When the C7 Corvette came out in 2014, the base car’s 455-horse LT1 was impressive in and of itself, but then in 2015 came the Z06. With a supercharger and some tuning, Chevrolet achieved 650 horsepower using the new 6.2L LT4 engine. Putting all that power down through street tires can be a challenge, but get it right and you can pull off a low 11-second quarter-mile every time. In 2016, 11,543 Z06 Vettes were sold to anxious customers, most of whom were probably more than satisfied to have a whopping 650 hp under their right foot. Not Brock Lawrence.
Brock took delivery of his 2016 Z06, drove it for a few months, and promptly sent it off to Late Model Racecraft (LMR) in Houston for a power upgrade. His goal was to get the Z06 into the mid-9s in the quarter-mile instead of a lackadaisical 11. They made some minor—and major—tweaks to the car and then four weeks later sent it back to Brock complete with 1,007 horsepower to the wheels.
1,000 wheel horsepower is a ton for a street car and is not something to brush off. Factor in a 15 percent power loss from the crank to the wheels and you can figure that this C7 makes more than 1,150 horsepower at the crank. That means Brock’s Vette makes at least 500 horsepower more than when it left the factory.
Obviously, they didn’t achieve this much of a power increase by simply changing a pulley on the stock supercharger—the entire engine was pulled out and received a total refresh.
The LT4 was sent across town to Late Model Engines where it was stripped down to the bare block. They rebuilt the bottom end starting with boring out the cylinders from 4.060 inches to 4.070 then a Callies DragonSlayer crank was swapped in for the stocker, increasing the stroke from 3.620 inches to 4.000. The rods were upgraded to Callies Ultra H-beam billet units along with new custom pistons from Wiseco, bumping the compression ratio from a stock 10.0:1 up to 10.5:1.
With the bottom end reassembled, it went back to LMR where the stock heads were ported and one of their custom hydraulic roller camshafts was installed. To support the rest of the engine modifications, LMR utilized upgraded springs, pushrods and lifters from Brian Tooley Racing.
The power gained from all those changes would be negligible without the star of the show: a ProCharger F-1R supercharger. Changing out the stock roots-style supercharger to the centrifugal unit allowed for a significant increase in boost pressure and therefore more power. To fill the gap where the factory supercharger once lived, they used an LT1/LT4 billet intake manifold from Late Model Engines. Heat soak is always an issue on big-power supercharged engines so an air-to-air intercooler was installed to bring down intake temperatures for the supercharger. The Nitrous Express Stage 2 Boost Referencing unit and ProCharger blow-off valve keep the boost levels in check.
LMR also upgraded the exhaust with American Racing long-tube headers and an off-road X-pipe, leaving everything else stock from the axle back.
For Brock, the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission was one of the best parts of the C7 Corvette. Manuals are great and all, but when all you want to do is get down the dragstrip as efficiently as possible, an automatic is the way to go. Brock experienced this firsthand with his C6 Z06 Vette that he regularly raced and almost as regularly broke because of the six-speed manual in the car. He snapped the driveshaft a couple of times and blew up the clutch, so when it came time to buy his new Vette he knew which box to check on the option sheet. But, with the gobs of power his C7 would be making, the new automatic trans couldn’t be left alone; it needed some beefing up of its own. LMR upgraded the clutches in the ZF eight-speed and swapped out the stock torque converter for a Circle D Specialties billet multidisc unit. An RPM Transmissions limited-slip and Driveshaft Shop billet halfshafts replaced their respective factory parts in the rear.
Brock ordered his Corvette with the intent to significantly increase its horsepower, so he joined the club of 4,955 cars equipped with the Z07 package from the factory, which included Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors. Per GM’s testing, Z06s equipped with the Z07 package can come to a complete stop from 60 mph in just 99.6 feet, a helpful feature when your car makes as much power as Brock’s. This option package also included adjustable front and rear aero and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires measuring 285/30R19 front and 335/25R20 rear. And as for suspension, the Magnetic Selective Ride that comes standard on all Z06 models does the trick, providing competent handling characteristics and great ride quality.
On the outside, Z06-specific wheels, Torch Red paint and removable roof help Brock’s Z06 stands out from your run-of-the-mill 2016 Corvette.
In conclusion, this is one mean Z06 complete with top-of-the-line factory options and aftermarket upgrades that now makes over 1,000 horsepower to the wheels and crushes the quarter-mile in well under 10 seconds. That’s not the end of the story though. As an infomercial legend once said, “But wait! There’s more!” because Brock and the guys at Late Model Racecraft aren’t done yet.
Nope, their goal of mid-9s and 1,000 horsepower to the rear tires was just too easy. They raised their aspirations again for this Z06 and are now attempting to squeeze more power out of the LT4 than anyone in the country. How big will that number be? Who knows, but Joe at LMR says 1,400-1,500 wheel horsepower shouldn’t be a problem. To get there, the current ProCharger F-1R supercharger will be swapped out for the bigger and better F-1X along with a higher flowing secondary fuel system installed to help max out the new supercharger.
For some, once is enough when it comes to tearing apart something good in an attempt to make it better while others can’t leave well enough alone. And really, what would our hobby be without people like Brock and the fine folks at LMR who are more than happy to push the limits of these machines over and over again?