The bitter and divisive battle between rival sanctioning bodies ANDRA and IHRA Australia for control of Australian drag racing has flared up again.
The final skirmish is performance limitations and restrictions for the Doorslammer, Pro Mod, and sedan body classes.
The catalyst for the latest outbreak of hostilities came after a series of major crashes last season, including the death of Sam Fenech, one of Australia’s most popular and revered Doorslammer racers, at Willowbank Raceway in January.
Doorslammer is the second most popular category in Australian drag racing behind Top Fuel.
Two weeks ago, Competition Plus exclusively announced that IHRA Australia would limit the speed of Doorslammer, Pro Mod and other unidentified sedan type vehicles to 260 mph.
IHRA Australia said: “The measure would be implemented immediately and until the IHRA can implement more specific updates to certain areas of these vehicles, namely aerodynamics, downforce and other updates.”
“A rider who violates the 260 mph limit will receive an initial warning, be appropriately recorded and any further violations of these performance guidelines will be disqualified from the event.”
IHRA Australia has also announced plans to implement a standards of conduct policy.
ANDRA’s response to IHRA’s announcement was categorical.
“We currently have no intention of imposing performance limits on Top Doorslammer and similar type vehicles and are currently conducting a preliminary review of the vehicle’s Aero Dynamics across a range of classes with expert input. qualified in Aero Dynamics.”
“In the short term, we are looking to increase the maximum allowable wing size and dump plate areas in most classes, to allow riders to increase these if they wish. In the medium to long term, we will seek to impose minimum requirements for all vehicles based on performance and will continue to monitor the safety and performance of these vehicles.
“There were five major accidents in Doorslammer and Pro Mod last year, including the one that took the life of Sam Fenech,” said a rider close to the situation but not authorized to speak. “ANDRA and IHRA should work together for the benefit of the sport and not try to outdo each other with their own agendas. It would also be a good idea if they started talking to each other.
“The speed cap and the aerodynamic review are starting points. The same goes for the introduction of 1000 foot races for all classes. Safety is too important an issue to become political football between ANDRA and IHRA.
Eight rounds of the 2023-24 National Drag Championship for Doorslammer and Pro Mod will be held at IHRA-sanctioned venues, three rounds are scheduled for The Bend Motorsport Park which can host ANDRA or IHRA-sanctioned meets and two rounds are planned for Pistes de l’ANDRA.
The first round of the NDRC season will take place at Bend Motorsport Park, October 21-22, 2023.