Brodie Pilkington will be taking more steps on his path to becoming a fully licensed nitro drag racer this weekend at Perth Motorplex’s Nitro Slam.
Pilkington is a second generation driver who has racked up plenty of experience in a variety of drag racing machines, including his father Rob’s supercharged Funny Car.
The temperamental nitro cars are a different beast however, and require their own licensing procedure to ensure drivers can handle the demands of a 4000 horsepower vehicle.
Pilkington has been given the keys to Anthony Begley’s Dark Knight Funny Car for the early part of the day, before Begley himself takes over in the evening’s racing.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven methanol-fuelled Funny Cars and also a couple of laps in this Nitro Funny Car and nitro is just something else,” Pilkington said.
“It’s unpredictable, it’s wild and you feel it in every bone of your body. There’s nothing but excitement when it comes to nitro.”
While this breed of race car is capable of accelerating to well over 400kmh in under six seconds, Pilkington is taking his first runs conservatively.
“Just making a nice half or three-quarter track lap would be awesome,” he said. “Performance wise that should be a quarter-mile somewhere in the 6sec. range. When Anthony jumps in for the show on Saturday night we’ll be setting the bar higher and trying to get into that 5sec. zone.”
Pilkington brushed off some cobwebs in December with a pass in the car, one that gave him more confidence for what is to come.
“The car made a nice, clean half track lap and my incremental times were almost identical to Anthony’s runs later so we were definitely happy,” he said.
“I had been out of the seat for quite a long period there were quite a few nerves but once the car started up I felt right at home.”
So long as he can get the sign-off from Australian National Drag Racing Association officials, Pilkington will become the latest licensed driver in the new BME Nitro Championship, which has been set up to cater for a growing variety of nitro vehicles in Western Australia.
The series sees its second round take place at the Nitro Slam this weekend. Contesting the event alongside Begley and the Dark Knight Funny Car will be opening round winner Andrew Katavatis (Beach Bomb), Matt Abel (Nitro Thunder), Michael Brooks (Nitro Mayhem), Shannon Taylor (Aussie Digger) and Nathan Coles (Thumper).
This Saturday will also feature the Summer Slam for Top Doorslammers, Nitro Bikes and round four of the WA Drag Racing Championships. Sportsman qualifying begins from 10am with features from 4.30pm. For more information, visit www.motorplex.com.au
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: Jay Treasure