October 2, 2020 | General

Williams aiming to put Holden power back in his Torana

Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters stalwart Bruce Williams has plans in motion to have genuine Holden power restored in his popular AC Delco-supported Torana SL/R5000.

The former Formula Holden and AUSCAR driver has been a regular in the TCM class for the past four years, driving a variant of Holden products, including the ACDelco Torana and a race in an HQ Holden.

With a thirst for more power to compete against the leading 6-litre competitors, Williams is working closely with Melbourne engine component business Torque-Power to return the Holden power plant back into his Torana.

“Genuine Holden performance parts including blocks are almost impossible to get and have proven to be unreliable when you’re chasing big power,” said Williams. 

“But with new Torque-Power 308 blocks and cylinder heads, it’s an exciting opportunity to put Holden power back into the Torana and I reckon the fans on the hill will appreciate that.”

In the early days of the TCM SL/R5000 Torana program entrants including John Bowe were forced to use the genuine Holden-based production engines as their powerplants.

“The reality was that if you wanted to race a Holden with a Holden engine you had to use in some cases 20-year-old, second-hand production-based cylinder blocks as a starting point for a brand-new engine. It really wasn’t a great thing to have to do and while some teams had success with the Holden engine in the early days of TCM, any sort of engine output above 560hp meant you had an unreliable engine.

“It was a credit to John Bowe and Gary O’Brien that they won so many races in the Holden powered Torana SL/R5000 they built.”

It was no surprise that TCM category management came up with an alternative power plant to replace the ageing Holden and the current spec and more modern five litre 302/5.0 Lt Chev power plants were found to be more reliable.

“The Chev engines are good and you can’t kill a well built one, but they have reached their potential as far as power output is concerned, and out of the box there are some issues with their cylinder heads as they are way too big for a 5.0 Lt engine, the rules allow heavy modifications but they are expensive.

“The reality is that I want to race my Holden with a Holden-based engine and Craig Bennett from Torque-Power is now manufacturing Melbourne manufactured, brand-new Holden 308 blocks.

“Being able to start a new engine build with brand new components that are up to the task is a big step forward, these Torque-Power components are 100 percent based on the original Holden product.”

Williams is confident that engines will have more horsepower and better reliability. Plus, he says it will be an extra aspect for the Lion faithful to cheer for.

“It will be nice to have a locally built product under the hood again,” said Williams.

“We are going to need to test and develop the engine to have another serious go, so that might be six months away, but it’s been a great to work with Torque-Power on the project.

“The past 12 months have been about getting all of the parts together for the engine. We now have things like the Scatt billet crankshaft, Carrillo conrods, JE Pistons to put into the new Torque-Power block, so now it’s a matter of finalising the package and then testing it.”

Williams missed the first event of the 2020 Gulf Western Oil TCM, electing to focus on his role as the publisher of Australia’s longest-standing motorsport publication Auto Action.

He says that Auto Action, founded in 1971, remains his priority, and the recent challenges in the world as well as in the motorsport world have meant an even greater focus on the business.

“At the moment, my priority is Auto Action, I’ve had to put my time and effort into that, especially in these tricky times,” he said.

“The COVID period has meant that my team has had to work even harder to publish the magazine, plus the daily online component that has become a greater focus.

“I’m very proud of the team and the product that we have produced during difficult times, every fortnight we publish a minimum of a 60 page publication and it’s been fantastic really, I’m very proud of what we have been producing.

“There have been some people who have had more spare time, but it hasn’t been the case for us here at Auto Action HQ. More work and more focus on publishing Auto Action has been required. 

“In some way, not having the pressure of going racing is good because I haven’t had to worry about it.”

While his publishing endeavours have taken precedent, he says that he is looking forward to a more normal racing world returning sometime in the future.

“I have raced lots of different types of cars over the years, but I have to say I really enjoy the Touring Car Masters category a great deal,” he said.

“The racing is intense and very competitive, and the great thing is that you can park the car, bring it back and it’s still an eligible, competitive car and it’s not obsolete. It one of the great aspects of the category.”

“So, expect to see the SL/R 5000 with real Holden power next season. I would like to think that we can get back on track in the second half of next year, but everything is taking twice as long to get done at the moment so who knows, either way I’m looking forward to getting back on track again soon.”