A sign posted at entrance ramps feeding Interstate 35 near Overland Park, Kansas, bears the following injunction: No Animals Led, Ridden, or Driven
It's unclear whether the proscription extends to beasts of the metaphorical variety, but if so, we're likely looking at a 20-year joint in Leavenworth. The animal in question is a Victory Red '05 convertible, freshly fitted with ATI ProCharger's new C6 blower kit and making somewhere in the neighborhood of 615 hp. Pair that outsize thrust with the Vette's eye-catching outerwear, and staying on the sunny side of the Kansas Highway Patrol feels like an exercise in Jainian self-abnegation.
We'll blame ProCharger chief Dan Jones for our predicament, as it's Jones and his band of megalomaniacal merrymakers whose frenzied development of cutting-edge Corvette engine upgrades has landed us here in cow country for the second time in the last four months. Further culpability may be assigned to the Vette community's seemingly insatiable appetite for huge horsepower, which only seems to intensifywith each successive iteration of the car.
As we mentioned in our review of ProCharger's "Stage II" supercharger package for C5s ("Nasty, Brutish, and Short," Nov. '05), many of that kit's design improvements grew out of knowledge gained while developing an all-new blower setup for the C6. You'll recall that the car we testedfor that story, a black '04 Z06, gained 172 rear-wheel horsepower--for a total of 527--and ran consistent mid-11s at around 125 mph in miserable air. (Since then, the ProCharger team has made a few minor adjustments to the package, and the blown Z06 is now pumping out 552 rwhp.)Accordingly, our expectations for the new C6 package were high.
When it comes to performance hardware, the C6 kit deviates most radically from ProCharger's previous LS-engine offerings in the placement and configuration of its intercooler. Thanks to the comparatively generous dimensions of the new car's engine bay, engineers were able to specify a single 27x3.5-inch front-mount intercooler--thelargest such unit ever fitted to a regular-production ProCharger system. In addition to giving the C6 an aggressive new mien, the big FMIC offers slightly improved cooling performance when compared with the smaller twin 'coolers used on the '97-'04 cars.
Other departures are more subtle. With the Stage II C5 kit, tilting the top of the radiator rearward (toward the firewall) freed up enough space for ProCharger engineers to use larger-diameter blower-discharge and intake tubing than would otherwise have been possible. Whereas that package includes a custom cradle to achieve the necessary rearwardslant, the C6 kit comes with a set of billet-aluminum spacer blocks to serve essentially the same function. The radiator angle is therefore somewhat less dramatic on the C6, which may explain why the new car uses a slightly flattened discharge pipe. When asked, ProCharger ProjectEngineer Nick Jensen responded that the piece did not pose arestriction, but admitted that a larger-diameter replacement could potentially become part of a future Stage II package for the C6.