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Ranking the IROC cars from best to worst

The International Race of Champions was as close as international motorsports competition ever got to the all-star extravaganzas seen in most other popular professional leagues. In many ways, it was also much better than the defense-free, high-scoring snoozers that typically result when a bunch of highly-paid athletes get together to play a meaningless, uncompensated game.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/11/25/ranking-iroc-cars-from-best-to-worst

I might put the Porsches as the worst IROC cars, since they went away so quickly because they were fragile and expensive to repair. On the other hand, the Firebirds didn’t maintain enough interest in the series for there to be a successor.

Personal order:

  1. Second generation Camaro
  2. Daytona
  3. Third generation Camaro
  4. Avenger
  5. tie between Carrera and Firebird

For the 3rd gen camaros the fuel injection is TPI (Tuned Port Injection) not TBI (Throttle Body Injection).

Manny

Sorry…, but you’re wrong!!
RPO L03 was the base IROC engine, and it was a 305/5.0 with TBI.

The TBI version did not produce the 215 hp as stated in the article. The TPI version did.

TBI produced 155 hp.

Your list is just a list of all the IROC cars which is a great summation, but the order of which is meaningless. The top rank should come out of the mouth of the drivers or from the stop watch. Homolagation would have been most interesting, if that was the topic, the 911 would have been at the top, as that car could have been bought for the street practically in it’s race form, & the goofy Front wheel drive 4 cylinder Dodge would have been dead last. I think a topic like " WHAT MODS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE TO HAVE YOUR OWN IROC CAR" would be a more interesting list for us car guys.

Sorry, but again…WRONG! The L03 was 170 hp, 255 tq. The LB9 TPI ranged from 170-225 hp, and 240-300 tq. during its use in 3rd gen F-bodies. Your original statement was that the IROC used the TPI engine only.

The LB9 ranged grom 215 hp in 85 thru 87 to 220 hp in 88 and up to 230hp up thru 1992.

If you were there at the time Porsche 911s were then and still are race cars. There was a lot of interest in them from their IMSA performances and that carried over to get the series introduced. 911 s were factory car based raced prep cars. The issues experienced would have been duplicated if the US manufacture types were actually production based vs. tube frame and V8, fiberglass look like factory car racers. Much as NASCAR has been for years. It’s technical fraud. OK if you like that thing. Regardless, the series was about driver skill in equal cars not car technology.

Indeed, Bonanza! The rest are posers.

As the owner of 2 IROC Series Camaro race cars, I was excited to see this article. However, I wish the author would have done more research because the IROC series is a very important part of auto racing history and needs more than a few paragraphs here. (BTW I am friends with the owner of the Pink Camaro shown in this articles photo and I hope he weighs in here on that era of the series because other than the Series drivers, only the car owners can provide personal and unique insight on this). For those readers who are only familiar with the street cars which are only related to the Series cars by name only, it might be helpful to list the series cars in chronological order because the way the story reads, its a little confusing. Especially because the photo layout just makes your brain think they ran in order of appearance. This is important because without knowing this you are leaving out some interesting and little known facts about the “evolution” of the race cars during the Chevrolet to Dodge transition period which I will explain. Porsche is the only car that is even remotely close to the street version. The 2nd Gen Camaro began the transition from factory bodies and front subframes mated to race chassis built by Banjo Matthews (think of an early version of back-halfing), to the 3rd Gen IROC Series Camaro, which is what made IROC a pop culture name in the 80s, but used only 3 GM factory parts and fiberglass bodies on full NASCAR style chassis.
The cars ran in the series this way:
Porsche 911
2nd Generation Chevrolet Camaro
3rd Generation Chevrolet Camaro
Dodge Daytona
Dodge Avenger
Pontiac Firebird
I am not an expert on the IROC Series (in general), but I am one on Third Gen Camaros and especially the IROC Series Third Gen Camaros, since I happen to own the yellow and dark blue race car bodies. NONE of the other IROC Series Camaros exists and ONLY ONE COMPLETE IROC Series Camaro survives (the red car was given to Dale Sr after winning the series in 89 and is in a museum in NC) due to the rebody scramble when GM pulled sponsorship in 89. I have spoken with Jay Signore who was the owner (a.k.a Godfather) of IROC International and he explained that is what began the tradition of giving the series winner the car he drove in the final race. The Camaro bodies were immediately removed from the chassis and rebodied ad Daytonas after the end of the 89 season. GM wouldnt allow IROC to use Chevrolet or Camaro as of Jan 1,1990 because the contract expired, so IROC in turn ended the use of IROC on the street cars. This is why there were no 1990 street IROC Camaros actually built in 1990; they were built up to Dec 31 1989 but titled as 90s. And its not accurate to compare an IROC SERIES Camaro or Daytona or Avenger to the street cars. BTW the original BASE engine for IROC was LG4 starting in 85 TBI wasnt base until 88 and its a pretty good bet the car in the article is TBI because its wearing the base IROC 15" wheels (also new for IROC in 88). To any true 3rd Gen fan, real IROCs have 16". That’s a different discussion for another day, but its important to know the history. Anyway, because GM pulling the sponsorship came as a surprise to IROC International, they had to scramble to get another manufacturer for the upcoming 1990 season (which was already planned) and the Daytona was close enough in dimensions to the Camaro to fit the chassis without major modifications. What most people don’t know is the actual IROC Series Race Camaros used the STREET Camaro A-Pillars, Windshield and Roof Skin. Because of this (and the short timeframe IROC had to assemble a dozen (plus) brand new race cars), the Daytonas actually used those 3 Camaro body pieces. So when you see an IROC Series Daytona it is sitting on a Banjo “rear steer” chassis that was most likely once under a Camaro although I have documented a few Daytonas with chassis dated after 1990. I believe (but have not confirmed) that nearly all Daytonas were sold to a race driving school in PA then again to a school in TX where they were then sold to individuals after that school went out of business. From talking with Avenger owners, I believe nearly all Avengers exist but again have not confirmed. There were technically two IROC Firebird series: the first being True Value the second was Crown Royal. I’m not sure if the True Value cars were repainted as Crown Royal since I believe the cars and chassis were unchanged for the entire run. All the Firebirds were sold at the IROC auction when they closed shop in the early 2000s.

The articles is titled “Ranking IROC cars from best to worst.” What part of that, or the intro paragraphs led you to believe this was going to be a detailed history piece and not an opinion list with some fun facts?