Ontario-based SplitFire Performance has evolved into one of the most forceful teams within Canada’s Import Drag Racing scene….

When you want to witness drag racing that oozes creativity and originality — import car drag racing is certainly a scene to follow.   Often budding with one-of-a-kind tech and constant experimentation, it is a drag racing genre that is most certainly not for the meek.

Brampton Ontario is home base to a cutting edge Canadian group – SplitFire Peformance— which is owned and was established by Paul Bhawan. From their shop there this team has been very busy refining some very impressive race cars which are not only attention grabbers but also solid performers.

We were particularly impressed by the build and craftsmanship behind the team’s 1979 model 280ZX which has been SplitFire Peformance’s signature car for a few seasons.  This ultra lite weight machine features an in-line 6-cylinder TB48 motor which is 4.8 litres and equipped with a 98 mm Pro Mod Gen 2 Precision Turbocharger — which when fully wound up — produces mind-numbing 2000+ HP!

“When we first began racing it — the car used to be a well known street car in the GTA in the street racing scene,” explained Andrew Bhawan, Paul’s son.  “With a Buick grand national motor it went 7.70 secs @180 mph back in 2000 and not to mention we were the only turbocharged car in the Super Street class back then. Then we later decided we wanted to keep the car an all Nissan platform and use the RB26 powerplant (2.6L 1200hp). After a few seasons we wanted more power and you know as the old saying goes “no replacement for displacement” so we decided that the Nissan patrol tb48 4.8L (but now bored and stroked to a 5.2L) seemed like a perfect match.  In 2018 we debuted that new setup and for the most part spent the season developing and refining the baseline and we were happy with the results.”

Using a 6-cylinder 4.8 litre TB48 motor with a 98 MM turbo — the SplitFire Performance team has some 2000+ HP at it’s disposal.

Using an LE Chassis and burning methanol fuel, this 280ZX also runs a 5-speed Liberty transmission as experimentation with it remains a constant.

“It’s a unique car for sure,” Andrew added.  “Our team self educates 100% because there is really nobody else out there that can guide us along except for ourselves.   Pretty much everything we do is trial and error so we do test a lot.  We take a lot of pride in our ability to go fast and be competitive — but with something very different.”

Paul, and his valued crew members for the most part frequent Ontario’s fast street car circuit scene (Drag Syndicate/OSCA) racing their machine primarily within the Outlaw 10.5 class category — within which they certainly do hold their own.

“We are usually the only import versus all the domestics,” Andrew laughed.  “And we certainly do have to line up against all the big dogs there.  But our car is light weight so the power to weight ratio in the rule book is an equalizing factor.”

Paul and Andrew Bhawan

This Datsun is certainly a jewel to look at too, featuring paint by Rui (at Prostar) and some detailing by Paul’s brother Rishie.  The team also receives some deep and appreciated support from Vibrant Performance and JRP.

Team driver Paul Bhawan, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, traces his overall involvement with drag racing in Ontario back over 20 years (since 1990) — and all that time with fast import car technology exclusively.

In addition to the Datsun, the team also campaigns a very fast front wheel drive Honda — with which they made some very big noises during this past racing season.

That 4-cylinder B-Series car, which features a chassis built by brothers Ronnie and Kerwin (The Chassis Stop) and it features a 1.8 Litre motor and a 72 MM single turbo and it is now Canada’s fastest SFWD (Sport Front Wheel Drive) classed car with a 8.23 secs at 186 mph run to it’s credit.   

SplitFire Performance also notched their biggest ever overall team win with the Honda late last season — winning their eliminator at the highly prestigious annual event held at Orlando Speed World in Florida (=Nice!)

The SplitFire Performance Honda is Canada’s quickest and fastest SFWD classed car.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler

For more information on SplitFire Performance click: HERE