If you actually managed to take your eyes off of this thing and you're over here to read about it, we applaud you. This is one of those cars that is so evil, so sinister, that pictures truly are worth a thousand words. Sure, the hood may not be for everyone and to some the thought of painting a perfectly good Z06 flat black is unforgivable, but to the hardcore crowd, this is the only way a race car should come. We could go on for days talking about the perfect stance or the "death by displacement" badges adorning the front fender, but to truly understand Keith Berry's '02 Z06, you really just have to take a look at it.
"After being bent over by a local shop on a heads/cam package producing 400 rwhp, I commissioned Vengeance Racing to build me a 427 stroker. After learning how to handle all the torque, I decided to add a bit of nitrous. Grabbing gears on a manual netted some 10.30 at 148 mph runs. Our next step was to install a TH400 to get out of the hole more consistently. This is where things began to snowball." And snowball they did.
The 427 was already in place, built by Pro Line Race Engines of Woodstock, Georgia. Starting with a GMPP LSX block, the crew at Pro Line began machining, with a 4.127-inch bore in mind, which would allow a 4-inch stroke to make 427 cubic inches. After de-burring the block, a polished and balanced Callies 4-inch Magnum crankshaft was laid in place, hung by a set of billet main caps with ARP studs. Bill Miller connecting rods swing a set of custom Diamond pistons, which are ready for a ton of nitrous with a friendly 10.5:1 final compression ratio. ACL coated bearings help keep everything spinning, with a blueprinted Melling high-volume oil pump keeping oil in all the right places. Bottom end aside, the camshaft is the real star here, with 278/298 degrees of duration and an astounding 0.831/0.811 inches of lift. To say the camshaft is noticeable at idle is, well, an understatement. All that motion is used to move the huge 2.20-inch titanium intake valves and 1.60-inch Inconel exhaust valves in the West Coast Cylinder Heads CNC-ported All Pro LSW cylinder heads. Manley Nextek Triple springs keep everything tight, which have 331 pounds of closed seat pressure and 907 pounds open.
While the engine certainly gets things moving, the dual-stage Induction Solutions direct-port nitrous system is, as they say, what separates the men from the boys. Built around a Performance Inductions CNC LS7 intake manifold, this nitrous system is capable of producing huge horsepower. Of course, air and fuel are more important than nitrous alone, so a 4500-style four-barrel throttle body sits atop the intake, which is fed fuel by twin in-line Walbro fuel pumps and an octet of 72-lb/hr injectors. Spent gasses are sent out of the motor by a pair of 1 7/8-inch to 2-inch American Racing long-tube headers and through a 3-inch X-pipe. Both Steve Petty and Mike Carnahan are in charge of keeping the FAST XFI tune-up spot on, and it is a delicate balance of fuel and timing that keep everything intact.
Aft of the crankshaft is where the trick driveline parts begin, starting with an RPM Transmissions CNC billet torque tube, which sits in a modified transmission tunnel. In order to fit the RPM-built TH400 and upgraded C6 ZR1 differential, Vengeance Racing had to first fit the C5 with a C6 Z06 rear cradle, which also had to be modified for the TH400. A TCI 6200-stall converter applies power through the transmission, which spins the 3.42 gear inside the ZR1 differential. With this much power and an IRS, Vengeance outfitted the ZR1 differential with The Driveshaft Shop 1,000hp rear axles, before sliding everything into place and beginning work on the suspension. To run in the 1.30 60-foot range, Keith's Z06 uses all Pfadt suspension pieces, with Pfadt coilovers front and rear. All the bushings were upgraded as well, along with a Pfadt "Pfaddy" rear sway bar.
With the drivetrain all together, the Bell Chassisworks 10-point cage fabricated, and the requisite gauges and Kirkey seats installed, it was time for the flat black "BMF" to hit the track. We had a chance to meet up with Keith at the LSX Shootout, where he and the Vengeance Racing crew were finally able to hit it with a little nitrous. Fighting some surging issues with the progressive controller, Keith was able to run an 8.92 at 155 mph, an amazing feat considering he was spraying less than 300 rwhp worth of nitrous. With a working progressive controller and some more seat time, Keith is hoping to break the IRS e.t. and mph record, and with a solid team around him, we don't doubt he can get close. Now, get back to drooling over its evil stance, this is one of the few times you will get to see this car sitting still.