Victor Bray

aka The King of Top Doorslammer

Victor Bray left high school and went to Gatton Agricultural College for 2 years, while he worked on the family tomato farm. He started racing at the age of 18, mainly on the street, as there were no organized track meets at that time. As street meets began to be organised at Surfers Paradise International Raceway, he started to frequent them. Surfers Paradise was Victor's home track until it was shut down due to noise restrictions in 1987/88. Since then, he has made Willowbank Raceway in Queensland his home track.

Victor's first taste of success was at Surfers at the ' tin top' titles in 1983. He raced at Willowbank's first race as a fill-in for the featured "Wild Bunch" bracket and as a result, he travelled the country over the next several years as a part of "The Wild Bunch" team. Victor's first car was a Ford Prefect paddock thrasher' - followed by a series of FJ, FX, FB, and EK, Holdens. There were 52 of these in total and he and his mates used these to thrash around the farm. Victor's first registered road car was an EJ station wagon followed by a Holden Sandman panel van, which he bought after he sold a successful patch of pumpkins, half-shares with his grandfather. Then came the Chevy power, several HK, HT and HG Chevy powered Monaros.

At Gatton Agricultural College Victor met a student called "Big Dave" who drove a Plymouth Belvedere. "Big Dave" was Victor's first contact with USA style cruisers. After Victor left college, a couple of local guys (John and Brad Parker) were always cruising the streets in these big old Chevys and Cussos. They influenced Victor greatly, and he remains friends with them today. Victor ended up with a long line of Chevys ranging from a 1955 through to many '65 and '68s and just about everything in between which he still has today.

After the Black 57, Victor decided to build himself a "race car" with some of his mates in his garage. They went to their local wreckers with a tape measure and a few ideas and purchased a 1 tonner chassis which they fitted to a 57 chev body, found at the Toowoomba swap meet a few weeks earlier. With the addition of fibreglass front and the supercharged small block Chevy from the "old faithful", Victor Bray found himself in his first real "purpose built" race car.

After a head on collision involving Victor, wife Marie and daughter Kelly in 1978, he met guys such as Chic Henry, Wayne Barber and other stalwarts in the Chev scene and he ended up buying his first 1957 Chevy soon after. That car, which Victor still owns, is the first black car he raced, and from there Victor embarked on a path that has seen him end up where he is today.

Once Victor had felt the benefits of the lighter "purpose built" car, he went one step further and actually had a car built by a professional chassis builder. Victor had seen some work by a guy in Melbourne which he thought was very impressive so he went about ensuring he soon met this man whose name was Murray Andersen. After much deliberation Victor struck a deal and had his first race car built by a pro. A great relationship between Murray Andersen and Victor Bray was soon established both at a professional and family level, that has only been enhanced with time.

In June 1996, Victor leapfrogged world standards and become the driver of the quickest and fastest Doorslammer on the planet. A goal Victor had dreamt of many days on the farm but probably really thought would stay just that..."A DREAM".

Over the next few years this relationship was to spearhead all performance advances in supercharged sedan racing throughout the world. When the next and current Andersen-built 57 hit the track in 1993, Victor's exploits were being recorded and noticed across the globe as a performance leader for the supercharged Doorslammers.

Over the next few years Victor and his team continued to hold the records. Whenever a standard set by Victor and his beloved Chevy was bettered by another team somewhere in the world, Victor allowed them to relish it for only a short while before returning the accolades back to what was then the Castrol camp.

1999 saw Victor Bray drive his Castrol GP50 Chev to a new World Record speed of 232.13mph (371.4kph) on his way to winning the opening round of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne. Bray's stunning performance was the second time he had regained the record from different challengers since June that year.

On the first occasion it was fellow Australian Peter Gratz who had upped the mark with a 229.24mph at the Konica Winternationals before Bray reclaimed the mantle with a speed of 229.94 mph just four weeks later.

American nitro sedan racer Randy Merrick then moved the record across the Pacific with a 230.7 mph speed. However, just one week later, Victor managed to reclaim the record and take it back to Australia. "It's fantastic to get the record back again," said Bray at the time. "We're even happier about how the Castrol GP50 Chevy did it. Championship points are the most important thing so we were actually being conservative off the start line to avoid overpowering the track. We still ran 229 in qualifying, 232 in round one, 229 in the semi-final and a 6.25 at 230 in the final."

The face of Top Doorslammer changed rapidly over the next few years with many other teams turning professional. The championship has since been swapped around from team to team with many close finishes also seeing spectacular increases in performances. Through all the financial difficulty the world has seen over the past few years the growth of motorsport in Australia has slowed but the level of competition in Top Doorslammer has gone from strength to strength.

In 2011, with many competitors wanting to race more events and the need for the sport to become more regional than it had been in the past, Victor and several other Doorslammer drivers got together and started the Australian 1/8 mile championship. Run under a series of events called 'SLAMFEST", it allowed the Doorslammers to perform in front of a whole new group of fans in their own region on tracks that have only been built to cater for 1/8th mile racing through 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Series was discontinued in 2014 as the national series again started to grow its calendar.

In 2011, a major change for Team Bray and beyond was the departure of long-time major sponsor Castrol when their marketing focus changed. Despite the change in direction for the company, Castrol continued to sponsor Team Bray as a supporting partner until 2016, making it the longest running motorsport sponsorship in Australian history.

While it was a big shift, SIDCRHOME – the manufacturer of Australia's favourite mechanics tools – soon became the major sponsor of Team Bray after having already sponsored the team for more than 10 years by supplying their great products to the team. 2012 hosted a number of special wins for Victor – including a breakthrough win over reigning champion John Zappia at the Perth Motorplex’s Goldenstates followed two weeks later by a victory from an all-Bray final at Adelaide International Raceway’s anniversary invitational. That win was made even more special by the fact that Victor took along a special guest in the Sidchrome Team Bray Racing 1957 Chevy, with a photo and the ashes of late long-time drag racing and Victor fan Tristan along for the ride.

2013 hosted more racing and a number of strong performances for Victor, before in 2014 the world of the Brays was brought to a halt temporarily when Ben was involved in a large accident at the Winternationals in June. With a long recovery ahead, it would be 12 months before the team (and Ben) would return to a semi-regular racing program, before late 2016 signalled the start of a new era.

It was at this time that an exciting new partnership was announced with leading lubricants company Gulf Western Oil had thrown its support behind Team Bray Racing, signing on as a full naming rights sponsor of a five-car campaign for the next three years.

Gulf Western Oil is the largest Australian-owned manufacturer of lubricants in Australia with OEM approved formulations and is ISO 9001 quality endorsed. It has a comprehensive distributor network throughout Australia, India, Vietnam, China, PNG, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Kiribati and Samoa, offering an extensive range of products including diesel engine oils, petrol engine oils, hydraulic oils, gear lubricants, transmission fluids, grease, aerosols, coolants and cleaners.

With the sponsorship covering not only Victor Bray’s Doorslammer, but also that of his son Ben Bray, two burnout cars, and Ben’s new Sport Compact Toyota Solara, while plans are also in the works for a new Murray Anderson-built car for Victor.

With this major arrangement signalling a new era in the history of Team Bray, the fire in Victor’s belly is burning brighter than perhaps it ever has before. With the current 1/4 mile Doorslammer record being set at 5.693s and 250+mph and the current 1/8th mile record at 3.85s @ 205mph there seems to be a big future for Doorslammers here in OZ and Victor is well and truly driven to again be number 1

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