Pony Wars 2 Episode 3: Preparing for ProCharged Boost

The Pony Wars rivalry continues to heat up in Episode 3. Since we selected the closest matched models of each pony car to compete on the dyno, drag strip, autocross, and braking challenge, in this episode we get a close look at the engine combinations each team selected for their ProCharged build and how it affected their $10,000 Summit Racing budget.

2019 Camaro SS

Ron Mowen and his team at Vengeance Racing took out the Camaro’s engine and promptly got to work adding the custom MAHLE forged pistons that Vengeance helped design to drop into the Gen V LT1 engine without rebalancing it.

“We worked with the engineers at MAHLE to design a complete drop-in solution that requires no balancing, while offering all of the benefits of a custom forged rod and piston,” Mowen said.

The pistons feature a 4.065-inch bore and drop compression to 10.5:1, which provides the engine with the dependability it needs to hold together under a large amount of boost once the ProCharger is installed.

“We have performed extensive and grueling testing of these items in our Horsepower Wars Camaro, capable of making over 1,100hp as well as numerous other combinations around the country,” Mowen said. He added that the 2618 forged pistons come with .927-inch Heavy Duty .200 Wall Wrist Pins.

Billet Molnar “LS Power Adder” Series Connecting Rods (PN CH6125NLB-LST8-A) are used with the pistons, equipped with ARP 2000 rod bolts.

Vengeance used a Total Seal CS AP Advanced Profiling ring set (PN CSH201075) sized 1.5/1.5/3.0mm. According to Keith Jones from Total Seal Piston Rings, these are very tight tolerance ring sets that feature a stainless steel top ring with C-33 CrN face coating, Napier style 2nd ring and 3-piece oil ring. The conventional first and second rings along with standard tension oil rings make the setup ideal for mild forced induction or nitrous setups.

The team assembled the engine while using Lucas Oil Assembly Lube in an effort to eliminate dry starts, prevent seizing, galling, and scarring.

Vengeance decided to put a custom COMP camshaft (PN CCA-633-1) in the Camaro which increases the lift (.651/.665-inch) and duration (229/237 at .050) for added power but also has a larger fuel pump lobe for a 32-percent increase in fuel flow with the direct injection (mechanical) fuel pump. In addition, this cam works in concert with LME DOD Delete Plugs and Billet VVT Delete Timing Cover to eliminate the unneeded, fuel conscious technology. It’s complemented by a set of Trick Flow pushrods (PN TFS-21417800-8) designed for high lift camshafts.

The entire fuel system was upgraded to ZL1 specs with factory LT4 DI pump (PN ADO-HPM1026), in-tank Fuel Pump Module (PN ADO-M100183), LT4 fuel pump feed pipe (PN ADO-12677005), and injectors from Summit Racing (PN ADO-12686277) for additional fueling capacity, which is all plug and play in the 2019 Camaro. This is an awesome upgrade for big power in the newer LT engines.

One of the most notable parts used on the Camaro build is the CNC ported cylinder heads (PN LMECNCLT1) from Late Model Engines (LME). These cylinder heads are factory units that have larger intake and exhaust ports, reshaped combustion chambers, titanium retainers, and single piece stainless steel exhaust valves. The cylinder heads also receive dual valvesprings, which will work with the new COMP cam. All of these items add up to better flow and dependability, which is essential when the LT is being force-fed with massive amounts of air.

The heads were sealed to the block with GM LT4 heads gaskets from Summit Racing (PN 12654622), constructed of multi-layer steel.

Other engine components include a Cloyes single roller timing chain (PN 9-303) designed to be ultra-durable and precisely engineered for an optimum tooth to chain contact. Upgraded Summit Rocker Trunnions (PN SUM141560) add durability in the valvetrain with added valve spring pressure. They come with micro-polished steel pivots and C932 bronze bearings, which eliminate needle bearings and ensure max lubrication and load carrying capabilities.

2019 Mustang GT Premium

The FordNXT Team, led by two-time NMCA Champion and X275 Mustang racer James Lawrence, put their focus on suspension and handling – an entirely different strategy than the other two teams.

In terms of power, one notable feature of the Mustang is the rod and piston combination. The OE components come forged from the factory so the 5.0-liter Coyote can make over 800-rwhp without any upgrades (as we proved last year). Between the stock engine and placing a premium on traction, the team opted for the P-1X from ProCharger as it’s a better match than the D-1X.

Despite utilizing the P-1X, the factory oil pump gears needed to be upgraded to billet pieces. The team went with Livernois billet oil pump gears (PN LPP701126) since they can deal with abuse of boost at higher RPM under boost.

The new Mustang engine comes direct-injected with a secondary fueling system from the factory via multi-port injection. Since the FordNXT team is able to rely on the port injectors to supply additional fuel without additional upgrades to the DI pump and injectors, they opted for a larger set of Fuel Injector Clinic (FIC) 1,000cc injectors (PN IS403-1000H) and a bigger in-tank setup from Team Beefcake Racing (to supply both sets of fuel rails) to achieve near limitless fueling capabilities.

2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

For Pony Wars, Mike Copeland, CEO of Arrington Performance, decided to use his personal car for the competition, a 2019 Challenger R/T Scat Pack.

Since the car already has some key performance parts that will help it in the competition, such as a suspension package, 15-inch brakes, 6-piston aluminum calipers, and cold air induction, Copeland put his focus on the engine as he wants to make as much boost as possible with the D-1X blower.

Unfortunately, the 392 won’t take a lot of boost without upgrading the internals. So Mike decided to install a set of forged MAHLE pistons with Total Seal rings and Manley rods.

Like the Camaro, Arrington worked with MAHLE on the pistons (PN MMP-64FPRP2618) to custom make a set to drop-in with no crankshaft balancing required. They feature a 10:1 compression, tooled steel wrist pin, and are the same weight as the factory pistons. The piston design also includes an accumulator groove between the first Total Seal Coated Steel top ring and Napier second ring. The pistons are connected to Manley forged connecting rods (PN 14089) with ARP 2000 rod bolts for high RPM stability.

Meanwhile, a COMP hydraulic roller camshaft and Arrington valvetrain upgrades were the key to maximizing the combination.

The camshaft (PN 201428-17) was ground with a 226/234 duration at 050 inch lift, .619-inch lift on the intake side and.612-inch lift on the exhaust, with a Lobe Separation Angle of 116. “We installed a limiter in the cam gear to reduce the amount of rotation. We did this to increase low end torque. It requires work in the calibration, but when you have a multi-use car and torque is important it is well worth the effort,” Copeland said.

Made from a billet core, the hydraulic roller cam utilizes Arrington valvesprings (PN LS1511ML) and lifters (PN 449-2), along with Comp Cams retainers (PN 761) and spring seats (PN 4683).  

One of the advantages that the Hemi has over the other pony cars is that the head gaskets thickness can be changed based on what you want to do with compression ratio and other various factors. For the build, Copeland is using the Cometic head gaskets (PN C5026/5027) featuring .040 thickness constructed out of multi-layer steel with a 4.120 bore, complete with a viton rubber coating.

The Hemi utilizes ARP head studs (PN 244-4300) that are cold forged for improved integrity, heat treated and made from 8740 chromoly to handle an increased clamp load over the factory hardware.

The build also utilizes FIC 1,000cc injectors, high-impedance, rated up to 1,000hp+  (with forced induction and using gasoline).

Three teams, three different cars, one winner. Who will be the next Pony Wars champion? Tune in for Episode 4 as the teams wrap up their builds and get ready for the competition.

The 2019 season of Pony Wars is made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry, including Summit RacingCOMP CamsTCIK&N Filters, Toyo Tires, MAHLE MotorsportsDyna-BattWeld RacingCorsa PerformanceFragolaHolleyDiabloSport, NOSE3 Spark PlugsTotal SealMickey ThompsonMoser EngineeringBMR SuspensionMiller ElectricAerospace ComponentsVictor ReinzMorosoUS GearHawk PerformanceLucas OilPRW IndustriesWeld RacingVP RacingNOSProCharger, and ARP. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild ride!

About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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