Racing Innovation! The Story of Brian Spooner’s 2,000-HP Carbon Fiber Chevy

Every once in a while, there’s a truck that just stops you in your tracks. Whether you’re a Ford, Chevy or Dodge/Ram fan, there are certain trucks that just capture everyone’s attention. A top fuel diesel?
Yeah, that ought to do it. The carbon fiber body 2006 Chevy on these pages is the brainchild of diesel enthusiast Brian Spooner, who hails out of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada. Brian enlisted the help of good buddies Jamie Stojanowski and Curtis Halverson to build this monster, which is unlike anything the diesel world has ever seen.

2,000-HP Bottom End

Let’s start with the basics. Most engines that come in production pickups are in the 5.9L to 7.3L range, while this engine displaces 511 cubic inches, or 8.37 liters. What’s more is that it’s based on a Top Fuel Dragster engine, so it’s extremely stout and a lot lighter than most other diesel engines out there. The aluminum engine block is based on a Brad Anderson Engineering (BAE) design, and is filled, fire-ringed, and has ARP fasteners on both the main and heads. A Bryant crank swings a set of BME aluminum rods that are attached to a set of custom-made 13.8:1 compression ratio BME pistons.

There’s a lot of magic going on under the valve cover of this one-of-a-kind diesel. What we do know is that the head is loosely based on a hemi design, with 500-percent Duramax injectors installed in place of spark plugs. There’s also no combustion chamber, and the engine runs diesel pistons with bowls instead of hemi gas pistons.
The heart of Brian Spooner’s drag truck is this awesome 8.3L engine based upon a Top Fuel powerplant. It’s visually different than any diesel engine we’ve ever seen before, and also a heck of a lot louder. With an estimated 2,000 hp and 3,500 lb-ft of torque, saying it’s a monster is an understatement.
Those enormous injectors require a lot of support, so twin FASS 260-gph lift pumps send plenty of fuel to multiple 12mm stroker CP3 pumps built by Exergy Engineering. The CP3s are also driven off a separate crank drive that was custom built for this application.
The twin tanks up front are for diesel fuel, and a water-soluble oil, which is injected into the engine just like water/methanol would be, to keep EGT under control.
The big PSI 206D screw blower takes more power than a turbo to drive but is capable of instant boost as soon as the throttle is matted. The four-butterfly hat is also from PSI, while the lines under the hat are for the water/oil injection.
With many one-off pieces, a Moroso oil accumulator was employed at start-ups to reduce wear. The accumulator will also fire off quarts of oil instantly in case the engine ever loses pressure, to prevent bearing, ring, or other engine damage.
Diesel rear ends are strong but heavy. This fabricated, back-braced housing built by Scribner is both strong and light. The rear end has a diesel-specific 2.91 gears to keep the big engine in its power band.

“The big supercharger is 234-percent overdriven, and sends 60 psi of boost
to the engine”

Where things really start to get interesting though, is at the cylinder heads. The four valve per cylinder heads are based off of a blank design and feature huge flow numbers, shaft-mounted rocker arms and were custom-made specifically for this engine. A 12-month project by Curtis Halverson at Extreme Racing Engines, they were the key in making the engine, well, a diesel.

Big Ol’ Blower

Another area where Brian’s truck differs from most is in the induction department. On virtually all diesels, you’d normally find a turbocharger, or maybe two, but on this custom-built powerplant, a PSI 206D screw blower sits atop a Stage V top fuel intake manifold. Flowing an incredible 3,500 cfm (or about the same as a 100+mm turbo) the big supercharger is 234-percent overdriven, and sends 60 psi of boost to the engine. The rest of the power plant is just as exotic, with two 12mm stroker CP3 pumps from Exergy Engineering, mammoth 500-percent over Duramax injectors that were adapted to the application, and a Bosch Motorsports stand-alone ECU that controls the engine’s injection system, handles data logging, and performs a myriad of other tasks. Tuning is handled by Andrew (S&S Diesel) and Jaime (J&R Automotive).

With the front end removed, one can see how far the engine is set back in the chassis to provide superior weight transfer upon launch.
A race weight of 2,850 lbs. doesn’t come easy, and weight is cut wherever possible. Even the seat is a half-seat, and it’s made out of carbon fiber.

“Two 12mm stroker CP3 pumps from Exergy Engineering,
mammoth 500-percent over Duramax injectors…”


The transmission that’s built to handle the engine’s estimated 2,000 horsepower and 3,500 lb-ft of torque isn’t your average diesel gearbox. Built by B&J Transmissions, the three-speed transmission is most commonly used on Top Alcohol dragsters, funny cars and other top-tier drag cars. The planetary gear transmission is also able to use either a clutch or converter to mate it to the engine. In this case, Brian and company chose a custom 2,500-stall Precision Industries torque converter, that’s well suited to the blown diesel’s instant throttle response.

Only The Best

The philosophy of using the best parts available extends to the chassis, suspension and body and not just the drivetrain. The body is made completely out of carbon fiber, and helps reduce the truck’s ready-to-race weight to a mere 2,850 lbs. The chassis is a double-frame rail design that will certify to 6.0 seconds in the quarter-mile, constructed out of chromoly steel, and was built by Brad Hadman.

With a huge amount of diesel torque on tap, the rear rubber is equally large to provide the truck with the traction for fast times. The 34.5x17x16 slicks mounted on Weld Racing wheels should provide 60ft times in the 1.1-1.2 second range once the truck is ironed out.
The front wheels are also from Weld and are for drag racing purposes only. The spindle-mount wheels weigh an incredibly light 9.5 lbs. and cut down on both rotational weight and rolling resistance with the skinny drag tires.

“The chassis is a double-frame rail design that will certify to 6.0 seconds in the quarter-mile.”

The interior is all business, with a carbon dash, minimal interior and tubular steering column. The black cover for the transmission is a transmission blanket, which serves as a protections for the driver from any flying parts should breakage occur.
The front suspension is also a drag race affair, as Strange struts are employed. Combined with a rack and pinion steering unit, the entire front steering, suspension, and brakes are under 100 lbs. combined.
The team is aiming high when it comes to performance. The rear wing is a Top Fuel-style unit that provides an awesome amount of down force at the top end of the track to keep the truck straight, while the dual parachutes are an NHRA requirement in case the truck tops 200 mph in the quarter-mile, which is a very real possibility.

If you’re thinking that the rearend ought to be incredibly strong in order to handle the engine’s 3,500 lb-ft of torque, you’d be right. The fully braced custom-fabricated rear axle was built by Scribner, and features a lightweight aluminum center section, 40-spline axles, and diesel-friendly 2.91 gears. Brakes on the rear are from Strange Engineering, just like they are on the strut front suspension.

After hours of pouring over the details of the truck, we were deeply impressed with the level of skill it took to build such a ride. Unfortunately, a broken rocker sidelined the Chevy in its first outing, so we’ll have to wait and see if Blown Smoke can crack the NHRDA’s existing 7.46-second Pro Stock Truck record. In the meantime, our hats are off to Brian, Curtis, and the entire J&R Automotive crew for pushing the performance envelope like never before. DW

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