Tangy Texas Treat: 2000hp Twin Turbo LSX Camaro

12/14/2023

Tangy Texas Treat: 2000hp Twin Turbo LSX Camaro

12/14/2023

Mat Hoerauf of Odessa, Texas started learning the ins and outs of car building at age 13, when his father purchased a ’69 Camaro project for the two of them to work on. Hoerauf says that they hadn’t initially planned on going too wild with the former Pro Street car when they bought it. But, as is often the case with builds like these, the plan changed as they dug deeper into the project.


“It was around the time that the first “Fast & Furious” movie came out,” he recalls. “And I think that Charger had an influence on us. By the time we were done, the Camaro had a 468ci big block with an 8-71 blower sticking out of the hood.”

Mat Hoerauf's wild orange beast began as a showroom-fresh 2010 Camaro he used as his daily driver. But that quickly morphed into something more spirited when he added a twin turbo kit. “I put it on, and at the time I thought it was the baddest thing in town," he says. "I think it made about 600hp, and it ran a 7.10 in the eighth mile."


In 2010, Hoerauf purchased a showroom-fresh Camaro SS as his daily driver. Equipped with a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LS3 and a six-speed manual gearbox, the fifth-gen coupe offered retro style and enough performance to keep things interesting, but it wasn’t long before he was itching to bring some boost into the mix.


“I wanted to get a twin turbo package on the car, and Granatelli Motor Sports had just come out with a kit,” he says. “I put it on, and at the time I thought it was the baddest thing in town – I think it made about 600hp, and it ran a 7.10 in the eighth mile at our local track.”


Unfortunately, disaster struck a year later when Hoerauf took the car to a tuner who promptly blew the engine up on a shop dyno. After letting the car sit in the garage for a few months, Hoerauf decided to start putting together a plan for a new engine, this time targeting a stout 1000hp from the setup.

A tuner grenaded the Camaro's engine on a dyno, forcing Mat to reconsider what he wanted to do with the car. After some time away, he came up with a plan to build a 1000hp motor for it, which morphed into a 2000hp engine pretty quickly. "By then, a thousand horsepower in a 3900-pound car didn’t seem like enough," he says.


“We pulled the old motor out in preparation for the LSX-based motor, but the project stalled out because I got busy with work and other things, and it sat like that for almost two years. But then in 2015 I met Jon Simpson of JS Performance. He had built a couple of motors for friends of mine and meeting him helped to kickstart the project again.


"At that point I wanted something I could hop in and drive like a normal car if I wanted to – to a certain extent anyway – but would also have the power to go up against pretty much anything. I wanted 2000hp. By then, a thousand horsepower in a 3900-pound car didn’t seem like enough.”

Powering the Camaro now is a 427ci LSX V8 with stout internals to handle copious amounts of boost pumped in by twin 76mm Precision turbos. Controlling it all is a Holley Dominator ECU. “We chose that because … you can do virtually anything with it,” says Mat.


Accordingly, the project got significantly more ambitious this time around. In preparation for the serious influx of horsepower that was on the way, the team ditched the Camaro’s factory independent rear suspension for a Moser live axle with a torque arm setup, while the front end was outfitted with tubular control arms and a K-member from Skyview Race Cars to help shed some pounds.


Mini tubs were also installed to get the car as low as possible while retaining room for the wide rubber that it would need to make use of the power. The car still retains the full factory interior, but a 7.50-certified cage has been installed to improve both safety and rigidity, while a pair of Kirkey race seats have replaced the factory thrones.

Although the interior is largely stock, some concessions were made to keep things safe at the level of performance Mat's Camaro is capable of dishing out. Foremost among the race-ready cabin updates is a 7.50-certified cage to protect the driver and add rigidity to the chassis.


Power is dished out by a 427ci LSX V8 that’s been outfitted with a Callies Crankshaft and connecting rods, Wiseco pistons, a custom Comp camshaft, LSX cylinder heads, and a custom intake from Shaun’s Custom Alloy. The car’s twin-turbo setup was put together by the team at Brink RaceCraft in Dallas and consists of a pair of Precison 7675 76mm turbos and a custom intercooler from No Corners Cut Fabrication. Running 31 pounds of boost, the combination is good for 1996 horsepower at the rear wheels, and that grunt is now routed to the Moser rear end through a Proformance TH400 three-speed automatic.


“We’re using a Holley Dominator ECU to control everything,” Hoerauf notes. “And we chose that because it’s really geared toward the dual-purpose intent of this build. You can do virtually anything with it – I wanted to have all factory car luxuries as well as all of the performance capabilities, and this ECU allowed us to have that.”

Mat typically runs 31 pounds of boost, which results in 1996 horsepower at the rear wheels. Handling all that power is a Proformance TH400 three-speed automatic and a Moser rear end.


On the aesthetic front, a Camaro ZL1 front bumper replaces the factory Super Sport piece to provide additional airflow and a more aggressive look, while a VFN Sunoco hood and a Racecraft rear wing bolster the no-nonsense vibe. The head-turning Tangelo Pearl hue comes courtesy of House of Kolor.


“We couldn’t route the exhaust out the back of the car because it’s so low now, so we did the fender exit instead,” he explains. “It would have been easier to do it out of the front bumper, but I wanted to make sure the car would be eligible for the True Street class, and the rules require the exhaust to exit past the firewall.”

The exhaust location wasn't chosen purely for aesthetic reasons. “We couldn’t route the exhaust out the back of the car because it’s so low now, so we did the fender exit instead,” says Mat. Sending the exhaust out the front bumper would have made the car ineligible for True Street class racing.


Since completing the build in the summer of 2022, Hoerauf set a personal best of 4.81 at 156 mph. Not long after, however, the car suffered some bumps and bruises in an off-track excursion during a “Street Outlaws” shoot in Las Vegas. “I’m glad the pictures were taken before that,” he says with a laugh. “Luckily most of the damage was cosmetic. It’s at my shop now, and since it’s been down for a bit, we thought it might be a good time to change the powerplant and lose some more weight in the process.”


The latest plan involves switching to a Dart aluminum block, and this time around he’s targeting an eye-watering 2800 horsepower. “Next year I want to go out and do one of the drag-and-drive events – ideally Sick 66, which happens in October,” he says. “In the meantime, it’ll just be about getting the car dialed in again and competing in some True Street events. It should dominate after we’re finished with it.”

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