In the last issue we showed you how we installed a ZEX LS Perimeter Plate Nitrous System on our LS3-powered fourth-gen project car, Black Betty. We then took it to Westech Performance in Mira Loma, California, for a few pulls on their chassis dyno to see where we stand in the horsepower and torque department.
Naturally aspirated, the car made 403 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. With a 100 shot of nitrous, the car made 511 hp and 576 lb-ft of torque. So on the bottle, it comes out to a little more than 100 hp and 163 extra lb-ft of torque. No doubt the car is going to be a lot more fun to drive. So the only thing left was to do just that: drive it.
We took our first hit at the American Street Car Series' Run to the Cost event held in El Toro, California, this past February. Now, due to certain Hollywood movies, many think nitrous is a drag racing-only application that "furiously" comes on only when you push a little red button on the steering wheel. Well, our system is set up to kick on at wide-open throttle (WOT), so we were able to use it on the road course, autocross, and the speed-stop portion of the event.
On the autocross and road course, the nitrous came in very handy in getting the car out of tight corners more quickly at lower rpm. This enabled us to do less shifting, as once the nitrous kicked in, the car came alive where it normally would have required a downshift to get out of the same turn as efficiently without nitrous. And on the long straights of the road course as well as the speed-stop portion of the event, which are both essentially drag races, the extra burst of horsepower and torque was a total blast. For those who use nitrous, you know what I'm talking about, and for those who have yet to experience the sensation, let's just say you have something to look forward to.
Needless to say, the car benefited greatly at that event in all the driving exercises.
Next up, we took the car to our local eighth-mile dragstrip in Irwindale, California. Keep in mind our fourth-gen is basically set up as a handling car. It's got all Global West suspension goodies, along with QA1 double-adjustable shocks, tuned for autocross and road course racing. We really didn't mess too much with shock adjustments, but we did remove the endlinks from the front sway bar in order to loosen up the front end.
Pre-nitrous, our best run was an 8.160 e.t. at 88.33 mph. On "the juice," we made a best pass of 7.72 e.t. at 91.34 mph. So, we shaved .44 of e.t. and gained 3.1 mph. We're fairly happy with those numbers, especially running a manual-trans car on the dragstrip.
There is no doubt we'll be upping the car to a 200 shot in the future, but before we do, we'll have to incorporate a tune fit to handle a larger dose of boost. It will be necessary to retard the timing a few degrees or we'll be towing the car to the shop instead of driving it home from the dragstrip … and nobody wants that.