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Andy Robinson Race Cars’ Pro Mod 1969 Camaro

Rocket Science: Yes, it really is. And the more you look the deeper it gets.

Ro McGonegal Apr 2, 2018
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Andy Robinson had a yen. He’s always wanted to be the best at what he did. He wanted to win the MSA Pro Mod championship (he has since done that three times) and run the quarter-mile at more than 240 miles per hour and in less than six seconds. In that respect, the Rocket Science Camaro is the only Brit Pro Mod to eclipse the 5-second zone.

So he was experienced. His chassis building business, Andy Robinson Race Cars (ARRC) is primarily drag race oriented. Along the way he paved the path with lightweight components and combinations of composites. He was intrigued by carbon fiber. He rolled in titanium. He was well-nigh manic about nearly infinite adjustability. All of it would coalesce and become this Camaro replica. In effect, the rolling billboard simultaneously satisfies Andy’s racing predilection and becomes a worthy business write-off as well.

He built the ARRC Super Lightweight SFI 25.1F chassis with 4130 tubing. He designed the rear portion of the frame with a carbon-fiber spine system integral to the composite body shell, allowing the husk to be removed entirely for maintenance quite after the fashion of an ancient Funny Car. To this construction, ARRC used carbon wheeltubs, door X-panels, and for the section of removable flooring. The firewall he built from skinny titanium sheet. Depending on the condition of the track surface, the wild boy uses 85-inch double-adjustable wheelie bars with Wheeleze wheels or a single 95-inch wheelie bar. The four-link rear suspension has adjustable link plates.

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Andy accounts for the car’s progress (or lack of it) according to the indefatigable data logger. This system includes a UDX digital dashboard, Racepak V300SD, and a fuel flow meter. Three rpm sensors monitor engine, driveshaft, and clutch. Cylinder head temperature, throttle position, ignition timing, fuel, oil and inlet air temp, and five pressure sensors (boost, fuel pump, oil, nozzle pressure, and oil pan vacuum) are included. There is active monitoring as well: latitude and longitude g meters, shock travel sensors that account for velocity. There are also laser ride-height sensors, as well as others for wheelie bar load. Tired out, yet?

As for raw performance, the Camaro has done this so far: produce approximately 3,000 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and a built-in whoopee cushion in that maximum engine speed is all the way up there at 10,300 rpm. The 20 percent overdrive in the big Mike Janis-modified Kobelco K11 puts boost at 40 psi. Fuel consumption has been calculated at 13.5 gallons per minute at wide-open throttle. Its best quarter-mile performance is 5.91. At the time this is being written (January 2018), it is the quickest Pro Mod car in Great Britain.

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To accommodate this controlled violence, ARRC built the suspension like a bitch. Strange Engineering/Penske Ultra Struts (dual bleed, nitrogen-over-oil) work closely with spherical bearing adjustable-height top mounts, titanium tubular control arms, and a hollow 4130 antisway bar. At the back of the car, ARRC involved Penske/PRS shock absorbers that are three-way adjustable, and in the best rocket science attitude correct themselves all the way down the track. The setup includes a Strange Engineering Ultra Four-Link 9-inch axle, Mark Williams antisway bar, wishbone track locator and Aurora rod ends. Rather than pressing down on a pedal, Andy works the Strange Engineering carbon brakes with a Hoonigan stick, the hand lever most common to a drift car.

Andy wasn’t always interested in the quarter-mile. “Initially [I] got involved with drag racing as I was a marshal at circuit racing events and at one event we marshaled drag racing, and it seemed like an accessible way to get into motorsport.” When we asked about memorable experiences with the car, he said, “Good: running 5.96 in 2014, then finally getting back into the 5’s in 2017, eventually finishing up with a 5.91 at 242. Bad: putting the car into the wall in 2013; luckily the damage was minor.”

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What about his travails? What was the most challenging part of the buildup? “We pioneered the use of a carbon-fiber ‘tree’ to support the rear part of the body work and that took some time to get right. The 4130 chassis stops at the rear shocks. Behind that, everything is carbon fiber.” Then the enjoinder: What would you do if you had it to do over again? “Try to build it even lighter.” Of course, what else?

Andy sourced the carbon body from Cynergy Composites in Ontario, Canada, and in the process developed the rear wing with them. Bodytone finished off the shell, but did not prep it for paint. Paint this rocket? We don’t think so. For its appearance in the 21st century, Vivid Vinyl/Prosign wrapped the Camaro in NGK Red in deference to their sponsorship. In these photographs, the rocket at once appears sober yet otherworldly and relentless. Maybe this is what rocket science really looks like. Andy Robinson had a yen. CHP

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Tech Check
Owner: Andy Robinson Race Cars, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK
Vehicle: 1969 Camaro replica

Engine
Type: BAE billet cylinder block
Displacement: 521 ci
Compression Ratio: 11.75:1 or 12.5:1 (depending on weather)
Bore: 4.467 inches
Stroke: 4.150 inches
Cylinder Heads: Noonan Race Engineering Hemi forged billet aluminum w/ integral fuel nozzles, CNC-ported, 2.40/1.90 Victory 1 titanium valves
Rotating Assembly: Bryant billet crankshaft, MGP aluminum connecting rods, 7/16-inch fasteners, Diamond ceramic-coated pistons
Valvetrain: Manton 1.8/1.7:1 rocker arms and 9/16-inch pushrods, PAC springs, titanium retainers, Morel roller lifters from Motorsports Unlimited
Camshaft: Jan-Cen proprietary-spec roller by Bullet Cams
Induction: BAE intake manifold, Kobelco K11 14-71 supercharger modified by Mike Janis (20 percent overdrive), Acceleration Enterprises 24-nozzle fuel injection system, LBR carbon-fiber injector hat; Enderle barrel valve and Waterman fuel pump modified by AE; Electrimotion 16-channel timer and four-stage fuel management system
Ignition: MSD Pro Mag 44, MSD Power Grid ECU, NGK spark plugs
Exhaust: Andy Robinson Race Cars (ARRC) stainless steel zoomies, 2.625-inch diameter
Ancillaries: Moroso oil sump, Pflueger pump w/ single-stage scavenge, Barnes four-stage oil scavenge pump, Peterson dry-sump tank, Torco 60w mineral oil
Output: approximately 3,000 hp at 8,500 rpm on methanol
Machine Work: ARRC
Tuner: ARRC

Drivetrain
Transmission: Lenco CS1 three-speed, Trick Titanium bellhousing, AFT 11-inch twin-disc clutch assembly
Rear Axle: Strange Engineering Ultra Four-Link, Tom’s Differentials 10-inch third member, spool, 4.56:1 gears, Strange Engineering 40-spline axles, Torco 250w synthetic, Mark Williams 7075 aluminum driveshaft

Chassis
Front Suspension: ARRC adjustable height spherical bearing top mounts, ARRC titanium tubular control arms and hollow 1.125-inch 4130 antisway bar
Rear Suspension: ARRC four-link, ARRC adjustable four-link plates, Penske/Precision Racing Suspension 8760 shocks, Mark Williams antisway bar, ARRC 1.375/1.20-inch four-link system and wishbone track locator
Brakes: Strange Engineering 11-inch carbon-fiber rotors, single-piston calipers, front; four-piston calipers, rear, abetted by dual drag chutes

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Weld V-series 15x3.5 front; Alumastar double-beadlock 16x16 rear
Tires: Hoosier 24x4.5 front, 34.5x17 rear

Interior
Upholstery: ARRC
Material: Cloth
Seat: ARRC carbon fiber, ARRC/BSCI SFI-spec head padding, ARRC/TRS safety harness
Steering: ARRC titanium/aluminum column, Titan rack, Momo Model 11 wheel w/ Strange Engineering quick-release
Shifter: Lenco
Instrumentation: Racepak

Exterior
Bodywork: Cynergy Composites one-piece carbon fiber, body prep by Bodytone (Wokingham, UK)
Paint By: Vivid Vinyl/Prosign
Paint: Vinyl wrap and decals

Photos by Matt Woods

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