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Old 01-22-2013, 12:08 AM   #1
brt3
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Newbie, looking to build a 1LE-based track-day car...

Hi all -- I'd appreciate some input on a project I'm putting together. Since I'm new to the Camaro platform, I'd appreciate advice on this. I realize I'm a Camaro newbie, but the 1LE fixes all the issues that kept me from Camaro ownership. Thanks in advance for input on this...

Recently our last kid left for college. We are now spending half the year in Northern California and the other half in Austin, TX.

I have a car in NorCal that I use for 10-15 track events per year. I'm looking to put together something to keep in Austin. I want a high-performance car with roll cage, fire system, and a semi-stripped interior. My goal is to keep this naturally aspirated, with 500 to 550 horsepower and 475 to 500 lb-ft of torque. My goal is to have something fast but strong, that can be tracked without fatigue -- I want everything to be overbuilt for the use scenario. Lastly, I won't drive this a great deal on the road -- but I want to be able to drive it to the track, instead of being locked into having to trailer it.

ENGINE: At a friend's recommendation I contacted Katech. They build amazing stuff, but the package I like has a dry sump and won't accommodate an A/C compressor. They can create an engine that has both dry sump and A/C -- but the price jumps for that and is over what I'd like to pay on this project. Since it regularly hits 105 in Texas, the A/C is a must.

Cars in Austin must pass an OBDII smog test every two years. I'm wondering about some of the Chevrolet Performance LS3-based crate motors, and whether these might pass the smog test more easily than some of the alternatives?

SUSPENSION: My current car is about as stiff as you can get away with on the street, given how bad the roads are in NorCal. Whatever I build will need to be stiff and great on the track, but compliant enough for occasional street usage. I'm considering using Pfadt for the suspension, but would welcome suggestions for alternatives.

SAFETY: I am still working out details around the roll cage, fire system, etc.. I'd really appreciate any information on good folks to work with for a custom roll cage.

Lastly, I'm too tall for the stock street car. As part of the build the stock seats will go away anyway, so installing racing shells should fix the fit issue. At one point I was considering a Mustang Boss 302S -- but I am really not a Ford guy, and I also want to have something street-able instead of having a pure track car...

Thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:19 AM   #2
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I wouldnt use a 1le for what you want to do. Buy a used SS and go aftermarket. It will be cheaper and faster.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #3
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Agree with the above. Pick up a used 2010 SS. Same engine and everything. You can strip it, get some aftermarket suspension and rear gears. I wouldn't worry about getting a crate motor. Just have the LS3 in the car built to what you want. I would say get a 1SS with no options. You going to be removing most of the extra stuff that you get in the more exspensive models anyway. If you look around you can actually find a set of 19 inch wheel that will fit over the stock brakes and reduce the unsprung weight. The 5th gen has been out long enough, that the aftermarket parts that are available will allow you to build a older used one to be faster and cheaper then buying a 1LE and making the changes that your planning.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSVX View Post
Agree with the above. Pick up a used 2010 SS. Same engine and everything. You can strip it, get some aftermarket suspension and rear gears. I wouldn't worry about getting a crate motor. Just have the LS3 in the car built to what you want. I would say get a 1SS with no options. You going to be removing most of the extra stuff that you get in the more exspensive models anyway. If you look around you can actually find a set of 19 inch wheel that will fit over the stock brakes and reduce the unsprung weight. The 5th gen has been out long enough, that the aftermarket parts that are available will allow you to build a older used one to be faster and cheaper then buying a 1LE and making the changes that your planning.


You should take a look at my possible future build thread. There are a lot of part numbers in there that should help you meet your goals.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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I know! Get an base 1LE, take out the engine and give it to me and then put in the LS7 crate motor and go from there!

Seriously though if you are not going to run 1LE suspension you might as well get a used one as the other members have suggested but if you do go the take out route let me know. An LS3 would work great in my Monte Carlo SS!

Another option is to look at the body in white option (although I'm not sure if they come with a VIN or are race only options)
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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I know!
Another option is to look at the body in white option (although I'm not sure if they come with a VIN or are race only options)
I'm not sure they are still doing the body in white, but if they still are, I'm fairly sure they are not street leagal, unless you can convince the DMV in your local state to consider it a kit car. I would think if you compared the money and hassle of building from the body in white program with building a used car, the used car would save you some money and already has most of the parts needed. Plus you can build while you run it as apposed to having to wait for the car to be finished.

Edit: Research Body in White. Everything kept saying 2010 Camaro, but this is copied out of the purchase agreement with GM.

"General Motors Corporation ("GM") -- GM Performance Parts
Description: Camaro Body-in-White Kit
GM Part Number: 19243374
This Bill of Sale and Agreement dated as of the date set forth below, must be signed by the buyer identified in the signature below ("Buyer"), and be retained along with a copy of the Invoice by the selling GM Performance Parts Chevrolet Dealer ("Dealer").
The Buyer hereby understands, acknowledges and agrees to the following:
1. The Camaro Body-in-White Kit ("the Kit") does not have a Vehicle Identification Number and no Certificate of Title can be obtained for it. In its current and/or final state, the Kit cannot be titled or licensed, and may not be driven on public roads or highways. The Kit is offered for track or off-highway/private roadway competitive or performance use only."
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:23 PM   #7
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Maybe look into the mods that Pratt & Miller did on the SSX, they sound similar but I'm no expert.

Quote:
Drivetrain: Open the carbon hood and you'll find a 6.2L LS3 hopped up with GMPP cylinder heads, a bigger cam, and a dry-sump oiling system. The trans is stock TR-6061, but the clutch is a twin-disc pirated from the ZR1 Corvette parts bin.

Suspension: Chevrolet didn't skimp on the suspension components with the SSX. Pfadt Race Engineering was tapped to supply adjustable coilovers, bigger sway bars, and upgraded bushings. The brakes are massive six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers gripping drilled and slotted rotors.

Cool race stuff: We love to read buildsheets that include rear-seat delete and sound-deadening delete. We love it even more when the sheet goes on to list an SCCA-approved rollcage, a fuel cell, suede-upholstered racing seats with five-point harnesses, carbon-fiber body panels, an adjustable rear spoiler, and a fire suppression system (which you hopefully won't ever need).
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brt3 View Post
Hi all -- I'd appreciate some input on a project I'm putting together. Since I'm new to the Camaro platform, I'd appreciate advice on this. I realize I'm a Camaro newbie, but the 1LE fixes all the issues that kept me from Camaro ownership. Thanks in advance for input on this...

Recently our last kid left for college. We are now spending half the year in Northern California and the other half in Austin, TX.

I have a car in NorCal that I use for 10-15 track events per year. I'm looking to put together something to keep in Austin. I want a high-performance car with roll cage, fire system, and a semi-stripped interior. My goal is to keep this naturally aspirated, with 500 to 550 horsepower and 475 to 500 lb-ft of torque. My goal is to have something fast but strong, that can be tracked without fatigue -- I want everything to be overbuilt for the use scenario. Lastly, I won't drive this a great deal on the road -- but I want to be able to drive it to the track, instead of being locked into having to trailer it. LS7, LS9, LSA etc. kits are legal and will pass smog testing.

ENGINE: At a friend's recommendation I contacted Katech. They build amazing stuff, but the package I like has a dry sump and won't accommodate an A/C compressor. They can create an engine that has both dry sump and A/C -- but the price jumps for that and is over what I'd like to pay on this project. Since it regularly hits 105 in Texas, the A/C is a must.

Cars in Austin must pass an OBDII smog test every two years. I'm wondering about some of the Chevrolet Performance LS3-based crate motors, and whether these might pass the smog test more easily than some of the alternatives?

SUSPENSION: My current car is about as stiff as you can get away with on the street, given how bad the roads are in NorCal. Whatever I build will need to be stiff and great on the track, but compliant enough for occasional street usage. I'm considering using Pfadt for the suspension, but would welcome suggestions for alternatives.

SAFETY: I am still working out details around the roll cage, fire system, etc.. I'd really appreciate any information on good folks to work with for a custom roll cage.

Lastly, I'm too tall for the stock street car. As part of the build the stock seats will go away anyway, so installing racing shells should fix the fit issue. At one point I was considering a Mustang Boss 302S -- but I am really not a Ford guy, and I also want to have something street-able instead of having a pure track car...

Thoughts?
ENGINE:
The problem with the GM crate engines is that engines not currently in production vehicles, like the LS376/525, are not built with smog testing in mind. The more aggressive engines may not pass smog testing, but it all depends on the setup. Having a big cam will not necessarily mean you wont pass smog. They are also not rated for a specific platform, so you power level will not be 525 horsepower when installed in a Camaro with all accessories, exhaust, intake, etc.

Like SnoopyAce7 said, there's a lot of stuff available from the GM parts bin. The parts on those engines are also available though Chevrolet performance parts, a head or cam package would be cheaper than the crate engine with said parts installed. As Most of those engines are just stock LS3s with cams/heads. If your looking for a dry sump system, GM has systems that will fit with LS engines. The C6 Grandsport LS3 comes equipped with a dry sump system. Its pretty likely that some of those parts made it onto the SSX concept. You may have to go with a smaller oil tank to make everything fit though.

SUSPENSION:
If you want it to remain a street car I would recommend not going with solid subframe mounts or high durometer bushings. But its all dependent on you preferences and how harsh you ride is. If you like the ride with solid mounts, go for it For brands, I would recommend both Pdfat and Pedders as both currently have products available for the FE5/FE6 Cars.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian 1LE SS View Post
I wouldnt use a 1le for what you want to do. Buy a used SS and go aftermarket. It will be cheaper and faster.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSVX View Post
Agree with the above. Pick up a used 2010 SS. Same engine and everything. You can strip it, get some aftermarket suspension and rear gears. I wouldn't worry about getting a crate motor. Just have the LS3 in the car built to what you want. I would say get a 1SS with no options. You going to be removing most of the extra stuff that you get in the more exspensive models anyway. If you look around you can actually find a set of 19 inch wheel that will fit over the stock brakes and reduce the unsprung weight. The 5th gen has been out long enough, that the aftermarket parts that are available will allow you to build a older used one to be faster and cheaper then buying a 1LE and making the changes that your planning.
The only reason I would argue with going this route is that the standard SS doesn't come with the close gear ratios like the 1LE trans is equipped with. Which for track use, are very nice.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brt3 View Post
Hi all -- I'd appreciate some input on a project I'm putting together. Since I'm new to the Camaro platform, I'd appreciate advice on this. I realize I'm a Camaro newbie, but the 1LE fixes all the issues that kept me from Camaro ownership. Thanks in advance for input on this...

Recently our last kid left for college. We are now spending half the year in Northern California and the other half in Austin, TX.

I have a car in NorCal that I use for 10-15 track events per year. I'm looking to put together something to keep in Austin. I want a high-performance car with roll cage, fire system, and a semi-stripped interior. My goal is to keep this naturally aspirated, with 500 to 550 horsepower and 475 to 500 lb-ft of torque. My goal is to have something fast but strong, that can be tracked without fatigue -- I want everything to be overbuilt for the use scenario. Lastly, I won't drive this a great deal on the road -- but I want to be able to drive it to the track, instead of being locked into having to trailer it.

ENGINE: At a friend's recommendation I contacted Katech. They build amazing stuff, but the package I like has a dry sump and won't accommodate an A/C compressor. They can create an engine that has both dry sump and A/C -- but the price jumps for that and is over what I'd like to pay on this project. Since it regularly hits 105 in Texas, the A/C is a must.

Cars in Austin must pass an OBDII smog test every two years. I'm wondering about some of the Chevrolet Performance LS3-based crate motors, and whether these might pass the smog test more easily than some of the alternatives?

SUSPENSION: My current car is about as stiff as you can get away with on the street, given how bad the roads are in NorCal. Whatever I build will need to be stiff and great on the track, but compliant enough for occasional street usage. I'm considering using Pfadt for the suspension, but would welcome suggestions for alternatives.

SAFETY: I am still working out details around the roll cage, fire system, etc.. I'd really appreciate any information on good folks to work with for a custom roll cage.

Lastly, I'm too tall for the stock street car. As part of the build the stock seats will go away anyway, so installing racing shells should fix the fit issue. At one point I was considering a Mustang Boss 302S -- but I am really not a Ford guy, and I also want to have something street-able instead of having a pure track car...

Thoughts?
Hell of a first post, welcome to the site.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nak3dsnake View Post
The only reason I would argue with going this route is that the standard SS doesn't come with the close gear ratios like the 1LE trans is equipped with. Which for track use, are very nice.
How hard would it be to replace the 1st through 3rd gears in the standard SS tranny?
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:26 PM   #12
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How hard would it be to replace the 1st through 3rd gears in the standard SS tranny?
Not very, I've done gear swaps in 4 speeds.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:00 PM   #13
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People seem to ignore a lot of what makes the 1LE ideal for the track. Trans cooler, trans gears, diff gears, half shafts, wheels/tires, hub bearings, half shafts, sways, bushings, shock mounts, toe rods, fuel pump, etc.

No way you're getting all that for 3k. But it depends on you overall budget, plans and racing class. If you're going to a 9", getting lighter weight monoblock wheels, etc then its less of a deal. However the resale value of those parts is much higher. Still worth it for the trans gears/cooler, hubs, etc. Especially if you sell off the stock stuff.

Engine, you can do a cam/heads but you'll need to add cubes as well, especially for the high side of your goal. Cam should be somewhat tame unless you want lots of spring changes and are ok with potential breakage. OBDII check is easy to pass with the correct tune, visual or sniffer not so much.

New brake pads, rotors, possible caliper upgrades. Budget? Sky's the limit. From CTSV 6 pistons up front to $8k in big brake kits.

I would only recommend double adjustable coilovers for a track specific car. It will also help with softening things up for non track days. Pedders, BC ER's, KW V3's, pick your poison. Not a fan of pfadt's for being single adjustable and how they deal with preload/height. Most bushings will not add a lot of vibes or harshness and I don't understand people who recommend against them for this application. Ride comfort is 90% in the coilover.

Extreme innovation has the best roll cage I've seen and is the only game in town for a tubular k member right now. Pricey but great stuff. Waiting on BMR for a cheaper k member.
http://www.extremeinnovationsandfabrication.com/

You can also find a harness bar now which I've been considering since I'd prefer no roll cage. Some places offer an extinguisher bracket for in front of the passenger seat, could find the link in the drag section by searching.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:04 PM   #14
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How hard would it be to replace the 1st through 3rd gears in the standard SS tranny?
Gears aren't super cheap but not horrible. I'm planning on waiting until I open up the tranny for new synchros and maybe a rear support bearing though. If you're paying someone then labor will be painful, might as well do everything while you're in there.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:37 PM   #15
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Gears aren't super cheap but not horrible. I'm planning on waiting until I open up the tranny for new synchros and maybe a rear support bearing though. If you're paying someone then labor will be painful, might as well do everything while you're in there.
What he said. Its different when you can do them yourself.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:49 PM   #16
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Fantastic responses! I'm on the road with limited internet, but I really appreciate the input! Someone pointed out the SS-X concept; I'd like to end up with something very close to that, but street legal. Lot's of input and ideas to process -- THANKS!
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