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SEMA: Chevrolet Performance Unveils The 2017 COPO Camaro And Engines
The fifth-gen COPO Camaro turned the racing world on its head when it debuted back in 2012. Since then, it has established a vehement record of dominating both NHRA Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes. The legend continued in 2016 when Chevrolet announced that they would build just 69 COPOs for 2016 (again). We recently got an up close and personal look at SAM Tech’s sixth-gen and we can tell you from personal experience that these machines are some of the baddest on the block.
That brings us to last week, when Chevrolet Performance flew us out to the GM Heritage Center and Global Propulsion Systems center in Pontiac, Michigan to have a sneak peak at what next year’s COPO would be bringing to the table for 2017. When we first laid eyes on the 2017 COPO the first thing we noticed was the color.
We were told that this particular hue of blue will not actually make it to production for 2017 (since it is a “concept color”), but the General is working on possibly bringing it to the COPO at some point in the future. The color is a play on the ever popular Hyper Blue but in an anodized finish, though we were told that is is a mixture of several other colors. The good new, though, is that the 2017 COPO will be offered with matte finishes.
“From sportsman classes to the pro ranks, Camaro has been one of the most popular cars ever to launch down the drag strip,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “For 50 years Chevrolet has supported Camaro drag racers and these new SEMA vehicles demonstrate our commitment to the sport, with parts development and the advancement of the historic COPO Camaro program.”
Lets start with the updates for the big daddy 427. Previously, the COPO 427 was utilizing a production block. This year, however, Chevrolet Performance has made the switch to the LSX iron engine block. Compression still comes in at a stout 13.5:1 and is fed by high-flow LS7 heads and a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold, making it a high-rpm screamer.
An all-forged set of internals makes sure this mill can handle just about any rpm you could possibly throw at it. The bump stick specs in at an aggressive .630 inch lift on both intake and exhaust with 233/276 degrees of duration on intake and exhaust respectively. Again, the reverse split pattern cam helps the bullet breath at the higher rpm.
Completely new for 2017, the COPO LT, which takes a 376 cubic inch LT1 block, bundles it with the latest in Chevrolet technology (retaining the LT1’s direct injection), offers an NHRA rated 410 horsepower. And while the COPO LT engine starts life as an LT1 everything else has been completely optimized for racing.
The Gen V aluminum block is stuffed with a forged steel crankshaft spinning forged steel connecting rods. Forged aluminum slugs translate combustion events into twist. CNC-ported LT1 heads keep the mill flush with fresh air and an aggressive bump stick, measuring in at .641 inch of lift on intake and exhaust and 242/285 degrees of duration on the intake and exhaust respectively, gives the COPO LT a massive bump in power over its production variant. The cam in this beast is actually substantially larger than its 427 cubic inch big brother.
With all of these options and improvements, the 2017 COPO is poised to continue to dominate well into the future. And, if you feel so inclined, you could always slip one of these motors between the fenders of your very own race car, COPO or not. Admittedly, it won’t be cheap, but you’ll have the baddest build on the block, that’s for sure.
Racers interested in purchasing one of the 2017 COPO Camaro race cars must register at Chevrolet.com/COPO by Dec. 15, 2016. An independent third party will randomly select from the pool of interested customers. Those selected will be contacted in the first quarter of 2017.