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David Freiburger, his crew of Keith and Tonya Turk, and the talented tuners at Westech performance all celebrated a momentous victory as the HOT ROD Special Camaro added yet another record to its impressive list of accomplishments.
Leaving a swath of fine silt in its wake, the Camaro, with Freiburger at the wheel, clicked off a 208.791mph pass on the hallowed grounds of El Mirage dry lake bed. While the car has gone faster at the Bonneville salt flats, Freiburger says this is an extremely meaningful accomplishment.
“This was pretty big,” he said. “This was something I wanted to do ever since [Gray] Baskerville took me to Bonneville in 1992. El Mirage has the most heritage to me and it’s the single most difficult 200 club to get into.”
"This only happens with a large crew of friends, and I have to thank Keith (who did 90% of the work this time) and Tonya, along with Ed and Linda Van Scoy who are our two-decade support system," said Freiburger. "Thanks to Ish' and Troy at Westech for a late night tuning this week, and to Steve Brulé for the 25 years of mentorship.
Unlike the hard-packed salt of Bonneville, where when conditions are right there is actually enough traction to lay rubber to the salt surface, El Mirage presents a unique hurdle in both grip and course length, which is significantly shorter than Bonneville at 1 1/3 miles.
It was only a few days before the SCTA meet that the 347ci engine and its Holley HP fuel injection system where put to the test and fully tuned on the chassis dyno.
“It is a radically inferior traction surface with El Mirage being silt and Bonneville being salt. The problem at El mirage is the surface is much more effected by the winter conditions. Often, we get a terrible course just because of the winter conditions and it doesn’t improve all summer long. The more cars that go down it, the more it gets torn up and it’s like driving through a plowed field. I don’t know how some of the motorcycle guys do it!”
The Camaro is a team effort between Freiburger and the Turks and they’ve been racing together for years.
The 347ci engine produced a whopping 1,007 horsepower to the tires, running through a Tex racing T101A Nascar transmission, Quarter Master triple-disc clutch, and quick change rear end with a top-speed friendly 3.05 gear.
Any Granatelli's long-standing class record was accomplished with this wild, sequential, mechanically injected engine built by his brother Vince Granatelli. It graced the cover of HOT ROD Magazine in August of 1984.
“Keith is in charge of the car from the flywheel back and I’m in charge of the engine program,” said Freiburger. “It’s been super successful and I’m proud that with all of the records that we’ve set only one of them is with an engine that I did not assemble myself. I did build this one.”
The Camaro has seen multiple engine combinations from small block to big block and both naturally aspirated and blown setups, but the mill for this record run was a ProCharged and Holley EFI injected, 347ci small-block chevy.
Based on a Dart block machined by Dougan’s, the engine’s less-than-350-inch displacement is courtesy of a 4.125in bore and short, 3.250in stroke crankshaft.
Crower rods connect the crankshaft to custom JE pistons and a COMP solid roller camshaft works the valves in AFR 227cc heads. Providing boost–over 20 psi of the stuff– is a ProCharger F-1A-94 centrifugal supercharger and ignition comes courtesy of an MSD 7AL ignition box–the same box the car has run since 2004.
The engine had previously made power on the engine dyno, but as of last Thursday had not been proven between the fenders of the Camaro.
“We initially ran this engine on episode 40 of Engine Masters,” said Freiburger. “Eric Rhee and Steve Brulé put the initial tune in it. When we put the engine in the car and ran it on the chassis dyno, the tune was right on the money at wide open throttle, but Ishmael Candia took over on drivability tuning. At El Mirage, it’s not like a drag race where you put your foot to the floor and go. You have to have tractable throttle. Ish’ got that dialed in.”
On the rollers the little 347ci engine delivered a whopping 1,007 horsepower to the tire. A number that was more than enough to beat the standing SCTA class record (C/Blown Gas Coupe 200.681mph), which was set by Andy Granatelli in 1984.
“Thanks to ProCharger, AFR, Comp Cams, JE Pistons, Cometic Gasket, and Holley EFI," said Freiburger. "We also had help from Ridetech and Baer Brakes. Huge thanks to all the board and volunteers of SCTA for all the guidance and courtesy throughout the event. This was like a homecoming. Awesome!”