With the advent and virtually universal use of modern sequential, straight cut gear-equipped and even clutchless manual transmissions in drag racing machinery, the old school methodology of banging through an H-pattern or column shifter at breakneck pace like a Pac-Man arcade machine on speed has become a bit of a lost art. Save for the enthusiasts running their daily driver with the factory manual at the track, the days of drivers getting a full-body workout on each given pass is something that, in our mind, doesn’t happen often enough anymore. And so you can certainly understand — and perhaps agree with our sentiment — when we were mesmerized by the video of 25-year old Brazilian drag racer Jevan Dalla Valle banging gears like a Super Stock racer of yesteryear in his seven-second, Chevrolet Opala.
Valle competes in one of Brazil’s more popular heads-up drag racing classes, which is designed for domestic production cars — and because none were built with V8’s, all of the cars compete with four- and six-cylinder engines, and are mandated to use stick shift, clutch-assisted transmissions to keep the driver in the game. In his lightning-quick Opala, Valle and builder Daniel Czarnabai assembled a 250 cubic inch inline six-cylinder Chevrolet powerplant with iron heads, paired with a Precision Pro Mod 88 mm turbocharger for power. And best of all (and completely allowable for the class) it burns 8 percent nitromethane.
Valle utilizes a G-Force GF4A four-speed transmission and a twin-disc clutch that’s shifted without the need for manual clutch pedal activation at the gear change thanks to the brand new FuelTech FT600 ECU, which has an integrated strain gauge power shift feature built-in. The FT600 also controls 18 Siemens 225 lb/hr injectors, six individual coils, and has an integrated boost controller.
With a 275 radial tire out back and mandated ladder bar suspension, Valle is the Brazilian record holder with the car at 7.694-seconds at 187 mph, tipping the scales at 2,830 pounds, as recorded at Brazil’s Velopark. The record number came at Valle’s first race back out since converting to the FT600 and overhauling the chassis and engine, having set the class standard a year ago before having it taken away by one of his peers.
Photos courtesy FuelTech