Sometimes this job has its perks – like an invitation from GM to come out to Las Vegas a day early to get a first look at the SSX and Z06X concepts and throw some production Z06′s around Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch’s road course and autocross track. As we guessed based on hints in the preview video GM released last week, the SSX and Z06X are concept track-ready packages. While we can’t give you all the details until tomorrow’s official press conference (you’ll have to go elsewhere to find somebody who’s broken the embargo already), nobody said we couldn’t show you the pictures…

We’ll give you full details on both cars tomorrow, but for now we can tell you that we got a chance to sample a Pfadt Race Engineering Z06 and Camaro SS wearing the same suspension pieces the X-cars use, and we were impressed by how unflappable and forgiving both were on the track, without being punishing over transitions and uneven pavement.

Then, after a day full of full-throttle fun at Spring Mountain, we spent the evening enjoying an exclusive reception at the Fabulous Wynn hotel and casino, where our good friend Dr. Jamie Meyer, Product Integration Manager for GM Performance parts, helped unveil two project cars with GM crate engine motivation built for MMA superstars Nate ‘The Great” Marquardt and Tim “SkySkrape” Katz.

Left to right: Nate "The Great" Marquardt, Jamie "The Doctor" Meyer, Tim "SkySkrape" Katz.

Marquardt’s Chevelle is motivated by an LS376 crate engine topped by the same supercharger found on the LS9 under the plexi on the ZR1 Corvette, while Katz’ Shoebox features a nitrous-assisted LSX454. Both cars were built by Demented Customs out of Hobbs, New Mexico.

That’s it for today – time for a little shut-eye, so we can hit the ground running for tomorrow’s opening day of SEMA 2010. Don’t forget that we’ll be doing a live Q&A with Doc Meyer tomorrow, at 2pm Pacific. Check back for more details!