Camaro Summertime Update: Part 1

17136718738_d64eee39d0_z.jpgWow, this summer has flown by without an update here? We’ve been buy with life, and with racing and working on the car, and there’s a lot to cover to get back up to speed. Let’s dive right in, with the first of a 2-part update that will cover –

– A plethora of SCCA and other autocross and track events
– A few setup changes, including new rear gears and axle bearings
– Our plans to get better, faster, stronger for the winter

A quick note before we get started – the Optima Ultimate Street Car shows for this season start August 28th on MAV TV! We’re counting the days, and hoping to get some TV time with the little red beastie in the Texas episode. Keep an eye out for it, and we’ll definitely post an update. Speaking of Optima..

A Bit of Optima Cleanup

Let’s start with a few more pics from the event that surfaced after the last update, both from the Speed Stop – look at that camber!



p1142508713-3.jpgIn other track-related but less Camaro-related news, we got one more trip to Texas World Speedway in the Z in April with NASA, running their HPDE (High Performance Driving Experience) program. Word was that the track would shut down to make way for a giant municipal development in June, but delays have pushed that back until at least the first of the year. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we’ll be able to get at least one more trip down there in November before the ‘dozers roll.

Onward into Summer

Other than replacing a few exhaust bolts that vibrated out Sunday of Optima, the car hadn’t been touched going into May (not even washed!). We opted to hit the Texas Region SCCA event at Texas Motor Speedway to get back in the swing of things. The event went well, aside from a rather lacking turnout in our class, CAM-T (Classic American Muscle – Traditional), leading to…

CleanSCCAlogo8-03.jpgThe Texas SCCA Pro-touring Challenge!

We ended up taking it on the chin from the CAM-C guys during trophies for not getting more pro-touring cars out. So, we put the call out for the future SCCA events, and it still stands – come out and have some fun with the largest autocross series in the area!

(If you stick around for trophies, they even have free beer – who can turn that down?!)

Texas SCCA info:

SCCA Event 2 Recap

Only managed to get one pic and one video during the day, and of course the video was the run after the quickest one. It was the one with the hellacious spin at least:


The car did well, I got hung out a few times looking for more time than I should have been in certain spots, as evidenced above. At the end of the day, we took 1st (and last!) in CAM-T, and finished with the quickest ‘American Muscle’ time of the day. Appearing in that box at the bottom of the results sheet was a first, and pretty satisfying after a close battle with Jon Beatty in his Mustang during the day.

Texas SCCA Event #2 Results

Bring the NOISE

A final amusing note, this was the first SCCA event we’ve run with the car, and they measure sound levels even when there is no limit at the site. To fulfill my bucket list dream of running at Laguna Seca someday (typically 80-90 dB limit), we’ve, um, got some work to do?

Luckily, none of the sites we run at regularly are sound restricted. Either way, it’s probably a good thing we ditched the side dumped 3″ SpinTechs in favor of Magnaflows that dump under the car.

Wilwood-Logo.jpgBrake changes

Around this time we spoke again with Mike from Wilwood about our setup. His recommendation was to step down the size of the master cylinder for the fronts in search of a bit more pedal travel and easier modulation. Right now the fronts are kind of an on/off switch, with a very, very fine line between too little and nasty lockup. The new pieces came in a while ago, but we haven’t slowed down long enough to get them swapped out. Big thanks again to Mike from Wilwood for his help and knowledge both during and since the Optima event!

Mid-Summer Updates

We noticed during the street driving and road course portions of the Optima event that something was amiss in the driveline. The car is so, let’s say, lively(?) inside going down the road, it’s generally fairly hard to narrow down where any of the sounds are coming from. This one was loud, it was high pitched, and it sounded to both of us like it was coming from the transmission for a number of reasons.

18649821099_5cfb0a2ccd_z.jpg   18215334423_23dba53f03_z.jpg
It turned out to be the rear end (a much better alternative to the transmission). The 4.11s we had installed last are over 20 years old, and have been installed in at least 4 different rear ends. Including one other time in the car and in the shop truck, these poor things had been setup and torn down countless times.

Long story short, they were beyond their useful life, and had begun the gradual process of self-digestion. Lash had opened up substantially, and gear marking compound barely produced a pattern on either side of the tooth. The housing was also filled with glitter. Close call..

New Richmond 3.70s are in now, opening up a bit more top-end in 1st and 2nd gear (from 46 up to 51 in first, and 70 up to 78 mph in 2nd). This makes gear selections better both on tight Optima/Goodguys type courses and our usual free-flowing Texas region layouts (at Optima I rode the rev limiter at the top of 1st in multiple spots, giving up a fair amount of time).

Added bonus: you no longer need earplugs going down the road. Win-win!

While that was going on, I also addressed an unfinished item from the original thrash earlier this year – getting some paint on the non-stainless bits of the exhaust. The tips were finish welded, and VHT flat black went on all the mild steel parts. Minor issue, but one that had been bugging me nonetheless.

Love that discolored stainless..
Once everything was wrapped up there, it was time for the June SCCA Texas Region event (happy Father’s Day, dad!).

Leading up to this, running with the full-decaled racecar look had been fun, but the time had come for it to go. Can’t just throw it away, though, so we cut down some scrap splash board and made two garage art pieces.

Back rolling low-key. Well, as low-key as you can be in such a car…

After a few trips down the road to check and run in the gears, and a quick wash, it was into the trailer and ready to be thrashed again.

Would the gears work better? Would the track get washed away in the epic “Texas Flood of ’15”? These questions and more will be answered in…….part 2! Read it now >>


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