The good folks at JHR Performance (named after owner and racer Jamie Hacking) in Charlotte, NC worked their tails off to get our Magnuson supercharger installed in the RacingJunk.com/AED Performance 2014 Chevy Silverado giveaway truck before Power Tour, and when they were done, and recovering, we sat down to do a little Question and Answer session with general manager Zack Grubb to find out more about how they got started, and what they love to do.
Q: How did JHR Performance get started and what does the shop specialize in?
A: JHR Performance has been in business around a year now. The business was originally started in 2005 by Nick Williams (Nick Williams Throttle Bodys) and has been in the same location since. Jamie Hacking purchased the business in August of 2013.
We specialize in late model GM performance vehicles equipped with LSx or the new LTx engines. Specifically 97+ Corvettes, Camaros, Cadillac CTS-Vs, GTOs, Trailblazer SS, GM Trucks, Chevy SS, G8GT, etc, performing complete builds, performance part sales, installs and performance dyno tuning. We are equipped with a DynoJet 248 Chassis dyno, good to 2000+ RWHP. We also perform LSx engine swaps on older model GM vehicles. We are a full service performance shop!
Q: What are some favorite projects that the shop has worked on?
A: We have worked on and built so many different “cool” vehicles, I am not sure what my favorite would be, but we really like working on the new ZL1s, CTS-Vs and Corvette ZR1s. I feel these cars are the best bang for the buck when starting to modify the vehicle. Currently we are also performing LSx swaps here in the shop, and any of these cars with an LS swap are fun to build. We just finished a 65 Buick Grandsport with a new LS3 and are currently working on an 87 Grand National that will be receiving an LSx Turbo Engine.
Q: How does the collective race history behind JHR help influence the projects that the shop takes on or how those projects are approached?
A: With these GM vehicles, we have been building and racing them long enough that we know what does and does not work together when it comes to the performance. We steer customers in the best possible direction for their application based off of past experiences, along with R&D.
Q: How does JHR Performance stay connected to the racing industry? What’s the balance of race performance work vs consumer performance?
A: I would venture to say 85% of our work is consumer performance based. We do race ourselves and work on fellow racer’s cars, especially helping with tuning, but our primary day to day focus is the regular consumer.
Q: What’s the best tune a customer can get to increase performance? What do you recommend most often?
A: Each tune we perform on a vehicle is custom-tailored to that particular vehicle. There are no tunes alike. All of the late model GM Vehicles we tune are done with HP Tuners. We also tune our race cars with FAST, Big Stuff 3, AEM, Motec, etc.
Q: Which vehicle is your dream car to work on?
A: Any GM LSx based vehicle. I just prefer that platform to work with. But I don’t necessarily have a favorite, as long as they make horsepower!
Q: On a more personal note, which vehicle is the shop favorite for racing or customized performance?
A: We have built a ton of Cadillac CTS-Vs. We feel this is the perfect balance between speed, handling, luxury, and performance. As far as full on race car builds, we prefer the Corvette platform for any road racing duties, and ’98-02 Camaros for any drag racing.
Q: How is being on the performance building side of the business different than being on the racer side?
A: Most racers have all came from the street performance side. They have just evolved into the racer side of things as their cars did. Horsepower is a sickness that never stops, there is always a desire for more! The street performance aspect is just where it all starts.
Q: Any personal anecdotes from you or Jamie on the transition from racer to shop owner/tuner?
A. Short story on Jamie- he handles the tuning at the shop as well as helping Bob [Robert Wilkonson, Senior Technician] on projects. Jamie was a professional motorcycle road racer and competed all over the world in AMA, World Superbike, and Moto-GP, riding for 3 major motorcycle manufactures including Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. He has won 3 AMA titles, including two in the same year in the 600 and 1000 cc class, and is still the only person to ever do so. After retiring in 2010, he decided he would like to own a performance shop, since this has always been his hobby.
I first started in the shop in 2008 here with Nick. I had always had performance cars from the time I was 16 on up, and Nick had performed some tuning for me on my vehicles. When the previous general manager left, Nick and I worked out a deal for me to take his place. I had received a degree in Motorsports Management out of college, and felt this was something I wanted to peruse. I personally have been working on the LS platform now for 10 years, 6 of which have been here at the shop.
Bob Wilkinson has been in the performance business since the late 80s. He started as a tech in GM Dealerships up and down the east coast, then going full time to a performance shop in the mid 90s. He performs most of the work here in the shop, while Jamie and I will help when need be, or we get finished with our work. He has been here at the shop since it started in 2005.