Banks Sidewinder Dragster Gets More Power

February 13th, 2012

Text By Bob Ryder

Photography: Bob Ryder and John Espino

GM DuraMax 6.6L LML Supercharged

Gale Banks has always been known as a hot rodder, drag racer and automotive engineer. Over the past 45 years, he has created some unique and fast cars, trucks and dragsters that have set numerous drag racing and land speed records.

Gale was an early diesel performance pioneer, calling the diesel engine a “clean-burning way to develop high performance while creating better mileage than the conventional gasoline-powered engines.”

Banks Power, in Azusa, California, developed a GM 6.6L LMM DuraMax diesel engine featuring twin turbos that produced 1,250 hp and 1,300 lb/ft of torque. The foundation of the second-generation Top Diesel engine is a GM 6.6L LML DuraMax diesel.

The Bennette Racing billet crankshaft was given more mass material to the crankshaft counterweights. These were then balanced to eliminate rotating mass harmonics due to increased load—created by the increased weight of the twin Fluidamper 8-inch harmonic balancers and pulley assembly on the crankshaft.

A set of Carrillo connecting rods links the Banks-designed, Mahle-manufactured 16.5-to-1 forged aluminum pistons. The engineers at Banks designed and machined a custom aluminum intake plenum and runners for optimum airflow. A pair of Banks-developed, CNC-ported, aluminum, four-valve cylinder heads delivers the precise air and fuel mixture to guarantee maximum horsepower.

The mighty DuraMax gains enhanced power for a Whipple 4L screw-type supercharger. Mike Spitzer, from Greenfield, Indiana, designed and built the Sidewinder Top Diesel Dragster. The chassis was made from 4130 chrome-moly round tubing, and the chassis was covered with a carbon-fiber body and wings.

I had the opportunity to follow along as Banks Engineer Technician Mike Keegan assembled the Banks generation-two GM 6.6L RPO LML DuraMax Top Diesel Engine.

Banks Sidewinder Top Diesel Dragster

Spitzer Top Diesel Dragster 276-inch wheel base, chrome-moly chassis

Spitzer carbon-fiber body panels and wings

Banks GM DuraMax 6.6L LMM Whipple Super Charged diesel engine

Torque: 1,500 lb/ft @ 6,500 rpm

Horsepower: 1,500 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Liberty five-speed (sequential) air-shifter transmission

MRP clutch

Spitzer-fabricated 9.5-inch differential

Mark Williams third member with Richmond gears

Strange rifle-drilled 40-spline axles

Lamb Components four-piston caliper rear drag racing brakes

Spin Werks Racing aluminum wheels

Hoosier 22.0/2.5-17 front

Hoosier 33.5/16.0-15 rear





Banks Engineering Performance

546 South Duggan Avenue

Azusa, CA 91702-5136


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