I hadn't known Travis Wester for longer than 20 minutes and he was already attempting to herd goats. Literally, Travis had jumped over a fence and was herding a group of goats towards his GTO, all so I could take a picture. To some people, Travis may seem insane, but here at GMHTP, we would call him dedicated, passionate, and a little bit crazy, which is why Travis is the perfect feature car owner. Of course, the fact that Travis owns and operates the first and only 8-second IRS GTO in the country doesn't hurt his case, but mainly he gets our vote for being so cool.
In his role as an actual goat herder, Travis wasn't very good (sorry Travis), but when it comes to the real car, Travis is the man. As a major force behind the IRS revolution and one of the fastest and most important faces in the GTO game, we're talking about someone who really cares about this hobby and its racers, a guy who almost singlehandedly puts on the East Coast Shootout every year and acts as a major contributor to the late-model GTO community. But, funny enough, the GTO was actually supposed to be a Monte Carlo.
"My first car was an '87 Monte Carlo. When the new model Monte Carlo SS came out in 2005, I wanted one." After doing some quick research, Travis stopped by his local dealer to check out a new Monte, only to be crushed when he found out it was front-wheel drive. "I didn't want a front-wheel-drive car, so the dealer asked me to test drive a GTO. Little did I know what I was in for." Within a month, Travis was already looking at little mods like cold air intakes and exhausts. "From there, it was downhill." Eventually, Travis would end up with a ProCharger P-1SC and fate would align him with Thomas Hendrix, Nick Williams, and Bob Wilkinson-the crew that would eventually put Travis' GTO in the history books.
"I took the car to Pinks All Out in Bristol, Tennessee, in 2007. I missed the field by .1 seconds, running 10.8s and Rich picking a 10.7-second class. My wife's mother said 'You need to go that fast!' That was all I needed and, coming from my mother-in-law, my wife was obligated to go along with it." Valid point, right? For Travis, however, that tenth of a second step became something much more. "Anyone that knows me well knows that I don't do things a little at a time." For those of you who are just getting on board, here is what that meant.
First, Travis decided to ditch his stock LS2 and ProCharger P-1SC for a new LS7 block and F-1C supercharger, a move that would end up costing him quite a bit of time and money, as the built LS7 lived for exactly one race before melting a piston. "When the piston broke, it scarred up the cylinder walls and I didn't want to make them any thinner than they already were." Wondering what has more potential than the LS7 and still comfortable at 427 ci? For Travis, the answer was a new World Products Warhawk block, which he stuffed with only the best parts from Lunati and CP Pistons. With the new bottom end, Travis also tweaked the top, adding a set of ETP LS7 cylinder heads, Jesel rockers, and a new Flowtech Inductions camshaft before stuffing the heart back into his beloved GTO.