2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS LS7 - Arms Race

The Battle For Fifth-Gen Horsepower Supremacy Is Full Tilt, And This LS7-Powered Beast Wants In On The Action.

Stephen Kim Jul 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Perhaps it's just a coincidence but, as the first Camaro built during the Government Motors era, the fifth-gen has developed a voracious appetite for excess. Unlike the Fed's penchant for piling up IOUs, however, fifth-gens are racking up horsepower and knocking down performance milestones at an absurdly brisk pace. Less than six months after the '10 Camaro debuted they were already running 10s, and the 9-second barrier was shattered before the 2011 models were even on the delivery trucks. In the walk of fifth-gens, 500-plus rear-wheel horsepower street beasts are already quite common, and Mike Whitestone's LS7-powered '10 SS is one of them. Not only does its 457ci small-block belch out 700 hp, it does so with near-stock driveability while delivering 26 mpg. Now that's what you call progress. As the owner of G-Force Motorsports (www.gforce-tx.com), Mike's partially responsible for this explosive fifth-gen arms race, and his car represents a very deliberate exercise in fully exploiting the new Camaro's potential.

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Like many late-model aficionados, Mike grew up around L98s and LT1s rather than fuelie and Rat motors. As the streets of Houston began asserting themselves as the unofficial epicenter of the GM EFI scene in the late '90s, Mike got in on the action with a '96 Impala SS. Strapped with a 409ci stroker LT1, the big B-body ran 10.90s in the quarter-mile on spray and victimized loads of unassuming street thugs along the way. Between these sordid exploits, Mike mastered the art of fine-tuning finicky engine management computers, and fellow racers began soliciting his services for their cars. Before long, his hobby turned into a full-time business and Mike and his buddy Jay Schuster opened up G-Force Motorsports in Pearland, Texas. Although the shop also builds late-model Mustangs and Chryslers, LS-powered GM vehicles are its specialty. So when spy photos of the '10 Camaro started popping up all over the Internet, Mike knew he had to get one. "We had a hunch that the fifth-gen was going to be real popular and we wanted to know it inside and out by testing out mods on our own car instead of using customer cars as guinea pigs. It took several months of sitting on a waiting list to get the car but, once we did, it didn't stay stock for long," Mike says.

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Almost immediately after taking delivery of his new Camaro, Mike threw every bolt-on at the stock LS3 he could find. It was now time to get serious, and he hatched a sinister plan that had been in the works for well over a year. "GM brought out an LS7-powered fifth-gen prototype to SEMA one year and it served as the inspiration behind this build," he says. "We wanted to make as much power as a blower car on motor, so big cubic inches were a must. It's easy to cam the heck out of a motor and make big power but cars like that are a pain to drive around town. Our goal is to make lots of power while retaining stock-like driveability. We call it adult horsepower."

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Since fifth-gens weigh nearly two tons from the factory, Mike pulled a C5R aluminum block out of an Impala that was in the shop in order to minimize mass. It was bored to 4.135 inches and its long cylinder sleeves enabled lengthening the stroke to 4.250 inches with a Callies steel crank. It swings a set of Callies rods and custom Wiseco 11.4:1 forged pistons. To feed the hungry 457ci short-block, Mike scored a sweet deal on a set of LS7 heads that came off a customer's Corvette Z06. After some mild port work by West Coast Cylinder Heads, the LS7 castings flowed an outstanding 400 cfm. Matched with a relatively mild COMP 243/254-at-0.050 hydraulic roller cam and a ported LS7 intake manifold, the combo rips out 700 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque.

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