This is the last thing would-be challengers see before the G8 disappears into the night, a
Bryan Sonia is what many may call an overachiever. During the day, he operates a couple of giant sky cranes in Orlando, Florida. After work, he starts his other job as a professional-level automotive detailer. In between those two jobs, Bryan hits the gym; hangs out with his girlfriend; posts on boards like GRRRR8.net and G8Board.com; meets with his car club, the Florida G8 Car Club (www.flg8cc.com); goes to mod days to help out fellow G8 enthusiasts; and, oh yeah, he does all of the work on his own beloved 596-rwhp G8 GT.
At just 23 years young, that’s a lot to take on, but for Bryan, it’s just another day in the life of a diehard G8 enthusiast. Interestingly, Bryan’s G8 story actually began at the age of 18. “I first saw this car at Barrett Jackson in Palm Beach, Florida. I was too young to drive it at the time. I let my friend Sipy do the test-drive, and from there I knew I had to have one.”
Two years later, after running the numbers, searching high and low, making the money work, and trading in his Pontiac G6 GT, Bryan was the proud owner of a used ’08 G8 GT that was loaded to the gills with 19-inch wheels, a sport package, leather seats, and the sought after 6.0-liter L76 engine mated to a 6L80-E automatic transmission. Just driving it was a dream come true for the young enthusiast, and the stock 290-rwhp G8 was more than enough to satisfy Bryan’s right foot. Of course, that didn’t last very long.
The front fascia hides many of Bryan’s cooling modifications, including a custom 16-row tr
The factory appearance stops under the hood of this powerful G8 GT. The engine features a
Producing 11.5 psi of boost, the D-1SC supercharger is the star of this show, and is respo
The modifications started as they always do, with a couple of small bolt-on parts here and there before everything spiraled out of control. Today, Bryan’s G8 belts out over 596 hp and 526 lb-ft of torque to the back tires, thanks to a plethora of go-fast goodies. But Bryan didn’t just drop money at a shop for that kind of power. Oh no, he picked each piece by himself and installed them in his driveway using nothing more than handtools and effort. “My favorite moment was the first startup with my father at home after working two days installing the supercharger. I’ve always heard what the ProCharger sounded like online but never in person. It was loud! And I was the happiest kid alive.”
Bryan has spent plenty of time in the driver’s seat of this ’08 G8 GT, and he plans to kee
That ProCharger, a D-1SC model, came from Jessika at Superchargers Online, and is responsible for the majority of Bryan’s tire-melting torque production. Producing over 11.5 pounds of boost thanks to an aggressive pulley combo, the D1 head unit delivers chilled air through a front mount air-to-air intercooler and makes a bunch of noise in the process, which Bryan loves. Of course, it’s not all about the supercharger under Bryan’s hood, as a lot of work went into maximizing the engine combination for boost.
Gone is the factory camshaft, replaced instead by a mild Livernois Stage 1C L92 stick featuring 218/229 degrees of duration at 0.050, 0.600/0.600-inch lift, and a 117.5-degree lobe-separation angle. That camshaft supports a set of LS7 lifters, which replaced the Displacement On Demand lifters that came standard in the G8, along with a set of Comp Cams 7.4-inch hardened pushrods.
Bryan chose a set of stock L92 cylinder heads, which flow well from the factory, although he did upgrade the factory rocker arms with a Comp Cams trunion upgrade kit (to remove the factory needle bearings), and he replaced the factory valve-springs with a set of PAC 0.650-inch-lift-capable dual units with titanium retainers. Internally, Bryan left the L76 alone, keeping the factory rotating assembly in place, along with the stock oiling system. Hey, why mess with it if you don’t have to, right?
Sticking with that idea, Bryan also left the top half of the engine intact, retaining the factory throttle body, mass air sensor, and intake manifold. The exhaust however … well, that didn’t get to stay. In place of the ugly cast manifolds, Bryan installed a set of Kooks 1.875-inch long-tube headers, which flow into a pair of 3-inch collectors and a 2.5-inch Magnaflow exhaust system. As you may imagine, the fuel injectors were upgraded to handle the forced induction, with a set of 60-lb/hr units taking place of the stockers. Tuning, which is essential for any engine, was handled by Rick Crawford out of North Carolina, who dialed in the factory ECU perfectly for the combination.
Are those Chevrolet center caps?! They sure are, attached to a set of 20-inch Camaro SS wh
The rest of the drivetrain is fairly stock, with Bryan focusing on reliability instead of big track numbers. The factory 6L80-E transmission remains, as does the 2.92:1-equipped G8 independent rearend, although Bryan had Lashway Motorsports in Pompano Beach, Florida, install a custom 16-row transmission cooler system to keep fluid temperature under control. The suspension is also close to factory stock, with Bryan adding BMR sway bars (front/rear); and trailing arms, toe rods, and cradle bushings to help keep the suspension planted on the track.
And track it he does, with over 100 passes on the combination in the last couple of years. On a set of borrowed drag radials, this G8 ran as fast as 11.6 seconds at over 123 mph with a 1.91-second 60-foot time. Shifting at 6,750, that’s an impressive number for a full-weight G8!
“Acceleration is ridiculous. Above 3,000 rpm, it’s just too unpredictable and violent. You just can’t prepare yourself for what’s to come when you put the pedal to the floor. It’s really unbelievable!”
What we find unbelievable is Bryan’s enthusiasm for both the G8 and the hobby as a whole. During our photo shoot, he was booking G8 detailing jobs, handling “mod days” with other enthusiasts, and inviting us to the club’s three-day G8 event.
This is truly a Pontiac worthy of the effort, and one Bryan enjoys day in and day out. Maybe soon he will get some sleep, but until then, keep your eyes open for a Liquid Red G8 next to you on the street or track … you never know what may be under the hood.