For weeks leading up to the inaugural Camaro5 Fest, the only question we kept hearing was: "Do you think they can really pull it off?" Of course, the skepticism was warranted, could a start-up forum really pull 500-plus brand-new Camaros to the middle of Georgia and have enough manpower to control a crazy one-day event with a car show, autocross, drag race, and Quick 16 race? Would half of those Camaros actually show up? Well, if you know GMHTP, you know we had to go find out for ourselves and come hell or high water, we were going to be right in the middle of the event to bring you the best coverage possible. And after spending April 16-18 in Valdosta, Georgia, here's what we can tell you.
First of all, not only was the Camaro5 Fest a complete success, it was actually one of the best shows we have attended in years. When we arrived on Friday morning, the entire town was already swarming with Camaros, every hotel parking lot had little clusters of 2010s parked out front and almost every traffic light and gas station looked like a scene out of Transformers. So far, so good. After checking into our hotel (the fourth host hotel on the list, which was also sold out) we took a ride over to South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP) to check on our friends and vendors who were setting up for the Saturday show, and boy was it a sight to behold. The parking lot was a virtual who's who of the aftermarket, with every conceivable 2010 Camaro builder, tuner, customizer, and racer there, all with new goodies to show off. In fact, even GM was on hand, bringing a caravan of noteworthy fifth-generation Camaros all the way from Detroit for the show. Despite all these vendors and cars, we still wondered: will tomorrow be good, and do you think 500 Camaros can pile into one track and bring everything to a grinding halt? At that point, only time would tell.
As the sun set on Georgia it was time for the inaugural Camaro5.com 2010 Camaro cruise and it was certainly one of the most impressive displays of late-model GM muscle we have ever seen. During the police-escorted cruise we counted over 240-that's two hundred and forty-different Camaros roaming the streets in a lineup so impressive it literally stopped traffic and sent people running from their houses to see. For those in the crowds that had never seen a 2010 Camaro before, the look on their faces was priceless, although in all honesty, we probably looked the same! After winding through the backcountry of Valdosta, occasionally at speeds we probably shouldn't mention, the cruise ended just where it started, in the parking lot of the host hotel, where the party was just getting started. Of course, being the ace journalists that we are, we avoided all temptations to indulge in the festivities (yeah, right) and instead headed back to our hotel, getting a good night's rest before hitting the track in the morning.
At 9 o'clock (in the morning), and with the sun already high in the sky, we turned the corner into the SGMP entrance and couldn't believe our eyes. The line to get in was four wide and at least 60-70 cars deep, filled with polished and detailed Camaros. Once inside the gates, there were show cars as far as the eye could see, with Camaros of every color, model, and drivetrain combination imaginable. Everything was represented from completely stock LLTs to 1,000-plus horsepower L99s and everything in between. It didn't matter what kind of taste you had, there truly was something for everyone from stock looking sleepers to radical one-off show cars. There was even a group of Canadian Camaros on hand, who had driven all the way to Georgia just to join in the fun. After making our way through the show section, we turned our attention to the American Racing Headers-sponsored dragstrip, which, even at its busiest point, still only had 50 or 60 cars in the lanes. The SGMP staff had the track surface perfectly prepped all day and thanks to some skilled driving and a little luck, no one wrecked or had any major breakages, which kept the lanes flowing freely for most of the event. As you would expect, we saw runs from the low 15s to the bottom 10s, but most importantly everyone was having a good time and sharing tips and tricks throughout the day. Later in the day the test and tune took a break while the fastest 16 Camaros on the property (and even a Mustang) battled it out in the Quick 16. In an exciting finale, which happened to be a rematch of the GMHTP 2010 Camaro Shootout (at last year's LSX Shootout), Fastlane Inc. battled it out with Livernois Motorsports, with Fastlane taking top honors once again, claiming the trophy as the fastest Camaro in attendance.
And while the straight-line racers were having their fun, the other end of the SGMP facility was set up for the corner carvers, with MTI Racing stepping up to sponsor a Camaro5 Fest autocross, allowing people to test the limits of their 2010 in a controlled, safe, and incredibly fun environment. There were certainly some screamers on the autocross course, most notably a car built by Cincy Speed using Pfadt suspension goodies, a silver Camaro that absolutely tore up the course with a mix of incredible driving, solid handling, and some impressive power slides. Several street tire Camaros also set some impressive times, credit to GM for building such a capable chassis and many quality suspension companies for building some great parts.
Not into racing your Camaro or showing it? No worries, the vendor/sponsor area was packed all day with cool parts. Several shops had set up areas to modify cars on the spot. We saw a stock 2010 transform before our eyes with new fenders, wheels, lights, a new hood, you name it. East Coast Supercharging was also on hand offering free dyno runs to anyone who wanted them, using their mobile DynaPack dyno to verify horsepower and torque throughout the day. The vendor area was also a great spot for people to talk to various manufacturers, shops, and installers, getting to know them face-to-face and really being able to spend quality time formulating a solid plan for future modifications and builds. Of course, there was so much more to see that we can't possibly explain it all here, so make sure you check out the rest of the photographs and captions on the following pages! If nothing else, know this, the Camaro5 Fest was an excellent event and we can't wait to see what next year brings!