For periods throughout late 2016 into early 2018, Bahrain’s EKanoo Racing and Puerto Rico’s Zoian Racing waged an all-out war for import supremacy, trading jabs and pushing the global standard through the 5.70s and ultimately into the mid-5.60s, where more than a year later, it still stands at 5.660-seconds. When EKanoo’s patriarch, Ebrahim Kanoo, sold the team’s Toyota GT86, the assault on the record books went quiet for a time — that was, until Puerto Rico’s Isaias Rojas quietly clicked off a 5.671 last fall in Orlando, placing himself on the brink of surpassing Zoain Racing and driver Victor Flores’ world record.
While a host of other machines in locales around the world have entered the 5.8- and 5.7-second zones, only EKanoo and Rojas have seriously challenged the top mark. But of late, veteran import racer Rod Harvey, who is a former import world record holder, has thrown his hat back into the ring with a series of 5.7-second laps, culminating a week ago with a career best 5.708 at 256.02 mph. His run, by our unofficial count, is the fourth quickest in history, and his speed the second fastest, behind only the 260.91 mph best by Jomar Gomez at Atco Dragway in May.
The Auckland, New Zealand native has scored a number of mid- to high-5.70 runs in 2019, showing the consistency needed to challenge the two frontrunners in the United States. Harvey’s run, clocked at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway, came during testing in preparation for the upcoming Brisbane Jamboree sport compact event. His 195 cubic-inch, Toyota 2JZ-powered, RJ Race Cars-built Camry had previously been as quick as 5.72-seconds, and while the career best run was not his quickest anywhere in the front half of the racetrack (1.00 to 60-feet versus a previous best of .970, for example), changes to his program netted better numbers out the back — evidenced by the monster speed.
Harvey’s 5.77 And 5.72 Laps
“I didn’t think it went that fast, with the wind in our face,” Harvey noted in a recent Jamboree interview. “I actually got off of it a bit early, believe it or not. So I’m pretty happy.”
With better track and weather conditions expected for the Jamboree, Harvey added he “plans to get after it a little more” in pursuit of the 5.60s as he also vies for the Factory Extreme class victory. “If I get a chance, I’m definitely going to try and go better than I did,” he adds.