We had our first taste of heaven in 2013 at Heaven’s Landing Airpark in Clayton, Georgia, the stage for the first WannaGOFAST half-mile event. Ear-to-ear grins were had by all as some high-powered Chevy’s stretched their legs on the airport’s runway as many never had before. The limited number of private airports with sufficient runway has left full-mile racing up to just a few locations in the entire country. However, the folks at WannaGOFAST have been cashing in by expanding their half-mile program rapidly throughout the country including Georgia, Chicago, Virginia, and Florida.
We decided to make an appearance at the Ocala event in the hopes of watching some break-neck speeds. The original plan was to bring Greg Lovell’s 2010 Camaro SS back for Round 2 with a brand-new motor, but the automotive gods were angry so we showed up with just a camera this time. Thankfully we were not disappointed.
On January 24 and 25 (2015) exotics and domestics alike took to the runway at Jumbolair Airport, most famous as the residence of John Travolta and his lavish jet. Ocala is a scenic country town, and an amazing backdrop for a relaxing weekend among fellow gearheads. We love drag racing, but the atmosphere is decidedly different at the WannaGOFAST events. It is low pressure, and you seem to be competing with only yourself and the laws of physics. Though a tree is employed at the starting line, the goal is to hit the big end with the greatest amount of speed (not cut a great light). And the surface is un-prepped, so you really have to manage your throttle input off the line (unless you are driving a Mustang or something). In fact many of the fastest cars left the line decidedly soft. If drag racing really isn’t your thing, but you love going fast—this is the event for you. It should come as no surprise that Corvettes are extremely common at this event, and we couldn’t imagine a better platform for this kind of racing. Makes you wonder how some of our favorite classics would fair…
Florida native and legendary racer Don Garlits was on hand for the event, and planned to give the crowd a great show in his record-setting supercharged Swamp Rat 1-B.
Vengeance Racing was the event sponsor, and a huge player in the late model LS scene. The Cumming, GA based shop showed up in force with 37 customer cars, mostly Vettes and CTS-Vs – many of which were extremely fast.
This beast was made for the half mile. Using a custom twin-turbo kit it makes 1,400-rwhp and typically runs just over 200mph. Traction issues limited it to just 180mph on low boost.
Taping up the front-end is an old Bonneville trick for increasing the aerodynamics. This really comes into play in the second quarter-mile when speeds exceed 140mph for an extended period.
Just like at the drag strip, doing a burnout off the starting line isn’t ideal. But at the same time, it isn’t going to hurt you nearly as badly.
This Gen II LT4 powered C4 was surprisingly quick. It had a few tricks including an LS1 coil conversion.
Mike Bramati’s 2007 Corvette, aka Sinister, is, well, sinister. Using two 79mm turbos and a solid roller 440 LSx, he set the record in GA and didn’t disappoint in FL either. Set on just 19psi, he managed 188mph to become the fastest rear-wheel drive car on the premises. Watching this thing go down the track is downright scary. In fact, he had to turn it down from the usual 27psi to keep it shiny side up.
Georgia shop LSXperts had a few very fast naturally aspirated combos including this 1969 Camaro that had a very bad incident on day one. Thankfully the driver was okay and damage was mostly to the wheel and axle.
Florida Speed & Power brought quite a few of its customer cars to the event including Josh Guiles 2006 Corvette Z06.
Josh Guiles’ Z06 was finished just in time for the event, and uses a Haltech Elite EFI system along with a ProCharger F-1X supercharger, ERL 434-cube short-block with Mast Motorsports 305cc LS7 heads, and RPM drivetrain. Though it has an untested nitrous system, so far it just relies on 32psi from the blower. Despite those specs, this thing is a total streetcar that happens to go 183mph in the half-mile (notice the green 10-rib belt not a cog drive).
Josh Guiles also brought his brand-new, bone stock 2015 Corvette Z06. His dad mostly did the driving while he concentrated on the ’06. The C7 went 149.55mph. Not a bad baseline.
Paul Hurlock is another FSP customer that went a tick faster (160mph) with bolt-ons, including pulleys, on his 2013 Camaro ZL1. This car goes 9.95 in the quarter-mile with a bone stock motor.
Eddie Blackwell likes cleaning up the naturally aspirated class apparently, as he did so once again while representing Vengeance Racing. This 2001 Corvette Z06 uses a 474-cube combo with an RHS tall-deck block and All Pro-1 heads and single plane intake to hit 174.99mph.
A twin-turbo Lamborghini had an unfortunate run-in with a small pond next to the runway. At about half-track this 200-plus mph capable monster started to get loose, went sideways, and then backwards into the grass before hitting the drink. Thankfully the driver and car were both okay.
Notice the removed rear wing? Again aerodynamics. Several cars were doing their best to gain any advantage they could.
Man, this never gets old. This C6 ZR1 hunted down this Mustang before the 100-foot mark like it was lunch.
There were a few fast Stingrays on the premises, but Ron Mowen’s modified 2015 Corvette Z06 (not pictured) appeared to be the fastest at 162.5mph. As the owner of Vengeance Racing, he was only able to get a few passes in on Saturday before attending to his customers. The Z06 sports a cold air intake, upper supercharger pulley, headers, Vengeance cam, LG Motorsports spindles, and Weld Racing 15-inch wheels.
The staging lanes were filled all day and a huge crowd was delighted with non-stop action. The crew took a 20-minute break for lunch, but aside from that and a few quickly rectified incidents it was unrelenting. The safety crew did an amazing job.
In a sea of streetcars, Don Garlits Swamp Rat was certainly noticeable from first start-up. This burnout rattled everyone’s fillings loose. It was unreal to see such a legend in action.