Standing in at 170 pounds, Steven Fereday isn’t exactly an imposing figure. The dude’s so skinny complete strangers hand him Burger King gift certificates on the street. Maybe that’s part of his cover, because in the racing world looks can be very deceiving. This is a man that built the first LS-powered street machine to run 7s on a stock suspension. Since then, he’s routinely manhandled a 6-second Firehawk and is currently building a twin-turbo, alcohol-injected, big-block Camaro with high-3s in the 1/8-mile as the goal. Oh yeah, Steven and his buddy Josh Ledford also run Late Model Racecraft, a Houston-based speed shop responsible for creating some of the most wicked late-model GM performance cars on the street. And that’s where his latest daily driver—a ’14 Corvette Stingray—comes into play. From day one, it has served as a development mule to help deliver innovative parts to the direct-injected LT1 market. Not surprisingly, within weeks of delivery he transformed it into the most powerful C7 on earth. Can you say 1,292 rear-wheel hp?
If Steven’s slender frame doesn’t throw people off, his youth certainly will. Granted that he’s just a hair past 30 years old, but he’s been building and racing fast cars most of his life. He started street racing at 17, and soon his 9-second ’98 Camaro earned quite a reputation. “I street raced everywhere I could, from Texas to Oklahoma. After a while, the car became so well-known that I couldn’t get any races anymore,” he recalls. “That’s when I started racing in the LS1Tech.com drag series, and won all four of the True Street class events in its first year. After that, the car won three Clash of the Titans events in True Street and True 10.5. That car eventually got a 91mm turbo and ran 7.98 at 175 mph on a stock suspension. While I was still in college, people started asking me to work on their cars for them, so I partnered up with my friend Josh Ledford and started up Late Model Racecraft.”
Between then and now, Steven’s had brief stints with a C6 Corvette and a Viper, but most of his daily drivers have been rather tame. That all changed when he picked up one of the first C7 Corvettes in Houston, complete with the Premiere Edition package. The day the car showed up at the shop, the LMR crew tore it down and got to work. “We want to be the best, and since the Gen V engine platform is so different from the Gen IV, the entire purpose of buying this car was to stay on top of the late-model GM performance industry. We worked with A&A Performance to help develop a supercharger kit using a Vortech YSi head unit,” Steven explains. “We also used this car to develop a custom fuel system, CNC-ported cylinder heads, camshafts, cold-air induction kit, PCV breather system, engine mounts, and coilovers for the C7 platform. Tuning the high-pressure, direct-injection setup on the new GM Gen V small-blocks can be very challenging. It took lots of hard work to figure out, but we were one of the first shops in the country to successfully tune these cars using the stock computer.”
Considering Steven’s background with insanely fast drag cars, merely bolting on a supercharger wasn’t enough. He wanted to max the thing out to, so he enlisted Late Model Engines to build him a short-block that was up to the challenge. Now displacing 416 cubic inches, the LT1 was bored to 4.070 inches, then fitted with a forged Callies 4.000-inch steel crank and rods, and 10.5:1 Diamond pistons. The Vortech-pressurized air molecules travel through LMR CNC-ported LT1 cylinder heads, and a custom LMR hydraulic roller camshaft actuates the valves. Wringing the supercharger out for every last psi it was worth netted a touch over 1,000 horsepower on the chassis dyno, but that still wasn’t enough. A big dose of spray, courtesy of Nitrous Express, and a Snow methanol injection system bumps output to a stunning 1,292 rear-wheel horsepower.
It all seems like an exercise in wretched excess in some respects, but there’s good reasoning behind pushing a brand-new Corvette to over 1,500 (flywheel) horsepower. “The compression ratio might seem kind of high on paper, but we learned that direct-injection actually needs a lot of compression. In fact, you can run into detonation issues if the compression ratio is too low,” Steven reports. “The stock engine mounts won’t cut it at this power level, so we developed our own mounts that are now available to the public. We also worked with the Driveshaft Shop to develop a set of C7 axles capable of handling this kind of power.”
A testament to the C7s world-class suspension, the Stingray’s Z51 underpinnings are more than up to the task of planting the power. LMR developed an all-new C7 coilover system for the car, but otherwise the suspension is unchanged. Providing the stick are 20-inch HRE P104 wheels wrapped in Michelin 265/30R20 tires up front and Toyo R888 315/30R20 steamrollers in the back. Although Steven does most of his racing on the track these days, the C7 has smoked a Lamborghini or two in its day. “It’s hard to get traction from a standstill, but the tires hook up very well from a roll. The way the power builds progressively with a centrifugal supercharger really helps put the power down,” says Steven.
Accelerating aftermarket parts development for the latest and greatest GM has to offer is all in a day’s work for Steven and his LMR crew. That’s not too shabby at all for a guy that looks more like a paperboy than a hard-core racer that manhandles 4,000-horsepower drag cars down the track. With the bulk of development work complete on his C7 Stingray, Steven is already planning replacing it with a new Z06 as soon as it hits the street. Maybe then someone (probably Steven) will finally break the horsepower record set by LMR’s stroked, boosted, and nitrous’d C7. All the while, C7 owners of the world will once again rejoice with a stack of new parts available for their new Z06s in no time flat.
|Vehicle:||2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray|
|Owner:||Steven Fereday, Houston, TX|
|Engine||GM LT1 small-block|
|Displacement||416 cubic inches (6.8 liters)|
|Block||Factory aluminum, bored to 4.070 inches|
|Rotating Assembly||Callies steel crankshaft and rods, Diamond forged 10.5:1 pistons|
|Camshaft||LMR custom hydraulic roller (specs classified)|
|Heads||LMR CNC-ported factory aluminum castings|
|Valves||Stainless 2.13/1.59 inch|
|Induction||A&A supercharger kit with Vortech YSi head unit, Nitrous Express nitrous system, Snow Performance methanol injection|
|EFI||Stock GM ECU tuned by LMR|
|Exhaust||American Racing 1.875-inch headers, stock dual 2.75-inch mufflers|
|Transmission||Tremec TR 6070 seven-speed manual, McLeod RST twin-disc clutch|
|Suspension||Stock Z51 with LMR coilovers|
|Brakes||Factory 13.6-inch rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers, front; 13.3-inch rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers, rear|
|Wheels||HRE P104 20x9, front; 20x12, rear|
|Tires||Michelin 265/30R20, front; Toyo R888 315/30R20, rear|
|Output||1,292 rear-wheel horsepower|