Let's set things straight: This story is titled "Black Magic" for a few reasons. First and most obvious, this '99 Corvette convertible is black. Its interior is black. Heck, it even has black wheels. But when coupled with "magic," black takes on an entirely new connotation. It implies something beyond the realm of the ordinary, but it also means something secret, something that can be brewed only with the most exotic of ingredients. As applied to an automobile, it means very special modifications have been done to the car to get it to be as fast as it is. It should conjure up images of secret engine coatings, high-dollar materials, and build techniques to help get every last horsepower out-driveability and reliability be damned.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not only is this car built completely from parts anyone can buy off the shelf, but East Coast Supercharging can build one just like it for you too. Want to go mid-9s at well over 140 mph? No problem. Many have put ECS to the challenge, and they've come up with the results to back up the claim. In fact, as you are reading this, the record for the fastest supercharged Corvette has likely been broken again-by one of ECS's customers.
This clean '99 doesn't look...
This clean '99 doesn't look much out of the ordinary-with the top up, that is. Though Hoosier slicks and skinnies are used at the track, Doug bolts on some Toyos mounted on C6 Z06 rims for street use.
Car owner and ECS cofounder Douglas Ring explains: "That's why when people ask me, 'What will you do to break that other guy's record?' I say, 'Well, that guy is a customer of mine...' I'll break his record the next time we go out, but that's not the point. I want people to know that you can be a customer at ECS and get exactly this: record-breaking performance. I didn't do anything to make this car really one-off and unique. What you see here we absolutely can do for anyone.
Doug wanted nothing but a fresh canvas from which to create one helluva quick Vette. After purchasing the '99 a couple years back from a seller in the Sunshine State, Doug ordered up a GM C5-R block and stuffed it with a Callies crank, MGP rods, and 9.5:1 Diamond pistons. A set of LQ9 heads was ported and bolted atop, followed by a FAST intake and a 90mm throttle body. Equipped with the stock PCM and a custom ECS fuel system, the engine was ready to rock-almost. All that was missing was a big honkin' centrifugal supercharger to help fill the 427-incher's holes.
At close to 150 mph, extra...
At close to 150 mph, extra safety is a must. A full rollcage, Sparco seats, and RJS harnesses help fill that role. Note that the factory stereo, climate controls, and other luxury goodies are all still in place.
Utilizing one of ECS's own supercharger systems-at the time equipped with another manufacturer's head unit-Doug was able to pull some pretty impressive 9-second timeslips. But once the head unit was swapped for a Paxton Novi 2000, things got even better. "The top end has the same amount of boost as before, but the big improvement was at the bottom of the rpm range. The head unit I had been using was really slightly too big for my application. So when I swapped to a Paxton, the lower rpm was much more responsive. Plus, this Paxton is super quiet. All you hear is the big blow-off valve when I let off. It sounds like a jet!"
Doug built this car as a showcase of the company's capabilities, and also to show off at the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge, a race series sponsored by ECS and held at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, in Englishtown, New Jersey. "This event is actually E-town's largest attending series-not counting the NHRA national event, of course-in terms of registered racers," Doug says. (For more information on the ECS Corvette Challenge and other Challenge series held around the United States, see "Mounting a Challenge" in our April '06 issue.)
Pulling the wheels off the...
Pulling the wheels off the line, this Vette gets down the track in 9.62 seconds-with a soft launch. "The last 9.62 I ran, I had to let off because the tires broke loose at the top end. [Otherwise] it probably would have been a 9.30. The 9.62 at 144 was like a shakedown run, leaving the line softly. The time I left the line really hard, I couldn't get a full pass but still ran the same e.t. number," Doug says.
Paxton Novi 2000 centrifugal...
Paxton Novi 2000 centrifugal supercharger is just one component of the ECS supercharger system you can buy from Doug and partner Chris Coriell. This blower unit has become renowned for its awesome flow numbers and reliability.
Also located in the cockpit...
Also located in the cockpit is a wideband A/F ratio display (below) to ensure everything is burning nicely in the cylinders.
Although hard to see, the...
Although hard to see, the ECS single intercooler is tucked in behind the front fascia. Some extra air passages, including through the area of the front license plate, help it get as much fresh air as possible.
"Every year, there is a so-called 'nationals,' which all the Corvette Challenge guys go to. There is what's called the Pro 8, which is a heads-up race of the eight fastest Vettes there. That's what we're going for. The problem is that now, what are essentially race cars and dragsters are allowed into the class. These suckers can run in the 7s, whereas we're running a true street car. But it's no big deal because it's not like we're racing for any crazy amount of money. Everyone knows what's a street car and what's not. So if we have the fastest street car of the day there, that's really all that matters to us. We very often are able to do that."
Keeping tabs on boost from...
Keeping tabs on boost from inside the cockpit, Doug sees a maximum of 20 psi from the Paxton supercharger. Though this is a decent amount of pressurization, the car runs nothing but 94-octane unleaded fuel at all times-a feat made possible by the ECS water/methanol injection system on board.
Though there are a few changes to the current setup coming before long-most notably a swap to a trans-brake-equipped TH-400 transmission for increased tranny longevity-streetability will not be altered. To that end, Doug will swap to 3.15 gears to keep the revs down on the highway.
"Not losing streetability is big-time important to me. I take this car on all the Toys for Tots runs, I go on a lot of the Vette cruises, and I take it up to my ski house in upstate New York. It really sees a lot of road use on top of the track use. That's the most important thing I try to let people know: Yeah, I'm running some nice numbers, but this Corvette is still completely driveable. [It has] air conditioning, stereo, the whole nine yards. Making a race car fast is not anywhere near as hard as making a street car fast! But we've done it-and we can do it for anyone."
The most obvious changes underhood...
The most obvious changes underhood are the ECS supercharger system, ECS fuel system, and FAST intake manifold. What you can't see are the 4.125-inch bore and 4-inch stroke that yield 427 cubic inches of punch.
|Spec Sheet |
|Car ||'99 convertible |
|Owner ||Douglas Ring |
|Block ||GM C5-R |
|Displacement ||427 ci |
|Compression Ratio ||9.5:1 |
|Heads ||Ported LQ9 aluminum |
|Valves ||Ferrea |
|Camshaft ||Comp custom grind |
|Rocker Arms ||Jesel shaft-mount |
|Pistons ||Diamond forged |
|Crankshaft ||Callies forged |
|Rods ||MGP aluminum |
|Intake Manifold ||FAST 90mm |
|Throttle Body ||Nick Williams 90mm |
|Fuel Pump ||ECS custom fuel system |
|Ignition ||Stock |
|Engine Management ||Stock with ECS tuning |
|Power Adder ||ECS Paxton Supercharger Kit |
|Maximum Boost ||20 psi |
|Intercooler ||ECS custom single |
|Exhaust System ||17¼8-inch Kooks headers, Stainless Works cat-back |
|Transmission ||GM 4L60, built by RPM Transmissions |
|Torque Converter ||Yank 3800 |
|Driveshaft ||Custom ECS in stock torque tube |
|Front Suspension ||Stock with QA1 shocks |
|Rear Suspension ||Stock |
|Rear End ||Stock with 3.42 gears, hardened shafts |
|Front Brakes ||Stock |
|Rear Brakes ||Stock |
|Wheels ||C6 Z06 polished (street), CCW (race) |
|Front Tires ||Toyo Proxes 2 RA-1 (street), skinnies (race) |
|Rear Tires ||Toyo Proxes 2 RA-1 (street), Hoosier 28-inch slicks (race) |
|Fuel Octane ||94 Sunoco |
|Weight ||3,520 pounds |
|Best e.t./mph ||9.62 seconds at 144 mph |
|Best 60-ft. time ||1.42 seconds |
|Current Mileage ||47,500 |
|Miles Driven Weekly ||50-75 |