Dyno And Track Testing With Our 388 LSX BlownZ

Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Sometimes, good things take time. Whichever one of these sayings you want to use to reference our long-term Project BlownZ Camaro that’s it. It’s been a constant test of patience and mechanical ability. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears shed over this car, and we mean that literally. But the time has finally come to get this thing dyno and track tested for all of our readers.

For those of you that have been following along with the build process of this project car, know that this isn’t a simple bolt-together street car, or a mild “heads and cam” car. No – BlownZ is a purpose-built drag car set up to compete in the 275 Radial class of the NMCA and PSCA, as they are the premier drag racing organizations on the west coast.

If you’re unfamiliar with the project up to this point, BlownZ comes to the party equipped with a 388 LSX packed with a F1R ProCharger and plenty of goodies to propel this car down the ‘strip fast enough to impress anyone that’s not even a fan of the LS platform. To keep our 60 foot times to a minimum, we have installed a Moser M9 torque arm rear suspension that is connected to a set of Mickey Thompson wheels and tires.

If you’re new to our site and are playing catch-up with BlownZ, you can read and follow the build thread about this dragstrip missile by clicking the link here.

Dyno Tuning 

Sean fills up our Camaro with VP Racing C16, a race fuel required for our high-compression and boosted application. Since BlownZ is pushing 20 psi of boost through 11:1 compression ratio pistons, C16 is a must.

After we had our 388ci LSX assembled, installed, and running in BlownZ, we enlisted the help of Horsepower Connection’s Brian Macy to tune the Camaro. He is one of the leading EFI tuners in the country, and his FAST XFI expertise has been used as the instructor at the EFI University. 

Power Automedia’s in-house all wheel drive Dynojet was at our disposal, and we have tuned countless cars of all types with it over the last few years. But, as a fully-built race car, it posed typical new car challenges.

Given that fact, we decided to perform a soft tune on the dyno just to get the car running decently, and opted to fine tune it at the track. It’s one thing to tune a car on the dyno for peak horsepower for the street, but since this car was built for the dragstrip, and only for the dragstrip, it made more sense to us to tune it in it’s natural environment.

Brian Macy is monitoring the VE tables, while shop manager/pit crew member Sean sits behind the wheel of BlownZ for another dyno run. If you can't tell from these photos, BlownZ wasn't even a complete car at this stage. We still needed to install the windows, our front clip, and other odds and ends. We merely wanted to get our car tuned properly at this point.

Track Testing

We were in the left lane for our personal best time of 8.246 at 168.14 mph. This is our best run to date, a feat that was accomplished at the PSCA Shootout in Vegas.

After some time on the dyno, we needed to see what our Camaro could really do. For our maiden voyage down the drag strip, we hit the Barona Speedway for some initial and baseline eighth-mile testing.  Our pit crew consisted of our two resident shop dawgs, Sean Goude and Dean Jigamian, and your author as photographer and documenter. (It’s a tough gig, but somebody has to do it.)

Our first evening at Barona Speedway we weren’t taking part in an event or even a remotely serious time trial. It was a simple test and tune session, and that’s exactly what we were doing with BlownZ on that particular late summer evening. After our pit setup, we immediately set to work in analyzing our tune and making any last minute adjustments to our car necessary for the elevation and the air in Barona.

We got a total of two runs in during our Barona adventure. Both of which were applied at half throttle to be able to tune the car progressively. You have to remember that this car has absolutely zero runs on it at this point, and is brand new in every mechanical aspect possible.

On the first 1/8-mile pass, we collected a timeslip of 6.54 at 86 mph. If you couldn’t tell by the trap speed, we lifted early. This was simply a baseline run. This was accomplished with launch at idle and 10-degrees of timing pulled at launch along with short-shifting at 6500 rpm.

The second pass went much better, with a 5.99 at 90 mph, again lifting off of the loud pedal halfway between the starting line and the 1/8-mile mark. This was done with a 2,000 rpm launch, but with 5 degrees of timing pulled from the tune. Typically increasing timing increases horsepower, but this seemed to be the sweet spot for the evening. We were also rewarded with a 60-ft time of 1.34 seconds. 

With these two runs under our belt, we had a new benchmark to improve upon, and the shop dawgs had quite a few adjustments to make with our Camaro.

The Camaro has been blessed with a Moser M9 and torque arm suspension setup that allow it to hook the way we want it to.

Dialing It In, One Small Step At a Time

It wouldn’t be until at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California where our Camaro would really begin to shine. During the weekend of August 17-19, we attended the NMCA West Coast Shootout to not only get more tuning passes in, but to see where we were at competitively with BlownZ. Since this one of our original goals for the car, we were determined to make good on our goals, and represent what an LSX car could do.

We were competing in the 275 Drag Radial class, and ended up in the number four qualifying position in a five-car field. The track was slick throughout the weekend due to the immense heat, and just about everyone agreed that it was much like racing on a skating rink. That didn’t keep anybody, including us, from racing however.

We would ultimately be eliminated during the first round, but we did end up improving on our previous 1/8-mile runs with a 5.62 at 128 mph. The latter would calculate to a 8.70 at 160 mph in the 1/4 mile; our best run to this point.

This was still on a very conservative setup, with less than 18 degrees of timing and a 10.8:1 air/fuel ratio. We were still not giving all we had. We were still making baby steps at this point, and the best was yet to come. Looking at the table below, you can see how we monitored BlownZ on our Racepak V300.

Looking at the table, you can see the temperature of the intake charge (green line), the blower air temperature (blue line) and the engine revs (red line). Also, if you look at the top, you can see our water temperature reached a peak of 168 degrees during our runs in Las Vegas. We cite our Chiseled intercooler and water tank for the low operating temperatures, and overall efficiency of the intercooled ProCharger.

Belting It Out in Vegas

Fast forward less than two months later, and we were at the PSCA West Coast Nationals in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, our Camaro was feeling sinful all weekend in Sin City by not wanting to keep it’s blower belt in its intended position.

On Friday evening, when one of our belts decided it no longer wanted to be committed to our 388, our pit crew set to work in replacing it. This was a constant theme throughout our weekend, but we wouldn't let it break our spirits. Our techs are among the best to work with, and were eager to keep our Camaro running during the duration of the event.

At some point during our endless fine-tuning and adjustments made at the shop, the mounting hardware for our blower became misaligned, because the belt refused to stay on. Since it’s always best to keep supplies in stock during a weekend of racing, we had a few extra belts with us.

During the course of the weekend, we made several runs in the mid 8-second range, but it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon where our Camaro would shine most. With a good burnout to get our tires warm, a 4,200 RPM launch and keeping our foot to the floor, we were rewarded with an 8.24 at 168.1 mph, with a 1.30 60-foot. Keep in mind we were battling a slippery track, a slipping belt, and we were still on our very conservative tune.

BlownZ gets it's wheels up on our final day in Vegas. Other than the blower belt issues, our Camaro ran strong and set a new benchmark time.

Future Plans…

Since we’ve last ran BlownZ in Las Vegas, we have installed a Chris Alston Chassisworks gear drive system to eliminate our belt drive. We also have some dyno numbers for those of you who are dying to know what kind of power this car is producing. Strapped to our Dynojet, the car put down a very respectable 1,132.4 rwhp at 22 psi of boost. We’re expecting to see 7.80’s out of the F1-R combination in February. Also coming up we will be dropping the compression ratio from 11:1 to 9.5:1 and swapping out the F1-R for an F1-X…plus turning up the wick on our tune up. 1,600 horsepower or bust? Only time will tell.

Even when BlownZ is at rest, it's plotting ways to dominate the competition. If you're on the west coast, look for our Camaro at a drag strip near you...


About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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