To maximize ground clearance,...
To maximize ground clearance, the exhaust system was moved inside the frame. It transitions from round to oval tubing at the end of the downpipes, and back to round tubing at the over-axle pipe.
To build a bottom end capable of enduring nearly 1,200 hp, the duo spec'd out a 385ci small-block equipped with a Dart block, Arias 8.5:1 pistons, and a Lunati forged crank and billet rods. Up top is a set of ported RHS 220cc heads matched with a World Products Motown single-plane intake manifold. A COMP 262/272-at-0.050 solid roller cam actuates the valves, and while Ernie concedes that it's a tad on the large side, he says that it's still plenty driveable. With the motor complete and mocked into position, Lang got to work on the custom turbo setup. The twin Turbonetics 76mm huffers hang off a set of custom headers and direct compressed air into a pair of air-to-air intercoolers mounted behind the front bumper area. From there, the discharge from each intercooler merges into a single Y-pipe that feeds a carb hat bolted to a C&S-tuned Holley 800cfm carb.
The end result is 1,174 hp on 91 octane that squashes the original goal of 1,000 hp on race gas. The capacity of the intercoolers is maxed out in the current configuration, but Lang estimates that 1,600 hp is entirely feasible with more efficient cores and race gas. As for the method of fuel delivery, he reports that the carb is surprisingly easy to tune. "A fuel injection system might make a little more power, but the blow-through arrangement works very well," Lang explains. "The jets now function as the midrange circuit instead of the WOT circuit, and the power valve is now used as the WOT circuit. The tricky part is getting the turbos to spool up at the track, because if the tune is off, the motor will backfire, pop, and won't generate any boost. Since we're running a Turbo 400, unlike a stick car, we add lots of timing off idle-up to 40 degrees-to get the exhaust really hot. That helps spool up the turbos, and then we progressively remove timing as the car progresses down the track."
To get that much power to hook, you'd expect a fancy suspension setup, but that isn't the case. Planting the power to the pavement is a rudimentary leaf-spring arrangement out back, enhanced with Calvert Racing traction bars. Up front are TR2 control arms and CPP drop spindles, and QA1 shocks dampen each corner. The humongous 315/60R15 Mickey Thompson drag radials add tremendously to the grip factor, and the Camaro's 1.43-second 60-foot times are impressive. "This car is unbelievably predictable and boring to drive down the track. All we did was corner weight the car, preload the trac bars, and put an initial setting on the shocks," Lang explains. "The car shakes the tires about a second into a pass, which means it could definitely handle more power coming out of the hole. Another 400 hp should fix that problem right up."
Ernie competes in the Pacific Street Car Association's Xtreme Drag Radial class, where the Camaro has run a best of 9.40 at 150 mph. Ernie thinks the car will run 9.10s in better air, and 8.90s once the car is completely dialed in. Moreover, with larger intercoolers and race gas in the tank, Ernie hopes to run 7.90s. "There's always going to be someone who builds a car that's better and faster, but my goal is to have the fastest leaf-spring car that runs on drag radials. We have a ways to go, but we're going to get there," Ernie says. "First and foremost, however, the Camaro will remain a street car. It might sound like a stretch, but I love when people say that something can't be done, and then going out and proving them wrong." Considering this Camaro was transformed from a bone-stock original to its current beastly form in just six short months, don't be surprised if Ernie and Lang stick it to the cynics once again.
The Siamesed design of the...
The Siamesed design of the small-block Chevy's heads means that the two center exhaust ports get extremely hot in a turbo application. To combat this, Lang runs an external coolant line directly to them (seen under the headers).