It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it’s safe to say Chevrolet’s vaunted COPO Camaro has a thing or two to say about the Mustang Cobra Jet dominance these days. Just two weeks ago, Stock Eliminator competitor Clay Arnett stole the all-time class elapsed time standard away from the Ford brigade with his stout 8.46-second blast, following up an impressive performance put on by fellow COPO runner JC Beattie Jr. in Pennsylvania just a couple of weeks prior to that in the Super Stock eliminator.
At the Maple Grove NHRA national event in early October, Beattie Jr., of ATI Performance Products, clicked off a pair of stout 8.2-second passes while running in the SS/AAA category with his supercharged COPO. What made this runs all the more impressive is that Beattie Jr. was running at 3,470 lbs. — a full 290 lbs. overweight for the class — having shifted from his SS/BBA that he’s been running in to AAA for the weekend. Beattie Jr.’s weekend resume included pases of 8.28, 8.28, 8.33, and 8.35, with a sixty of 1.25 on the rear wheels.
But Beattie Jr. wasn’t done there. During a pre-planned test session at the Maryland International Raceway not far from the home base of ATI Performance Products, he drove the Camaro, featuring power from a Virginia Speed-built 327 cubic inch mill with a 4.0L Whipple blower, to an 8.23 at 165 mph.
That run, albeit .019-seconds off the existing national record for AAA, comes with roughly the weight of an entire barrel of oil being carried inside the car versus the record-holding Cobra Jet. According to Beattie Jr., with the limitations of the NHRA regulations, the car is at light as it can be.
The ATI COPO runs on 12.2 x 31.25 Mickey Thompson radials, and features a full Aeromotive fuel system, Jesel valvetrain, PAC springs, Cometic gaskets, Kooks headers, JE Pistons, a Bullet cam, Moroso wet sump oiling system, an AEM Infinity computer system, Mark Williams rearend, and runs on Billet Specialties wheels.