O’Rourke targets 250mph for Nitro Slam

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Ex-pat West Aussie Grant O’Rourke will take on 14 other Pro Slammer competitors at the Perth Motorplex’s Nitro Slam event this weekend.

The Brisbane resident is one of four Queenslanders making the trek across the Nullarbor for the event alongside Ben Bray, Gary Phillips and Andrew Searle; while Victorian Peter Kapiris and the New South Wales’ Fabietti Racing/Mark Belleri combination will join them in taking the interstate challenge up to the local West Australians – including category king pin John Zappia.

“Zappia can be beaten – but whoever is in the opposite lane is the underdog,” said O’Rourke.

“With 15 racers entered in the Pro Slammer category, you are going to have to run at least a 5.90 second pass in qualifying just to make the eight-car field, and to win the meeting you are going to have to go quicker than Zap – and that means a 5.70 or 5.80 second pass in the final.

“It is no easy feat, but it can be done and hopefully it will be a Queenslander who gets it done this weekend.”

While beating Zappia is at the forefront of many competitors’ agendas this weekend, for O’Rourke Motorsport there is also a speed barrier to be broken.

“We want to crack the 250 miles per hour (approx. 402kmh) barrier and every race meeting is an opportunity for us to go after that,” said O’Rourke.

“Whether it can happen this weekend or not is not certain, as we are still working on some fine tuning, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be giving it our best shot.

“The venue is tricky – it is renowned for its sizzling temperatures during the day with the winds coming off the desert, and then the old ‘Fremantle Doctor’ blows the cooler air off the ocean in the evening – but we have some data to work with and will be doing our best to be prepared for whatever she has to throw at us.”

The Nitro Slam event is the second round in the newly launched 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, which kicked off with the East Coast Nationals at Sydney Dragway in November. Unlike the opening round, this weekend and all future 400 Thunder events have now been confirmed as running under international sanctioning body, the IHRA.

“It has been an interesting time politically in our sport over the last six months, and recently it was confirmed that all 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series events will be run under IHRA sanctioning, as well as all other events at the Perth Motorplex and Willowbank Raceway,” said O’Rourke.

“Only time will tell if the IHRA will be better – it is a shame as ANDRA has a lot of history, but fifteen years ago so did Ansett Airlines, and we now have competitors that were not even born when that airline last flew. Time will tell, but in the meantime, we are just going to get down to the business of racing and racing hard.”

O’Rourke Motorsport and the Pro Slammer category will be joined at the Nitro Slam event at the Perth Motorplex across Friday 4 and Saturday 5 December by Top Bike and Nitro Funny Car racers.

– O’Rourke Motorsport Release


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