If you thought Camaros and Mustangs were strictly were for stoplight derbies and quarter-mile racing, think again. Camaro-Mustang Challenge stages the timeless pony car battle on road courses in your region. The rules are pretty buttoned down in terms of the modifications you can make, so there is no need for high-dollar engines, which keeps fields tight and costs in check. If you crave more track time, CMC cars fit nicely into PTB or PTC classes and even E1 endurance classes.
“The intent of the Camaro-Mustang Challenge racing series is to provide National Auto Sport Association members a racing series featuring production American pony cars. Modifications will be limited to those necessary to promote safety, close competition and flexibility to enable drivers to learn and experiment with the principles of race car setup within boundaries intended to limit expenses, thereby providing the drivers with fun, exciting, and challenging yet approachable racing. Good sportsmanship is valued more than finishing position. This means clean, well-executed passing is a trademark of the series. Punting another competitor, or leaning on them to gain a position will not be tolerated. Car-to-car contact, including bump-drafting, can result in an investigation and possible sanctions.”
Eligible Makes and Models
- 1979-1995 Ford Mustang with 5.0 V8, including 1993-1995 Cobra (1993 and 1995 Cobra R models excluded)
- 1979-1986 Mercury Capri with 5.0 V8
- 1996-2004 Ford Mustang with 4.6 two-valve V8
- 1996-2004 Ford Mustang with 4.6 DOHC N/A V8 (2000 Cobra R and 2003-2004 Cobra models excluded)
- 1982-1992 Chevrolet Camaro (all submodels with V8 motors e.g. – RS, Z28 etc.)
- 1982-1992 Pontiac Firebird (all submodels with V8 motors e.g. Formula, Trans-Am, WS6 etc.)
- 1993-2002 Chevrolet Camaro (all F-Body models with LT1 or LS1)
- 1993-2002 Pontiac (all F-Body models with LT1 or LS1)
Donor Prices and Availability
Depends on your area, but here are some general figures:
- Ford Fox body Mustang, $1,500 to $4,000
- Ford SN95 Mustang, $1,000 to $3,000
- Third generation GM F body, $800 to $2,500
- Fourth generation GM F body, LT1 $800 to $3,500
- Fourth generation GM F body, LS1 $2,500 to $6,000
|310-317 pound feet|
|10:1 compression for iron heads, 11:1 for aluminum heads|
- 3,100 lbs. minimum for a 79-93 Mustang
- 3,150 lbs. minimum for 94-04 Mustang
- 3,250 lbs. minimum for non-LS1 Camaros
- 3,300 lbs. minimum for LS1 Camaros
- Minimum weights increase if horsepower and torque exceed 260/310
87-92 octane, depending on the engine
Average Cost to Build Car
$10,000 to $25,000
Average Cost to Buy Built Car
$6,000 to $12,000
Factory upgraded brakes (Mustang Cobra/C5 Corvette) or aftermarket upgraded brakes (Wilwood/Stoptech), race pads (i.e. Hawk DTC60/70), brake ducting, springs/shocks, alignment, poly/delrin/heim joints, 275/40/17 Toyo RA1/RR tires, 17 x 9-9.5-inch wheels, aftermarket radiators. Most stock GM engines are restricted. Ford 4.6 are allowed to run long-tube headers. The 5.0 can run shorty headers and 5.0 can run Ford Motorsports E cam with EFI, B cam with carb and 1.6:1 Cobra roller rocker arms. Basically if the rules don’t state that an aftermarket part is allowed to be installed, then it’s not.
Average cost to run a weekend — $500 to $1,500 (depends on distance, practice, gas prices, tow vehicle economy, beer preference, etc.).
Tires, size, brand and prices
Toyo Proxes RR 275/40/17, $259 each
Toyo Proxes RA1 275/40/17, $254 each
Brakes, brands and prices
$400 for pads front and rear. Some people run stock-style pads on the rear.
Stock style rotors are around $100 each from the parts store. $1,000 for optional two-piece rotors $600 for replacement rings.
Toyo Tires, Hawk Performance, Winding Road Racing, Neo Motorsport, AST Suspension, Spec Clutches, Sampson Racing Communications, Frozen Rotors, Injector Pulse.
Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes/Midwest, Texas, and Rocky Mountain all have a consistently strong showing with new drivers showing up every season.
Replacement parts are inexpensive and readily available. Because the cars use so many stock parts, a trip to any local parts store generally will get you back on track with very little missed track time, and only a small modification to your wallet. CMC drivers are notorious for lending a helping hand to fellow racers. Loaning parts and putting in the necessary hours to get someone back on track is another great quality of this close group of racers.
Convincing a Camaro/Mustang driver that there’s more to our cars than living life a quarter mile at a time. Rust Belt guys may have issues locating clean cars and used parts. It can be difficult to race a CMC car well. They are large and don’t handle the best. Compared with smaller cars or anything in GTS, they handle terribly. You cannot just point and shoot. You need to set your car up for your driving style, and you better pick a driving style that works for CMC. Keeping the cars and rule tweaks in line with the spirit of CMC, while balancing the benefits of modifications and aftermarket parts and their perceived or real costs.
- All participants who wish to compile season points must have a dynamometer certification report prior to the start of the race or make arrangements to have a dyno test performed immediately after the race.
- Any rear spoiler/wing that fits the following criteria may be used:
1. A vertical line from every point on the spoiler/wing and end plates must intersect the car body/bumper cover when the car is on a level surface.
2. The maximum height of any point on the spoiler/wing from any point on the deck lid/rear hatch may not be greater than 12.0 inches.
3. The overall depth (leading edge to trailing edge) including end plates may not be more than 12.0 inches.
4. The spoiler/wing and mounts as installed must be readily available to the public from a retail source for less than $700.
5. The wing must be fixed for competition and may not be adjusted from the driver’s seat.
- A section of the floor may be cut and a trap door added to enable changing the in-tank fuel pump without removing the tank.
- The battery may be relocated. The battery must be of the same type, group size (i.e. 24F), and voltage as originally equipped, or heavier, and may not be modified.
- All cars must use OEM stock exhaust manifolds with the following exceptions:
- Early GM 305 and Early Ford 5.0 cars may use shorty style headers.
- Ford 4.6 2V cars may use long tube headers.
- Both GM and Ford cars may also use a Ford 9”, GM 12 bolt, or Dana 44 rear axle housing, but the housing must maintain both the exact OEM suspension pickup points and OEM rear end geometry as the originally equipped axle assembly.
- Any gear ratio equal to or numerically lower than 4.11 that fits the stock/alternate differential case without modification may be used. Differentials may be fully locked (welded) or use any commercially available mechanical limited slip.
- Engine balancing is allowed. Lightening of parts beyond the minimum required to balance is prohibited. Boring/honing is allowed up to 0.060 over. Head/block milling is allowed but only as far as required to square/clean the surface area.
- Compression ratio shall be no higher than 10.0 to 1 for iron head engines and 11.0 to 1 for aluminum head engines.
- Springs of any rate, OD, ID and free length may be used. Springs must install in the OEM stock unmodified location using the original system of attachment unless noted elsewhere in these rules.
What Racers Say
Aaron McSpadden, NASA Texas
“I just wanted to race a Mustang in a reasonably priced class, and I also wanted to try and win a National Championship in a different class other than Spec Miata. I love the fact that there is always a consistent car count and close racing every time.”
Dustin Mozader, NASA Rocky Mountain
“When it was time to take the plunge from HPDE, the gateway drug, to wheel-to-wheel racing, I had criteria: it had to be cheap, the car counts had to be high, and the cars needed to be low maintenance. In my region, that left Spec Miata, Spec 944, and CMC. Since I had HPDE’d a Z06, there was no way the first two were on the table, thus began my search for a CMC car.
“What I like about CMC is that if a car is broken and we collectively have the means to fix it, we do. There are no hurt feelings over a tire donut on somebody’s door, yet conversely it’s highly irregular for a car to leave the track in a box. Due to the rules, the cars are not very finicky and replacement parts are cheaply, quickly, and easily sourced even when a failure occurs at the track. I once replaced a clutch, with assistance, between warm-up and race one — and that included sourcing and procuring the clutch itself.
Michael Mosty, NASA Texas
“The amazing people drew me to this class. My brother started racing AI the year prior and the entire CMC/AI group was incredibly welcoming and helpful. I love the lower-cost racing and V8 power! The series ensures all platforms are so close in performance, so the racing is always competitive and action packed.”
Derek Wright, NASA Great Lakes
“In 2011 I decided it was time to pursue racing and I wanted to race in a class where it was more about the driver and less about the car. My first car out of college was a 1984 Camaro Z-28. I had it for seven years. The Mustang I was using in TTA I have owned for 15 years. So I’m a pony car guy who didn’t realize it.
“The CMC rules limit horsepower, torque, brakes and suspension while requiring a minimum weight. Most GM vehicles have to use a restrictor plate to lower horsepower and torque, so there is no need to build a high-dollar engine.
“In the Great Lakes region, we do everything we can to keep every competitor on track. At the last event, one of the newer competitors was having car problems and wanted to pack it in. We wouldn’t let him give up and it turned out that he had his best weekend of racing. I really enjoy helping people get faster. My philosophy is the more competitors we have competing for the win, the more exciting the racing is. The more competitors that win are ultimately good for the series.”