It's almost impossible to put the type of speed we're talking about here into perspective. Two hundred and forty-four miles per hour. It's fast, obviously, but just how fast is it really? We asked Josh Ledford, the driver of this insane land rocket, and he simply said, "there is really no way to describe it other than scary fast." Kelly Bise, the owner of this car also had no idea, only offering up that "any car that will smoke the tires at around 200 miles per hour is pretty hard to describe." OK, well, we've clearly never been this fast before so maybe we can compare this ludicrous speed to something else.
At 244 miles per hour, this twin-turbocharged 461 cubic-inch Camaro is travelling more than 350 feet per second. Scaled down into fragments of time, that's the length of a football field, end zones and all, in one second. In the time it takes you to read "wow, that is really fast," the Camaro would cover another 350 feet and would still be accelerating. Two hundred and forty-four miles per hour is double the speed that a human jumping out of a plane could reach at terminal velocity. It's also 44 miles per hour faster than a .30-06 bullet coming back to earth from a gun fired straight up in the air. Compared to a Peregrine falcon, the fastest animal in the world, Josh would still be spinning the tires at 203 mph when it out-ran the silly falcon and he would still have 41 mph left before hitting the finish line. Fastest baseball pitch? Double it and you're still not even close. In fact, almost nothing can compare to this speed, not even the so-called supercars that supposedly rule the standing-mile events.
So then, what can we figure out about running 244 miles per hour from a dead stop in less than one mile? Well, for starters, it isn't easy and it isn't for the faint of heart. According to Kelly Bise, it wasn't even easy to find someone to start the process as "no speed shop wanted to fabricate everything. They all wanted the car to be a kit and they all tried to talk me into a supercharger. When I found Steven Fereday and Josh Ledford at Late Model Racecraft, they said they would build anything I wanted, so I told them I wanted the world's fastest car in a mile."
When Steven and Josh said "anything Kelly wanted" they meant it and wasted absolutely no time in getting everything torn apart and started. Luckily for LMR, building a 2,000-plus horsepower engine was probably the easy part of this build, since they already have a capable mill running in the shop's drag radial race car. Of course, the mile is much longer than the quarter, so some parts did need to be upgraded or tweaked to their liking. With a tall deck LSX block as the foundation, LMR teamed up with their favorite engine builders at Late Model Engines (LME) and got to work. Bored to 4.155 inches and dry decked for stability, the LSX block received a rotating assembly fit for a king with a 4.250-inch stroke billet crank from Callies spinning a set of Dyers 300M billet rods and custom Wiseco pistons built specifically for big boost.
Up top, a set of gigantic ETP 275cc LSR (cathedral port) cylinder heads close up the combustion chamber, fit with titanium and Inconel valves, Jesel 1.7:1 ratio rockers, and enough spring pressure to hurt someone. Commanding those Jesel rockers is a massive "270-ish" solid roller camshaft that LMR had cut with over .800 inch of lift and a boost-friendly 116-degree lobe separation angle. Bronze lifter bushings, .937-inch keyway lifters, and Manton half-inch pushrods are all basically required at this level, and it's no surprise to see them in the LME/LMR package.
On motor alone this would be a stout power plant, but you're not going 244 without some serious forced induction. One look under Kelly's hood confirms the induction system of choice, a set of custom GT45 turbos built to produce between 20 and 35 pounds of boost when set on kill. Supporting that rush of air is no easy task, and LMR spent weeks planning, mocking up, and fabricating a set of custom 17?8-inch turbo manifolds, which move exhaust gas to the turbos from the cylinder heads. After that, spent gasses head out 4-inch downpipes to a set of custom mufflers, while compressed air heads to a pair of custom air-to-water intercooler cores, which cool the charge before smashing it all back into the Beck sheet-metal intake for even more power. On low boost we're talking about over 1,500 rear wheel horsepower, with numbers like 1,800 and more available at higher target boost levels.
Behind the twin-turbo monster, the LMR team outfitted Kelly's Camaro with a T56 transmission, spun by a custom quad-disc RPS carbon/carbon clutch, which they built to the hilt with parts from G-Force and LMR. According to Josh, the trick is to get the Camaro in to fourth gear under power as quickly as possible and then let it ride out all the way to the finish line. Yup, they do everything in the 1:1 gear (4th) and can make it live, which is no easy feat on a T56 gearset. Out back it is all about the final gearing, with a Burkhart Chassis 9-inch rear housing a set of 2.73:1 gears, which keeps the engine RPM in the sweet spot coming across the 1-mile marker. And by sweet spot, we're talking over 8,000 revolutions per minute, so you can only imagine the strain on everything involved. As you would expect, traction is a major issue for Kelly's Camaro even at upwards of 200 miles per hour, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the LMR-built beast wears a pair of 11.5-inch Hoosier slicks out back wrapped around a set of all black CCW wheels.
Custom AFCO shocks paired with tubular suspension parts from BMR, Wolfe, and Madman all help keep the Camaro going somewhat straight, but suspension tuning is still something the team is working on getting right. "We run a Racepak V300 data acquisition system on the car with laser ride height sensors," said Josh, a setup they use to monitor everything the car is doing down at the big end, a job that the driver alone just can't do on his own. Remember, stuff happens fast at these speeds and a quarter of an inch difference in ride height can be the difference between a world record run and a helicopter ride to the hospital.
"I've been for a couple of hairy rides in the monster, ending up sideways at 200-plus miles per hour, and thankfully I have been able to keep it shiny side up." At 244, the Camaro has already done everything Kelly wanted it to do and then some, but for the LMR crew, they think this is just the beginning. Josh Ledford told us he is "just doing what he loves" and thinks that car can go much faster than 244 the next time they take it out on track. Just how fast is the real question, but we are all going to have to wait and see as the mad men from LMR take the track in October 2011 for another record-breaking attempt. All we know for sure is that the exotic supercars, gravity, and gun manufacturers better be on watch as this Camaro plans on redefining the word fast, one mile at a time. Oh, and by the way, if you were reading this from the passenger seat of Kelly's Camaro at 244 miles per hour, you would have covered over 20 miles by now...
|Car: 2000 Chevrolet Camaro SS|
|Owner: Kelly Bise|
|Block: LSX, 461cid|
|Compression ratio: 9.7:1|
|Heads: ETP 275cc LSR, 2.200 intake valves, 1.600 exhaust valves|
|Cam: LMR custom solid roller, ~270/270 duration at .050, .830/.830-inch lift, 116 LSA|
|Rocker arms: Jesel, 1.7-ratio|
|Pistons: Wiseco, forged|
|Crankshaft: Callies, billet|
|Rods: Dyers, 300M billet|
|Throttle body: Accufab 105mm|
|Fuel injectors: Moran 235 lb/hr|
|Fuel pump: Waterman, mechanical|
|Ignition: GM truck coils, coil-near-plug, NGK plugs|
|Engine management: Big Stuff 3, tuned by Late Model Racecraft|
|Power Adder: LMR custom twin-turbo system|
|Turbocharger: Twin Precision GT45|
|Blow Off Valve: Twin Tial 50mm|
|Wastegate: Twin Precision 66mm|
|Intercooler: LMR custom air-to-water|
|Exhaust system: 1 7/8-inch turbo manifolds, 4-inch downpipes, 4-inch mufflers|
|Transmission: T56, built by LMR|
|Clutch: RPS quad-disc, carbon/carbon|
|Driveshaft: 3-inch, chromoly|
|Front suspension: AFCO coilovers, BMR upper and lower control arms, Hotchkis sway bar|
|Rear suspension: AFCO coilovers, Wolfe Racecraft anti-roll bar, Madman Racing torque arm, Hotchkis subframe connectors, LMR Panhard bar, lower control arms|
|Rear end: Burkhart Chassis 9-inch, 2.73 gear, Moser 33-spline axles, Strange spool|
|Brakes: Wilwood 6-piston front, 4-piston rear|
|Wheels: Vellano VTU 19x9 front, CCW SP20 18x11.5 rear|
|Front tires: Pirelli PZero 255/30/19|
|Rear tires: Hoosier 315/40/18|
|Fuel: VP Racing C16|