Boost in this version is 9 psi and comes from the 2.8-liter Liquid Cooled Kenne Bell blower with a 6-rib pulley. By keeping the boost modest, the stock bottom end will live a long, healthy life, so long as you feed it a consistent diet of 91-octane fuel. There is a 93-octane tune available that gives you 6 more degrees of timing advance-this was the tune for our test vehicle.
The suspension is lowered an inch with higher-rate front and rear springs. The sway bars are also stiffer and larger than stock. The front is a tubular 1.25-inch piece, and the rear is 1-inch diameter, tubular, and adjustable unit Everything else is factory. This keeps it simple and relatively affordable. Frankly, we like the way it drove and handled. The dual-disc Centerforce clutch was given a thorough beating by two drivers and didn't even flinch once. Aesthetically, we'd have to say that with the carbon fiber hood, decklid, and bumble bee nose stripe, it was one of the toughest looking Camaros we've seen yet.
Stepping up to the 825-horse variant, you get a whole lot more under the hood-a 3.6-liter Liquid Cooled supercharger and a fortified 6.2-liter engine. It seems that any attempt to force 16 pounds of boost in the LS3/L99 factory engines resulted in connecting rods that resembled pretzels-never a good thing. The 6.2 in the L72 and the 7-liter in the L88 come from Turnkey Engine Supply near San Diego with upgraded forged internals and 8.5:1 compression. The 6.2 keeps the stock cam, but adds prepped LS3 heads.
The owner of the silver 825-horse car, Adam Montague of ST Motorsports in San Bernadino, California, added an ice box to cool the blower at the track since the car is often used as a dragstrip mule.
The roll cage is also not an RPO option, but necessitated at the track by the car's mid 10-second e.t.'s-this, with an automatic transmission. For traction, he was running 28x10x17 Hoosier slicks.
On The Throttle
Montague made the first pass in his silver L72 car and it did not disappoint. The initial run on a fresh track resulted in a 10.67 at 128.07 mph. This was straight off the trailer, tapping the shift buttons at 6,000 for a crisp 6,300 rpm shift. He backed this up with a 10.70 at 131.27, and a 10.54 at 133.99 just 14 minutes later. Afterwards the car later ran a 10.59, but we could never improve on the 10.54.
Then it was time for the 650-horse car's debut. I dumped the clutch at 3,000 rpm, but the big Nittos bit too hard. This bogged the engine, but the car recovered and ran 12.37 at 117 mph.
Slipping the clutch from 2,800 rpm saw the Camaro run a 12.02 at 120.22 mph with a 1.982 60-foot time. Now we were getting somewhere. The difference between driving the 650-horse car and a stock Camaro is beyond noticeable. The instant boost from the twin screw-type blower makes the 376-inch engine feel 150 cubes larger.
Ultimately, the L78 car ran a stellar 11.61 at 120 mph. Dropping the pressure in the Nittos to 24 psi helped improve the 60-foot time to 1.71. For the sake of science, Montague swapped pulleys on the red car, and with two more pounds of boost ran an 11.44 at 126 mph. That's some street car! Keep in mind, on our test day we saw outside air temps in the low 90s.
From behind the wheel of the silver rocket, we can tell you it was an amazing experience. I was never able to equal Adam's times, but had fun trying. This car launched so hard on my first pass that I accidentally hit the shift button on the back of the steering wheel, sending the trans into second gear. Ultimately, the car ran 10.6s and it was like getting shot out of a cannon.
There are a lot of tuner Camaros out there, but we can state from first-hand experience that the RPO series of Kenne Bell-supercharged tuner cars from Mr. Norm's Garage definitely deliver the performance promised.