Camaro Summertime Update: Part 2

Here we go with part 2 of our Summer 2015 update on the Camaro – check out part 1 here if you missed it.

SCCA Event #3 – Happy Father’s Day!

The first trip out with the new gears was fun, but kind of a mixed bag. We had some competition in CAM-T this time around, which was cool. The 4 car field consisted of us, a 68 Camaro prepped by Dusold Designs and packed to the gills with go-fast parts, a  Falcon, and a Model T (this class is really kind of confusing when you break it down!).

The Camaro got the luck of the draw on run groups, and getting pretty much a fully dry session between showers, while Paul’s session in the Z was wiped out by lightning and heavy rain.

We managed to get the win in CAM-T by a little over a second, and again took fastest CAM time of the day with the big caveat that the C guys got rained/lightninged out after their 1st or 2nd runs.

The downside of the day was related to the 3.70s, which along with an unhappy carburetor made for a few awkward spots speed-wise. With an overly fat combo left over from cooler weather, there were multiple spots that were too fast for 1st, but way down low out of the ‘happy 3,500+ range’ in 2nd.

At this point, the driving strategy was something of a dive bomb/stab and pray method. Since then, I’ve been working on reigning it in slightly and tightening up the lines.

On-board view:

BONUS Outside view:


Cornering sequence – click to enlarge


As an added bonus, it’s gotten a little daily driving duty lately. Nothing like wearing khakis and five points at the same time.

Driver Mod: Activate!

A year into this whole experiment, we’re at a point that the setup will pretty much stay the same until the winter. I’ve been sneaking up on finding the limits of things, trying to get on the same level it is, and trying to leave all the settings alone as much as possible. The next event on the list was, again, SCCA at TMS (stop me if you’ve heard this before).

This event was also notable because it was the first one we’ve driven the car to, which felt pretty good aside from forgetting to back the shocks down for the trip over.

Ran into Chris in his awesome Maverick on the way – I call this one “Meanwhile, in Texas”

Our resident photographer was on-site for this one, and got some great shots you can see here – thanks Jenn!

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Paul drove the Z again, which made for a good photo op while waiting for trophies

The last couple trips I wanted to focus on reigning everything in a bit. In the last videos I posted, it was a spray and pray, dive bomb everything and figure it out later approach. This time the focus was to keep speeds in check and be tighter on the cones.

Second angle of the best raw time of the day (that got coned away)

I managed to be much more controlled in most areas, and way tighter on the cones – to the point of only having one clean run out of 5 (d’oh!). This one, incidentally the first, was thankfully enough for the class win and top CAM time, but 28th overall PAX (class and PAX results). Progress, but I was still pretty frustrated with the cones.

A brief intermission..

Fast forward a bit, and to a back to back weekend between two different clubs, NTAXS and Equipe Rapide. In late July. In Texas. NTAXS runs a slightly different format, with each car taking all their runs of the session back to back. This leaves only a couple of minutes between each, which isn’t very Camaro friendly even in moderate weather. Enter the Z!

This paid off in two ways, giving me a chance to drive it in anger again for the first time in months, and to instruct Paul in back to back sessions with us co-driving. He’s coming along great over the last few events, and really having a blast. It’s been good fun watching him progress, and has helped my driving as well.

His best run:

And mine (where’s my 200 extra horsepower, 50mm more tire, and 3.5 degrees of camber up front?!)

Even on worn out tires and bone stock suspension, it’s such a fun car to throw around. We ended up the day 3rd (I coned away a time good enough for 2nd, ugh) and 11th in a pretty big class of 24.

Back to regularly scheduled programming

The next day it was back to the big lot at Lone Star Park for some wide open, gravel slinging, hill climbing fun. Already a little beat from the heat the day before, I trudged out bright and early Sunday morning (this time I remembered to back the shocks off 3 clicks all around, at least).

I was sweating before I even got to the track, and things just got hotter from there.

Falken – tires so fast you have to tape the numbers on!
The course was big, and fast, with an optional crossover that you could really fly into and out of.

The first run cost me a 6 and a CAM class magnet off the driver’s side, both of which were returned, thankfully. I brought a new run log sheet to keep track of tire and brake temps, but there just wasn’t enough time between runs to keep this up after the first since I was by myself.

What I did see was pretty promising, with only a few degrees difference from the outside to the inside of the fronts, and brake temps being pretty close front to rear as well. Not bad for a complete shot in the dark on alignment, and word of mouth from Mike at Wilwood on tire pressure settings.

With no support car, packing got a little creative. Here’s the number carriage system – worked out well
Due to some confusion during the event on classing, I ended up with the win in CAM-C, rather than CAM-T, over the now Optima-invited Aaron Sockwell in the DuSold 6G Mustang, with the only clean run I had in the morning.

While the grip isn’t great, and the gravel is wreaking total havoc on our paint, I LOVE this place. Nothing like topping the hill at nearly 70 mph then jamming the brakes into a deeply downhill off-camber turn. Not your typical autocross, for sure.

This was a fun trip, but man was I beat by the time I got home. The car did great, handling the heat like a champ (it was 114 in the driver’s seat when I climbed in to drive home).


Maintenance and other miscellany

After 2/3rds of a season, I’m extremely happy with the Falkens. We’ve run a lot, including USCA, and a decent amount of street driving, and they still look good and fat all around.

That being said, the, uh, rears are showing a bit more wear than the fronts (go figure?). Got them rotated front to rear, and did a general once-over to make sure nothing looks like it’s going to fall off. Only found one issue, which has plagued us since we started all this last year.

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Sealed axle bearings, which work great at the drag strip, are not up to the task of supporting 315s through corners. After some digging, we found that tapered roller bearings should be a simpler answer than our original plan of building a full-floater for it, and we’ll cover that in the next update.

Finally, two of our local clubs have a contingency program with Discount Tire. I got signed up last weekend, and hastily threw on the stickers before running, so they needed to be redone. Looking more racey now, but.. I like a chance at free tires, and we love Discount either way, so I’m happy to run them.

Up next

Boy, this got long again. Up next up was another trip to Lone Star Park, at an event originally billed as the North Texas Camaro Club autocross, but that became a come one, come all and have fun type deal. We’ll see how all that worked out in the next installment..part 3!


Miss part 1? Get caught up now!


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