Nearly a year ago we almost lost one of the most iconic, and arguably, most famous Camaros on the planet; Big Red. In 2016 the red 1969 f-body had just undergone an extensive rebuild and was doing some shakedown laps at Buttonwillow Raceway in preparation for tackling Pikes Peak. Well, a fuel system fitting loosened up and the resulting fire quickly consumed the car, giving the driver just enough time to bail out. When we first saw the post-fire pictures we weren’t sure it could be saved, but we’re happy to report that we were wrong to doubt the Big Red team.
Big Red is back and more stunning, and capable, than ever. The team manager, Dave Ward, did an amazing job in such a short timeframe. In terms of performance and safety the Camaro is better than ever. The fire system, before a manually activated system, is now state-of-the-art with automatic fire-sensing triggers. Every aspect of the Camaro was gone over and improved where possible.
In terms of looks Big Red could hang at any car show. The paint is stunning, and the amount of engineering is impressive. When the car was unveiled (look for the Facebook-Live video on our FB Super Chevy Magazine page) it was in its trim for top speed work. The plan is to get the Camaro out to Mojave for a 1.5 mile blast in hopes of breaking their old record of 251 mph. To this end the Camaro is currently fielding a 598-inch high-compression big-block with a ProCharger F3 blower. The mill runs on Methanol and has a water injection system (which we mistook for a Peterson dry-sump oil tank) to keep the boost happy. Depending on how much boost they dial in the engine is capable of churning out anywhere from 1,600 to over 2,000 hp and a tire melting amount of torque. The big-block is also a dry-sump system with the oil tank mounted in the trunk for better weight distribution. The fuel cell for the Methanol is mounted in the engine bay since only a few gallons are needed for the top-speed runs. The tank in the trunk is for when the Camaro is reconfigured for other forms of racing, such as open road events such as the Silverstate Classic in Nevada.
Once Big Red tackles Mojave the team will pull the ProCharged big-block and swap in the slightly smaller big-block as they convert the Camaro over to road race trim. Then it’s off to Pikes Peak to tackle the race they missed last year due to the fire.
At the Westech Performance unveiling they did strap the Chevy to the dyno, but given the power levels they were only able to do a little tuning and get up to half throttle before the tires would start to spin on the rollers! We image that dyno-roller burnouts are a good sign that you might be making a healthy amount of power.
We’ll report back after Big Red tackles its record at Mohave, but for now here are some shots from the unveiling of the most famous Camaro on planet Earth! Also, to learn more about the history of Big Red check out www.bigredcamaro.com.