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Viva Las Vegas for James Shipka in "One Lap Camaro"
2014/10/27 11:00

Viva Las Vegas for James Shipka in "One Lap Camaro"

JamesShipkaframe1.jpgSACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (October 27, 2015) – Driving a white 1967 Camaro dubbed the "One Lap Camaro", James Shipka and Raymonds Performance are going to Vegas!  Shipka used a second place effort in the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car event at Pikes Peak to qualify for November's Vegas invitational held during SEMA.

Shipka, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, partnered with Bruce Raymond & Raymond's Performance out of Planfield, IN in 2014.  Raymond's Performance houses the car and handles all general maintenance, plus transport to Optima events and at the track support.

In the middle of 2014, Shipka made contact with Ron Sutton at RSRT to make further improvements to his Camaro.  The car is dubbed the "One Lap Camaro" in honor of Shipka's win in the "One Lap of America" for his vintage muscle class.  In Optima competition the car competes under the GTV or GT Vintage division.

For Raymond, his experience fielding multiple cars in the Optima series gives him a great perspective on what RSRT has brought to the table for the team.

JamesShipkalg1.jpg"The way the car responds to changes (now) is great," Raymond said.  "The great thing with Ron is he puts things in layman terms and his instructions are very explanatory."

Raymond spent time over the end of last season carrying out measurements as requests by Sutton to make changes to the car including suspension geometry and set up tech.  The advice was a surprise: raise the subframe in the car.

"We went to James with what that would cost and what it would take and he decided to do it," Raymond said.  "We put in all the geometry and camber angles and Ron Sutton could then go and tell us where the pick up points needed to be.  It turned out they were off."

Shipka has been campaigning the car for eight years but has limited practice and racing experience as he has to travel from Canada to compete.

"The car has been fairly well sorted out but working with Ron definitely seemed like it was worth a shot," Shipka said.  "What impressed me was he came back from the measurements and said the roll center was acting differently when I turned left and when I turned right.  That's exactly what I was feeling in the car."

The performance at
Pikes Peak just to qualify for Vegas was a huge accomplishment for all parties involved.  Shipka's Camaro blew an engine in the spring event at Thunderhill.  Pikes Peak marked only the third event of 2015 for the team.  He made a big impression at Pikes Peak International Raceway where the Optima teams utilized the road course inside the one mile asphalt oval.  Out of 14 entries in GTV, Shipka was second best in scores for hot lap, autocross, and speed stop.  His hot lap time of 1:04.604 was nearly two seconds quicker than the third place finishing car.

The entry list swelled to 38 entries for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, which served as a tune-up for the Vegas Invitational and double national points.  Although Shipka only made three starts in 2015, his second place effort at Pikes Peak and seventh place effort at Auto Club rank him ninth in the national standings.

"For James that's a big accomplishment," Raymond said.  "In all fairness to James he's an amateur driver and (Pikes Peak) was his first race back since losing the engine at Thunderhill.  At Vegas the competition will be in one big group and the all-wheel drive cars have an advantage but we'd love to place in the top 20."

For a lot of competitors just the opportunity to go to Vegas would make for a successful season and a chance to see SEMA would be icing on the cake.  The Ultimate Street Car Invitational will take place November 6-8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"To have a 45 year old car be competitive with late model cars is impressive," Shipka said.  "No matter what you build you have to have a foundation.  We're not close to the edge but Ron's set up is a good starting point.  Fewer and fewer people are used to driving a car that rolls a lot.  We went with a low roll and modern camber angle as the driving the schools I have been to used late model cars."

James Shipka would like to thank Raymond's Performance, Ron Sutton Race Technology, Spectre Performance, Baer Brakes, and Ridetech for their support in 2015.

For more information on Ron Sutton Race Technology, visit them online at


Ron Sutton Race Technology is a one-stop resource for winning car building or improving performance for Autocross, Road Course Track Days & Pro Touring Cars. Ron offers suspension, brake & aerodynamic optimization services, complete chassis/suspension designs, cutting edge suspension packages, consulting services, books, workshops & an online store with 600 brands & over 90,000 parts. 


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