Autocross, Drag Racing & Camaros Mania: Hotchkis hits Camaro5Fest II
We spend a lot of time here at Hotchkis HQ on the Camaro5 forum, and many of our H-Team members are on the forum as well. So, when we found out that Camaro5Fest II, the second gathering of 5th Gen Camaro owners from the forum would take place a day’s drive from L.A. at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, we knew we had to go. Packed with a cornucopia of gearhead activities like autocross, road course, drag racing, a car show, a vendors midway and more, we knew it would be a blast.
VENDORS & FRIENDS
On Thursday, April 16, John loaded up the Hotchkis trailer, hitched up to the Dually and Drew Oliver from our sales department hopped into our F-11 Camaro project car (2011 1SS) and hit the road. When we pulled into the Firebird, things were already buzzing. The vendor area was HUGE! Dozens and dozens of manufacturers, and we were directly across the aisle from our friends at Lingenfelter Engineering (They run our chassis brace and suspension parts on just about every super car that rolls out of their facility), customer and H-Team member Rick Andrade was right next door with his company 2Edge Performance, Street Trendz down the aisle moved a LOT of performance parts, and our buddies from Centerforce Clutches were right down the row.
Speaking of Centerforce – this is a good time for a little F-11 Project Update. Our Inferno Orange SS has seen some MAJOR changes in the past few months. It is not only packing a complete Hotchkis Race Pack Suspension System, it is now armed for war with a Magnusson Supercharger, JBA Long Tube Headers and dual exhaust, a Centerforce clutch, BBS wheels and a brand new set of Nitto NT05 tires. Packing over 600 horsepower at the crank and with incredible grip, the car is still comfortable as a daily driver with a kickin’ stereo and ice-cold air conditioning, but is brutally fast around corners and in the straights. We couldn’t wait to put it to the test at Camaro5Fest.
H-TEAM AT CAMARO5 FEST
The H-Team was well represented at Camaro5Fest II. Rick Andrade took his supercharged Camaro out several times for exhibition runs, but tried hard to keep it clean for a magazine photo shoot Friday night in the Arizona sunset. Our good friends Rob and Trish Byrd drove out from the So Cal Camaro5 Family from Riverside in a group cruise, and Rob was chomping at the bit to get on the autocross course and try out his brand new BBS Wheels and Nitto Invo tires. Rob Pierik even brought venerable F-71, our first LS1 powered Camaro project car, our for the entire weekend and really turned some 5th gen heads with the ’71 Camaro’s incredible handling and prowess on the autocross.
By the time the dust settled on the autocross, the H-Team really showed the world what practice and passion can do. Rob Byrd, who had barely spent time on a track before he and Trish bought their 2010 Camaro, destroyed the competition in his stunning blue Track Pack equipped 5th Gen. With a fastest run of 57.60, Rob won the Stock Modified class and was also the 4th most consistent driver in the entire event! Rob Pierik also blew the crowd away, as his Hotchkis TVS and Nitto 555 equipped 2nd Gen Camaro was the third most consistent car in the entire event, with an total split of 1.36 seconds over the course of six runs! The only people more consistent were Rob Anderson – who helped setup the course – and Eric Cederberg in a full-blown race car.
Our own Aaron Ogawa also did extremely well in the autocross driving F-11, coming in third overall in the Supermod class and missing the win by just a hair after hitting a cone in his final run. Aaron’s fast lap of 51.245 was blistering, and particularly impressive when you consider most of the cars he was running against in Supermod were either gutted race cars or on full-blown Hoosier race tires. That speaks well for Aaron, our Race Pack suspension system and the Nitto NT05 rubber.
DRAG RACING, CAR SHOW & MORE
The coolest thing about Camaro5Fest is that you can never get bored. When we weren’t driving on the autocross (or in John’s case, announcing), talking to people in the booth or walking the car show, we could wander over to the drag strip to watch some heads-up racing action, or even go over to the Bondurant road course where Corvettes and 5th Gens were running hot laps.
Our friends at Lingenfelter stole the show on the strip with their 8.99 second 2011 Camaro street/strip car, which runs our sway bars and chassis brace. This bad in black super-Camaro is remarkably civil considering it’s as fast as a mid 1960’s Funny Car. Both F-11 and the Centerforce Camaro made several runs down the drag strip as well, and with street tires we managed to squeeze 12s out of the car. It ran well and the chassis brace helped reduce flex and improve tire bite. It doesn’t last as long as autocross, but is certainly just as fun.
Other highlights included walking the show, talking to hundreds of Camaro fans, checking out the latest in high performance hardware on the midway, and spending time with our friends that – until this weekend – we only knew in the digital realm. The Hotchkis team would like to say a HUGE thank you to the entire Camaro5 team, from the moderators to our fellow sponsors, for putting on a great show. Check out the image gallery below, and stay tuned for video!