At The Track
For testing, we brought the Camaro to our new test facility, Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida. Not only is the strip here first-rate, but there's an awesome road course as well with a back straight that's (gulp) six-tenths of a mile long! For our purposes, we concentrated solely on the drag strip.
As we noted earlier, the engine on this 2SS is bone stock, right back to the mufflers. It did have a Spec Stage 3 clutch and Mickey Thompson drag radials (305/45R18). The odometer read just over 30,000 miles—8,000 of which have been added since the blower install. Boost was programmed to 7.5 psi across the board and the rev limited was bumped to 7,200 rpm. No question raising the boost level to 10 psi would have had a significant impact on horsepower, but experience told us that we were at the safe limits of the factory pistons and rings. If you've got a built bottom end, you could no doubt enjoy 10 psi and a truly demented amount of pump-gas horsepower.
We made our passes every 30 minutes or thereabouts, so there were no prolonged cooldowns. It was 88 degrees and humid when we started our testing, and it would get a lot worse. The first run with a 2,000 rpm launch resulted in an 11.951 at 121.76. Raising the rpm helped the elapsed time fall to 11.895/121.59 (the 60-ft time went from 2.009 to 1.942). Getting a little more aggressive on the third launch saw the engine bog a bit, but the car ran a blistering 11.788 at 121.96 (1.967 60-ft).
Speaking of blistering, it was now 91 degrees with 64 percent humidity. The track was hooking like mad—perhaps more than the car could handle. With the 28.90-inch tall sticky tires out back and only 3.45:1 gears, when we raised the launch rpm to 4,500 rpm the car bogged so bad the driver's nose almost hit the windshield. The big Camaro slowed to a 12.054/121, with a 2.134 60-ft. The secret to driving a street driver on drag radials and not much rear gear with a stick is usually to quickly trade feet. Don't dump the clutch and mat the throttle. If you can feed throttle and release the clutch so you've got the tires on the edge of adhesion, you'll probably get your best times.
Which is what happened. Despite running at 2,100 ft corrected altitude, by launching the car at 3,000 rpm and trading feet, our 60-ft time fell to best-yet 1.91 60-ft and an 11.799 at 121.31.
Satisfied we'd gone as quick as we could for conditions, Jones had ProCharger's Control Systems Engineer Ryan Konen increase the boost to 7.9 psi across the board. The result was a best-of-day 11.768 at 120.67 (1.908 60-ft). This is impressive performance by any standard, but consider that we tested a manual-equipped 2012 ZL1 last summer under similar conditions at the same track and it ran best of 12.243 at 116.19. Our i-1 mph was a full 5.5 better than the ZL1. That speaks volumes for the efficiency of the ProCharger blower. Don't let anyone tell you all boost is created equal.
What price glory? According to Jones, the base i-1 kit for the Camaro is $8,995. The touch screen controller adds $395 if you order it at the time or purchase (add $100 if you get it later on). Expect to pay between $800-$1,000 for installation. The extra install time adds to the labor cost if you are not comfortable handling the installation yourself.
The next generation of supercharging is here now.