- Richards debuts Shannons Javelin at Clipsal
- 30-month project to develop new TCM front-runner
- TCM newcomer generates huge interest with enthusiasts
It has taken 30 months to complete, but Jim Richards says the Shannons 1972 AMC Javelin sedan he will debut at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 opening round of 2012 Touring Car Masters on March 4 is the finest racing car he has even built.
As an ardent admirer of Penske Racing and champion American driver Mark Donohue, who together dominated Trans Am racing with Javelins in the early 1970s, the distinctively styled AMC 'Pony Car' was Richards' first choice as a potential successor to his very successful Shannons 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.
"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 exhaustive process of turning the former road car into a TCM front runner began mid-2009 and involved stripping the Javelin of every nut and bolt and then rebuilding it methodically to the TCM regulations, employing proven racecar technology.
Richards said the project had taken him and former Gibson Motorsport Crew Chief Bruce Tyson some time to complete because his small team had been focussed on getting the most out of the Shannons Falcon Sprint, which rewarded them when Richards became the 2010 Touring Car Masters champion.
"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"Â 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.
Shannons National Sales Manager Paul Gates said interest in Richards' new Javelin by Australian enthusiasts had been "phenomenal".
"I have never known the arrival of a new racing car to be so eagerly anticipated," he said. "Its debut at Clipsal will be huge!"