Sequentially-shifted, turbo RB30 BT1 VL Commodore does Drag Challenge

Tim Fletcher’s turbo VL Commodore uses a sequential gearbox to take on Australia’s ultimate drag and drive marathon

A special sort of pilot is required to take on the drag strip in a high-powered, three-pedalled machine, let along the likes of Street Machine’s Drag Challenge. 

Tim Fletcher’s VL turbo is just such a machine, using a HGT sequential gearbox behind the turbo RB30 behemoth. With forged Nitto internals, a Precision 68/70 and over 40psi of boost, the dry-sumped RB is good for north of 680rwkW.

Tim has owned the VL for seven years, adamantly sticking with the manual. “It’s originally a white BT1, and it’s always been a manual car,” says Tim. “It’s a proper street car, we haven’t tubbed it or cut it up in any way.”

Getting a twin-plate clutch to leave the line cleanly in anger is always a challenge, coupled with the torture test of five days of driving, 1700km, towing a trailer and carrying four blokes the whole way. It’s a big ask.

The VL did it though, running a best of 9.97@189mph during the week. It’s cool to see manuals still making a name for themselves in the drag racing scene, and not often you get to see a stonking VL Turbo plucking gears in anger down the strip. 

That pace was enough to land the boys the Quickest Stick Shift trophy from Drag Challenge 2023. “This car is a credit to all my mates and everyone that helps out, what a wicked week! It was a bloody challenge, but we did it.”

Words by Kian Heagney


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