Chevrolet Camaro Test - High Noon
We put the STI Killer to the test and find out if it really lives up to all of the hype
From the May, 2011 issue of GM High-Tech Performance
By Justin Cesler
Photography by Scott Parker
When we first introduced the STI Killer, we set out to build a Camaro that would "be a total road course domination machine." We told you it had to "be faster on an autocross course, road course, and a dragstrip" when compared to a Subaru STI and it would have to do all of those things while "getting better gas mileage, out braking, and out accelerating" the STI. Basically, it had to be better in every way, and we wouldn’t stop until it was. Many people thought we were crazy, including some of the very shops we worked with on the build. When they heard what we were doing, and what we were doing it with, the common response was "...oh, wow! Those STI’s are pretty fast on a road course. You’ve got your work cut out for you..." And you know what? They were right, but we know you believed in it just as we did, so we just kept grinding, welding, modifying and bolting, hoping that on game day we would have what it took.
Honestly, it’s hard to believe it has been over a year since we started working on the STI Killer, but looking back on past stories, it has provided us (and hopefully you) with a ton of great information and tech. If you remember, the Killer started as a rolling pile of junk, with mismatched body parts, no drivetrain or interior and, to be frank, it just needed a lot of help. Over the last year, we have built our Camaro with just one goal in mind--to beat the STI in an all out track battle. For those of you who have followed from the start, you have seen everything from the initial teardown to the very last suspension tweak and hopefully taken some of that knowledge and applied it to your own ride.
Anyway, we know you’re not here to reminisce--you’re here for results! If you have already let your eyes wonder towards the pictures and graphs on the following pages, you know that we have tons of data, but lets jump straight to the point. In head-to-head competition, the STI Killer lived up to its name, taking first place in all but one event, proving that, not only can the F-body platform be a solid handler, even against some of the best modern sports cars in our segment, but that the STI Killer certainly lives up to its name. That’s right, the STI Killer came out on top in head-to-head competition, besting not only the all-wheel drive, turbocharged STI, but also a plethora of other great cars, like a C6 Z51 Corvette, an LS2 GTO, and a stock 2010 Camaro SS. Not bad for a bolt-on fourth-gen with a couple of well placed suspension items, some big brakes, and a majority of OEM-supplied parts lifted from other GM cars.
So, is this the end for the STI Killer? Absolutely not! In fact, this is really just the beginning. As you will see, the time difference between the STI Killer and the STI was very close and we don’t like being close! In the following months, we’re going to turn up the wick on our project and take it from an OE-based combination to something much more radical. Of course, we still plan to keep it street friendly and well appointed, but we’re going to bring in the big guns to help us go from STI Killer to Z06 Killer. Can we do it? Well, you’re going to have to wait and see... but for now, check out the results from our STI Killer versus STI test. We have some data that may be very interesting to anyone looking to upgrade their F-body’s handling.
We didn’t build the STI...
We didn’t build the STI Killer specifically for straight-line speed and the road-race inspired suspension definitely isn’t optimal for really impressive 60-foot times, but at GMHTP, nothing can escape hitting the dragstrip to see what it’s made of. The STI Killer was no exception!
With a bolt-on GMPP LS6...
With a bolt-on GMPP LS6 making roughly 395 rwhp, the STI Killer put up some impressive speed, running 114.5 mph in an elapsed time of 12.64 seconds. If those two numbers don’t jive together in your head, check out our pathetic 60-foot time (2.146), which can be blamed on both the stiff suspension and the sub-par driver (Hey, that’s me!) behind the wheel. With some practice, we should be able to drop that 60-foot into the 1.8- or 1.7-second range, which would greatly improve our time.
On paper we knew this wouldn’t...
On paper we knew this wouldn’t be a contest, but in the name of science, we made some runs in the Subaru STI to see how it would compare to the Killer on the dragstrip. With 230 awhp and decent tires, the STI was able to get moving fairly easily, although an overall lack of torque kept it from doing any damage to our Camaro… silly imports!
Clearly the STI Killer...
Clearly the STI Killer reigns supreme on the dragstrip, besting the Subaru by 1.17 seconds and almost 14 mph! In stoplight-to-stoplight battles, the Camaro would do just as well, as you can see over 6-tenths of a second difference to the eighth-mile mark with a 9.3-mph advantage. Clearly, it is STI Killer—1, Subaru—0.
When Subaru built the STI,...
When Subaru built the STI, it built it for handling corners like a champion. With variable all-wheel drive, factory Brembo brakes, BBS wheels, and sticky tires, the Subaru is a force to be reckoned with on any course. Out on Gainesville’s 1.6-mile road course, the Subaru felt fast, with good control and amazing post-apex acceleration.
1:06.768… wow, that is...
1:06.768… wow, that is a pretty fast lap around Gainesville’s course! To put that in perspective, a 1:06.768 is faster than Editor Parker’s C6 Corvette (1:07.95), a modified ’10 Camaro (1:08.47) and a modified LS2 GTO (1:06.85). The small course and tight, low-speed corners make horsepower almost irrelevant on Gainesville’s course, giving the all-wheel drive STI a major advantage over the competition.
Knowing how fast the STI...
Knowing how fast the STI was around the course, we strapped in to the Camaro and made sure to bring our A-game. The Nitto NT05 tires, BMR suspension, and Koni shocks had to all work in perfect harmony to hustle the STI Killer around the course, which was a delicate dance of tire spin and lateral G’s.
Drum roll please… The STI...
Drum roll please… The STI Killer ran Gainesville’s 1.6-mile road course in…wait for it… 1:06.707 seconds! Yes, it was that close, with just .061 seconds separating the Killer from the killed, but the 1:06.707 was fast enough to put the STI Killer on top with a win on the road course. STI Killer—2, Subaru—0.
OK, so the STI Killer is...
OK, so the STI Killer is faster, but how does the telemetry and data compare to the Subaru? Using our Racepak G2X, we were able to capture a plethora of interesting data, which allowed us to see where the STI Killer was stronger than the Subaru and where it could still use some help. Here you can see MPH around the course, with the STI Killer in yellow and the STI in blue. Even with 164 more horsepower on tap, the STI Killer wasn’t much faster around the course, since traction and room were always an issue.