Former OSCA and South Island Pre 65 racer Neville Agass is now living in the United States and working for the Pratt and Miller team which is contracted to GM Racing to run Cadillac CTS cars in the SCCA Speed World Challenge.
The series has superseded TransAm, and has support race billing at Champ Car, IRL, American Le Mans Series and NASCAR meetings.
The race team involves approximately 20 people running two cars. Agass is the crew chief on expatriate Englishman Andy Pilgrim’s car.
The team won last year's series and their competition this year comes from Dodge Viper, Pontiac GTO (Monaro), Volvos, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes, Porsches, Audi and the new Prodrive-built Aston Martins.
Agass says his team's cars start life as Cadillac CTS road cars - about the same size as a Ford Falcon.
"We completely strip the car and dip, strip and sandblast the body. We cut the floor out of the bodyshell and install a rollcage/frame similar to a TraNZam car, tying it into the suspension points. We then refit the floor.
"The roof is the only steel body panel on the car as we make the doors, fenders boot and bonnet out of carbon fibre. The car originally weighs 3800lbs but when we finish it weighs 2700lbs. We then add ballast to the bottom of the car to get to our driver-included race weight of 3200lbs.
“The motor is the original LS2 alloy small block 6.0-litre Chevrolet with good parts inside to make it live on the racetrack. It produces over 630bhp, but the Speed World Challenge organisers make us run a throttle restrictor plate, which makes the air inlet smaller by 40 percent bringing the motor back to about 525bhp.
"The transmissions are the original T56 Tremac six-speed, which we turn on its side, dry sump, fit with an internal oil pump and oil spray bars and fill with our own close-ratio gear sets.
"The diff uses the original independent rear end but with a Ricardo LSD unit and either a 3.89 or a 4.11 crown wheel and pinion.
"The brakes are the same Brembo callipers (six-piston fronts, four-piston rears) and the (disc) rotors are the same as the top TransAm cars. The suspension uses some original parts and parts hand fabricated by us as well as TransAm type Penske shocks."
This year’s series comprises 10 rounds throughout the United States and Canada.