Project C700: Build Updates On The Road To 700 Horsepower

C700 1We have had a few different project cars here at Corvette Online, ranging from a 2000 C5, to a 2008 C6,and now we are extremely excited to announce our 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Our project car is equipped with the paddle-shifted, lightning quick eight-speed automatic, Performance Data Recorder, and the Z51 option package. The car was ordered in trim 1LT, with black interior, black wheels, and an Arctic White exterior.IMG_8346

You may have noticed that the title reads “C700,” and that is no typographical error. The reasoning for this play on word is that it represents one of the end goals for our build, achieving 700 hp at the the crank. Aside from a drastic peak-horsepower improvement, we have a few other uses in mind for our new Stingray. Clearly a Z51-equipped C7 is already one capable sports car, but we know there is always some room for improvement.

We intend on equipping this Corvette with the proper aftermarket accessories to excel in road racing, autocross, and drag racing; all while maintaining the comfort, drivability, and reliability to continue its use as a daily driver–at least when the weather is nice. Some of the upgrades we are going to perform will include the installation and testing of: a K&N cold air intake system, B&B headers and exhaust system, ProCharger supercharger, Forgeline wheels, and even some awesome stuff from LG Motorsports, so stay tuned for more stories to come!

Our car was purchased from Paradise Chevrolet Cadillac in Temecula, California. They did a fantastic job getting us out the door and on the road–our car arrived as promised and in perfect condition. Ordering the car from Chevrolet, we knew exactly what to expect and we were beyond satisfied with the car upon delivery. We took the time to put on a decent amount of miles for a proper break-in, before really letting our new LT1 stretch its legs; and once we did, we were impressed.

The C7 Stingray

For those not-so-blissfully unaware, 2014 was the year that GM introduced the seventh generation of America’s sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. This car brought back the famed Stingray nameplate, and the “LT” engine designation, but that is about where any similarities to the past end. This car is leaps and bounds ahead of any other Corvette, and has gained some unique market share to prove it.

In fact, we recently published a news item in which a group of BMW enthusiasts were awestruck with the on-track performance of the C7 Stingray. And for those wondering, yes, they were comparing it to the BMW M4. While we would certainly consider them to be “late adopters” at this point, we are glad the rest of the world is starting to realize what a formidable opponent the Corvette is. But enough about that!

The motor housed in Corvette’s newest Stingray is an all new 6.2-liter, direct-injected, V8. When properly equipped, this all aluminum monster belts out 460 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. GM has said it represents the most significant revamp of the small-block in its history, and it’s easy to see why. To further prove the point, we are talking about a sports car that can reach 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, yet maintain a highway average of 29 mpg. The future of high-performance along and fuel efficiency is upon us.

While a lot of people still prefer a manual gearbox, myself included, after experiencing the new eight-speed, paddle-shifted automatic, we just couldn’t turn it down. This new transmission, coded as the 8L90 is pretty remarkable. Initially you may wonder if having eight gears causes a constant search for the correct gearing, but it doesn’t, it just always happens to be in the gear you want. Even more impressive is that this gearbox is effectively a standard torque converter-equipped transmission, yet has lightening-quick shifts. In fact, wide-open throttle upshifts are executed up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than those of the dual-clutch transmission offered in the Porsche 911.

As if this powertrain wasn’t enough, the C7 sports a completely redesigned chassis comprised of aluminum ranging between 2 and 11 mm in thickness. Aside from being downright cool, the move to aluminum allowed the Vette to shave 100 pounds, while gaining 57-percent more rigidity compared to the previous steel frame. To add some icing both inside and out to this cake, the new Stingray is sporting some awesome new amenities and aggressive styling.IMG_8016

Baseline Performance

Chevrolet claims that the C7 Stingray should produce 460 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque at the crank. When we strapped Project C700 to our DynoJet dynamometer of the first time, she produced a clean 397.49 hp and 378.08 lb-ft of torque. The combined results show an average net loss of about 15.5-percent. We are more than happy to have a bone-stock Corvette that puts 400 horses to the ground, though under optimal conditions we believe it could even be a bit higher.

While peak numbers are great, we also like to pay attention to how power looks “under the curve.” In this instance we can see that our LT1 produces 300 lb-ft of torque or more all the way from about 3,100 to about 6,400 rpm. We were very impressed considering how broad of an operating range this is for that kind of power production, not to mention the RPM range available at over 350 lb-ft.

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IMG_8283Corvette Online is located in Murrieta which is effectively a desert region in Southern California. Elevation-wise we are just shy of 1,100 feet in altitude, and while that may be relatively low, we get some pretty warm spring and summer seasons. The warm outside air temperatures may have definitely reduced our potential power output, especially when combined with the abnormally high levels of humidity we have been experiencing over the last month or two.

QuarterMile

Our next performance test was to see how our C7 did on the quarter-mile. For the weekend we took our 2015 Stingray to Fontana Speedway for some baseline quarter-mile testing. For those with an affinity for the strip, we’ll break this run down a bit. On this run, we crossed the 60-foot mark in 1.99 seconds. The Stingray crossed the eighth-mile marker in 8 seconds flat at 93.02 mph, and finally hit the quarter-mile in 12.23 seconds at 116.24 mph.

Brake Testing

Even at factory power levels, this car can gain some serious speed very quickly. While this makes for some good times in the right environments, it is equally–if not more so– important to be able to bring your sports car to a halt when desired. The base model Stingray comes with ventilated 12.6-inch rotors in the front corners. One of the Z51 upgrades is the installation of 13.6-inch ventilated discs which also have a J-hook type of surface slot. Additionally, a Brembo four-piston caliper is utilized for clamping force.

IMG_8287While we don’t have any braking upgrades slotted for our car, we figured we should still test the the factory performance of the Z51-equipped Stingray. For this, we utilized our VBOX and went out to stand on the pedal. C700 managed to come to a complete stop from 60 mph in just 101.6 feet, and the feeling of those forces is much more impressive than the numbers. While we don’t know what to expect, it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, our future tire/wheel and suspension upgrades will make to this braking statistic.

11425148_10206065338928472_6406779035060347746_oDriving Impressions

For this portion of our road test, we took to a number of different road surfaces to help give us more of a broad view of our C7’s performance and handling characteristics. One great advantage to a  Corvette over several of the cars it is competitive against, is that it makes for a great daily driver. While the C7 is not sporting the largest cockpit on the road, it still has a generous cabin and plenty of cargo space under the rear hatch for a couple of golf bags, luggage, a car cover, and the like.

As you can imagine, the LT1 produces more than enough power for any onramp or merging situation, with plenty left if you feel like getting into a little bit of trouble. If we were limited to driving this Corvette in Track Mode, we may have some different things to say as it gets seriously stiff, exactly what you want when taking your Stingray to the track or autocross. Luckily, the Sport and better yet, Touring modes offer a much more comfortable ride while still maintaining the consistent feel and handling you’ve come to expect from Corvette.IMG_8325Just The Beginning

We have a number of projects slated for our Project C700, and all of us at Corvette Online are extremely excited to both watch the progress as well as experience the end result. We have high hopes for the performance we expect this car to produce and believe that with the help of our great sponsors and some hard work, we will be able to turn an already awesome Stingray into one wicked contender.

To kick off our list of modifications, we figured we would start with the same first that many enthusiasts go to, and help our Corvette breathe a little better. Look for our story soon on how C700 responds to some breathing improvements. We hope you enjoy the transformations as much as we will.IMG_8299

Project Build Diary:

June 23, 2016: Update – C700 Corvette with ProCharger’s i-1 C7 Kit Goes 10sIMG_2898

In an effort to withdraw every last bit of power that we could from our incredible ProCharger setup, we looked toward C700’s fueling – more specifically, the fuel itself. Being based out of Southern California, we suffer from a lack of any fuel higher than 91 octane at the pump; in areas farther East, however, it’s common to have up to 95-octane fuel available at the pump.

That being the case, we thought we’d level the playing field a bit and see how our ‘Vette would do on “East-coast gas”. We carefully mixed 91- and 101-octane gasoline to simulate a 94-octane fuel and then introduced an accommodating tune. Dyno testing revealed an increase to 571.2 horsepower and 599.4 pound-feet at the rear wheels – a gain of 29.7 horses and 20.2 pound-feet of torque versus 91-octane.

Naturally, we had to test out the new numbers at the strip. Whereas Project C700 previously knocked out the quarter-mile in 11.08 seconds at 126.2 miles per hour, she now laid down a fastest time of 10.89 seconds at speeds consistently over 128 miles an hour – 0.19 seconds and 2 miles an hour quicker. For the full story and dyno graph, check out the update here.IMG_0673February 26, 2016: Intelligent Boost With ProCharger’s i-1 C7 Kit

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With the upgrades we already have on it, we’d have been perfectly content leaving C700 as she was – the machine looks great and performs even better. However, we were eager to keep pushing the ‘Vette towards our 700-horsepower goal.

Naturally aspirated, our C7’s LT1 was pumping out 438.7 horsepower and 452.9 pound-feet of torque. To take things to the next level, we looked to Procharger – specifically, Procharger’s variable-drive-ratio i-1 supercharger.

At seven pounds of boost, we saw sizable gains over our previous setup. On the dyno, C700 put down 541.5 horsepower and 579.2 pound-feet of torque for a gain of 102.8 horsepower and 126.3 pound-feet.

We wasted no time in getting the ‘Vette on the strip, taking it to a test-and-tune day at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California. For the all the tech, the full install, and our testing experience, check out the full story here: Exclusive: Intelligent Boost With ProCharger’s i-1 C7 Kit.

February 24, 2016: Forgeline’s Monoblock Wheels & Nitto NT05 Tires Tested

When it comes to aesthetics, wheels and tires are arguably the most effective way to tailor a car to your personal tastes. But when picking a set of shoes for your ride, it’s important to choose something that’s going to help with performance – not just looks.

As we’ve said time and again, what we want out of C700 is a well-rounded machine – something that sounds great, looks even better, and performs well in almost every setting. Naturally then, we went to Forgeline for a set of their monoblock GA1Rs and to Discount Tire for a set of Nitto NT05s.

This combo gives our Corvette a relatively-mild but undeniably aggressive look, coupled with serious track capability. We put professional driver Conrad Grunewald behind the wheel and let him have it on the Streets of Willow Springs Raceway to get some driving impressions. For the full story – complete with insight from Forgeline themselves – check out this article.C700 Forgeline Nitto 01

January 29, 2016: Aerodynamic And Dripping In Carbon


The next project we had for C700 appealed mostly to aesthetics. We once again went to LG Motorsports (the company that provided us with the Stingray’s drop-spindles and stiffer sway bars), this time getting our hands on some carbon fiber trim and aero pieces.

The pieces do contribute a small amount to performance (via weight reduction and aerodynamics), but, of course, the real reason for throwing carbon fiber on any car boils down to style. Tossing out some of the boring, factory plastics on the Stingray and instituting our new carbon pieces gave C700 a more refined, aggressive look. Be sure to catch the full install story and see how the carbon fiber looks on our beautiful Stingray for yourself.

January 27, 2016: UPR Products Helps Project C700 Separate Oil and Air2015-10-23_22-22-15As a bit of a preemptive measure, we gave C700 a UPR Products catch can. Continuing with the theme of balance for our Stingray, we want to ensure that reliability and efficiency can be maintained as our build project starts putting more power in the car. And considering it will be receiving a supercharger in the near future, we thought it critical to make certain that the motor will be able to operate efficiently and keep its environmental footprint at a minimal.

Check out the full story to read our install walkthrough on the dry-sump LT1, and get some insight on the tech and theory behind oil/air separators.

January 22, 2016: A Lower Stance and Higher Cornering SpeedsC700 01

Next on our list of modifications were 1-inch drop spindles and sway bars – both courtesy of LG Motorsports. The drop spindles lowered the ‘Vette’s center of gravity, but were primarily for the purpose of achieving a more aggressive stance (which, needless to say, was accomplished). The sway bars, however, did a great deal to improve handling and cornering. These replaced the factory sway bars – which were significantly less rigid – and gave C700 more precise driving experience.

Together, LG Motorsports’ drop spindles and sway bars help our Stingray to feel as aggressive as it looks. For the in-depth look at these components and their install, check out the full story: Project C700: A Lower Stance and Higher Cornering Speeds.

January 16, 2016: A Bit More Bite And A Lot More Bark2015-11-23_21-50-19

Given that the C7 is naturally a beautiful car, we figured there’s not a whole lot of improving to be done looks-wise. So we decided to up the ante with a fresh new Billy Boat exhaust.

We went with their C7 Long Tube Tri-Y Header, C7 3-inch X-Pipe with Hi-Flo Cats, and C7 FUSION Bi-Modal Exhaust System with Quad 4-inch Double wall round tips. After tuning and dyno testing, our ‘Vette was pushing a solid 438.7 hp and 452.9 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels – a horsepower increase of over six percent and a torque increase of 16 percent compared to running the K&N air intake alone.

To get the full scoop on our Billy Boat exhaust install, check out the story here: Project C700: A Bit More Bite And A Lot More Bark.

October 16, 2015: An Increase In Breathability2015-10-07_21-33-15

Our first performance modification to Project C700 – and the first step towards our goal of 700 ponies at the crank – we installed a K&N full intake system. Prior to that system’s installation, however, we tested K&N’s drop-in filter to see what kind of power it would make versus the full system.

With the drop-in filter, our Stingray produced 407.7 hp and 384.1 lb-ft of torque – an increase of 10.3 horsepower and 6.1 lb-ft of torque over stock. With the full intake system, our LT1 pushed out 412.2 hp and 390.1 lb-ft of torque – an increase of 14.8 hp and 12.1 lb-ft of torque compared to stock.

For the full story, including our interview with K&N Intake Kit Manager Bert Heck, read here: Project C700: An Increase in Breathability2015-10-07_21-32-18

September 26, 2015: ProTEKt Helps To Keep Project C700 Looking New

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As any new-car owner does, we wanted to keep our shiny new Stingray looking crisp for as long as possible. Given the nature of late-model ‘Vettes, however, that can sometimes be a difficult task. Thanks to its low profile, the underside of the front lip often takes a beating when going up driveways, over speed-bumps, or through some drainage gutters.

Experiencing this firsthand, we decided to put a stop to the damage with the help of ProTEKt. We installed a set of their high-quality C7 skid plates, which has proved to be seriously beneficial. You can read all about the install and our interview with the company here: ProTEKt Helps To Keep Project C700 Looking New.

About the author

Joshua Phillips

Josh has always been captivated by cars, from legendary classics and late-model American muscle to European supercars.
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