Photos by Rick Seitz
Dirk Stratton Picked Up This Former Test Mule so He Can Make Sure It Can Carry on With its Racing Legacy!
Dirk Stratton, an Internet Sales Specialist at the Stratton Chevrolet dealership in Ohio, is a name you probably already know from his success competition in Formula Drift with his C6 Corvette. In 2015, he won the Midwest Drift Union ProAm Series. He also earned the title of Rookie of the Year in the 2016 Formula Drift Pro2 series. He’s a fan favorite and very accomplished driver. We’ve been following his Driftvette, and even got to take an up close look at the monster in a car feature last year.
Dirk is a race car driver who has been involved with many styles of racing including drag racing, autocrossing, and of course drifting. It’s not just his personal career that started to feed his interest in cars, he grew up in it. His father Don Stratton was the 2001 NHRA Competition Eliminator World Championship Winner, and is the owner of Stratton Chevrolet where Dirk works.
There’s no denying it, Dirk wants to go fast and obviously it takes a little more than the average car to satisfy his hunger for power. You can’t step out of a fully-built, 575-horsepower drift-ready C6 Corvette into just any car. When he got his 2010 Chevy Camaro in 2016 for a practice car to use at drift events, it needed some upgrades, and the car had an interesting history behind it to get to where it’s at.
The car’s first owner was Lingenfelter Performance Engineering who bought it new in 2010. They wanted to use it as a development car so they could design and produce all kinds of performance parts for the 5th-gen Camaro platform, and other applications. They had several different engine combinations that were used under the hood for drag racing, autocross, and road course track events.
Perhaps the most notable part of this Camaro’s past is when autocross Danny Popp piloted it in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge events. Danny actually went on to win the series with this same car in 2013. Fast forward a few years, and the series started to move away from the big mules like 5th-generation Camaros, and are now focusing on lighter and faster cars — at this point, Lingenfelter stopped using the Camaro.
“We wanted to make sure this Camaro could continue on with its race heritage.” -Dirk Stratton
Since LPE was done with it, Dirk Stratton picked up the Camaro because they really wanted to see the car continue with its racing legacy, and start it on a path to joining the drifting circuits. It was bought from LPE with the intentions of converting it into a drift car to start using at events.
When they got the car, it already had a healthy 427 engine, beefy drivetrain, and a lot of good suspension parts, so it wouldn’t take much more to get it up to snuff. The first and most important modification they made was the addition of a steering angle kit from Blu808. This uses custom billet spindles and chromoly control arms. Another important addition was the handbrake to be able to confidently lock the rear wheels. This is done by custom mounting an ASD handbrake and plumbing into the rear brake lines.
The team also added a Hooker Blackheart stainless exhaust system and 1-7/8” longtube headers. A fueling up of 114 ethanol Ignite Racing fuel helps to maximize the power and provide a cooler intake charge. Otherwise, it was already setup with everything they needed thanks to the Camaro’s run through the Ultimate Street Car events and Lingenfelter’s experimenting with it as a test car.
“We use the Camaro as a practice car at events such as Holley LS Fest, Hyperfest at VIR, and Gridlife.” -Dirk Stratton
- CAR: 2010 Camaro
- OWNER: Dirk Stratton
- ENGINE BLOCK: GM LS7
- DISPLACEMENT: 427 cubic inches (7.0L)
- CRANKSHAFT: Callies
- PISTONS: Diamond
- CAMSHAFT: Lingenfelter custom Ruby’s Cam
- ROCKER ARMS: LS7 with Comp trunion kits
- CONNECTING RODS: Oliver
- CYLINDER HEADS: Lingenfelter CNC-ported LS7
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 12.9:1
- INDUCTION: FAST LSXR intake manifold
- OILING: Dailey dry sump oil pan
- EXHAUST: Hooker Blackheart longtube 1-7/8” headers, Hooker Blackheart catback
- FUEL DELIVERY: Twin E85 pumps
- VCM: Haltech Elite 2500
- TUNING: Lingenfelter
- TRANSMISSION: Manual
- CLUTCH: McLeod RXT twin disc
- DRIVESHAFT: 1-piece from Driveshaft Shop
- REAREND: LPE 9.5” with DSS 1000hp axles
- SUSPENSION: Blu808 angle kit billet spindles, chromoly control arms, Ridetech front and rear shocks, Ridetech rear control arms
- BRAKES: Baer 6-piston (front and rear)
- WHEELS: STR Racing 615 20”
- TIRES: Archilles radial ATR Sport2
- HP/TQ.: 575 RWHP
Elizabeth is a hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!