ATI Performance Products sent over these current photos with the brand new wrap applied to the COPO Camaro. Beattie, Rinehart Jr., and the ATI crew will be headed from their Maryland headquarters to the Lucas Oil Raceway this weekend for the week-long affair that is the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals next week.
ATI Performance Products, which was one of the first four customers to take delivery of a new Chevrolet COPO Camaro just two weeks ago, made the official competition debut of the new factory race car offering from the folks at GM last weekend at the NHRA Northeast division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series meet at Maryland’s Cecil County Dragway.
Right out of the gate, the Marty Rinehart Jr.-driven Camaro clicked off a stout 8.75 at 157 mph during pre-race testing last Thursday and followed it up with an 8.80 in qualifying and slightly quicker 8.74 during the first round of eliminations on Saturday. The 8.80 run was -0.893 under the SSA/A index of 9.70, which was good for No. 8 on the qualifying sheets — a fitting place for COPO No. 008.
Prior to hitting the track at Cecil County, the Camaro visited Ken Keir Race Cars direct from Detroit to have the wheelie bar and parachute mounted, followed by a test session at Maryland International Raceway.
ATI’s COPO is a 327-powered model with the 4.0L supercharger.
ATI was tabbed as the supplier of transmissions, converters, flexplates, dampers, and Super F fluids for the COPO Camaro, but despite that, Beattie was unsure if he’d be one the lucky 69 interested buyers to get a call to purchase one.
Said Beattie, “I had been asking anyone who would listen about being able to purchase one since the minute I heard about it. We ordered it through Jim Crivelli Chevrolet in Pittsburgh. [Fellow class racer] Jim Boburka is the service manager there and a long time friend of my father and our family. I have a big history file on the car going from emails about the details, to the flyer from SEMA and there is even a little COPO Camaro comic book they gave away. Pretty neat stuff.”
Beattie, an accomplished class racer in own right, brought Rinehart Jr. onboard to drive the Camaro, while the second-generation leader of ATI will continue to pilot his familiar company-branded Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Stock Eliminator.
“I have never let go of a transbrake button in a race situation and I would rather see the COPO go some rounds for GM and for ATI than for me to learn how to drive at Indy,” said Beattie. “Marty and his father own Rinehart’s Performance in Thomasville, Pa. and Marty has won a ton of Stock and Super Stock races on the East cost, including the Division 1 Maple Grove race a couple years ago and was runner-up at last years Dutch Classic. He probably has more round wins than I have rounds period.”
Before arriving at Indy, the COPO will be adorned with a graphics package similar to that of the Challenger, and time permitting, Beattie and Rinehart hope to test a number of driveline changes from an arsenal that includes two different gear ratio Powerglides, a T400, five different converters, Mark Williams driveshafts, rear brakes, center sections, and axles, along with some suspension upgrades from Moroso on the nose. Beattie also has a new ground-up engine build in the works with Katech in Michigan, although no timetable for that has been established as of yet.
COPO No. 008 is on quite a whirlwind tour, as Beattie and company immediately pulled the engine after returning from Cecil County. The car will be wrapped on Thursday and reunited with the 327 powerplant on Friday or Saturday, followed by what Beattie describes as “parking lot testing” to dial in the tune-up before its loaded up and hauled to Indianapolis, where the rest of the drag racing world will gets its first look at the highly anticipated GM supercar.