1994 CAMARO

 

The Roval at Texas Motor Speedway.

Play it in a smaller size if you don't have the bandwidth.  Click here for my full track day report.

Eagle's Canyon Raceway on April 10.


 

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be driving a Camaro, I would have laughed at you.  I turned my back on American products 5 years ago, but it was for quality reasons and principles.  So why am I driving a Camaro race car?  Well, no matter what I believe about what I feel the automakers should be putting out on the street, everything changes when it comes to power to weight ratio.  I believe that any automaker still using a pushrod engine is not prepared for the future of advanced engine controls including variable valve timing.  However, when it comes to my wallet, would I rather be racing an exotic V-12 engine with DOHC, or the most abundant engine on the planet?  Easy, which one can I afford to fix if and when it breaks on me on the race track?  Certainly not the exotic.  Racing is about the most abuse you possibly subject a vehicle to.  Breaking is inevitable.  The Camaro is a solid car with ample aftermarket support.  As much as I think that GM doesnít know what they are doing, which is evident by the death of the 4th gen Camaro and their new last place entry into the retro muscle car frenzy, there may be no value better than a 300+ hp used Camaro.  Then add to that one that someone dropped 10s of thousands of dollars into and did not finish, this deal was too good to pass up.  This car could be anything at all, and could be as hideous as a Ford Granada, as long as it had all the racing goodies this car had and the performance to back it up.  I have taken a hard line in the past against solid rear axles on modern performance cars, but when left with no choice, it's easy to forget that you don't have the extra 2 degrees of camber that the guy you just passed has!  I am learning that you have to exploit a carís potential, and tolerate itís weaknesses, and let the track times speak for themselves.  And with this car they do.

Prior to driving the Camaro on the track, I had been driving the Miata.  You can hardly find a better car to sling around a track for the money.  With sticky Toyo RA-1 tires, this car provided a lot of entertainment.  Speeding up to bigger faster cars in the corners made me feel better about the way they tromped all over me on the straights.  By feel alone, I just knew that this car could outcorner the Camaro.  Then I added facts to the equation.  GPS data acquisition run on both cars on the same track showed me something mind boggling, the Camaro was as fast as the Miata even in the tightest corners on the track.  The combination of this, and the purchase of a pick-up to replace the Miata as a daily driver made the Miata not very necessary, so I sold it.  I am now focusing on the Camaro, developing it into a much faster and more reliable race car all the time.  As much as I mock the thing, it can pick on some pretty expensive machinery at the track, and the knowledge of what I have invested in it makes that very satisfying.

 This translates to about 430-450 hp at the flywheel, depending on the drivetrain efficiency you choose.

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