WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT STOCK AND SUPER STOCK RACING FROM A GENERATION AGO, THE CHEVROLET CAMARO AND HOLLEY ARE TWO ICONIC BRAND NAMES FROM THAT TIME THAT ARE STILL RELEVANT TODAY. Early and late Camaros are a common sight at the strip, while Holley is thought of as the dominant name in carburation. Both have carried their brands forward as we look at closing out the second decade of the millennium.
Take, for instance, Chevrolet’s COPO Camaro. The auto maker instituted an internal ordering process used by dealers to get performance cars that couldn’t ordinarily be found elsewhere.
At the 2011 SEMA Show, Chevrolet introduced the COPO Camaro legacy to a new generation with the first purpose-built factory drag Camaro. Built specifically for NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes, just 69 cars have been built yearly since introduced to commemorate the original 1969 ZL-1
COPO Camaro. Recently, a reported
5,500 prospective buyers lined up to get a chance at one of the 69 cars produced. It’s estimated that half ever see the track.
The 2017 Gatornationals saw Holley open a new chapter in the COPO Camaro’s legacy with the debut of direct injection. Although this form of fuel delivery has been fairly standard in recent OHC four-valve production vehicles, it had never been seen in a competition drag vehicle until then. This technology allowed higher compression ratios, and thus, more power with a lessened chance of detonation. These benefits would be appealing for any drag racer, but in the past, this hardware just didn’t exist. Holley’s co-development work on the COPO Camaro led to the creation of the first parts and pieces needed to make that become a reality.
Former NMCA/NMRA racer Robin Lawrence made the show there with an
FS/C 2017 COPO owned by Darin Poole-Adams. Powered by an LS-7-based 427 with an iron LSX block, forged rotating assembly, CNC-ported heads and a Holley Hi-Ram intake, the combination is potent in its own right, but new hardware was needed to go the direct-injected route to get the necessary 3,000 psi of fuel pressure. Applicationspecific high-pressure fuel pumps and injectors are controlled by a Holley Direct Injection controller, while specialized one-use lines, fittings and rails all fit into the equation as well.
At the Gators, Lawrence qualified 10th out of 76 entries in FS/C with the combination, running a 9.087 on a 10.30 index, and later, 12th out of 66 entries at Chicago in FS/D. At this writing, several more entries have made the switch, while others are looking seriously at incorporating these modifications into their racing program.
Other aftermarket companies have taken Holley’s lead in developing direct-injection hardware and software of their own, which should debut at SEMA and PRI.
In the meantime, the drag racing gods should be smiling as once again Stock/ Super Stock has proven to be the best playground for adapting OE technology to drag racing.
Some of the hardware needed to run direct injection included the in-tank lift pump (left), which runs at 110-psi, as well as the ECU, which regulates the pump and injectors.