The cockpit is nothing short of a work of art. The headliner is black suede. Bill added Torch Red C4 Corvette seats and a super-trick custom console built by Argue and John Sanborn that employs carbon-fiber bits, as well as pieces from a late-model GTO. This put all the power window switches in one location on the console (not to mention it added a pair of cupholders). There's a booming stereo from Pioneer (Avic 7010) and JL Audio speakers, amp and subwoofer. The steering column and wheel are Flaming River parts and Auto Meter was tapped for the gauges. The only thing missing was a shoulder harness, which really detracted from our road course performance. With this much grip, it was all I could do to stay in the seat.
When someone's as generous as Bill and let's you take his one-of-a-kind toy for a flogging, you take a couple of laps go get acquainted. We knew right away we were in for a good time. The car ran perfectly, accelerated smoothly and stopped well. As noted before, the trans shifted beautifully. As the fluids came up to temp, we let the Camaro eat. The LS2 planted me hard in the seat. I shifted at 6,200 rpm into Second and Third. Everything was going well, but when it came time to slow after the longest straight, the pedal went to the floor and I overshot the corner. Fortunately, this came at a spot on the track that had plenty of paved runoff.
As I drove around, the brakes worked fine, but if I tried to use them after putting the spurs to the LS2 for a long period of time, they wouldn't respond. According to Wilwood, this could have been due to piston knockback in the calipers. My technique became simple: Drive like hell, but in the track's two longest straights, I would lift early. This gave me enough brakes to slow down and turn, but not achieve my best times.
The road course at Auto Plus Raceway is known for its unusual curves. All are off-camber, and a few are 180 degrees or more. Once we got our driving technique down with the brakes, we were really able to enjoy ourselves. The first thing we noticed was the aggressive way the car turned in. The steering was direct, responsive, and the tires just bit into the pavement. The car would go exactly where you pointed it, and the rear dutifully followed along. The entire package was remarkable neutral. Upon corner exit, you could really put the throttle down and the fat Michelins would plant themselves.
Oh, there were a couple of complaints. While we love the look of the pedals from Clayton Machine Works, heel-and-toe driving was just not possible. The brake and throttle were in different zip codes. The lack of shoulder harnesses and seat bolstering really worked against me when the car was doing its job properly. Still, the lap times were very good. We ran a best of 1.08.53, squarely in fifth-gen Camaro SS territory, and if the brakes were functioning normally, we'd have been able to knock at 2-3 seconds a lap from our times. As it was, we were losing a ton in the big straights, and more time in some of the faster corners, as we were being extra cautious, lest we mangle someone else's car. Bill reports that since our track day, he's driven Evade on the street, and the brakes are working perfectly. Go figure.
Franky, while this combination of parts was chosen in part because of what was available from the aftermarket at the time of the car's construction, it couldn't have worked much better. Everything performed in perfect harmony. We especially liked the steering, which was OE quality.
Add all this performance in a package that's walked away with some serious show awards, and you've got an amazing combination. The car debuted in Speedtech's SEMA booth in 2009 to much acclaim. In 2011, it won the ISCA award at the National Street Rod Association's Southeast Street Rod Nationals, and the Chip Foose award at the 2012 Downtown Disney Car Masters Weekend. When he's not displaying it, Bill says he "drives it like I stole it." He's put thousands of miles on the Camaro, though he's so fastidious about its maintenance that you'd never know it.