It would be fair to say that, in his world-traveling quest to become to become the fastest street legal drag racer in history, Andy Frost had both the best week of his racing life and one of the most challenging all in one. As we reported in our lead-in to Andy’s opening session of runs at the Bahrain International Circuit early last week, his arrival in the Middle East began on a sour note with the unfortunate discovery of a break-in of his hauler, with minor damage done and some of his equipment ransacked.
Undeterred, however, Andy and his team, including wife, Deb Frost, Gary Frost, Chris Bourton, and Andy Betson, pressed on, making their first test hits at the world-class surface on Monday. After getting a feel for what changes were necessary after a couple of aborted shakedown runs on day one, the team returned on Tuesday focused on making small, incremental steps toward the goal of running in the fives and, ultimately (they hope) to a lap quicker than 5.85-seconds.
Following their hits during the first two days on the track, one of the highly apparent issues the team and tuner Shane Tecklenburg found they needed to address was the rear suspension setup, first the wheelie bar and later the suspension itself, as the car was burying itself into the surface at the immediate hit and then “bouncing away”, as Andy put it. EKanoo’s chassis tuner, Jamie Miller, lended his support to the Red Victor crew to make some moves in the four-link, and they returned on Day 3 to check out the launch and move on to the next hurdle.
“More frustration and niggly problems,” Andy reported following Day 3. “But we got a sort-of run in. We just kept having issues to sort out. The main thing is the engine seems to be good. Everything else is fixable, due to the fact we have the world’s best drag racing everyone here, and they want to help us achieve our goals. It’s not often you can have that in your arsenal.
It’s thanks to the Ebrahim Kanoo and his racing team members, Shane T, Eric Dillard of Pro Line Engines, Adel Shaji of BIC, the Red Victor team and a whole host of people that we have been able to fix the car/truck/me. This stuff is hard to do, believe me. It’s a constant battle, but we just keep punching away at it. Tomorrow is another day , and hopefully it will be a better one for the team. The plan is a launch, and if it feels good, run to the 1/8-mile. Then come back and look at the data, adjust, then go again.”
On Thursday, Day 4, following a number of adjustments from virtually nose to tail, Andy finally got the 1/4-mile run he was looking for in the books, going 1.08 to 60-feet, 4.21 to the 1/8-mile, and 6.64 at 281.76 km/h, despite clicking the car off well before the finish line. The team then turned around the next night and scored the highlight of their trip to that point, reeling off a new career best run for Andy with a stellar 6.312 at 380.35 km/h (236.33 mph).
“Day 5. Well that didn’t suck!” Andy said to recap the ride — and the racing night — of his life. “We knew we were not far away from being able to do what you saw today. Only it’s not easy! Even the very best guys in the world have to scratch their heads sometimes and think of a way. There is no book on how to get down the track on my car. We are writing it as we speak. Only if you do this stuff you can understand the frustration (and joy) of drag racing. But, we now have a PB in speed and ET in the 1/8- and 1/4-mile. We have two meetings left to go at, so no need to smash it to pieces trying to do it now. This is what we said right at the beginning of all this.”
Unfortunately, the dip into the 6.20s that Andy and company were searching for on Friday’s final night of the meet didn’t come, as they fought small gremlins that held them from improving upon the 6.31. But, as Andy shared with us mid-week, the whole plan was to spend this, the first of the three planned meets, setting the car up and preparing it for an all-out assault when they return in February, and between fine-tuning the setup and putting all of the weak links (a broken throttle shaft, along with the fuel pump and alternator belts), they went a long way to accomplishing that.
“It doesn’t seem like a week since we arrived here. We probably had the best weekend of racing in our team history. Was it hard work? You bet it was. Was it rewarding? You bet it was. We met some great people this week. And worked with some of the best tuners in the world. We quite literally lived the dream.”
“I dare say everyone on the grounds here is rooting for this car to run a five. The feeling is electric,” Tecklenburg shared. “We will get there, but it’s extremely important to take baby steps as we don’t want to have to send it back without getting the ticket because we threw caution to the wind and broke it.”
Andy wrapped up his first Middle East racing experience won his return back home, stating “we’re back in the UK, having redefined the word ‘epic’. So the word EPIC now is defined as Bahrain. Basically we got, on average, four hours sleep, with all the rest of the time spent working on the car, or traveling to the track from the hotel. This was not a holiday! But of course we’re on a mission. A heartfelt thanks to Ebrahim Kanoo, Khalid Mohamed and Haider Moh’d, Hussain Nawal and Suresh from the EKanoo Racing team for their amazing hospitality and help logistically, and for allwing the talented crew of Shane T, Josh Ledford, and Jamie Miller to assist in the chassis/engine tuning of RV3.”
Photos and videos courtesy Andy Betson