Anyone familiar with the Ohio Boys knew it was only a matter of time until they had one of the fastest LS1 F-bodies in the country. Mike Brown and his partner in crime, Steve Turley, have put together several 8-second turbo cars in the past few years, including Turley's '96 Formula, which met its demise in March 2006. At the time, Brown had just purchased a '98 Camaro (rolling chassis) in Florida that he had planned to stuff an engine and trans into and make a few quick dollars. Given Turley's recent trackside wreck with the Formula, it was decided that the Camaro would be the perfect home to whatever parts could be salvaged off the Formula.
The fresh chassis gave the Ohio Boys the chance to upgrade from a mild steel 10-point rollcage to a full 25.5 chassis, which was soon to be necessary given their intentions. Wheel to Wheel Powertrain was all too happy to take in the Camaro, stripped of its interior, and weld up a custom cage over the course of two months. The finished chassis was a late Christmas present for the pair, who picked up the Camaro in late December 2006. For the next four months Brown and Turley thrashed to get the Camaro built in time for the next race season-they made it to the first race on April 13th at Milan Dragway. Unfortunately, the bugs had not been worked out and Steve bowed out in the first round, but he did pilot the Camaro to three wins and two second place finishes for the 2007 overall championship in the heads-up drag radial class.
Turley's success is partly owed to Billy Briggs (at Wheel to Wheel), who put together an extremely durable motor combination using ERL's Superdeck aluminum LS2 block. Using a series of 6061 T6 trusses TIG-welded in between thick Darton ductile iron sleeves to give added rigidity, ERL manages to greatly reduce cylinder-bore distortion from the motor torquing on its motor mounts. This gives the block the strength it needs in a high-boost application, without the added weight of an iron block. For next season, ERL plans to outfit the Ohio Boys' Z with a six-bolt version of the same block, as they've found that even 1/2-inch head studs can't compete with the added bolts for clamping capacity. ERL's efforts, combined with Briggs's assembly of the 402-cid motor, has enabled 130 to 140 passes without it ever having to come out of the car, according to Steve. As you'd expect from a highly boosted engine, the heads are O-ringed and regularly use copper head gaskets from SCE and Flatout. Though the motor has never blown a gasket, changing them is considered regular maintenance every 25 to 30 runs, which also provides a chance to inspect the pistons, valves, and other internals for potential problems.