August 18, 2016 | General


As proud sponsor and official lubricant partner of the Touring Car Masters TOTAL Oil Australia is excited to be involved in the hugely popular series. As part of our involvement we are unveiling the TOTAL TCM Car Profile series.

Every month we will be chatting to the owners and drivers of these amazing machines to find out what makes them so special.

To kick off the series we sat down with Wayne Mercer to learn all about his beautiful 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO one of Australia’s true motoring icons.

“I’ve had two of these†said Mercer who is competing in his sixth series of TCM.

“I started out in an old HO that we bought off eBay and modified. Two years ago I decided to build a new one which is lighter and improved all round despite looking identical to the old car. I built it myself even though I’m a home builder by trade†he said.

The majority of the mechanical work and development is done by Wayne although he does have some help as he explained.

“Well respected engine builder Mick Webb builds my engines. Mick is also responsible for Jim Richards engines†said Mercer.

The 351 Cleveland is a highly modified unit. Internally it runs JE Pistons a Crankshaft Rebuilders crankshaft motorsport block along with 3V alloy heads by CHI and titanium valves. To aid in reliability by controlling oil surge and also to unlock a few more horsepower a dry sump setup is fitted.

The fuel system includes a fuel cell located in the boot that utilises twin pick up pumps and another pressure pump.

Of course the other aspect of ensuring a healthy engine is the importance of using quality high performance lubricants to keep the engine running smoothly. 

“When you’re running your engine at its limit with high revs for long periods of time you need to ensure you have great lubrication. Using a high quality lubricant ensures stability under high temperatures as well as keeping the engine reliable and operating at maximum efficiency.â€Â

When everything comes together the whole package outputs about 700 horsepower. When you are running a powerful engine it is important to have a driveline that can handle the power.

“We use a G force gear box or as they are commonly known a dog box. There are no synchros. They’re extremely tough and will easily handle 1000 HP. It’s the same gearbox used by NASCAR. We play with the ratios and have two gearboxes†Mercer explained.

“We also run aluminium diff centres. We have four of those and use different ratios for different tracks along with a two piece tail shaft the same as V8 Supercars use.â€Â

“As for the brakes we use NASCAR setups. At 304mm they’re the biggest rotors we can get in. Four spot calipers complete the system†he added.

With a car that produces 700 horsepower and achieves speeds in excess of 280kph driver safety is of paramount importance.

The roll cage is chrome-moly and built by Paris Acot a highly experienced fabricator who was responsible for many V8 Supercar cages. Other safety features include a firebomb that can be activated from the cabin plus a six point harness and Velo race seat that holds Mercer firmly in place.

Finally Mercer explains what it’s like to drive this Aussie icon of Australian motorsport.

“Driving an HO Falcon is like driving a brick a great brick at that but I love the thing!â€Â

“If I wanted better lap times I’d drive something else. In terms of handling characteristics a HO Falcon would be one of the worst cars in the field due to its centre of gravity. I’ve gone to great lengths to try and make it like a square Mustang. The car is actually very good†he added.

“They’re a heavy car but I’ve tried to minimise the downside to make it competitive. If you put one of the top drivers in it I’m sure they could win in it. For me though it’s all about having some fun setting myself a challenge and scoring some personal best times.â€Â