Rory Watson of Watson Racing has put plenty of work into his GQ Patrol, ‘Car 6’, since it’s humble beginnings with the team in 2004.
Purchased by Rory in 2004 for his wife, the car began as a basic 1989 blue over silver GQ shorty with a mild 2 inch lift and a new set of tyres. In 2005 Car 6 hit the track at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park for the Riverland Challenge but unfortunately through driver error the vehicle suffered a slight mishap and required some repair work.
In 2006 Rory began the major task of rebuilding, with the assistance of one of his sponsors, D.S Kowald Crash Repairs. This process changed the shorty to a mid-wheel base and they changed to a Ute style cab which was cut down from a donor car. During this time the suspension was altered and the team moved to a three link rear with an X link front running a four inch lift to fit the 36″ centrepedes.
Rory ran with this set-up for a few years, ironing out small problems until 2008 when the team turbo charged the TB4.2ltr engine. In 2009, Car 6 took out both the Riverland Challenge and the Mud Dust and Music events at Loveday. Rory describes 2010 as “a disappointing year” as fatigue began to take its toll on the vehicle. Although they set multiple lap time records in qualifying races, when it came to the final races the car broke down causing the team to receive a DNF.
In 2011, with the assistance of new sponsor, BIG.O.4X4, the team were able to strip down the entire car to a bare chassis and completely alter the vehicle. The rear end was changed to a long arm triangulated 4 link with coil overs and the front was also changed to a long arm set up with coil overs and bypass shocks. The running gear was switched over to an EFI TB 4.2ltr, with a new garret turbo moving the radiator to the rear of the car, including the oil coolers for the engine and trans. The team also replaced the bonnet and guards with Kevlar/ Aramid replacement. This whole process took approximately twelve weeks, meaning the car was ready to compete in the Mallee Challenge in Geranium. The team competed in two full days of racing and managed to take out third place – even with the rear shocks blown!
Around this time the team also travelled to Melbourne for the Melbourne 4×4 Show with the crew from Loveday. They also checked out the Aus Truck Extreme event, wowing crowds by jumping the table top.
Late in 2011 things began to unravel for the team with a series of issues occurring during events at Loveday. 2012 also presented problems for the team but they powered on to take the car back to Melbourne for Aus Truck. The event was going well until the final race when Rory discovered that the steering arm was bent and he rolled a tyre off the rim. Following this the team competed at Loveday in October but once again, vehicle issues hindered a successful result.
2013 has seen Lightforce come on as a sponsor for Watson Racing and the team have been able to rig the car with eight 55W HID 170 Strikers and two 140 Lances as reversing lights. Rory has put a huge amount of work into the car, changing the engine to a Gen 3 as well as additional alterations to make the vehicle compliant for a broader range of events including the Fink Desert Race and certain rounds of the AORC.
For more information, head to the Loveday website, www.loveday4x4adventures.com