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Oct 18, 2011
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Camp Steeda
Steeda and Track Guys take over Sebring for high-performance hot laps
By Steve Turner

For 15 years the crew at Track Guys have traveled to the historic pavement of Sebring International Raceway to host a high-performance driving event. These events offer the opportunity for drivers of all skill levels to learn how to drive faster on a real racetrack with assistance from professional instructors. Better yet, participants get to do it in their own cars.

For several years in its Sebring tenure, the Track Guys event was sponsored by Steeda Autosports and dubbed Camp Steeda. This year that sponsorship and the Camp Steeda moniker returned to the event held over the Memorial Day weekend and the combination once again proved successful. While the event is open to all makes and models, Steeda’s presence definitely attracted the performance Ford crowd.

“…This year we had an outstanding turnout, as you can see there are mostly Mustangs among the over 150 entries. Track Guys and Steeda are very happy. Everyone likes the Camp Steeda name and we are having a good time and helping our customers…” Steeda President Dario Orlando said. “The reason why we are here is to develop parts for this consumer group and see how our parts hold up on track.”

In addition to Steeda, another sponsor on hand was VMP Performance. Not only was VMP running several of the company project vehicles, but main man Justin Starkey was offering his tuning and mobile-dyno services to those in attendance.

“I really enjoy open-tracking and Jeff Lacina and Track Guys are a great group. Besides enjoying it, this is another way to challenge ourselves as drivers and challenge our machines,” Justin said. “I enjoy developing the hardware and software—from tunes to superchargers and everything in between—to help us go faster on track.”

Here’s a look at VMP’s video recap of the event...


While you often see companies like Steeda and VMP traveling to drag racing and other sorts of automotive events, the HPDEs offer an opportunity to not only test their hardware, but to reach a different type of customer, the type that likes to go fast around corners.

For a sample of what that’s like, you can hop in a Shelby GT350 for a couple of spirited laps…


“We’re all car guys, so we all do the same things in different ways,” Justin added. “It has exposed us to a lot of different people and we like to be involved in all styles of competition.”

Steeda plans to work with Track Guys to promote the event even more in the future, so stay tuned to learn more about next year’s Camp Steeda. If you haven’t attended an HPDE before, these events are a great opportunity for beginners and experienced drivers.

“These events are outstanding for Steeda because you never stop learning,” Dario added. “No matter how many times you go to track event, you are constantly learning car setup to make that car handle better.”


Naturally Steeda was on hand testing several of its project cars, including this Triple Yellow GT, which is destined for a transformation into an SCCA T1 racer. The company was also out testing a new damper and spring package in its EcoBoost Mustang and the stock-turbo four-banger was eating up GT350s on the track. “Today we worked on the EcoBoost and we are just totally flattered on its performance. We are validating the final steps of our CARB-certified calibration in that vehicle,” Steeda’s Dario Orlando said. “The performance of the EcoBoost has added a lot of excitement to Steeda because it’s a great bang for the buck.”


We have never seen so many GT350s outside of a Ford event, much less several being driven where Ford Performance intended them to thrive. We counted six or seven modern Shelbys at the event, including VMP Performance’s tuned up project. “It frickin’ bad ass,” VMP’s Justin Starkey enthused. “I haven’t even pushed the car to what it is capable of and it is already a great ride.”


Rob Junkna’s 2015 Mustang GT looked and sounded right at home on the racetrack and that’s because of some carefully selected modifications. His car carves corners thanks several Steeda suspension upgrades, BMR sway bars, and Ksport coilovers. What’s more, Rob’s car puts down 445 horsepower at the wheels and revs to 8,000 rpm thanks to a Cobra Jet intake, a Lund Racing tune and a fully upgraded exhaust made up of Stainless Works long-tubes, an MBRP H-pipe, Magnaflow mufflers and electronic cutouts after the headers.


We’ve always had a soft spot for Bullitt Mustangs and Bill Hurlbut combined his 2008 example with another of our favorites, the Shelby GT500KR. He upgraded the suspension with Steeda sway bars and a complete GT500KR damper and spring package, which he purchased for a song ($400). “It firmed it up, particularly in the front end, because the KR’s got the blower so it’s a much heavier motor. It firmed it up, but it still passed my wife’s tush test. We use this for road trips also, so everything I do to it has to pass her tush test,” he said. “The KR springs, shocks and struts made it just right for the track, but still livable for the street.”


How does a 750-horsepower Shelby GT500 feel on the big straight at Sebring. It “hauls ass,” says Bob Jernigan, owner of this 2009 example. Better yet, this Kenne Bell-boosted machine keep its coolant temps in check at 180 degrees, even on a 90-degree day at the track. It does so thanks to a Steeda triple-pass heat exchanger, a bigger intercooler reservoir and a 55-gph coolant pump.


We noticed Rolando Iglesias’ track-prepped 1988 Mustang was reeling in many of the newer Mustangs as it lapped the road course. However, it didn’t quite sound like a pushrod-powered machine. This Fox used to have a stout small block, but these days it’s powered by a Ford Performance Coyote crate engine topped with a Cobra Jet intake and throttle body. The fusion of modern power in a lightweight Fox doesn’t just work on the drag strip!


Kevin Wisneski of Sarasota Ford brought out his ProCharged 2016 Mustang GT built by the dealer’s in-house hot rod division, 707 Performance. He was mainly there to spread the word, but he didn’t miss the opportunity to take some parade laps in his Ingot Silver beauty.

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