Peter Lantz Racing fired a shot heard around Europe on 16th August 1997 when Kent Persson drove the PLR Top Fuel Dragster to Europe’s first-ever four-second pass, a 4.987/472.87 kmh (293.83 mph) at the NitrOlympX at Hockenheim. Although rightly remembered as a crowning moment, it was one of many achievements in Peter’s career.
Peter Lantz’s first race car was a Volvo-powered Competition Eliminator dragster built with two friends in 1979. The rail gave way to a Keith Black-powered dragster which was campaigned for two years before Peter ordered a Pro Comp dragster from the Kjellin brothers. Whilst that car was being built some of Peter’s running gear was placed in Jonny Nilsson’s Pro Comp Funny Car, which was driven by Kent Persson and which came out on top of a sixteen-car combined Pro Fuel and Pro Comp eliminator at Pite Dragway. The car won the Swedish Championship and set a European record before being campaigned in the USA. During this time Peter also crewed with Bjorn Ardin and Torsten Dahl to learn about alcohol tuning.
Peter drove the Pro Comp dragster from 1986 until 1989 and then built his own dragster which he campaigned until 1991, when he also took the seat of the ABC Top Fuel Dragster and started to work with tuner Morgan Svensson who became a firm friend and with whom Peter credits all of his subsequent performances and successes. Peter took over the ABC Top Fuel Dragster in 1992 and then built his own Top Fueller in 1994. With backing from Optima Batteries Peter won the ETFA Championship in 1994, running Europe’s quickest ET of 5.11 seconds. After a successful weekend at Mantorp Park in July 1997 Peter was invited by promoter Rico Anthes to the NitrOlympX where history was made.
The PLR dragster was equipped with a revolutionary injector hat known as the Sharkfin, which was designed by Morgan. The injector sat in clean air high above the roll cage and blower pulley. The blower design was also changed to front-load the air pressure since at that time 90% of the air went towards the back of the blower. Now standard practice worldwide, the idea was way ahead of its time in the 1990s.
Anita Mäkelä drove the PLR Top Fuel Dragster in 1998, finishing third in the FIA European Championships, then Peter climbed back into the car and won the first two Swedish Top Fuel Tour Championships in 1999 and 2000 before selling the dragster.
Although nominally retired Peter was asked to drive Pelle Lindelöw’s Top Fuel Dragster in 2002 to sort out problems with the car. Peter hung up his firesuit for good after the 2002 FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway.
After Peter retired from driving he and Morgan supported and consulted for other racers including Jens Nybo, Tommy Möller, Jöran Persåker, Jonny Lagg and Björn Mårtensson. Most recently Peter has been working with Top Fuel Dragster racer Stefan Gunnarsson alongside the US’s Mike Domagala, who he says has taken his knowledge into another dimension. With support from Peter and Mike, Stefan was the first Swedish racer to run a three-second 1000-foot time.
For his Championships and achievements, and for conferring success upon those racers whom he has supported, Peter Lantz is inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Profile by Andy ‘Tog’ Rogers