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Gizzy Jag making noise

A supercharged race car built in a Gisborne shed has been smoking competitors from top European manufacturers.

The custom-built Jaguar has three owners — Grant Rosie, Warwick Hickling and Sam Lyle.

Lyle doubles as the driver on the race track.

“Warwick and I had met working on one of his classic Jaguars. He was interested in a retirement project so I drew up a sketch of what I thought would be an exciting racing car,” Sam said.

They took a mould of Warwick’s classic Jaguar XK120 sports car and reproduced it in carbon fibre.

“I built a steel tube chassis for it, then Warwick and I worked on it for a year and a half out of the shed at home.

“We chopped it, widened it, lowered it. I’ve had a hell of a long career building race cars, so it worked straight away.”

“We took a V12 engine out of a Jaguar. It was just a road car, so we put turbochargers in and developed it, made it reliable.”

On the track, the car runs at 750 horsepower and Sam says they will race anyone with a roof.

“The car is eligible and has raced in the GT New Zealand series, typically against brand-new Porsches.”

Among those he has raced is Matthew Whittaker, of Whittaker’s chocolate fame.

“He has a 2019 Porsche GT2 straight from the factory, it’s never been on the road and costs about $600,000,” Sam said.

“Last time he made a bad choice on the wheels and I smoked him but usually he wins.”

It’s all on between them on the track but off it, the Gisborne group have developed a good relationship with the Whittaker crew.

“They always come to say ‘hi’ and check out the car.”

The team will be racing this weekendThe team will be racing this weekend in Feilding at the Manfeild circuit.“For now, we need to strip it down after it lost a wheel last race. I went into the tyre barrier a little and gave it a nudge.

“I’d like to do another summer series and win some more trophies.”

Their collection of trophies includes a small wooden drum named after celebrated New Zealand mechanic and motor racing driver. Sybil Lupp.

Sam said Sybil was an “incredible, rare woman racer” famous for tuning Jaguars.

“People would take their racing Jaguars to her back in the 50s and 60s.

“There is a trophy for the fastest car at the MG Car Club Classic meeting, and I’m just so stoked I won it in a Jaguar.

“I grew up with Jaguars and Sybil was a Jaguar lady.”

Sam said when Sybil was working on cars she would wear white overalls, but underneath would have on a dress.

“Apparently she was real classy . . . even saw out three husbands.”

Speed machine: This custom-built Jaguar, owned by (from left) Grant Rosie, Warwick Hickling and Sam Lyle is burning up the track. Picture by Liam Clayton
UNDER THE HOOD: This turbocharged V12 engine powers a custom-built Gisborne Jaguar burning up the track. Picture by Liam Clayton