Fresh from a 30 month build, Jim Richards has unveiled his latest Touring Car Masters (TCM) contender, a 1972 AMC Javelin.
The Javelin has special meaning to Richards, who is a long standing admirer of Penske Racing and champion American driver Mark Donohue.
The Penske/Donohue combination dominated Trans Am racing with Javelins in the early 1970s, making the Javelin Richards’ first choice for a potential successor to his Falcon Sprint.
“We wanted something different that would interest spectators, but would also be in the Shannons mould,” said Richards. “The Javelin ticked all the boxes.”
As only 178 Javelins were sold in Australia by then-distributors AMI, Richards began his search in mid-2008 by looking at US cars on the Internet, but he ended up finding the right car a lot closer to home.
“However it turned out that the uncle of one of my team members was an enthusiast with four or five of them and I picked this car up almost around the corner in North Melbourne!” he said.”
The comprehensive rebuild began in mid-2009 and involved stripping the Javelin of every nut and bolt and then rebuilding it methodically to the TCM regulations.
“We believe it has been worth taking our time,” said Richards after the car’s first shakedown at Melbourne’s Calder Raceway. “The Javelin is a step up from the Falcon in every way and all the lessons we have learned from four decades of racing touring cars have gone into it.”
To comply with TCM regulations, the Shannons Javelin runs a 360-ci AMC V8 producing “in excess of 600HP” and weighs a mandatory 1,580kg, plus an additional seeded driver penalty of 30kg.
This will make it 180kg heavier, but more powerful than the 289-ci V8-engined Falcon Sprint and on par with its Mustang and Camaro TCM rivals.
“Being more aerodynamic, wider and with a slightly better brake package, it should also handle and stop a little better than the Sprint, but we can’t guarantee that it will be faster out of the blocks. We’ll have to wait until Clipsal for that!”, said Richards.
Richards will debut the Javelin at Adelaide’s Clipsal 500 opening round of the 2012 Touring Car Masters on March 4.