Drag Week is the ultimate torture test of man and machine; spread out over 1,000 miles and five dragstrips, the competitors–and their cars–are forced to travel between the tracks, often on little to no sleep, in an effort to turn in the best elapsed time average in their respective classes over the course of the event. When Texas resident Marcus Carew decided he wanted to run a newly-acquired Camaro in the event, he called Ken McCaul and the team at Borowski Race Enterprises for one of their Dart LS Next-based engines.
Borowski’s projects have been featured often here on EngineLabs; the shop’s efforts with the LS Next platform have resulted in solid power production and reliability. It is with these goals in mind they were able to develop a powerplant for Carew that met his objectives–but it didn’t occur immediately.
“He originally wanted another engine that we built; a twin-turbo 427 with a hydraulic cam that was pump-gas-capable,” says McCaul.
“We built it, got 95-percent done with it, onto the dyno, and then he called to tell us that he bought his tube-frame Camaro and was thinking about doing Drag Week and asked what we thought about changing the engine to a mechanical camshaft and some other things.”
Of course, as engines of this caliber aren’t exactly cookie-cutter pieces, McCaul had to break the bad news and explain that the engine already underway wouldn’t be what Marcus wanted or needed to achieve his goals. Ultimately that original engine was sold off to another buyer, and the Borowski team took on this project, a completely-different, 427ci, twin-turbocharged, methanol-injected dual-purpose engine which is designed to be semi-docile on the street and an absolute monster on the track.
After consulting with Marcus about the class rules, the longevity the project would require, and all of the other little details which are taken into account during a build of this magnitude, they settled on the Dart LS Next 2 block, complete with 2.749-inch Ford Cleveland-style mains, which has been proven to handle a literal ton of power in our sister magazine Dragzine’s Project BlownZ Camaro, which has since been retired from competition.
Inside the block sits one of Callies‘ billet Ultra Light crankshafts and a set of the company’s forged Ultra I-beam connecting rods–of undisclosed dimensions–to support the hard-anodized Diamond pistons, which have been constructed to Borowski’s specifications.
By altering the connecting rod length and piston configuration, McCaul is able to spec the pistons with abnormally-robust top and second ring lands, and a pin height which has been lowered as far as possible to provide more support at the oil ring location.
The full-round design helps to maximize stability, rather than the current trend of using a slipper skirt to reduce weight. For the Drag Week application, durability was deemed far more important than a bit of RPM capability that would be achieved by reducing the piston’s mass.
All Pro cylinder head castings have been completely modified to Borowski Race Enterprises specifications in-house. We could tell you more, but then we’d be in a position to demand a large ransom or your first-born child. Rest assured that they are configured to support the power levels this engine is capable of laying down.
The rest of the foundation is assembled from components which are often used at this power level, from the Clevite rod and main bearings to the ARP hardware throughout. A custom camshaft from COMP Cams was developed and ground for boost-building efficiency, while a Jesel belt drive was used.
Through the use of the Holley Dominator engine management system tuned in-house at Borowski, they are able to tune the engine to kick on the second row of injectors as soon as the duty cycle exceeds 50-percent on the first set.
Their extensive on-dyno and at-track tuning experience with the Dominator system gives their customers a solid base with which to begin a race program. Over the last several years of working with the system’s programming they’ve developed a tuning method where they can provide a customer with a safe, race-friendly tuneup which can then be manipulated at the track to take advantage of specific conditions and maximize performance.
With a pair of 83mm turbochargers from Bullseye Power on board, Marcus has all of the power he can possibly need to achieve the desired performance level. After careful consultation with Bill Devine at Bullseye Power, the turbocharger size was selected to get the car down the track no matter what the conditions. Turbosmart‘s Race Port blowoff valves are used on the dyno to control the boost levels.
“Marcus wants to be able to race the car locally as well. The engine made over 1,400 horsepower on 93-octane pump gas with no intercooler installed. In fact, the car is being built with no intercooler and the ultimate plan is to run it on methanol fuel. at the track. It saves a substantial amount of weight and gives Marcus the ability to drive the car to the track in the pump gas configuration,” says McCaul.
We were curious about air intake temperatures and other heat buildup without the intercooler, and were informed that it’s not even a concern, mainly due to the efficiency of the turbocharger arrangement.
“At 18 psi on pump gas, the backpressure on the turbos was measured at 6psi. It’s converting 6 psi on the backside of the turbo into 18 pounds of boost due to the efficiency and the size of the turbos. They are barely working and not creating a lot of heat to produce the power,” says McCaul.
The reduced heat provided inlet temperatures in the neighborhood of 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit, just a bit above ambient temperature on the day this engine was on the dyno. That will translate to consistent performance as the car is pressed into duty on the Drag Week circuit, where underhood temperatures can be a concern, especially during the cruise portions of the event where the car might run 100 or 200 miles in one shot. That’s kind of the point of Drag Week–to separate the pretenders from the contenders. And McCaul thinks Carew’s Camaro will be a contender.
“We also ran it on methanol–as Marcus will run it during Drag Week competition–and it made 1,930 horsepower at only 22 psi boost pressure. Our dyno is limited to 2,000 horsepower, so that’s where we cut it off, The engine is designed to make over 30 psi, but where he pushes it will be a track-time decision.”
One thing is for certain–Marcus Carew better be ready for a hell of a ride!
Hear It Sear The BRE Dyno: