charger] or tur­boed it, it wouldn’t run NA very eas­ily.” If needed, all Fanga needs to do is un­bolt the Vortech su­per­charger and change the New Zealand–made Link G4 ECU’s tune to an NA map, and the big en­gine will be good to go sans blower. With a built bottom end, it makes a healthy serv­ing of grunt, but, when you’ve got a su­per­charger pump­ing a whole lot more air through, the door opens a whole lot fur­ther.

Run­ning just 8psi of boost, Glenn Suck­ling at GDS Au­to­mo­tive has man­aged to ex­tract a safe 980hp, and Fanga uses each and ev­ery one of those horses. This is backed up by a G-Force GSR four-speed, pur­chased out of the US thanks to the ad­vice of the team at Kaspa Trans­mis­sions. The mod­i­fied Long shift lever pro­vides Fanga with the per­fect gear­stick lo­ca­tion, and, with the solid-mounted Racetech fixed-back bucket seat, Til­ton re­vers­eswing-mount pedal box, and Wood­ward steer­ing col­umn, no as­pect of driver er­gonomics has been over­looked. A Win­ters Quick Change diff with 10-inch crown wheel rounds out the me­chan­i­cal pack­age, locked with a full spool. Just above it, hid­ing deep within the re­mov­able rear body pan­els, sits a very se­ri­ous fuel sys­tem. Its lo­ca­tion is vi­tal for a sport as un­pre­dictable as drift­ing, es­pe­cially since Fanga has come dan­ger­ously close to smash­ing it all to bits be­fore. Now, he’ll have to be try­ing pretty damn hard to dam­age the com­pos­ite fuel cell, Carter lift pump, surge tank, and dual Aeroflow high-flow fuel pumps. As hard as he beats up on it, the VE has served Dan faith­fully, while also ce­ment­ing its place as a crowd favourite. How­ever, as you’ll have picked up in this ar­ti­cle, Dan isn’t one to rest on his lau­rels, and it didn’t take long for him to start dream­ing up a way to keep things fresh. That was achieved over the course of the 2016 off sea­son, in the form of a VF Com­modore facelift with the pièce de ré­sis­tance be­ing a cus­tom-moulded wide bodykit de­signed and built by Michael at Keri Com­pos­ites. The kit trans­forms the suave VF lines into some­thing far tougher, while still man­ag­ing to clear the 265/35R18 Tri-Ace tyres — just. The Com­modore was built for war, and it has sur­vived a few. As it heads into the off sea­son once again, we can’t help but won­der what Fanga’s go­ing to cook up next. Al­though it’s un­likely there will be any ma­jor changes in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture, as far as Fanga Dan Wool­house is con­cerned, it’s sim­ply a mat­ter of when, not if.

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