WORDS Mike Ryan
PHOTOS Savy Motorsport
Savy Motorsport has been part of Group N and the Historic Touring Car community for two decades, but the main man behind the business, Dick Savy, has been involved with motorsport even longer: “When I was a young fella in Bendigo, the Thunderdome started at Calder Park and I got involved there with some friends - that was the bug that bit me!”
Dick soon had his own business building race engines and prepping competition cars, mainly for the Historic Touring community. A move from Victoria to WA in the mid-’90s continued that trend, but even bigger things were to come.
A Modern Approach to Classic Motorsport
Back in Perth for a second time in 2000, Dick started up ‘Savy Motorsport Engineering’ and, soon after, worked with a business called By Design Group (BDG), who were one of the first Aussie companies to embrace CAD software and CNC machining. Their focus at the time was on the aeronautical industry, but when BDG wanted to expand into motorsport, they called on Dick’s expertise – and he recommended applying BDG’s skillset to the design and manufacture of dry sump oil pumps.
With better oil flow control, reduced oil starvation, improved weight distribution and more horsepower, the merits of a dry sump are particularly appreciated by the motorsport community.
“There had been a couple of people here attempt to do dry sump pumps, and they’d been OK, but not at that ‘American’ level,” Dick explained.
So, Dick’s knowledge of what the motorsport industry needed, along with BDG’s engineering and manufacturing resources resulted in their first dry sump pumps reaching the local market in 2003.
TCM and Heading Home
Dick had remained closely connected to WA’s motorsport community throughout this time, so when a client of Savy Motorsport Engineering wanted to move into Touring Car Masters for its inaugural season in 2007, Dick built him a car to race. He then helped run John Bowe’s ’69 Camaro for his 2009 TCM campaign and re-engineered Bowe’s ‘Mustang Sally’ 1969 Mustang that followed.
By late-2009, the desire to be closer to family saw Dick move back to Victoria, rebranding Savy Motorsport Engineering as Savy Motorsport at new premises in Campbellfield. Dick’s reputation preceded him, so much so that clients were lining up to have race cars built, updated and modified, even before he’d officially opened the doors!
TCM kept Savy Motorsport busy in the six years that followed Dick’s return to Victoria, but back in WA, the dry sump pumps had been neglected in his absence, so when the opportunity came to purchase that business from BDG, Dick grabbed it.
A Good Pump Made Better
“The pump’s base design was pretty good, but it needed a tidy up,” Dick recalled. “I took that on in early 2016 and started redefining what that oil pump should be.”
Redefining started with improvements to the segment internals, the gears and the seals, as well as overall fit and appearance, as evidenced by the anodized black and silver finish that’s on every Savy Motorsport dry sump pump.
“We test every single pump on an oil pump test bench we’ve built,” Dick explained. “We’ve run multiple brands of pump on our test bench and can measure their efficiencies. The internal design in our segments means smoother oil delivery and less aeration of the oil.”
Savy Motorsport’s commitment to a quality product has paid off: “BDG might have sold one pump a fortnight, maybe. We currently sell three or four a week.”
The Savy Motorsport dry sump pump range covers single- to six-stage belt-drive units (three- to six-stage in cam-drive) to suit different applications. Every unit is made from 6061-T6 aluminium, with high-strength steel shafts, reversible and adjustable pressure relief valves, full internal manifolding (on multi-stage units) and pre-drilled and tapped rear housings.
Pricing starts at $985 incl. GST for a single-stage pump, up to $2,150 incl. GST for a five-stage pump, which is competitive against US-made pumps.
The pricing and quality of Savy Motorsport dry sump pumps has seen everyone from circuit racers to speedway competitors, off-road racers, burnout guys and even boat racers choose them.
. . . . and More Comprehensive
As well as making a better pump, Savy Motorsport has also developed packages, adding mounting brackets, pulleys, mandrels and sump pans to these pumps, selling them as complete kits. With all components designed, engineered and manufactured in Melbourne, quality control is ensured from start to finish across the whole kit.
Packages for the Chev LS V8, Windsor and Cleveland motors have been big sellers, but Savy Motorsport’s kits for Holden 253/308 V8s have proven particularly popular, as they’re far superior to the factory GM-H oil pump.
“It’s not just V8 stuff,” Dick added. “We make packages to suit six-cylinder Hemi, Nissan RB and Ford Barra engines, as well as SR20 and FJ20 four-cylinders – we’re growing the range constantly.”
The only Australian manufacturer producing dry sump pumps in volume, Savy Motorsport back their products up with excellent after-sales support and servicing, too.
“I recently had a fella send me a pump that he bought two years ago. I put it on the rig and found an issue with the relief valves, so we fixed that for him – no charge.”
While Savy Motorsport has been around Historic Touring Cars for a long time, their association with the HTCAV as a Gold Sponsor is more recent.
“I developed a number of suspension and brake products for these guys’ cars - it led me into becoming more involved with them,” Dick explained of an association that’s been mutually beneficial.
“The fact we’ve tipped in to the Historic Touring Club, people are quite happy to come and spend money with us. So it works both ways, which is great.”