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Wright Racing Workshop Visit
In March 2005 it was announced that the Wright Racing Top Fuel Dragster was to return to the track in 2005. The dragster will be making demonstration passes at the three Ultimate Power Championship rounds and other events at Shakespeare County Raceway with driver Darryl Bradford back in the hot seat. The car will be carrying the famous John Woolfe Racing wolf head logo, as well as the names of a number of other companies, all of whose products will be available through LA Racing Parts. John and Lesley Wright kindly invited Eurodragster.com along to their Rushden workshop to see how the car is coming along, and to meet representatives of the companies involved in supporting the car.
John Woolfe Racing have been involved in drag racing since John Woolfe started a race team in 1967. The company is well-experienced in all elements of the sport from organisation to distribution and support. Dave Riswick of JWR said that he felt the time was right to display the Wolf Head logo on a race car again, and when he was introduced to John and Lesley Wright by Lee Child of LA Racing Parts, he knew that he had found a worthy vehicle for the famous marque.
"The name of John Woolfe Racing is synonymous with the sport", said Dave. I have watched John and Lesley develop the car over the last few years, and at the same time I was working with Lee Child and I wanted to bring back the Wolf Head and the JWR brand. I have had years of experience and have always tried to work professionally and methodically, and that's what I see in John and Lesley. John has invaluable experience and I see it consolidated on the car. And everyone is there to work, there are no hangers-on. So I told Lee that I was happy to contribute to the cost of running the car. In some ways this is a token gesture but I am working on other ideas to help John and Lesley develop their own horizons."
"This is a co-operative project", said Lee Child of LA Racing Parts. "We aim to raise the profile of Shakespeare County Raceway and of the companies involved, and we are introducing different companies to Wright Racing. People will see the brands featured on the car and they will all be available through LA Racing Parts. This is a rolling programme which we will be building up over a number of years. The track will get coverage from having the Top Fueller, which should attract more companies, and Wright Racing will get coverage for their sponsors."
"LA Racing Parts give us the outlet which these companies need", said Lesley Wright. "It's like a co-operative: we have to prove at the end of the season that the marketing side has worked. Our first two years were reasonably successful, this year we are concentrating on running in the UK, Europe needs a huge budget. John wants to develop the car at Shakespeare County Raceway, it is his home track and over the years he has put no end of time and effort into the track and the Clubs and he is keen to take back the track record."
"My heart, soul and wallet are in that track!", added Dave Riswick.
"The car will be running at the Power Nationals, Shakespeare Nationals, Allstar Nationals, the Ford Weekender and other events", said Lee Child. "Darryl will be making demonstration passes and we are lining up match races."
Dave Burditt of Datron Technology worked with Wright Racing in 2003 on datalogging, and had brought along a new system for John and Lesley to examine. "We have become agents for Canadian company Isaac Instruments", said Dave. "Their dataloggers have been well-proven in other motoring applications including motorsports and vehicle testing. They provide two dataloggers for drag racing use which are reasonably priced for their specification. The first package, which costs less than two thousand pounds, is designed for Sportsman racers and has a limited number of inputs, but the logger is fitted with an accelerometer. The bigger package has a lot more inputs and is good for all applications up to and including Top Fuel Dragster, and we can equip a car for between four and five thousand pounds which is between a half and a third of other datalogging systems.
"The software which comes with the packages is free, too, which is a major advantage over other systems. The dataloggers and analysis software is good for prediction, you can see failures coming and save yourself a lot of money."
Wright Racing are again to be supported by Royal Purple in 2005. "Our top of the range, exclusive oil has special ingredients and an additive package", said Geoff Jackson of Royal Purple. "It has a very high film strength for all-round engine protection. John takes parts out of the car and they don't look like they have been used!"
"I knew of Royal Purple years back when I was in the USA", said John Wright. "Everyone was saying how good it was. I used it on reputation and I can thoroughly recommend it. It's a solid, steady, dependable and consistent product. When we rodded the engine last time out, the unaffected bearings were still usable, and that was with no oil pressure. I've had other oils and after failures the bearings are black. The back axle oil is something else too, it takes such a hit. I can only speak from my experience and I've never heard a bad word about it!"
Driver Darryl Bradford said that it is great to be driving the car again. "It was OK commentating on everyone else having fun, but there is only one place to experience Top Fuel and that is in the driving seat!", he said. "It's not until it all comes together and you're a few weeks off racing that you realise that it is really happening. Big thanks to John and Lesley for letting me drive their expensive piece of kit, and also to Lee Child for giving us the opportunity to run the car at Shakespeare County Raceway."
Darryl explained some of the changes which have been made to the Wright Racing dragster since its last outing. "There is a titanium cockpit shield which was built by Webster Race Engineering", he said. "We have also added 'ears' which we hope will help to direct the airflow towards the bug catcher. There is new bodywork on the car, which is two inches taller, and a bigger windscreen for safety and streamlining. You only need to see in front of you. We have also decided to take off the kickout panels, they are great as a billboard but there isn't much use for them - and your ankles don't get ripped up pushing the car with them on!". Darryl also introduced us to Crew Chief Sean Millson, who told us that "I carry the bag of spanners!".
The car and trailer have been painted in JWR blue by Curbishley Automotive, to whom Lesley Wright asked us to say a big Thank You. The final look of the car will be finalised very shortly and we will bring the rendering to you as soon as we receive it.
We took a large number of other pictures during our workshop visit, which you can view by clicking here.
For their help and hospitality on this workshop visit we would like to thank John and Lesley Wright, Darryl Bradford, Dave Riswick, Lee Child, Dave Burditt, Geoff Jackson, and Lesley's mum who makes smashing tea.
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