A pre-production, 2010 prototype Camaro, built in-house by GM’s performance groups in 2008 as the factory homologation submission car for Grand-Am racing, will be headed for the Mecum auction in Monterey, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 16.
Few manufacturers’ “factory racecars” are actually engineered and built completely in house. Fewer make it into private ownership. This Camaro is one of those rare vehicles, a survivor pushed out the door just before the 2009 GM bankruptcy proceedings, which might have threatened its survival.
Back when the launch for the return of the Camaro was being planned after its eight-year absence from the market, it was agreed internally that a road racing version should be created to continue the brand’s long racing heritage.
Many GM groups had a hand in this cooperative project. While Chevrolet Marketing provided their support and encouragement, under the direction of GM Racing and GM Performance Division engineers, skilled Milford Proving Ground technicians built the car in the famed Building 27 from pre-production parts.
Meanwhile, the 6.3-liter, LS3 crate motor was blueprinted by GM Performance Engine Center in Wixom. GM Aero Lab fine-tuned the aerodynamics in their full size tunnel. Suspension tuning took place on the 7 post rig located at the Proving Ground. GM Design Staff came up with the blue and yellow paint, reminiscent of the era in which Mark Donahue’s iconic Sunoco Camaro dominated the Trans-Am racing series. And finally, all of the systems came together to be assessed in several tests at GM Proving Ground test track, in Milford, Mich.
The prototype “race kit” package includes springs, Koni shocks, brakes, cooling aids, and other chassis bits. The LS3 engine is mated to a Tremec 6060 six-speed transmission. A lightweight carbon fiber hood, trunk lid, doors, fenders, and front and rear spoilers, a C&R racing aluminum radiator, and the three-inch exhaust system with Coast Fab mufflers, are all attached to the seam-welded, body-in-white/roll-cage structure.
After debuting publicly at the 2008 SEMA show, the vehicle served as the original submission car for an ongoing negotiation process with the Grand-American series officials. But with the uncertainty of the impending GM bankruptcy, and the program facing possible cancellation, to protect the car, it was quickly sold to Riley Technologies. In that company’s hands, this car paved the way for a successful “production” run of Grand-Am and SCCA World Challenge-approved Camaro racecars, being built by the approved source, Riley Technologies.
This car has remained as originally shown by Chevrolet, has not been raced, and is still privately owned by Riley Technologies. Documentation includes the bill of sale and a photo album of step-by-step build details.
This one-of-a-kind vehicle, an important piece of Camaro and GM’s factory racing history, is scheduled to be auctioned at 3:45 PM Pacific, on Friday, Aug. 16, at the Mecum Auction, www.MECUM.com
held at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa in Monterey.