No doubt about it, the independent rears suspension in the 5th Gen Camaro is a great piece of GM engineering. But the IRS can cause a few “challenges” to anyone looking to make one of the new Camaros into a max-effort drag car. Regardless, there are several experienced race crews out there like Farks Supercars and American Racing Headers that were up for a new challenge, and over the last few years the top Camaros have been going toe-to-toe in the 5th Gen Camaro Shootout as a part of the Chevrolet Performance Parts LSX Shootout.
At the recent 2012 LSX Shootout in Indianapolis, the ARH/Farks Camaro drag car earned itself bragging rights yet again as the Quickest IRS equipped Camaro by winning the 5th Gen Camaro Shootout against some very tough competition, in addition to further chopping away at their own record IRS Camaro ET.
“We’ve been racing with solid axles all our lives, and with the IRS there are changes to everything,” says Nick Filippides, owner of American Racing Headers. “It’s a whole different approach with an IRS. You’ve got to get into a lot more detail, and plan everything so that you don’t overpower your suspension and traction.”
The Engine – Stock LS3 Block ProCharged 416ci LSX
With the IRS you’ve got to be smart about how you feed the power in. -Nick Filippides
The ARH/Farks 5th Gen gets its power from a 416ci LSx that uses a stock aluminum LS3 block and MAST rotating assembly for its foundation. The engine is set up at a boost-friendly 9:1 compression and uses a solid roller cam from COMP, Jesel valve train, and a set of MAST cylinder heads to top everything off. On the induction side a massive F1-R ProCharger pushes around 15 pounds of boost into an Edelbrock intake. For exhaust, as you might expect, the ARH/Farks Camaro uses a set of American Racing Headers very own 2-inch primary headers that flow into a full 3-inch dual exhaust system. The engine runs on FAST’s XFI system tuned by the guys at Tune Time Performance. As a result of all this, the ARH/Farks Camaro has a reported 1,200 horsepower on tap to move it down the track.
The engine was originally built by Louie Filippides (Nick’s son) while he was a student at School of Automotive Machinists (SAM), where it made 612 horsepower with a set of ported LS3 heads, and no extra help from any kind of power adder. The engine has undergone numerous changes since then, but the basic long block is still the same one that is powering the car now. It’s a simple and deadly effective combo that shows the true reliably and strength of the OEM LS3 engine block. In fact, Nick tells us, “We’ve got over 100 runs on the stock LS3 block, and have had no problems at all with it.”
Suspension, Chassis, and Rear End
The suspension and rear end are where things start to get tricky. “The biggest obstacle was getting the car to hook. We had to really sneak up on it with a lot of suspension tuning, and with the IRS you’ve got to be smart about how you feed the power in,” says Nick. To be able to do just that, the ARH/Farks Camaro uses Pedders drag coilovers, and adjustable BMR trailing arms and control arms to allow for finite changes. Inside the car, a Farks 10-point chrome-moly roll cage not only makes the car safer, but keeps the chassis rigid on hard launches and lets the suspension do its job.
The Camaro may still use an IRS, but long gone are the stock rear end components. Instead the Camaro is using a Hendrix 9” rear center section conversion with some tough Drive Shaft Shop PSX axles that can take all the abuse transferred to them by the RPM built Turbo 400 trans. The Camaros stock rear Brembos were swapped out for the brakes from V6 5th Gen so they could fit 16” CCW Classics and 295/50/16 Hoosier drag radials on the back. Up front, a set of 17″ Weld RTS wheels fit nicely over the stock Brembos, and keep the ARH/Farks drag-missile aimed nice and straight.
Taking the Win and Setting Records
The ARH/Farks team is no stranger to success in the 5th Gen Camaro Challenge, and they are the returning champs from 2011. We got the full story from Louie Filippides on how things went down in this year’s 5th Gen Shootout.
“From the first time we took this car out it had the mph to run in the 8s. We worked relentlessly on the suspension at Farks Supercars with the help of Tom at Hendrix Engineering and eventually clicked off an 8.94. Matt from Tune Time Performance was always there for us tuning the car and giving us all the advice we could ask for. Once we got the suspension dialed in, we were running a consistent 1.3 60-foot, so we decided to up the boost from 14 PSI to 16 PSI, and we set the record at 8.85 at 157 MPH. Then we broke the record again during qualifying on Friday at the LSX Shootout with an 8.72 at 156 MPH with a 1.29 60-foot!
During the 1st round of eliminations in the 5th Gen Shootout, I raced a new COPO owned by my friends at SAM, and won with an ET of 8.93. The finals took place at 5:00 am after a 4-hour rain delay on Saturday. They were calling for more rain on Sunday, so the folks in charge decided to race through the night. We also made it to the finals in the 5th Gen Index Class, but for some reason or another, I wasn’t able to hold the car in the beams and it rolled through.
In the 5th Gen Shootout, Lingenfelter had already ran an 8.94, so we knew we had a good race on our hands. George Farkouh of Farks Supercars, my partner in this whole build, did some tweaking to the tune and we iced up and refueled for the finals. When we finally lined up against Lingenfelter in the final, and the lights dropped, they had the advantage in reaction time – 0.035 to my 0.054. Fortunately we were lucky enough to cut a 1.33 60-foot to their 1.50 and take the lead. The result was an 8.83 to an 8.97. The car performed flawlessly throughout the event, and the whole experience was truly incredible.”