RACING
PARTS
Published on 02/21/2019

Three Options for the Circle Track

WORDS:

DAN HODGDON

PHOTOS:

CHEVROLET

Chevrolet Performance is known for its innovations in the world of crate engines. These plug-and-play power plant options are known for their reliability and drivability in both classic and late-model vehicles. That same philosophy also extends to the racetrack, where Chevrolet Performance’s circle track offerings are purpose-built to win races.

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Published on 02/21/2019
racing, parts
WORDS:

DAN HODGDON

PHOTOS:

CHEVROLET

Three Options for the Circle Track

Chevrolet Performance is known for its innovations in the world of crate engines. These plug-and-play power plant options are known for their reliability and drivability in both classic and late-model vehicles. That same philosophy also extends to the racetrack, where Chevrolet Performance’s circle track offerings are purpose-built to win races.

The brand pioneered the racing crate engine concept more than 45 years ago, and the circle track program is now more than 15 years old.

The options available, the CT350, CT400 and CT525, are specifically designed for a variety of budgets and racing disciplines. They are built with all-new parts and are designed for four-barrel carburetor operation (but can be used with two-barrel carbs or restrictors) and run on either pump or race gas. Each utilizes hydraulic lifters.

 

CT350

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The CT350 is perhaps the most prevalent of the three engines, and is designed for the budget-minded racer while also providing competitive performance and low maintenance. Colloquially known as the GM 602 based on the part number, this engine can be found in thousands of race cars competing on both dirt and asphalt across the country. It is capable of 350 horsepower and 396 lb-ft of torque. That much pulling power allows racers to hold a gear longer, keeping the engine in its sweet spot for quicker laps.

This 350c.i. engine is based on Chevrolet Performance’s famed 350 HO high-performance street crate engine and features a strong, four-bolt-main cast-iron block, iron Vortec cylinder heads and a unique, dual-pattern camshaft. This engine often appears in Hobby Stock classes, but is also utilized in a variety of Late Model and Sprint Car divisions.

It includes an eight-quart circle track oil pan, balancer, HEI distributor and aluminum high-rise dual-plane intake manifold. Short track racers just need to add a carburetor, starter, spark plugs, wires and water pump to start competing for trophies.

 

CT400

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The CT400 utilizes Fast Burn cylinder heads and LS-style beehive valve springs to enable great high-rpm performance and durability. The valve springs are part of the engine’s lightweight aluminum cylinder head assemblies based on the proven Fast Burn design, with large intake runners and 2.00/1.55 valves. The 350c.i. engine is often referred to as the GM 604, and it is rated at 404 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The engine also features a super-tough bottom end, incorporating a forged steel crankshaft, and strong aluminum pistons installed in the cast-iron block with four-bolt mains.

The CT400 includes an open plenum high-rise intake manifold, a racing only eight-quart circle track oil pan with a dual kickout design, a valve cover breather kit and aluminum roller rocker arms. The engine often appears in Late Models, but Chevrolet Performance is increasingly seeing it utilized in Modifieds.

 

CT525

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Finally, the CT525 is a high-revving 6.2L power plant based on the LS engine family that delivers serious power for serious racing. The numbers are massive on this one, as it makes 533 horsepower and 477 lb-ft of torque. The lightweight engine utilizes a cast-aluminum block with cross-bolted six-bolt main caps and is based on the 6.2L LS3. However, it has been adapted to circle track racing through the use of a carbureted intake manifold, a high-lift roller camshaft, six-quart racing oil pan, high-flow, LS3 rectangular-port cylinder heads and a variety of other features designed for circle track racing at the highest level.. It checks in at 376 cubic inches and is a perfect choice for Super Late Models and Modifieds.

The engine comes with coil-near-plug ignition and an SFI-certified balancer. A carburetor, starter and LS/LSX ignition controller are all that is needed to complete assembly.

These engines are all designed, engineered and tested by Chevrolet, and each engine is currently eligible for a mail-in rebate* when purchased by March 31, 2019. Customers can get $150 back on the CT350, the CT400 is eligible for a $200 rebate and the CT525 gets buyers $250 back. To be eligible, customers simply need to purchase an engine from an authorized Chevrolet Performance dealer by the aforementioned date They can then mail in the rebate form or complete the process online at www.mycertifiedservicerebates.com to get a debit card in return.

We talked to Chevrolet Performance’s Bill Martens and series directors whose organizations utilize the brand’s crate engines during the PRI Trade Show. You can read the story here. Also, an overview of all circle track crate engines is available below.

With its crate engine options, Chevrolet Performance clearly has made a commitment to short track racing and hobby racers on a budget. Even better, these engines win.

Be sure to check your track’s or series’ rulebook for further clarification on which engines can be used in your race car.

For more racing information and coverage, keep watching The BLOCK and check out @theblockdotcom on Instagram.

 

These engines are designed and intended for use in vehicles operated exclusively for competition: in racing or organized competition on courses separate from public streets or highways.  Installation or use of this part on a vehicle operated on public streets or highways is likely to violate U.S., Canadian, and state and provincial laws and regulations related to motor vehicle emissions.  

*See participating U.S. dealer or authorized Chevrolet Performance Powertrain Reseller for details and rebate form, which must be postmarked by 4/30/19. Limit 3 rebates per mailing address. Rebate form and details available at chevrolet.com/performance/offers. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery of debit card. Offer valid 1/1/19 to 3/31/19.