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Zappia runs back to back 5.63 at Perth Motorplex for the win



John Zappia turned around his season’s fortunes in the space of just seven days with a stunning track record performance at Perth Motorplex’s Goldenstate Championships on Saturday.
After a patience-testing East Coast Thunder in Sydney, Zappia and his team returned across the Nullarbor to get straight back to the track at Perth Motorplex, where Zappia hoped to cure persistent tyre shake issues.

With 40C degree temperatures recorded across much of Perth, the weather conditions were challenging, and Zappia opted to skip a scorching early afternoon qualifying session in favour of a cooler 5.30pm compulsory qualifying round, where he qualified second with a 5.849, narrowly behind Steve Aldridge’s 5.846.

Seeded against Daniel Gregorini’s quick Camaro, Perth Motorplex fans looked forward to an entertaining elimination round between the two rivals.

“We looked at the data from qualifying and gave it a few tweaks, as well as choosing the right-hand lane,” Zappia said. “I got the holeshot on Daniel but then the Zappia Racing Holden Monaro moved out towards the wall – the door was probably only about a foot away from the concrete. But the car didn’t shake and I stayed on full throttle, getting it back into the groove and we came up with a 5.634/255mph. Everyone on the crew was over the moon.”

The run was the quickest ever made by Zappia at Perth Motorplex, and the engine came back in perfect condition. Zappia next had to make a decision for the final round against Nigel Johnson – keep a consistent tune up in the car or go for a track record?

“We thought we could step up for a possible 5.59, but we also really wanted to see if we could keep the car consistent. With that in mind we did only minor adjustments and changed to the left lane. Up against Nigel we launched really well and though the car went to the right again it wasn’t nearly as bad this time. It settled back into the groove and we ended up with a 5.636/257.01mph for the win.

“We were pretty happy the car was showing consistency, and it’s really fast. We had 1800 feet corrected altitude on Saturday, compared to the 300 feet corrected altitude we had in Sydney when we ran 5.60. So we think we are on the right track and the best thing is we are still safe on the tune.”
Zappia’s next event will be the opening round of the Summer Slam Series on November 30 at Perth Motorplex.

“It looks like there is a little bit left yet. Hopefully we get some cooler weather for the Summer Slam and we can take back the track record, which is a 5.629 by Paul Mouhayet. It would be nice to take back the record for WA!

“We would like to thank Ray Treasure and all the track staff for preparing and maintaining a great track in very trying conditions and running a very smooth event.

“A big thank you to all our sponsors who help make competing at this level possible. We will have our latest Biante model cars on display and available for purchase at the Summer Slam event, so make sure to stop by our pit area.”

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With great power comes great responsibility for Zappia

John Zappia’s first round loss in the opening round of the 400 Thunder season wasn’t the way the former champion wanted to start his season, but with more power than he can use in his Holden Monaro Pro Slammer, Zappia is optimistic for events to come.

Zappia qualified in sixth position at last weekend’s East Coast Thunder at Sydney Dragway with a last ditch 5.86/250mph in the third qualifying session.

“Testing went well and we thought it was going in the right direction, then on qualifying day it spits a spark plug out on the first run and runs on seven cylinders for a 6.07,” he said. “We lost any real data on that one, then we overpowered the track from 30 feet out on the next run and I pedalled it and ran a 6.03/252mph – which was only good enough to put us on the bump spot.

“We came out for the last one and backed the clutch and tune up off, it rattled the tyres so I pedalled it and went 5.86/250mph. That certainly wasn’t ideal as we were up against Ben Bray for round one.”

The team changed tact for the first round of eliminations, calming down the 3000 horsepower Holden Monaro as much as they dared to find a way down the track.

“It left slow but it got going and I made it all the way through first gear without having to back off,” Zappia recalled. “Then just as I hit top gear it banged the burst panels and coasted to the finish line. It had started nosing over before half track, and still went 3.77 to the eighth mile, which is good for a 5.65/5.66 type run. Something in the fuel system leaned out and I am not quite sure why yet, it was good for all the other runs and a lost opportunity – we got in front and then we gave it back.”

Zappia originally planned to wait until the opening round of the WA Summer Slam Series to race next, but he has decided to make a last minute entry to the Goldenstate Championships this Saturday at Perth Motorplex.

“We weren’t going to race but there’s all this extra power we have now and I want to find out how to use it,” he said. “From what I have seen in the data we have found more power than expected, which is why we have been overpowering the start line. Now we need to find the happy medium so we can get the car to launch. We have a 5.6 tune up in the car, but more power – so who knows what is possible?”

The naming rights sponsorship for Zappia Racing remains available for any interested parties, and with the WA season only just firing up there are plenty of opportunities for exposure.

“We are committed to pursuing not just the national 400 Thunder series but also WA’s awesome Summer Slam, which gives us the most racing opportunities of any team in the country. We’d love to have someone aboard to be a part of that journey with us,” Zappia said.

The Goldenstate Championships feature program begins from 5.30pm on Saturday at Perth Motorplex.

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Zappia successfully tests ahead of new Pro Slammer season

As a new 400 Thunder season beckons with the running of the opening round, East Coast Thunder, this Friday and Saturday, John Zappia believes the championship is wide open.Zappia will take on a field that includes some of Australia’s toughest Pro Slammer racers including Steven Ham, Mark Hinchelwood and Kelvin Lyle.

“There’s guys who are finding regular 5.6s and 5.7s and that means every race becomes a tough race,” Zappia said. “Pro Slammers by their nature are so unpredictable, so the guys who can tame them – like Steve Ham right now – are the ones you really have to watch out for.

“We were looking forward to battling with Paul Mouhayet again this season but he is taking a break and we wish him all the best, he and Moits Racing were great competitors.”

Part of the reason for Zappia’s phenomenal success in drag racing has been a commitment to testing, and that has not changed this season. Zappia took the opportunity to hit Sydney Dragway early with the aim of sorting out a gremlin that had been plaguing the Monaro for several events.

“We traced down an electrical glitch that was making the lockup clutch malfunction,” he said. “We did some testing on Tuesday and found the problem, so we just put the manual shift buttons back on and I drove it like I used to. Straight away it went 5.76/249mph even though it rattled and I needed to pedal.

“Then on Wednesday we changed a few things around on the motor, came back out and launched with a .971 60 foot time, carried the wheels a long way and managed a 5.71/254mph in pretty hot conditions. We experimented with stepping it up a little after that but we found the limit and now we have our baseline for East Coast Thunder.”

Joining Zappia Racing once again this season will be major sponsors Fuchs Lubricants, Dananni Hotshots, Crow Cams, Noonan Race Engineering, Hoosier Tires, Muscle Car Warehouse  and Speedflow.

“We are proud to carry their names across Australia’s quickest Holden Monaro,” Zappia said. “We also welcome our many supporting sponsors for another season of drag racing.”The car will have a new look with naming rights sponsorship being available.

“We’ve had a fantastic long term relationship with Fuchs and we are happy they are remaining a part of the team as a major sponsor. Dananni Hotshots is also remaining on board as a major sponsor. What this means is that for the first time in many years our naming rights advertising is available. We would certainly welcome anyone who is interested in joining with Australia’s most successful Pro Slammer team to come to the pits and have a talk with us about how we can help promote their business.”
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