Building Boost – Let’s See If Project 899 Will Make 900 HP

It’s day six, and Project 899 is alive and rumbling. We have the car completed to the point that it is ready to be strapped to the chassis dyno, although there are still several items yet to be crossed off of our list. It’s time for Rick Trunkett of Big 3 Racing to work his magic on the tune to see if our Camaro will achieve the second of our three goals and make more than 899 wheel-horsepower.

Project 899

It’s finally time to fill the fuel cell with E85, ice down the intercooler water box, and let Project 899 roar.

Let’s recap what we’ve done to Project 899 so far for those not up to speed. Starting with a 1969 Camaro rolling chassis, we partnered with Summit Racing Equipment and Big 3 Racing to build a complete race car in only nine days. Once completed, the Camaro has to make more than 899 wheel-horsepower and make a quarter-mile pass in less than 8.99 seconds. Nothing about this is going to be easy.

In addition to working with Summit Racing to source a large majority of the parts needed for a build of this magnitude, we brought some of the industry’s top companies on board to help achieve our goals. Late Model Engines (LME) built a beastly Gen-V L8T capable of 1,400 crank-horsepower. Starting with a GM factory L8T block, LME filled it with a Callies Compstar crankshaft and connecting rod package, along with pistons from Diamond that are spec’d by LME. A pair of CNC-ported cylinder heads from CID were then bolted on along with a Whipple Gen-5 3.0L supercharger. This complete package is something that LME offers its customers, and it can be shipped to your door ready to install in your project.

Late Model Engines did an excellent job of building us an L8T capable of reliably making 900-plus horsepower with boost from the 3.0L Whipple supercharger.

Backing up our boosted L8T is a TH400 transmission and converter from ATI Performance Products. The transmission is rated to handle up to 1,500 horsepower and features a transbrake and a manual valve body with a clean neutral. Power is then sent to the Strange Engineering fabricated 9-inch rearend built with Strange’s Ultra-HD center-section, Pro Gear ring and pinion gears, and 40-spline axles.

This Strange Engineering 9-inch rearend will have no problems getting all the power to the rear wheels.

On paper, we felt that this combination would achieve both the horsepower and e.t. goals for Project 899, but we weren’t thinking it would be easy, and it wasn’t. As we strapped the Camaro to the dyno and voiced our predictions of what the first pull would produce, Chuck pointed out that Project 899 was sitting on a Mustang dyno, which is known to be a heartbreaker for those with big horsepower dreams.


Knowing that the first full pull on the dyno was to make sure everything was operating properly, it was admittedly slightly disappointing to see 647 horsepower pop up on the screen. Things immediately looked better on the next run though, as the Camaro produced 713 horsepower at the wheels. However, Rick noticed that we had a low-boost situation on our hands. According to the data log, the boost was hovering at 12 to 13 pounds instead of the 18-plus pounds we expected to see.

We installed the larger diameter blower pulley and kept the same belt we had on the car to try and solve an apparent belt slippage issue. This resulted in a slight gain and produced 722 wheel-horsepower. We then switched to the smaller 3.050-inch diameter blower pulley and installed a shorter belt. For the next several dyno runs the horsepower output hovered in the 860 range.

Project 899

Chuck gives everything a look before Rick makes another dyno run.

We then installed a larger diameter idler pulley to add tension to the belt after the data led us to believe we still had a slight amount of belt slip. Dyno run number twelve produced 872 horsepower, and although it wasn’t more than 899, we knew we were headed in the right direction. By this point, it was well into the evening and we all agreed the engine was heat-soaked. We decided to call it a day and let the car cool down overnight. 

Walking into the Big 3 Racing shop on the morning of day seven, we had confidence that Project 899 would achieve the goal of making more than 899 horsepower. On the second dyno run of the day, our Whipple-supercharged LME-built L8T made 19 pounds of boost, resulting in 900.9 horsepower at the wheels. Mission accomplished.

Fitting the hood only required a slight modification to the underside to clear the Whipple supercharger.

Relieved and happy that goal number two was achieved, we moved our focus back to wrapping up the remaining items on our list so Project 899 would be ready for the track. The new hood from Auto Metal Direct looked great, but it required a modification to clear the top of the Whipple supercharger. Bob made quick work of removing some of the metal from the underside of the hood so we could bolt it to the new Eddie Motorsports billet hinges. The antiroll bar and a driveshaft safety loop were finished up, and a change in front ride height was also made.

Project 899

Seeing Project 899 sitting in the middle of the shop as a complete car that just made 900 wheel-horsepower we collectively felt a great deal of accomplishment. But there’s still one more goal to achieve and that is to run quicker than 8.99 seconds in the quarter-mile.

We are excited to see what Project 899 can do on the drag strip. You’ll have to stay tuned for the next update to see if we pull off the trifecta and make a quarter-mile pass in less than 8.99 seconds. Plus, we’ll be rolling out content from Holley’s LS Fest East where we will make passes in front of a huge crowd.

More Sources

About the author

Jeremy Nichols

Jeremy loves to go fast, whether that's on two wheels, four wheels, or boating. With a willingness to compete at almost anything, Jeremy shoots competition long-range rifles matches and races road bicycles and enjoys building vehicles for people.
Read My Articles