1999 Chevy Corvette Coupe - Ten to the Third Power

Mike Rumain's 1,000-Horse FRC Tramples The 8-Second Barrier

Christopher R. Phillip Jun 10, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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But with greater power came the need for a stouter transmission. "The 4L60-E behaved well on the track, but on the street, I was pushing its limits," Rumain explains. "RPM Transmissions came up with the idea of adapting the new 4L80-E automatic trans to a C5. I was willing to be a guinea pig to do the conversion." Before he could install the 4L80-E, however, he discovered that the C5-R block had a cracked sleeve. The 4L80-E swap would have to wait.

Vemp_1009_05_o 1999_chevy_corvette_coupe Dash_shot 2/10

That brings us up to the Vette's current competition-crushing combo. In 2007, Rumain returned to Cartek Racing in Garwood, New Jersey, where he had his prior engines and mods installed. His goal was to build up his Corvette to 1,000 horsepower, achieve 8-second e.t.'s, and keep the car 100 percent streetable.

Cartek's plan was simple: retire the C5-R and swap it for a 402ci LS2 block with a 4.00-inch Callies forged crankshaft, 6.125-inch Manley forged rods, and Diamond dished pistons. The new combo was then mated to Trick Flow 235cc heads with 70cc combustion chambers, 2.08/1.60 valves, and Jesel 1.7:1 aluminum rocker arms, while valvetrain orchestration fell to a custom solid-roller cam. Other engine essentials include a ported LS6 intake, LS7 coils, and an LS6 oil pan. The compression ratio is 9.2:1.

The real secret to this C5 Vette's quadruple-digit horsepower benchmark is its Cartek-modified STS turbo system, which is fitted with an 88mm impeller, a Tial 60 wastegate, T6 trim, and a custom intercooler. Rumain controls the boost manually using the wastegate, which is currently set at 18 psi. (He plans to eventually install a cabin-mounted boost controller.)

Cartek's custom fuel-delivery system consists of a Walbro 340 lph in-tank fuel pump, an external Bosch fuel pump, a Weldon fuel-pressure regulator, RCI 96-lb/hr low-impedance injectors, and FAST fuel rails, all controlled by a Big Stuff 3 ECM and tuned by Cartek using the speed-density method.

Exhaust exits through Billy Boat custom shorty headers with 17/8-inch primaries and Mufflex custom exhaust piping with a 4-inch Y-pipe, a 31/2-inch charge pipe, and a 5-inch Magnaflow muffler.

RPM's 4L80-E was then installed, an operation that required modifications to the C5's floorpan. A Midwest 3,700-stall lockup torque converter mates to one end of the A4, and a Driveshaft Shop driveshaft connects to the other. The factory 3.42-geared rear features hardened output shafts and billet side covers supplied by RPM Transmissions.

The suspension remains factory original, except for QA1 single-adjustable shocks up front and Bilsteins in the rear. Braking comes from Wilwood 12.6-inch rotors and C5 Z06 calipers. The Vette rides on 17x5 (front) and 16x10 CCW wheels (rear), wrapped in M&H Racemaster 4.5/26.0-17 and M/T 315/45R16 drag radials, respectively.

To add some show to his greater-than-thou go, Rumain had his Vette painted in a custom Black with a Purple Pearl Tint sprayed by Motor City in Newark. Motor City also added an RK Sport High Rise Hood and a GM/Grand Am Series rear spoiler to the presentation. The interior sports Auto Meter A-pillar-mounted boost, fuel-pressure, and trans-temp gauges; an aluminum racing seat; and a Carroll's Rod & Racecraft rollcage. For obvious reasons, the latter item is an absolute necessity for quarter-mile racing.

With a best e.t. of 8.87 at 158.63 mph, Rumain's ravenous record-setting Corvette is the fastest A4-trans C5 in the country today. "For now this is the end of a long road of engines and mods. I've achieved my goal," he says. "I'm going to enjoy my C5 on the streets."

But with 11 years and seven engine combos behind him since he bought his '99 FRC new, Rumain can hardly be expected to forsake his record-setting quarter-miles so easily. "Don't worry about me retiring for good," he says. "I'd definitely like to go after the C5/IRS record, which is currently around 8.3 seconds. After that, there's always the possibility of turning my C5 into a 6-second car, though I admit both goals would compromise its streetability."

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