Sunset Orange Metallic is one of the most rare colors ever available for LS1 F-bodies, so why would someone trade one in for a common Bright Red Camaro? Justin Bruso can think of about 427 reasons all stamped with MTI's seal of approval. The 18-year-old college student from Southbridge, Massachusetts, made the trade this past February and hasn't looked back. If he did, he might notice over 70 racers standing behind him in points this season in his local racing club.
A Speed Inc Stage III 4L60E tranny, with a Yank 2400-stall nitrous converter, has enabled incredibly consistent times with Justin's skillful manipulation. His methodical routine of heating up Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 drag radials in the burnout box then calling into action the Moser 12-bolt with 3.73 gear, 33-spline axles, and an Eaton posi seems to work quite effectively to say the least. A BMR K-member, A-arms and a removed front sway bar help hang a front tire or two in the air during launch. Of course, Justin's 2002 35th Anniversary SS also has the benefit of QA1 shocks all around to help transfer weight in addition to BMR control arms and a Miller Race Cars torque arm. A BMR double adjustable Panhard bar and Miller Race Cars rear sway bar keep the Camaro straight as an arrow as it darts down the track.
While most people think a mucho expensivo resleeved block (or the even more pricey C5R) are the only way to get big cubes out of an LS1, another more economical alternative entails utilizing a 6.0L iron block-the modus operandi for Justin's motor. With a .060 over bore and a 4.125-inch stroke Lunati forged crank, MTI was able to still achieve 427 ci of displacement. The savings accrued in the use of this block were put toward Lunati Pro Mod billet rods, Wiseco forged pistons, and Stage 3 LS6 heads. An MTI S1 cam was inserted into the block to actuate the Ferrea stainless 2.08 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves with .612/.612-inch lift and 244/244 duration.
High-flowing heads, a big cam, and big cubes need a high-flowing intake, so the LS1's lungs are opened up with a FAST LSX intake and a TPIS 90mm throttle body. An MTI airlid and K&N air filter provide the initial uptake, which is metered by the stock MAF before being computed with the factory hardware. Speed Inc tickled a few keys to provide the current tune barking orders at the stock coil-on-plug ignition, Ford Motorsport 30 lbs/hr injectors, and Walbro 255-lph in-tank fuel pump. The tune is also made to accommodate a 100-shot of nitrous from a TNT Power Ring. The use of nitrous is a rarity, though, and over the winter Justin plans to tighten things up for running naturally aspirated. Thankfully, a set of Kooks 1 7/8-inch stainless steel long-tube headers and a true dual exhaust setup with MagnaFlow mufflers help provide all the torque necessary for a 10.76 at 126 mph run on motor.
Mid 10-second passes necessitated a Wolfe six-point chrome moly rollcage and an RJS five-point harness, which at the current moment are the only modifications to the interior besides a nitrous switch panel mounted under the HVAC controls. Justin says, however, that some lightweight racing seats and a rear seat delete may soon find their way into his SS as it tips the scales at 3,750 lbs with all the seats in it. He does on occasion lighten things up by about 100 lbs by taking out the passenger seat and rear seat, but most often he runs at full weight-which hasn't seemed to hurt his short times much. Even with drag radials, he still cuts a 1.47, and the fact that he consistently beats 2,000-3,000-lb race cars with his near 3,800-lb street car is a source of pride and a legitimate bragging right.
After making a few nitrous passes this fall, Justin's future plans for the car also include loosening up the converter and preparing for another successful race season. Though he has accumulated quite a bit of skill in his past year or two of racing, a great deal of his points can be accredited to having such a great setup. As attractive as an SOM F-body may be, it's nowhere near as attractive as the winner's circle.
Data File Car: 2002 Camaro SS
|Block:||LQ9, 427 ci|
|Heads:||LS6, ported and polished by MTI, 2.08 intake, 1.60 exhaust valves|
|Cam:||244/244 duration at .050, .612/.612-inch lift, 112 LSA|
|Pushrods:||COMP Cams hardened|
|Rocker arms:||Stock 1.7 ratio|
|Rods:||Lunati Pro Mod billet|
|Throttle body:||TPIS 90mm|
|Fuel injectors:||Ford 30 lbs/hr|
|Fuel pump:||Walbro 255lph|
|Engine management:||Stock computer, tuned by Speed Inc|
|Power adder:||TNT wet nitrous kit, 100hp|
|Exhaust system:||Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers, 2.5-inch mid-pipes, MagnaFlow mufflers|
|Transmission:||4L60E built by Speed Inc|
|Torque converter:||Yank 2400-stall|
|Front suspension:||BMR tubular K-member and A-arms, QA1 coilovers, removed sway bar|
|Rear suspension:||BMR lower control arms, Panhard bar, Miller Race Cars torque arm, sway bar, QA1|
|shocks, stock springs|
|Rear end:||Moser 12-bolt, 3.73 gear, 33-spline axles, Eaton posi|
|Wheels:||Weld Draglite 15x3.5 front, 15x8 rear|
|Rear tires:||MT ET Drag Radials 275/60/15|
|Race weight:||3,650 lbs|
|Best ET/mph:||10.76 at 126|
|Best 60-ft. time:||1.47|