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Corvette Funfest 2011: We Make Off With a Lingenfelter CTS-V

Amid the tall corn and easy hospitality here in central Illinois at the Mid America Motorworks Corvette Funfest, it’s easy to forget there are irresponsible people in the world. Surrounded by thousands of like-minded Corvette enthusiasts here only to have a good time and enjoy a shared passion, a person can be overcome by love for his fellow man, and adopt a “what’s mine is yours” attitude that you might not otherwise hold.

Such must have been the case for the good folks at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering; what else could explain the fact that they willingly handed over the keys to a modded Cadillac CTS-V, asking only that we didn’t toss it into a ditch. Now, for those of you familiar with what happens when somebody lets me “borrow” their car, you might be expecting this to be a story with a less-than-happy ending. Spoiler alert – We gave the car back in the same shape we found it, despite the fact that this Caddy almost dares you to misbehave.

The stock CTS-V is a 556-horsepower carnival ride wrapped in business-jet comfort. Lingenfelter’s take on the car, which bumps crank horsepower to a claimed 700-plus through CNC head work, a 2.55-inch blower pulley, and a host of other engine tweaks, does nothing to alter the car’s basic goodness while the throttle is being sensibly modulated. Taken in moderation, the Cadillac is the same as any ordinary CTS-V – Even the Corsa exhaust could be mistaken for something factory while one is behaving oneself.

LPE has never been about behaving yourself though, and we would have been the Worst Car Guys Ever if we hadn’t found out what WOT had to offer. From a roll in fourth, moving at a decent clip down the two lane, the enhanced LSA builds steam deliberately, but asking this car to pull from 1500 RPM isn’t a fair test of its abilities. The stock CTS-V has enough low end to eliminate the need for downshifts to pass traffic, and the Lingenfelter version is no different. Where this car ventures into oh-my-God territory is when you spin it up a little bit – there is no street tire in the world wide and soft enough to hold its power in first and second, and a blast from a 5 MPH roll through the top of second gear left hundreds of feet of arrow-straight parallel stripes on the pavement.

With the One Rule firmly in mind (and a bit of concern that the trail of tire smoke led directly back to us, should local law enforcement be out looking for someone to make an example of) we found a quiet spot to take a few photos and walk off the case of the giggles the Caddy had delivered. We’re not going to say this is the “CTS-V Cadillac should have made” because that gives too much credit to the average buyer. The normal CTS-V, even with ESC and a well-sorted chassis design, is very capable of getting an inattentive or unskilled driver in over his head very quickly. This car is for people with the rare combination of money, skill, and self-control to appreciate and take advantage of the enormous capability it offers.

Sadly, we’re not in that category, and it would take something like two years of indentured servitude to pay Lingenfelter back should we total out the Caddy due to running out of skill before we ran out of horsepower. Reluctantly the car was returned to the Funfest property, and the keys handed back, just in time for the next guy in line to take his turn behind the wheel. We think he might just become Lingenfelter’s next CTS-V customer…



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