Turbo kits are comparatively rare, when compared with the plethora of supercharger systems on the market. That's because, unlike most bolt-on blowers, which easily can be adapted to a variety of vehicles, turbo kits present unique challenges. There's more to contend with in the routing of inlet and outlet tubing between the exhaust manifolds, turbocharger(s), and engine intake.
At a minimum, major changes are required of the exhaust system. Of course, all that plumbing changes for a different vehicle, whereas adapting a Roots blower, for example, requires comparatively minor revisions to suit the accessory drive and intercooler mounting.
To put it simply, turbo kits are expensive to engineer and produce, but many enthusiasts prefer the higher-rpm application of power, the adjustability of the performance, and the on-demand power that doesn't compromise daily driving characteristics. Often, enthusiasts must rely on custom-designed systems-and hope the shop they've entrusted their car with knows what it's doing.
Decatur, Indiana-based Lingenfelter Per-formance Engineering's (LPE) solution to turbo systems is a hybrid of sorts, which blends the attributes of a fully engineered kit with the precision fitment of a custom system. The company has designed Corvette-specific kits, but it fits them individually to each vehicle for a more accurate and precise installation-much like a custom-tailored suit versus a "close enough" off-the-rack one. LPE also rebuilds the engine to make it boost-friendly, including forged-aluminum, lower-compression pistons and an upgraded rotating assembly.
"There are enough vehicle-to-vehicle variances that we feel our method is the best at ensuring the best installation and a more robust engine," says LPE's Jeff Myers. "And typically one of the side benefits is, most customers report better fuel economy in normal everyday driving."
We recently visited LPE's shop to follow the installation of the company's twin-turbo system on a C6 Z06. In fact, it was the blue Specter Werkes/Sports GTR Z06 that wowed SEMA attendees last fall and was previewed in VETTE earlier this year. With the 505hp LS7 as the foundation, LPE rates the system at a stunning 800 hp. Notably, the kit sacrifices nothing in driveability, such as air conditioning, power amenities, and the like.
LPE's system uses a pair of medium-size Garrett ball-bearing turbos and an air-to-air intercooler. The turbos are mounted low in the engine compartment, which helps minimize underhood heat. The mid-size hairdryers also offer an optimum combination of tremendous airflow and minimal lag. In fact, lag is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent here. The turbos spool quickly and deliver a smooth yet incredibly forceful application of power.
Here are the basic elements of the system: • Two Garrett GT30-series turbochargers • Custom exhaust manifolds • Custom air-to-air charge cooler • Upgraded fuel system • Kenne Bell Boost-A-Bump • Upgraded oil cooler • Custom oil-scavenging system • Custom Corsa/Specter Werkes low-restriction exhaust system • Reprogrammed factory controller.
Although boost in any turbo system is tunable, the base LPE system delivers about 10-12 pounds to help the 7.0-liter engine produce 800 horses. The turbo system isn't installed until after the rebuilt engine is lowered into place. We should note, too, that our photos provide an overview of the installation. There are far more details than we have room to show, but what we've shown here provides an excellent glimpse into the major components and procedures involved.