Running the numbers: Rod Harvey runs a five!

Posted in Cars, News

Aucklander Rod Harvey may be a V8 guy at heart, but for many years now he’s been campaigning a six-cylinder 2JZ-powered Toyota Celica. Over the years, not only have Rod and his crew jumped leaps and bounds over other local import racers but they’ve consistently been at the pointy end of the global import drag racing scene. For a long time, they held hopes of running the first-ever five-second import pass. While that achievement may have eluded them, a five-second pass finally became a reality at the Gulf Western Oil 50th Winternationals 2017, held at Willowbank Raceway over June 8–11. 

The incredible 5.909 at 239.31mph pass was not only the first in Australasia, but also the first five-second import pass in the Southern Hemisphere. The feat became even more impressive when, on looking back at the data, the team realized that a wastegate issue had kept the car from running full boost for most of the track. 

Rod credits the improvements in the car’s performance to a full rewire and a recent change of ECU to MoTeC’s latest M150. The car previously ran a pair of MoTeC M800s, and getting them to talk to each other in harmony was never easy. The M150 has brought everything into one unit, although it took a serious amount of work for tuner Glenn Cupit from Dodson Motorsport, working alongside MoTeC technicians, to program each and every element in the ECU. The team had tested the Celica the weekend prior to the Winternationals, focusing on leaving the line, and the first full pass was in fact the 5.90 at 239.31mph, making it the fourth-quickest import on the planet, and the first five-second import pass in Australasia. 

Hopes were high to better the time during the weekend, given he’d found the car didn’t have full boost, although the next run saw tyre shake off the start line before rain put an end to the weekend’s proceedings. 

The 2JZ has been reliably run on Gulf Western Comp R 50, a 25W-50 semi-synthetic racing oil formulated to meet the demands of high-output engines, including those running on methanol, such as Rod’s Celica, as well as older-style performance engines. Although the car has previously run as fast as 246mph, Rod and the team are confident it has even more potential. As it is already the fourth-quickest import in the world, we can’t wait to see where that potential takes it. Rod would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support, especially Glenn Cupit from Dodson Motorsport, and Terry Bowden from Terry’s Chassis Shoppe.