That prompted a second sales pitch, to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) in Decatur, Indiana, a premier tuning house specializing in precisely the kind of Texas Mile advantage I was seeking.
This company goes way back. In 1988, founder John Lingenfelter built and drove the legendary, street-legal Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette 255 mph on an Ohio test track. After John died following a racing accident, his distant relative and car enthusiast Ken Lingenfelter stepped in to keep the enterprise firing on eight cylinders.
LPE's project director, Jason Haines, had exactly what we needed in stock: a 2009 graphite gray ZR1 equipped with two cost-effective modifications. To ram more air into the 6.2-liter small-block V-8, there's an LPE supercharger upgrade package yielding 710 hp at the flywheel. Corsa Xtreme pipes and mufflers allow the engine to bellow loud enough to be heard beyond the Texas Mile to the far corners of Goliad County.
The supercharger upgrade costs $2450 for parts plus $2845 for installation. The bill of materials lists a new front supercharger cover with a larger air entrance, two new drive pulleys, a repositioned air-cleaner assembly, and a 160-degree Fahrenheit thermostat. Installation is complicated by the need to disconnect the intercooler, various wires, and lots of plumbing from the engine before the supercharger can be removed for modifications.
In addition to providing a larger inlet port, this package raises the supercharger drive ratio by nineteen percent and the maximum boost by 4 psi (to 14.5 psi). LPE installs new control-module calibrations with the redline raised from 6500 to 7000 rpm. Customers are provided before-and-after plots created during chassis dynamometer testing. The 710 hp and 680 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel reflect gains of eleven and thirteen percent over stock. The $1795 exhaust pipes contribute another 5 hp to the bottom line.
They also crank up the ZR1's audio channel. When fired, this engine erupts like a mobile volcano. Inside the cabin, a nicely subdued cruising sound track swells like a nuclear cloud when the throttle's down. The Texas Mile crowd loved the stock-looking, war-whooping Corvette we trucked in from Indiana just for their entertainment.