There are a ton of internet-famous cars out there that get posted to every social media site and go to car shows, but never do anything in the real world. Like you, I saw the “Rampage Camaro” at SEMA 2014 in the GoPro booth and drooled over the build pictures of the gorgeous machine, but little did I know at the time that I would get the chance to flog the car at VIR for the Grassroots Motorsports Ultimate Track Car Challenge.
The UTCC is one of my favorite events because it brings out such a wide variety of crazy machines with no rules to limit creativity. When I got the call asking if I wanted to drive the Rampage Camaro, I knew it would be tough to win overall, but couldn’t pass up the chance to drive such a beautiful machine.
To make sure everything was ready to go, we took the car to a Chin Motorsports open track event at VIR to tweak the setup and get everything dialed in. The car certainly looks the part and has lots of great pieces onboard, but everything must work together properly. The Roadster Shop guys may not build racecars every day, but they definitely know how to put together a car no matter what the goal. After a day of burning up tires, they took the car back to the shop for a few minor modifications to get the most out of the package.
Our competition in the UTCC included everything from a 1,000-pound sports racer to a Jeep on 37” tires. At the pointy end of the grid, there were several production-based vehicles nearing the 1,000 horsepower mark, so we had our work cut out for us.
We had a set of Michelin slicks to run for our timed sessions, unfortunately the tire sizes were slightly different than what we had tested and that created an understeer condition for our first timed session. Still, we turned a 1:51.3, which was good enough for third place behind the aforementioned sports racer and a high-horsepower Mustang driven by Brian Faessler.
We switched back to our larger Hoosier tires for the second session and the balance was restored, so we expected to make some improvement on our lap time. Unfortunately, we melted a coil wire, lost power on our hot lap, and were not able to go any faster. Our time still stood from the morning, but we knew there were some fast cars that still hadn’t managed to turn their best times. By the end of the afternoon, we fell to fifth place overall, but our time was good enough to win the award for Fastest Vintage and the car won Official’s Choice.
Thank you very much to everyone from NASA, VIR, and Grassroots Motorsports for hosting the event, and to The Roadster Shop and Alex for the opportunity to drive this great car. Enjoy the video!