Michael Essa previously fielded an E46 BMW M3 in Formula D competition, but the 2013 world champion will be making the switch to a Small Block Chevy V8 for 2015. Essa has acquired a Chevrolet Camaro that used to serve as a Street Legal Performance demo car, which he plans to convert into a sideways-sliding drift machine before the first Formula D event of the year, the Streets of Long Beach.
LSXTV recently caught up with Essa and his Camaro to see how the car is coming along. He has so far completely stripped the interior to save weight and installed a race-spec roll cage. He hopes to get the Camaro to weigh in at 2,800 pounds, a tall order for the heavy fifth-generation pony car, but certainly not impossible.
Moving the nearly 3,000-pound mass will be a 1,000 horsepower Small Block Chevy V8. Essa currently isn’t sure how he’s going to extract four-digit power numbers from the V8, but he knows the supercharger installed on the car when he received it from SLP probably isn’t going to cut it.
“I’m trying to make over 1,000 horsepower, or as close as I can get to that at the wheels and I think that might be a little bit of a stretch for that supercharger. I’m thinking normally-aspirated with some nitrous,” Essa told LSXTV. “No intercoolers, charge coolers, plumbing, or any of that stuff, so we can get rid of all that extra weight.”
The Camaro’s revised suspension will be provided by KW Suspension, who will supply the coilovers, and BMR suspension, who is giving Essa some chassis-stiffening parts and other components. The Small Block Chevy will also be shredding some Yokohama Advan Neova tires all season, the same brand of rubber Essa ran last year.
Essa and his new Camaro will compete in first round of the 2015 Formula D season, the Streets of Long Beach, starting on April 10.