Jack Baldwin drove the world's fastest Camaro.
|Body||Stock a-arms and spindles. Custom sway bar. Period bump steer correcting steering centerlink.|
|Rear axle/brakes||Stock a-arms and spindles. Custom sway bar. Period bump steer correcting steering centerlink. HD leaf springs. Custom panhard bar and sway bar.|
|Engine||302 c.i.d. small block Chevrolet. Built by Tony Oddo.|
|Chassis||Full carbon fiber monocoque, with Kevlar reinforcements. Full ground effects|
|Body||Carbon fiber and Kevlar.|
|Suspension||Pull-rod front, push-rod rear.|
|Gearbox||Hewland DG300 5 speed Manual. Brembo brakes outboard.|
In June 1986, writer John Phillips wrote: "In the press box at Riverside, a tongue-in-check argument raged: " What shall IMSA call the new class of ultrasophisticated GTO cars? "GTO Prototypes," said one journalist. Gee-TOPS," suggested another. But everybody agreed that, right now, there is only one car in the exotic class: Peerless Racing's now-familiar Camaro, driven by Jack Baldwin. Indeed, it bears more than a passing resemblance to a prototype: carbon-fiber tub, stressed-member motor, suspension from a March Indy Car, experimental transmission and differential." The mastermind behind this exotica was Brad Francis, an engineer from Performance Engineering Limited, at the time, Canada's best known racing shop.
Brad Francis designed two (2) chassis for Bob Carson's Peerless Racing Enterprises, the latter being commissioned by Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada Group, at a cost of approximately $150,000 per copy. The first car was ordered by Chevrolet in 1985 and the chassis was identified as #851. That car, still owned by Bob Carson, was destroyed in a rather horrific accident on the front straight during an historic racing event at Daytona in the fall of 1999, ironically, while Jack Baldwin was at the wheel. Fortunately, Jack was not hurt, a testament to the carbon-fiber tub. The second car, chassis #861 was ordered by Chevrolet in 1986. Chassis #861 was some 70 pounds lighter and had improved aerodynamic windshield and bodywork characteristics that were developed in GM's wind tunnel. Chassis #861 recorded 7-poles and 5-wins during the 1986 and 1987 IMSA seasons, at the hands of Jack Baldwin, and with Levi Garrett sponsorship and support from Rick Hendrick's Hendrick Motorsports.
At the end of the 1987 IMSA season, Bob Carson's Peerless Automotive Engineering, Inc., sold chassis #861 to Buz McCall's American Equipment Racing. Jack Baldwin continued to drive the car, now with Skoal Bandit sponsorship, often sharing the driving chores with owner Buz McCall. American Equipment Racing campaigned chassis #861 through the 1988 and 1989 IMSA season, running the full slate of races. At the end of the 1989 season, Buz retired the car. Chassis #861 then toured the country, during 1990 and 1991, as a show car for Chevrolet, traveling with the NB Ventures Exhibit. After the 1991 show tour, the car was stored by Buz McCall until 1999 when the car was restored by Buz's NASCAR shop. The car was stripped, painted, fully re-wired, all water, oil and fuel lines were replaced, all gauges and switches were replaced, new Alcon brake calipers were installed with new rotors and pads, and the car received a fresh Katech cup motor. Buz intended to run the car in historic events but later lost interest and decided to sell the car, never having driven it again since 1989.
In November 2001, Charlie Morgenthaler and Art Woodworth, Jr. bought the car from Buz McCall. The car was then gone through, over the winter, and made ready for its first track outing since 1989, at HSR's Legends of Daytona exhibition event in conjunction with the 2002 edition of the 24-Hours of Daytona. The car is quite unique to GTO cars of the era and is a significant part of IMSA's GTO history. Chassis #861 is made more unique by the fact that it had been retired for such a long period of time and did not go on as an SCCA car, nor has it ever run competitively as an historic car. The car was also never involved in a major wreck. Accordingly, the chassis is quite fresh for a 17 year old race car. The car is restored back to its #76 Levi Garrett livery.