Autosport International
The NEC, Birmingham, 11th-14th January 2018


Click on any picture for a large image. Click here to return to the Event Coverage index. sponsor Hauser Race Cars had been invited back for the nth year in succession to display Scott Hauser's Championship-holding Super Pro ET dragster. "They're not fed up with us yet!" said Geof Hauser. The dragster has required very little attention during the off-season and not much more during the year. "This is a spare motor in the car", said Geof, "we are going through the race motor". "We looked at the rings, the bearings and the springs", said Scott. "Other than that, if it ain't broke" added Geof. "The springs haven't lost presure in four years. We will go through the transmission". The only change during the race season was a set of slicks at the FIA/FIM Main Event. "I took the tyres down to the Barn for the track crew", said Geof. "Steve Saunders was having handling trouble so I shot down to the Barn in the golf cart and the tyres hadn't been cut up. Steve put them on and went the quickest he had in years, but then he blew it up".

Hose and fitting manufacturer Brown and Miller Racing Solutions are adding more and more big-name NHRA customers to their already-impressive roster. "We don't have any new products to show you, we just keep trying to sell more of it", said Barry Miller (left, above). "I can't believe all the crew changes!", said Wade Brown (right, above). "Our hoses went on Robert Hight's car, then on to John Force's car, then Courtney Force's car. Bob Tasca is returning and will be using our products. Terry McMillen changed to our hoses and picked up gallons especially at the top end where you need it. He went from being in the field to being a contender, a couple of finals then winning in Vegas. They're good people and that was the feel-good story of the year."

Tina Moore and Super Gas racer Tim Moore told us about this season's Terry Gibbs Super Gas Shootout, which is a successor to the Al's Gasser Super Gas Shootout organised by Jon Giles last year. "We are trying to reformulate the Super Gas Racers' Association", said Tina. "Each racer puts up £150 and they can bring in more sponsors. We already have sponsorship from Topspeed Automotive in the name of CM Frost, ICE Automotive, Nadco Roofing and Sponsorship also starts at £150 for which you receive a T-Shirt, mentions in commentary, your logo on a banner, promotion at shows. Brett who crews with Simon Gough is putting up money for top qualifier. There will be prize money down to the quarter finalists at each event; all money goes in the pot and is divided equally between events". You can find out more on the 2018 Terry Gibbs Super Gas Shootout Facebook page. Tim added that the motor of his Nova Super Gasser is currently at the workshops of sponsor Jeff Bull Race Engines to find a few more horsepower. "The car will be better for it", he said.

Pro Modified racers Bert Englefield and both Andy Wrights of BA Racing initially claimed to be "Boring at the moment" but let on that they had been changing the seat of the 6.1-second Hot Rod. "We changed the seat because we're getting old and we don't want to die!", said Andy. "The seat didn't fit too well so we had to remove a lot. I said to Bert "Either we start cutting and do it or we leave it". I can kill myself but I don't want to kill my son". Plans are for all three to drive this year including the younger Andy's final licencing passes. The team's under-construction second car is "Still where it was three years ago", in a corner of the workshop. The team took turns on the racing simulator on the stand of sponsor Lucas Oil Products; it was not by any means a successful set of runs.

When we spoke to Geof and Scott Hauser, Geof recommended that we visit the stand of WOS Performance who supplied a starter motor for the dragster. Luke Wos told us that the company specialises in starting and charging systems. "We are one hundred per cent OE based", he said. "We mop up all the niches for which the big manufacturers don't cater; we cherry-pick the best of what is available. We started with classic cars but now we can provide for everything up to next year's TVR and we can do stuff which other manufacturers can't. It keeps us busy! People are getting wise to getting what you pay for - when you are on your third starter motor at one hundred pounds you realise that you should have bought the two hundred pound motor to start with. Our products are made in Britain, based in Aylesbury and doing everything in-house so that we can retain control over everything. But we are doing more and more in America with a warehouse and assembly facility in California, that keeps us on our toes and we are opening new markets all the time". WOSP's products are available only through stockists including Hauser Race Cars; you can find out more at

Tim Anderson of sponsor Racepak explained the Vantage CL1 system for Junior Dragsters and Karting which is encountering opposition due, Tim said, to a misunderstanding of the way in which it operates. The impressive system uploads run data to a cloud server rather than writing to an SD card, and that run data can subsequently be analysed using a smartphone and tablet app which, of course, instantly attracts the younger generation. The debates have arisen because upload of data to the cloud server commences during the run, which in some eyes counts as real-time transmission to trackside, and because GPS data is included, which in some eyes has the potential to break the rule about on-track events being controlled by means other than the driver. "The biggest issue we have encountered is that people can't use data", said Tim. "So why not use mobile devices - use your phone as a datalogger. We are just replacing the SD card and cable with the cloud. The CL1 is very simple to use. You register on-line for an account on the cloud server and you can control who else has access. You don't have to E-Mail data to tuners any more! The control unit Bluetooths data to the phone which handles the transfer to the cloud server. The app displays traces in the traditional manner but the GPS data allows the trace to be overlaid on an aerial picture of the track so that you can see what happened where. Your smartphone can also be used as a dashboard, the same as the current dash on the back of the firewall which allows you to adjust the idle. The problem is that NHRA don't understand that it's not live data and they are concerned about the GPS. But the GPS can't be seen in real time, it is disabled in the Junior Dragster app, and the upload of data to the cloud lags by three or four seconds even with a good internet signal so the run would almost be over even if you logged in and looked at it in real time. We told NHRA "This is coming, either you work with us or stay as cavemen". The IHRA and the Mid West Junior Dragster Association allow it. There is also a safety advantage since if you have an incident you have all this data. Ultimately we will end up with enough run data to provide prediction software, just plug in the weather conditions". Racepak bought a Junior Dragster and two karts to develop the system and tested the Junior Dragster at Run What You Brungs with an adult in the car - their Marketing and Social Media Director Cameron. "NHRA didn't like Cameron driving the Junior Dragster", said Tim. "He is licenced for Top Fuel Dragster, Nostalgia Funny Car, Super Comp and Super Gas but NHRA didn't like it!"

Super Pro ET racer Brad Jackson (right, above) and dad Wayne Jackson (left, above) are looking to go one better than Brad's runner-up spot in the 2017 UK National Championship with continued backing from Lucas Oil Products. "The car has been checked out and rebuilt over the winter", said Brad. "It will be interesting to see how it goes on the new surface at Santa Pod. We always get pipped at the post for the Championship, we are looking for a nice clean run this year". The team have added sponsors The Taxi Shop and Sports Insure this year. "We are working with Sports Insure to put together an insurance package for racers", said Wayne. "They are really keen to work with drag racing. Hopefully it will be good for everyone."

Top Fuel Dragster racer Stig Neergaard (with Gitte, above) said that he will be contesting both FIA rounds at Santa Pod Raceway this season but that there was a lot which in his view was not right last season and that if things stayed the same then he would not attend every round. Stig said that he is looking forward to running at Santa Pod where he thinks that the concrete surface will be good for 3.8s. He is certainly OK for spares. "Last year I had eight motors in my trailer and I took one out after the motor in the car was damaged - I made too many runs on one crank", he said. Stig is also building a Nostalgia Fuel Slingshot for exhibition passes. "I will test at Mosten and if all is good then I will run at Dragstalgia", he said.

Fuel car owner and longtime News contributor Johnny Nilsson (centre, above) introduced us to Nico van Rensburg (left, above) who has been involved in running South Africa's Tarlton Raceway for forty years. "Tarlton is the only purpose-built drag strip in South Africa", said Nico. "We have alcohol dragsters, alcohol doorslammers, turbo sport compacts and bikes. We run between four and eight events a year plus Test Days. A Championship event will attract between eighty and one hundred and twenty competitors and between four thousand and six thousand spectators". Johnny said that he would have some more news for very soon. sponsor Simpson Europe moved from the two-day Autosport Engineering to the full four days. Jan Phersson has been kept busy with his Simpson Motorsport Safety Academy, not just to drag racers but in drifting and rallycross. "We have been giving more lectures about safety and how to use the equipment", he said. "We hold seminars at both events at Tierp Arena. We are not there to sell product, we are there to explain. Whenever anyone gets hurt they have not been using the equipment correctly. We see in every class from Juniors to the top that people don't know how to use their safety equipment. The rules say what you need but not how to use it. That's my message."

2017 UK National 8.50 Bike Champion Jake Mechaell (left, above) and Pro Modified racer Jon Webster (right, above) of sponsor Webster Race Engineering were in hand on the Racinglines stand where Jon's Fast Company Pro Mod was on display as a Thank You for the company's support. "Racinglines supported us with hoses on the car and are supporting us again this year", said Jake. "They produce fuel pumps, fuel filters, hoses, lines, brake lines and fittings. They have been going for fifty years originally as a hydraulics company and saw an opportunity to get into racing. The product is very good and their support is exceptional - if you need something quick they will get in a car and bring it". Jon said that the Pro Mod is nearly ready for the season. "We just have some calibration work to do on the converter and then we will be ready to make some noise!", he said. "Our testing of spooling-up was successful so now we just need to make a couple of eighth-mile runs."

Anders Hildebrand said that sponsor Anglo American Oil Company had had their best ever year in 2017. "We are growing in every area", said Anders. "Sunoco Race Fuels are growing steadily; the NHRA deal helped but we always have stock, we are always available and we always deliver. The Driven racing oils are growing. We have a new product, VR12 Ultimate coolant. It contains no glycol, stops corrosion and rust, improves water flow, and lowers the temperature of the water. We are selling it to classic cars but it would be ideal for drag racing. Also it is non-toxic - glycol is very toxic. VR12 comes as an additive or ready-mixed." sponsor Lucas Oil Products were sharing a stand with Santa Pod Raceway. Les Downey said that Lucas Oils' Octane Booster had been reformulated. Also proving popular was the Complete Engine Treatment for street cars which can be added either to fuel or to oil or to both, the Super Cooler "Water wetter", and the Tiger Grip nitrile gloves which Les said are proving a must for crew in the pits. Les added that Lucas Oil UK will be putting a radio-controlled off-road vehicle up for raffle at the SPRC Dinner Dance.

Freddie Turza (left, above), Senior Technical Director of Research and Development at sponsor VP Racing Fuels, said that the company was having a very good show. "We had our International Distributors' meeting last night which had an excellent attendance. Our President Alan Cerwick was there as well as International Sales Manager Marc Wesler and Marketing Director Donato Bonacquisto. We had distributors from twelve different countries there". Marc Wesler (right, above) said that VP Racing Fuels will be supporting Santa Pod Raceway's Doorslammers event in May. Also on the subject of Santa Pod, Marc said that representatives of SPRC's Track Crew had visited Darlington Dragway in the USA to meet Jimmy Bradshaw Jr - "Track prepper extraordinaire", interjected Freddie - to learn about the preparation of concrete track surfaces. On the new product front VP are offering a three-gallon fuel jug (see below) which is ideal for Junior Dragsters.

Pro Modified racer Andy Robinson of sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars was pleased with the way his season ended. "We've run a lot of fives now!", he said. "We just want to keep going the same as last year. We are finding horsepower and updating the car, get weight out of the car including the driver, and we have new wheels and tyres. Other than that it's pretty much as it was, we want to maintain the ETs and speeds. I'm looking forward to the Doorslammers, it'll be fun". Luke Robinson added "It's going to be a challenge to get it right on concrete. But we won't change too much, we'll try to keep it going." Below are additional pictures from Autosport International in chronological order. Mouse-over thumbnails for a caption and click on any picture for a large version.

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