2013 Camaro SS – Ray Steele’s 945hp Super Sleeper
Ray Steele of Fort Collins, Colorado has turned his 2013 Camaro SS into one heck of a sleeper – one that he drives on a daily basis and races every chance he gets! And we can’t blame him. He may have been a Ford guy for the first part of his life, but a chance test drive on date night with his wife back in 2012 was all it took to change him from a “Chevy basher” to a Chevy believer. Fast forward just over five years later, and Steele has transformed his factory 2013 Camaro SS into a beast.
When we came across Steele’s Fifth-Generation 2013 Camaro SS it was the unique interior color and police memorial flag decals on the front fenders that initially caught our attention. Little did we know the factory-looking Camaro had a lot more going on than initially met the eye.
How It Began
After falling in love with the 2013 Camaro SS model and purchasing it in Maryland, Steele intended to merely build up the factory muscle car up a bit and have a fast, fun and reliable street car. His first choice of warranty-voiding mods was a Whipple Supercharger, but after much pontification and research, an entry-level AGP twin turbocharger setup was ordered. After the hair dryers were fitted, Steele took a trip up to Bandimere Speedway to see how fast it was and what difference the boost made. That was the beginning of a much more intensive “budget build” than he ever thought would happen.
“That trip to Bandimere set the hook and I’ve been chasing that elusive 1/10th of a second faster run ever since,” Steele explained.
So the car is twin-turbocharged with an AGP Borg Warner 56/61mm 0.63ar journal-bearing Twin Turbo kit. But it takes more than just that to safely and reliably run 14.1psi for over 900 rear wheel horsepower in a “factory” Camaro. To this, Steele merely nodded his head and supplied us with a full build sheet on the car, complete with just about every upgrade imaginable, down to the size of the spark plug gaps and what weight oil he runs.
Bolstering the turbocharged engine is a BTR Turbo Stage III camshaft, BTR dual platinum springs and titanium retainers, and a BTR Rocker Arm Trunnion upgrade kit, as well as ID-1000 injectors, NGK BR7EF spark plugs, an E85 flex sensor and DSX harness, LPE twin fuel pump, and a Kenne Belle Boost-A-Pump. Other engine upgrades include ARP head bolts, LS9 head gaskets, waste gate vents that recirculate back into the exhaust, and an AEM Tru-Boost controller.
Owner tuned using HPTuners, Ray’s 2013 Camaro SS has been taken from 590rwhp on 6.5psi of boost just after the turbos were installed, to 945rwhp and 951lb-ft of torque on 14.1psi and E85 fuel as the car sits now.
Backing the potent V8 under the hood is a 6-speed manual transmission outfitted with a Monster LT1-S Organic Triple disc clutch, tied to a one-piece DSS carbon fiber driveshaft. The axles on the car have been replaced with ZL1 units and the rear gears upgraded to 3:23s. Suspension upgrades on the car include BMR trailing arms, toe rods, and adjustable sway bars both front and rear. Rolling stock depends on what the car is being used for at the time, but range from graphite MRR 228 wheels wrapped in Nitto Motive tires to ZL1 5-spoke wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports, to Weld RT-S wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zeros up front and Mickey Thompson ET streets in the rear (for the drag strip). That must take up a little space in the ol’ garage! Braking power is provided by 6-piston CTS-V calipers paired with 2-piece rotors.
While Steele definitely built his 2013 Camaro SS into a weekend warrior, he also wanted it to look good during whatever kind of competition he decided to take on. So he opted to outfit the SS with a variety of aesthetic upgrades as well, including a ZL1 hood with exposed carbon fiber inserts, ZL1 side skirts, and a rear diffuser, and a 1LE splitter. He topped these additions with Matte Black RS stripes over the rear decklid and spoiler, as well as carbon fiber-like fender stripes and the aforementioned police memorial flag decals over the Black paint scheme.
More finite aesthetic upgrades to the Camaro include Oracle Concept SMD Ghosted Sidemarkers, Gen5diy 11W DLR headlight bulbs and a Gen5diy license plate white LED.
Inside, Steele’s Camaro features the factory Mojave and Black leather upholstery and trim, setting off its jet black exterior color even more. The only discernible upgrades to the interior are a full stereo system, featuring a JL Audio XD400/4 Main Amplifier, Subthump Integrated Amp/Sub/Stealth Enclosure, 12-inch Rockford Fosgate P3D412 Subwoofer and a Kicker 11ZX5001 500w Mono Subwoofer Amplifier, and one AEM boost gauge. What you don’t readily see is the electronic boost controller, which Steele stealthily put together as a touch plate just behind his shifter. The line-lock, which is a simple LED rocker switch was placed on the driver’s door armrest; and the Switch Link control module was tied to the cruise control cancel button on the steering wheel allowing for no-fuss brake hold when launching.
Now, remember, this car was never intended to be a race vehicle, but one thing led to another and here we are. Steele now likes to dapple in all types of racing with his car, from the drag strip to road courses, but ultimately likes AutoCrossing most of all.
“My favorite type of racing is AutoCross because it lasts longer than 10 seconds, as in drag racing and it’s not too hard on the car, like road course racing is,” Steele explained. “My car isn’t elite at any style of racing as they require specific suspensions, tires and alignment settings. Weight reduction is also an issue with these 4,350lbs cars. But that doesn’t stop me from driving it like it was a rental, or stolen. My mental motto for the car is to have fun whatever I’m doing with it, but also to keep all four tires on the pavement and the front end facing forward.”
In the future, Steele would like to race the Colorado Mile with the car, estimating a good 180mph run when he does. There’s also talk of upgrading the car even further, chasing ten more psi and over 1,300rwhp. Only time will tell just how insane this sleeper gets, but one thing will remain for certain: this bad-to-the-bone Fifth-Gen will never be your standard grocery getter or show car. Whatever you do, DO NOT rev on Ray at a stoplight!