With the release of the 2016 Camaro SS, fans of Chevy’s late-model muscle car were rewarded with some great news: the car got a nice bump in horsepower and also shed a little weight compared to the previous-generation Camaro. The sixth-gen went to a 455hp 6.2L LT1 engine while the fifth-gen housed a 426hp LS3—an improvement of 29 horsepower. Now, that might not sound like a huge increase, but when you add into the equation that the sixth-gen also lost 200 pounds in the process, that nearly 30 more horsepower becomes much more noticeable. The weight loss also gave the car quite a bit more agility compared to its more portly predecessor.
Although the performance offered by the sixth-gen is fine for the general Camaro SS enthusiast, there are a lot of us that just can’t leave well enough alone—and that’s a good thing.
Among us are the folks at ProCharger Supercharger Systems. They’ve been building centrifugal superchargers for over two decades and pride themselves on producing not only horsepower, but reliable, intercooled horsepower for a wide range of performance cars: early- or late-model and for street and race applications. So with the LT1 powering the 2016 Camaro SS, the ProCharger crew couldn’t wait to dig into the Camaro’s architecture to host their P-1SC-1 centrifugal supercharger. Having experience with the LT1 by way of the 2014-and-newer Corvette, they were plenty familiar with the inner workings of the engine’s technology so the bulk of the work was to design an intercooler to fit within the confines of the area just ahead of the radiator and fitting the supercharger within the busy engine bay without any permanent modifications to the car.
We here at Chevy High Performance are familiar with ProCharger superchargers and their ability to make good power, and we’ve also spent some time in a 2016 Camaro SS. So when we got the opportunity to mix the two together we were all over it.
We headed out to Heartland Park Topeka (Kansas) to drag test ProCharger’s 2016 Camaro SS equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The only upgrade being a set of drag radials out back. The idea was to first test the car in stock form then again with the ProCharger P-1SC-1 supercharger set at 7 psi of boost. Keep in mind, the P-1SC-1 is a relatively simple bolt-on piece taking around 5-6 hours to install, and since the car we were testing had been previously fitted with the intercooler, switching the car over from stock to blown at the track was a simple task.
After a day at the track, we followed up by dyno testing the same car at ProCharger’s facility in Lenexa, Kansas. Again, we tested the car in stock form and again with the same supercharger we used at the dragstrip just to show tangible dyno numbers and to compare the difference in power. Keep in mind, we could have taken dyno numbers from a previous testing day they did when the ambient temps were cooler in the dead of winter, but we wanted to make pulls on the same day and on the same dyno to show real-world testing numbers.
At the Dragstrip
As mentioned, our first round of testing in the 2016 Camaro was done in stock form. We did two runs and let the car cool a bit between sessions. The car ran consistent elapsed times and speed: a 12.59 e.t. at 112.21 mph on the first run (1.941 60ft time) and a nearly identical 12.59 at 112.16 (1.922 60ft time) on the second run. That’s still pretty good for a late-model, off-the-showroom-floor muscle car that weighs in at approximately 3,700 pounds.
After gathering our quarter-mile times in stock trim, the ProCharger crew proceeded to bolt on the P-1SC-1 set at 7 psi of boost and headed back out on the track. The same driver was used for consistency purposes. On the first supercharged blast, the Camaro stopped the clock with an 11.47 e.t. at 123.2 mph and a 1.796 60ft time. That’s an 11-mph gain in speed with an elapsed time improvement of 1.12 seconds. That’s very stout bolt-on horsepower if you ask us (actually matching GM’s new claims for the ZL1).
For the second run, your trusty editor got behind the wheel and pulled off an 11.84 e.t. at 121.4 mph—not as quick or as fast as our test driver, but getting behind the wheel and being able to experience the performance increase firsthand and report the difference between driving the Camaro naturally aspirated and supercharged, I have to say, was impressive … and a whole lot of fun. And with driveability being part of the test, I took the car for a short drive around the grounds to get a feel for the driveability aspect, and although I personally have a high tolerance for noisy cars, the blower was super quiet and hardly noticeable under street driving conditions (it’s actually not very noticeable on the track, either). So if you want to keep the fact that you are sporting a supercharger under the hood of your street car, the P-1SC-1 is a stealthy piece, and if you go the route of using a helical gearset in the supercharger, it gets even quieter.
On the Dyno
Following our day at the track, we then put the Camaro on the dyno to compare before and after numbers. The first round of dyno testing was done with the Camaro as stock. The guys at ProCharger have done this “dyno dance” a number of times but wanted us to witness the results in person. Besides, we love the sound of a V-8 screaming at the top of its lungs as much as the next gearhead.
Naturally aspirated, the car offered a dyno pull worth 418 hp and 399 lb-ft of torque. Again, not bad for a consumer-grade muscle car.
After letting the Camaro cool down, the ProCharger crew was back at it bolting up the P-1SC-1 and again strapped the Camaro down for a few pulls. Once more, we were impressed with the short amount of time it took to bolt on the supercharger and get the car ready for another round on the dyno. As expected, the improvement was substantial. At 7.1 psi max boost, the Camaro’s peak numbers came in at 549 hp and 470 lb-ft of toque. That’s an increase of 131 horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque. Now, that’s a great improvement, especially in the heat of summer. And any time you can bolt on over 130 horsepower in a few hours, well, that’s right up our alley.
Obviously, that amount of bolt-on power is impressive, but equally impressive was that the air coming into the ProCharger Stage 2 intercooler was measured at 248.9 degrees (F), while the air exiting the intercooler was tagged at 139.5 degrees (F). We’re talking about dropping operating temperature down 109.4 degrees. That kind of cooling will allow the car to run at a higher range of boost for miles at a time instead of just a quarter-mile at a time. And all that money saved on bags of ice can now be used for a new set of rear tires, which you’ll need a lot sooner than you did before.
How fast you want to go depends on how much money you want to spend, and with an MSRP of just $5,898 for the ProCharger P-1SC-1 Supercharger kit, we’d have to say that’s a great deal, and an easy way to wake up that 2016 Camaro SS.
01. The subject for testing the ProCharger P-1SC-1 supercharger was this 2016 Camaro SS. The only upgrade consisted of a set of drag radials to ensure consistent launches off the line.
02. With the P-1SC-1 set at 7 psi of boost, the Camaro wakes up and has no problem getting heat in the tires before a pass down the Heartland Park Topeka quarter-mile.
03. With the stock setup, the Camaro’s best run was a 12.59 e.t. at 112.21 mph with a 1.941 60ft time.
04. Supercharged, the car was able to muster up an 11.47 e.t. at 123.2 mph, and also improved on the 60ft time with a 1.796.
05. After a day at the track, it was time to strap down the Camaro for some quality time on the dyno.
06. On ProCharger’s Mustang chassis dyno and in stock form, the Camaro came in with a best pull of 418 hp at 399 lb-ft of torque.
07. Next, we tested the car with ProCharger’s P-1SC-1 supercharger set at 7.1 psi of boost. The best pull came in at 549 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. That’s a 131-horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque improvement—a stout bump in performance for a bolt-on engine modification.
08. When supercharging any engine, heat can be an issue. The ProCharger Stage 2 Complete System features a three-core intercooler that does an amazing job of keeping operating temps in check. During our dyno pulls, the air temp going into the air filter was 110 degrees (F), the air temp heading into the intercooler was at 249 degrees (F) and the air post intercooler was 139 degrees (F). That’s some serious cooling that will keep you out on the track longer and making reliable horsepower.
09. Although this install was done on a different 2016 Camaro than the one tested, we wanted to show you where and how the intercooler fits.
10. Here’s the engine bay of the 2016 Camaro armed with the P-1SC-1 supercharger. As you can see, it fits nicely under the hood with no issues. Satin finish is standard, and for a slight upcharge you can get one in a polished or black finish (shown).