Not many 19-year-olds can say that they own a 4-second race car, but Gage Llamas can. The apprentice electrician from Waukegan, Illinois, has been building the car for the last four years and it’s just about ready to hit the track for testing, with a debut in the PDRA’s Super Street class scheduled for later this year.
Llamas bought the Pontiac from a friend when he was 15, and he and his father picked it up and got to work.
“It was a roller when we bought it and it was a good deal. I’m happy that we chose that style car,” Llamas said. “I’ve grown up watching my dad race and I’m a third-generation drag racer. We do it as a family. My grandpa is very involved in it,” Llamas explained of the car build. “We didn’t intend for it to be what it is. We intended it to be a street/strip-style car with an LS turbo, but once we started building the roll cage, we decided to do it right the first time and made it a 25.5. Then that changed in a week and it’s now a 25.2 cert.”
As stated, Llamas didn’t really have a class in mind until recently.
“We had the twins on it and Super Street is the only class that allows a twin-turbo small-block that we can be competitive in.”
Llamas enlisted the help of Anthony Hammock at Hambone Fabrications to build out the roll cage and turbo piping, while Tom Anderson at TA Racing Fab did the back-half rear suspension.
Powering Llamas’ Pontiac is a 364 cubic inch LSX combination that was spec’d out by Brian Tooley Racing, and includes a complete top-end package that features Trick Flow Specialties cylinder heads. The methanol-fueled machine runs via a FuelTech FT600 engine management system that will have a base dyno tune by Matt Bell at Redline Motorsports. Llamas and Nick Chapman at CPR Competition will perform the tuning together once on track. Llamas’ transmission of choice is a two-speed Turbo 400 by ProFormance Racing Transmissions, and it has been coupled with an M&M Transmission torque converter.
The Trans Am looks pretty mean with its vinyl wrap by Zack Jones of Z7GFX, and the RC Components wheels are a great complement to the overall appearance while providing the necessary lightweight performance from a racing wheel.
“The past year, I’ve pretty much finished it taking care of all the little stuff that takes forever,” Llamas stated. “We are planning to fire it up shortly and get on the dyno in the next month and after then it’s go time.”
Lest you think Llamas is some greenhorn jumping into a wicked fast machine, this is not the case.
“I’ve been racing junior dragsters since I was 8, so I have 12 years of driving time. For the last two years, I have been racing a 1979 Malibu that I bracket race locally.” The Malibu that Llamas has been racing runs 6.0s to the eighth-mile, which is quick, but not as quick as the mid-4s he is expecting with the Trans Am.
“The plan is to get a bunch of seat time throughout this summer. Then we’ll hit the first race, if I’m comfortable. We are talking about making the last 2-3 PDRA races. It’s been a long five years, but it’s been really worth it.”
Llamas also wanted to thank those that have helped him get to this point, including Pete Llamas Sr. at Bullseye Boring, Bill Fuesting of Lake County Hose & Equipment, Justin Cyrnek, Daniel Quinn of QCustoms, and Don’s Auto Parts & Machine Shop.