Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car

Bitchin Camaro: A look inside Conrad Grunewald's pro drift car

By Mike Kojima

Unlike the Song by the Dead Milkmen, Conrad Grunewald's Hankook Tire 2010 Formula D pro drift car really is a Bitchin Camaro.  Conrad like many top pro drifters comes from a road racing background.  He won the 2002 Skip Barber Mid West Championship with further success in Grand Am cup and Rolex GT racing before starting his career in Formula D.  We first ran into Conrad when he was the driver of the Technosquare built Tanaka Racing Z06 C5 Corvette drift car. 

Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car

For 2010 Conrad started an ambitious new program, to build a competitive Formula D drift car out of the new Camaro building and driving some late model domestic iron in a sport traditionally dominated by imports.  With backing from GM and Hankook tires Conrad set about turning the Camaro into a competition machine.  The car was stripped to a bare unibody shell and seam welded.  Then an extensive cage was welded in place.  The cage not only provides protection for the driver but stiffens the chassis and helps hold the car together in the rough and tumble world of drifting.

Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
For driver protection and chassis stiffness to improve handling and suspension tuneabilty, the Camaro's chassis has been stripped, seam welded and fortified with an all inclusive roll cage.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
The cage extends to the back of the car where it triangulates to the rear frame rails near where the suspension picks up.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
The main tubes follow current cage construction best practices by tying into the frame rails and the unibody with these large gusseted boxes.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
Full NASCAR bars extend into the carbon fiber doors to give extra protection.  The cage is also tied into the A and B pillars with large dimple die cut gussets.  This greatly improves stiffness.

Suspension is important in a drift car and the Camaro has some simple but interesting mods.  Eibach Multi-Pro-2, 2-way adjustable remote reservoir coil over shocks with Eibach ERS springs are paired with Eibach swaybars.  To get adjustability of the suspension geometry and more steering angle Blu 808 billet steering knuckles are used.  Blu 808 adjustable lower arms are used as well to control camber, caster, kingpin angle and roll center.

Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
 The Eibach coil overs have independently adjustable compression and rebound damping.  The rebound damping is adjusted at the top of the shaft.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
 The rear coil overs are shown here.  The Camaro has IRS rear suspension.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
The compression damping is adjusted at the remote reservoir.  Remote reservoirs make adjustable compression damping easy and allow a monotube shock to be build short without sacrificing fluid or gas volume.
Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car
 The front remote reservoirs are located in the engine compartment.

 Conrad Grunewald camaro drift car

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Friday, October 15, 2010 4:52 AM
"The important thing here is that we get to the part where you ask me how I'm gonna get down to the shore.
- Oh, how you gettin' down to the shore?
- Funny you should ask, I've got a car now..
- Ah wow, how'd ya get a car?
- Oh, my folks drove it up here from the Bahamas.
- You're kidding!
- I must be, the Bahamas are islands. Okay, the important thing here is
that, uh, you ask me what kinda car it is.
- Uh huh, what kinda car do ya' got?
- I've got a bitchin' Camaro..."
Friday, October 15, 2010 9:02 AM
Honestly I'm not too fond of the car. I've seen it close up in person and..... sure it has a lot of work done to it (these days lots of drift car of this caliber have lots of work done to them), but that doesn't mean much.

Here are few things I didn't like.
The Accusump sits in the engine bay next to the engine. Sure the oil lines are short, but I wouldn't want to know what happens if one of those lines leak oil. In my opinion the Accusump would be safer inside the cabin, or at least far away from the heat.

The Eibach coilovers retains stock OE rubber bushings (look up the shock tower picture). Solid bushings, Delrin or Poly are a must.

The dash. These days carbon fiber is everywhere. The dash is really-poorly made. Whoever lay the carbon cloth and applied resin, clearly forgot the ratio of hardening/ epoxy. There is WAY too much resin on that dash, defeading the purpose of a light weight carbon dash.

No mufflers on the exhaust? Is it really necessary? I know drift cars also have to look the part and be cool, but......

The hood has way too many pins (hood pins)....I mean, the car doesn't have to run at Bonneville.

And the last thing, the car is just way too big and porky. Far from agile and nimble.
Again, those are few things I didn't like. Some of them are more important than others....

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, October 15, 2010 9:38 AM
On a multi link car, a having a solid mount for the shocks is not as critical as a strut car for instance.
Friday, October 15, 2010 10:18 AM
On the hood pins, the hood isn't hinged, so YES it does need all those pins to keep the hood in place. On the Accusump, oil is hot as it goes through the engine, why is it bad the sump would be in the engine bay? The oil cooler lines can leak just like the Accusump lines, so I guess the oil cooler should be in the back too huh? Not a fan of no mufflers, but it IS a race car after all. Still probably quieter than a NASCAR. And JDMized, if you know so much about how this car, how come you're not working on it?

On the other hand, it seems like this car has had a few teething problems. watching CG at Sonoma in practice and qualifying, he was having trouble holding the first corner. I'd bet with some more development, this car will be pretty good. It's shown promise, I hope they can get it up to snuff. While watching Dai, JR, Tanner, and D-Mac fight it out all year was fun, it would be nice to see some more competition getting onto the podiums.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, October 15, 2010 11:02 AM
The car really is not that loud. Its quieter than JR's, Dmac, Alex, about the same as Dai's.
Friday, October 15, 2010 11:40 AM
Wow JDMized, thats the biggest list of nitpicking ive ever seen. The car is also a time attack car.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, October 15, 2010 3:25 PM
Mike, what exactly is a "swirl pot," and how do you make and install them?
Friday, October 15, 2010 9:57 PM
@ 8695Beaters:
Why are taking my comment so personal? My opinion regarded the car, not you. I wasn't trying to offend anyone, I simply stated what I thought, based on what I saw. I think everyone is entitle to have their own opinion.

I am picky. I think the Accusump shouldn't be in the engine bay (like I stated above). The oil lines could also be covered with something like COOL IT/ Thermo Tech heat sleeves.
Not having the hinges (in my opinion), doesn't justify putting 6 hood pins. 4 are more than enough.

@Mike: the multi-link suspension might not need a harder bushings, but since they installed some nice Eibach with remote resevoir, why skip on simple bushings?
Saturday, October 16, 2010 5:41 PM
All that over 6 hood pins, lol. The hood probably bends in the middle. One pin for each corner, and 2 pins to hold the middle down.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Saturday, October 16, 2010 11:39 PM
What does this thing weigh?

I would have liked to see a twin turbo V-6 Camaro. GM's direct injection V6 looks promising. Yes, I am stubborn. FD should make a new rule: TURBO ENGINES ONLY.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 4:46 PM
More ackermann is critical for drifting? I would have though the opposite. Care to comment?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 5:31 PM
It is very critical, it is essential for strong self aligning torque and self steering and also gives a more natural feel for the driver at angle.

Some gurus say that its bad but I don't think a driver would care to drive a car like that. I was a consultant for two well known drift cars with handling problems and both were largely due to a lack of Ackerman in the steering geometry.
Sunday, October 24, 2010 11:40 AM
hmmm. Even at negative steering angles eh? I guess I have something to think about. Seems related to your comments about using wheel spacers to adjust scrub radius on Dai's car.
Saturday, October 30, 2010 9:36 PM
JDM - if you don't want to see what an oil leak looks like with the Accusump in the engine bay, just think of what it would look like if that leak happens inside the cabin!
Friday, December 03, 2010 6:32 PM
Two questions. First what is the purpose of the front mounted brake light, I remember seeing them on old drift videos (mounted in the grill area) but I never really understood what they were for. Secondly, turning brakes- are they typically push-pull units like on dune buggies and rock crawlers, controlling individual calipers, or are they more like super parking brakes, used to lock both wheels?
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