It’s been a while between “hits of the throttle” for Russell Pavey and his RPMotorsports Pro-Slammer Corvette. “Russ” and wife Caroline took some time away from the sport recently to regroup & reorganise, and to build a solid infrastructure on which to launch their comeback to drag racing.
They now feel they’re in a great place to return to competition at this year’s 400 Thunder City of Ipswich Winternationals at Willowbank next month.
With less than 3 weeks to go before the big event, we caught up with Russ to get a little further insight into the RPMotorsports team.
His career in racing all started like it does for many drag racers. He was hooked the first time he went to a drag race. “It all started as a young bloke hanging over the fence at Surfer Paradise International Raceway, watching the Ampol New Year drag series and thinking, I gotta have a go at that!” Racing was not something handed down through generations to Russ, with him being the first in his family to take to the 1/4 mile.
A string of tough street cars finally led to the construction of his first “tube chassis car” in 1996 which Russ raced in Super Sedan.
Then having competed in SuperCharged Outlaws in a wild Morris, Russ was once again looking to build a new ride. Surprisingly even with the Corvette under construction, Russ says “I never intended to run Pro Slammer but decided to build the Corvette to Slammer specs because it would increase its resale value. But one race in Pro Slammer and I knew it was where I wanted to race.”
Russ explains that one of his true passions about the sport is the engine-building side of things, and the science that goes into these amazing 3500+ HP monsters. “I have always assembled my own engines. In fact, I love all the fabrication side of drag racing and really enjoy the time in the shed tinkering.”
This passion and love for the hands-on aspect led to the 2008 build of the current team racer. “I built this Corvette in 2008 using a chassis kit I bought out of the USA. It was a fun and interesting way of putting a car together. It was a huge job but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”
In saying that, the effort, late nights and hard work of many people, led by Russ and Crew Chief Ken Lowe, have been rewarded with current PB’s of 5.89 and 249 M.PH. Sadly those PB’s were followed by some engine damage, and the team have been working hard in their downtime. “We have been working on a tune up that doesn’t damage parts but still goes fast!” shared Russ.
After a “testing” run last month at Willowbank we asked what the plan is for the upcoming Winters, as it will be their first competition racing since the 2015 Winternationals.
“We have learned a lot about the Willowbank track surface during the cooler months and will be coming with a very aggressive setup for the race. We have a new clutch on board to cope with a lot more power and the very sticky track surface, so we will use all our qualifiers trying to make that work until the very last run, where if we are not in the field, we will ‘run home to momma’ (Ken Lowe words) for a safe tune that will run 6.0.”
Surprising facts about the RPMotorsports race car: Coming from the tool business, Russ enlightens us, “Our Pro Slammer Corvette uses a Makita cordless power tool battery to run its on-board systems – Thank you Makita!”
Nowadays, race day includes family. “I always have my beloved wife with me on race day, and mostly my daughter when we race locally. But race day can be very intense with lots of pressure to get the car ready between rounds, and even so it’s a great family activity for us.” Russ says.
The pre-race activities for each team vary. Russ gives us his version of the moments leading up to piloting his Corvette down the track in sub 6 second times. “Apart from a nervous ‘pitstop’ on the way to the staging lanes, we always take a moment to pray for safety.”
“Unglamorous” was the description given of race day pit menu by this team principle, but he admits things change once the race day duties are complete. “Well sometimes its very unglamorous because we need to eat while working on the race car – that means ham/chicken salad rolls that you can hold in one hand and turn spanners with the other! After-race meals are usually a Rusty special T bone – medium rare – chips, sausage, eggs and salad.”
You can catch Russ and his sleek white corvette as part of the Pro Slammer action at the June 9 -12 City of Ipswich Winternationals.
Photos Supplied by Dave Reid – DragPhotos.com.au
Upcoming Event Details: 400 Thunder City of Ipswich Winternationals
June 9 to 12