This past winter, GM Performance Parts announced the LSX Challenge Series consisting of four events that feature five exciting classes. In other words, they challenged every LS-powered vehicle owner to bring their car or truck to one of its events in 2011 for fun, camaraderie, and cash. Camaro Performers magazine quickly jumped onboard as the 5th-Gen Camaro Challenge class sponsor. The 5th-Gen Camaro Challenge is an index-based category in which competitors select an index from a list of 12 that vary in ½-second increments from 14.00 down to 8.50. The class calls for ’10-to-present Camaros that feature an LS or LLT (V-6) engine, OEM transmission, EFI, stock appearance, and all NHRA/NMCA safety equipment for the potential track performances. Qualifying rounds are spent as practice runs so you can determine an index for Sunday’s eliminations. On Sunday, competitors are randomly paired for the first round and then put on a ladder for round two, which is based on how close they run to the index selected.
The first GMPP LSX Challenge was held in conjunction with the NMCA-Flowmaster season opener in Bradenton. The second stop on the tour, the NMCA-Flowmaster All-Star Nationals held at Atlanta Dragway (Commerce, Georgia), was a month later, and the action was hot as three days of drag racing culminated in the second straight victory for Shawn Calebrese and his ’10 Camaro SS. He once again ran the 12.00 index as he cruised to victory using driving skills and extremely consistent performances. It was quite an accomplishment considering the weather varied greatly during the Georgia race from hot and sunny during the day, to cool at night.
Calabrese and his father, Tom, turned to Livernois Motorsports as the Michigan-based speed shop worked its magic on the ’10 Camaro SS. The staff at Livernois relied its in-house products for the top-end of the engine. It added CNC-ported LS3 heads, DOD/VCT delete kit, custom Livernois camshaft, and a special valvespring set its engine shop designed for use with the camshaft. The car also benefits from Kooks long-tube headers and cross-pipe, Corsa after-cat exhaust, upgraded axles, and custom PCM tune by Livernois Motorsports. All told, it makes a robust 440 rwhp and 406 lb-ft of torque through the factory automatic transmission. The engine’s torque is multiplied by a looser torque converter from Precision Industries and a set of sticky street tires plants the car to the pavement. The best time during competition at Atlanta Dragway was an impressive 12.07 at 113 mph. Calabrese made it to the Winner’s Circle by eliminating Neil Miller with a 12.15 on a 12.00 while Miller ran 13.00 on a 12.50 index. In round two, Calabrese outran Andy Raybon of Arkansas with a 12.07 on a 12.00 while Raybon posted a 13.16 on his 13.00 index. In the finals, Calabrese used a better reaction time to beat Kelly Homm (0.320 to 0.325) as both racers ran within 0.09 of their indexes. Calabrese went 12.09 on the 12.00 while Homm ran 12.59 on a 12.50 index. Calabrese’s margin of victory was a mere 0.005 at the finish line!
The weekend also featured a packed house as the NMCA-Flowmaster series had a full line-up of racing that consisted of Pro Street cars knocking on the 5-second barrier, big-tire heavy weight muscle cars going mid-7s, wild 10.5-inch tire racing, and even drag radial racers. There are two more LSX Challenge Series events—September 9-11, 2011 during the Holley LS-Fest, and the final event is October 6-9, 2011 at the LSX Shootout, which is linked up with the NMCA-Flowmaster World Finals as a combo race.