Racing fans attending November’s East Coast Thunder event witnessed the opening of a new chapter for Australia’s popular home grown product – Pro Slammer.
The running of that 400 Thunder Aeroflow Drag Racing event did include a rather major change to rules for the category, to something that had pretty much since inception remained staunchly in place. That recognized guideline that Pro Slammer race cars were to be restricted as far a body styles to resemble and maintain a nostalgia style has now been deleted and the door has been swung open for legal late model body styles, for now and into the future. NB: We acknowledge that late model Camaro bodies have been legal and raced in the rival Top Doorslammer class for a couple years now.
While late model cars have been participators at 400 Thunder events within their contained IHRA Pro Mod class (5.85 secs index) – the East Coast Thunder event featured the first attempt for a late model Pro Slammer car – a truly state-of-the-art effort courtesy fielded by Sam Fenech (Fabietti Motorsports). Fenech entered for the first time in competition a supercharged 2022 Camaro – a machine that had been just recently completed prior.
“We (our team) had a late model Camaro body style on our radar for quite some time,” Sam Fenech admitted. “As far a body rules specs go in Australia, there has been some reluctance to go down the late model body route, so it took some time to get here. There had been a long time intention to keep pre-1970 body styles in the Pro Slammer – but once that was opened up – we jumped on it straight away.”
Sam Fenech’s new Camaro features the latest chassis design and construction from Australian car building legend Murray Anderson and has one of the Five Star Camaro bodies designed, built under licence by GM and acquired from the USA. The Camaro replaces the highly popular Holden Monaro configuration cars which Sam raced very successfully for Maurice Fabietti’s Pro Slammer for the AC Delco Slammer Team.
“Our new Camaro body has many more modern ideas,” he continued. “Not only is it far more aerodynamic it also saves us a bunch of weight. Our target is to have a consistent and capable 5.60 (secs) car — which is necessary if you want to be in this game.”
Fenech revealed that his team in fact has two motor programs to experiment with this season, both supercharged variety.
“We have both a tall deck 521 CID and a low deck 484 CID. We plan to go with the smaller motor for a while first.”
A very major shift for the Fabietti Motorsports team this year is on the sponsorship front. While Sam’s association with AC Delco will remain prominent, the team will instead fly the flag and colours for Chevrolet Racing as primary.
“AC Delco remains a strong part of our equation however there has been a change with Chevrolet Racing so that we align and parallel alongside their objectives with their involvement with the V8 Super Car Series,” Fenech explained.
Going forward to the team is intent on adding a second team car at some point this season – another 2022 Chevrolet Camaro.
“In fact the 2nd car is built and ready to go,” Fenech confirmed. “We are geared up for it and we have the parts and crew for it, but we are seeking a partner/driver that can bring in more funding. The reality is that to do a two-car lap of Australia racing this season is expensive – our budget to do that is just not there yet.”
“But we’re very optimistic about the future for this class,” Sam interated. “We’ve all come through a very difficult time (pandamic related) which made it difficult for people to make or keep commitments. But this year I do see some new clarity and also some new players emerging — the beginning of a new era.”
Sam Fenech is based from the Western side of Sydney, from where he owns and operates West End Performance, a company which as been in business for 40+ years. West End Performance’s speciality is high performance engine machine and Dyno work as well as being the preffered garage of choice for area muscle cars.
By Bruce Biegler