In the world of racing, we tend to be around it at a young age and it just gets in our blood, or at some point later in life the bug bites and there’s no turning back. In Ryan Weger’s case, he always had a love for hot rods and custom cars but he was given the opportunity of a lifetime that hooked him on racing forever. The field service engineer, 47, found himself thrust into the addicting world of high-performance racing, all thanks to a giveaway by Speed Society that he never thought he’d win. However, it’s not just the winning of the car that makes Ryan’s story interesting — it’s also the impressive transformation his 2018 Camaro ZL1 underwent at the hands of the team at Vengeance Racing and their continued support and help in upgrading Weger’s ZL1 even further.
From Childhood Dreams to Racing Reality
Growing up surrounded by hot rods during parades and festivals, Weger’s love for cars was cultivated early. His first car, an ’86 Monte Carlo SS, set the stage for a lifelong passion. “Once we started having kids, my wife wanted me to go back to four wheels,” he recalled. However, it was winning this high-performance machine that propelled him into serious racing.
Weger admits he has a t-shirt problem and likes getting shirts from the events he attends. After seeing a Speed Society shirt that he liked but was sold out at an event, he ordered two shirts from the Speed Society online store, thus entering himself into the contest. “I never thought I would win, and I even hung up on them a couple of times when they tried calling me to tell me I had won,” Weger said. To his amazement, Weger was, in fact, the winner of the contest, and on June 30, 2019, his new high-power monster was delivered to his house. He immediately began racing the car, and the drag racing bug got him.
I figured if they’re going to give me a race car, I’m going to race it. – Ryan Weger
The Heart of the Beast
The 2018 Camaro ZL1 boasts a formidable Gen V LT4 engine, with a displacement now of 390 cubic inches. Vengeance Racing called up Late Model Engines (LME) in Houston, Texas, to undertake the engine build, utilizing a Callies Magnum crankshaft, Diamond/LME 2000HP Custom pistons, and Callies Enforcer connecting rods. A Cam Motion hydraulic camshaft controls the valvetrain in the CID Gen V six-bolt cylinder heads.
Weger’s Camaro featured an aftermarket supercharger as part of its original Vengeance Racing build for the Speed Society giveaway, and most people would have been satisfied with its 850-plus wheel-horsepower, but Weger was bit by the drag racing bug and it didn’t take long for him to reach out to Vengeance Racing for more power. It now features a Huron Speed “Race System” designed for the sixth-gen Camaro, with a pair of Precision 68/75 turbochargers, TurboSmart Race Port blow-off valve, and TurboSmart Hyper Gate wastegates pushing the boost to 25 psi.
With the increase in horsepower came another decision to make. Weger retained the 10L90E 10-speed transmission, opting for a Stage II unit from Pure Drivetrain Solutions paired with a Sun Coast 10L90 Pro Lok billet converter and SFI-rated flexplate. Although the upgraded 10-speed automatic and billet converter has served him well, Weger informed us at the time of this writing that his Camaro is once again going under the knife at Vengeance Racing to get a three-speed TH400 transmission and a GForce 9-inch IRS rearend.
Keeping tabs on the Camaro’s engine and systems is a Holley Dominator ECU and OEM PCM with tuning duties handled by in-house tuner Jey Clegg and Branden Leeb of Elite Tuned. Rounding out the package are Aeromotive triple in-tank pumps that ensure a steady fuel supply, while an LME billet LT intake manifold and 103mm throttle body handle all of the forced air from the twin turbos.
A Vengeance Racing Build Is A Total Package
The chassis received careful attention with BMR Suspension components, from control arms to sway bars. Vengeance mounted up a set of skinny 18×6-inch Weld S71 wheels with Mickey Thompson Front Runner tires for the front of the Camaro, and 15×10-inch S71 wheels in the rear with sticky Mickey Thompson ET Street Pro 275 drag radials. Vengeance Racing installed a Carlisle 15-inch rear brake kit to clear the Weld wheels and bring the car safely to a stop after single-digit passes on the drag strip.
With this Camaro being a complete top-to-bottom build, Vengeance Racing and FSM Auto Restyling worked to transform the Camaro’s appearance on the outside and the inside. The Race Red body is now adorned with a Satin Pearl White wrap applied by FSM, complemented by a carbon-fiber hood and trunk lid. Inside, a six-point RPM roll bar was installed for the giveaway but is being upgraded to a custom 10-point cage to keep Weger safe and pass tech considering the quicker and faster passes that are in the Camaro’s near future. Complementing the interior is a carbon-fiber steering wheel with LEDs.
“This car has literally been a life-changing experience,” Weger says. From drag races and road courses to the friendships formed at events, the Camaro ZL1 has opened up a world of possibilities for him and his family. Since owning the car, Weger has competed in multiple Rocky Mountain Race Week events finishing as high as second in his class on the old setup. The new twin-turbo combination was brought out in January of this year and put Weger firmly in the eights in the ¼-mile, with an 8.73-second pass at 165 mph, earning him another second-place trophy at the Cadillac Attack event in Orlando, Florida. He’s excitedly looking forward to running the car with the new transmission and hopefully setting more personal bests.
As the journey continues, and with a new TH400 transmission in the works, Ryan Weger’s story with the Speed Society giveaway Camaro ZL1 is far from over. The roar of the engine, the thrill of the race, and the camaraderie of the racing community keep Weger firmly planted in the fast lane of life.