By Steven Rupp, Editor – Super Chevy
Motion is what defines a car and what drives many of us to pursue this passion, so what better way to embrace the Chevys we love than to turn them loose on a patch of cordoned off asphalt? From the beginning that was the philosophy behind our series of track days. Find a group of classically cool Chevys and put them through a series of performance tests against a modern Chevy. After all, when we update our rides the overarching goal is to make them perform as well as, or better, then their 21st century cousins.
This year we’ve made quite a few changes to the Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge. The name of the event says a lot. First, we are very happy to have Falken Tire as our title sponsor. Their AZENIS RT-615K 200-treadwear performance tire is very popular with pro-touring cars that want to combine maximum grip with great wear characteristics. So, the first rule of our 2016 event was that every car had to roll on Falken tires. Tires are critical to how a car handles, so having RT-615K as our spec tire will allow the cars to perform to their full potential.
Other than tires our rules were simple. Make sure the vehicle was titled, registered, and legal for street use and bring the best driver you can find. We instituted the driver rule since a good driver, like good tires, will get the most performance possible out of a car.
The cars that showed up ran the gamut from low-buck and stock looking to pseudo racecars with a license plate. Our baseline was a new Camaro since the average Joe would be able to relate it to the performance numbers put down by the competitors.
This year the challenge has held at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The Challenge consisted of three driving events; slalom, road course, and 100-yard dash. The slalom is a zig-zag run through a 420-foot gauntlet of cones, and harder than it sounds. The road course portion took place at Auto Club Speedways’ infield course where each car received six laps to nail down their best time. The 100-Yard Dash was a new event. Think of it as a short “street style” drag sprint. Each car launched from a dead stop and blasted 100 yards through a set of timing lights. Between these three tests, the cars, and the traction of the Falken tires, were pushed hard in terms of overall performance.
It all made for a fun day of beating the snot out of some really nice classic Chevrolet iron. The fact that the Roadster Shop’s Rampage RS Camaro had the fastest time wasn’t a shocker, but the Heidts/Hawks third-gen Camaro, piloted by hot-shoe driver Danny Popp, coming in a close second raised a few eyebrows and Al Unser Jr in the Speedway Camaro was, as expected, on the podium.
The biggest surprise was how well all the modified 40-year-old Chevys did against the new-gen Camaro SS baseline ride. I guess you can teach some old dogs a new trick or two.
Look for full event coverage, with times, on upcoming stories at www.superchevy.com or on Falken’s social pages.