MOTORSPORT ace Tim Slade may be a personality more synonymous with V8 Supercars than with supercharged street cars.
So when the South Australian speedster piloting a four-cylinder 800hp 2.2L Nissan Sylvia clocked the fastest lap at the World Time Attack challenge in Sydney last year, the victory barely rated in mainstream media.
But the result has helped propel unrivalled growth for Holden Hill-based Bullet Race Engineering, who designed and manufactured the engine block that helped power Slade to victory.
Over the past 18 months the company, which started in 2003, has experienced growth of an employee every four months as a weaker Australian dollar and a reputation for its bespoke aircraft-grade aluminium products has ushered in a strong outlook for the SA-owned firm.
Director Heath Palumbo said the company, which also manufactures blocks to suit Nissan GTR and Mitsubishi Evolution that cost up to $14,000, will this year expand its Dundee Ave site and ramp up production to two shifts.
Due to demand from the US, the company of six employees is also working on two new engine blocks to be released by year’s end specifically for that market.
“We are only just keeping up as it is,” said Heath, who runs the business along with brother Darren and co-founder Marcus Giobbi.
“I imagine by the end of 2018 we will be running at least four machines, with probably double the staff.
“By the time these new two blocks come out at the end of the year, I imagine they will be 50 per cent of the market.”
Darren said the aim is to export 80 per cent of its products, from its current 15 per cent.
“We have a competitor in the US – we can ship our product to someone’s door in America for less than what they could buy from our competitor in US dollars,” he said.
The company produces a block a day, which are used in motorsport disciplines including drag racing, hill climbing and rallying. They are exported to the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Darren and Heath said there was no shortage of people wanting to work for the company. “The major advantage about the motorsport industry is you have a line-up of people that want to work here,” he said.
Heath added: “I field emails and Facebook each week from applicants all over the world who want to work with us.”
Slade will return to defend his World Time Attack title in October with the Bullet Race Engineering-powered Nissan and he will be joined by eight other cars running a Bullet under the hood. “We’d expect to be on all podiums across all classes this year,” Heath said.
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