Page 1 of 2 Next >> Introduced in the early 1980s, the Group C and GTP regulations considerably increased the global appeal of sports car racing. The class attracted entries from manufacturers and teams from almost all corners of the world, including several Australian teams. The profile of sports car racing received a further boost 'Down Under' by the addition of a World Championship round at Sandown Park in 1984.
This inspired Adelaide-based privateer racer Bernard van Elsen to commission the construction of an Australian Group C car. The design and construction was entrusted to K&A Engineering, run by Dale Koennecke and Harry Aust. Although very experienced, the two engineers had not yet developed a 'ground effect' racing car before. Fortunately two friends of Aust's John and Bob Murphy had just returned from the United States where they worked on the 'ground effect' VDS Can-Am cars.
In order to speed up the development process, Van Elsen acquired a Lola F5000 racer. This was stripped of the suspension components, the Chevrolet engine and the Hewland gearbox. These were grafted to a new, purpose-built aluminium monocoque chassis. This was built to GTP specifications with the pedal box behind the front axle, to ensure the new car could be raced both in the World Championship and the lucrative IMSA Championship in North America.
The front suspension featured lower wishbones and top rockers that actuated in-board mounted springs and dampers, which allowed for a clean airflow into the all-important 'ground effect' tunnels that ran on either side of the cockpit. The tightly wrapped body sported a very low nose courtesy of the 'hip-mounted' radiators. Like the Porsche 956, the car was fitted with a full-width rear wing. When additionally downforce was needed, a small front aerofoil was also tried. Page 1 of 2 Next >>