In a performance automotive world of conflicting technical opinions and myriad personal preferences, there's one thing that's indisputable: In the sixth-gen Corvette Z06, General Motors has given us one of the finest sports vehicles the world has ever known. With its fantastic 427ci engine, light weight, and supercar chassis dynamics, it's among the best out there-at any price. Sorry, foreign-car ans, but that's an indisputable fact.
What isn't a certainty is the best way to go about making insane amounts of horsepower with the car. The factory Z06 sticks with good, old natural aspiration-and 505hp is a sizeable amount to work with. But when looking to up the ante even further, is natural aspiration the best choice? Or perhaps nitrous injection should be in the cards. And then, of course, there's forced induction, but even this option offers the further choice of a roots- or screw-type blower, centrifugal supercharger, or turbocharger(s). The right choice depends not only on the intended use of the vehicle, but also on whom you happen to be talking to.
The base STS C6 twin-turbo...
The base STS C6 twin-turbo system is shown here. As we mentioned in our story, ECS uses different turbochargers and some other upgrades we'll discuss as we go along. If you're worried about larger turbos yielding turbo lag, fear not. All turbos used by STS and ECS are specifically sized to be rear-mounted and are internally quite different from your typical front-mount units. Thanks to this, boost response is said to rival that of an ordinary turbo system.
Cream Ridge, NJ-based East Coast Super-charging (ECS) offers one such option that's hard to beat. ECS has teamed with Squires Turbo Systems (STS) to create a rear-mounted, twin-turbocharger package that adds substantially to the LS7's already healthy horsepower while maintaining stock-type daily driveability. For the price of $14,749, ECS will convert your stock Z06 to a boost-huffing screamer-and this figure includes all parts, installation labor, and tuning. It's a 100 percent turnkey package.
ECS bases its package off of STS's twin-turbo system for the base LS2-equipped Vette. But for the larger-cube Z06, the shop takes the kit a few logical steps further and upgrades to stouter GT32 turbochargers as well as matching dual wastegates. In addition to LS7-specific fuel-system mods, ECS adds its own methanol-injection system to ensure safe operation on pump gas. Finally, the turbos and the stock exhaust manifolds are ceramic-coated for increased performance and durability.
Before we get to the installation overview and performance numbers, let's answer what is perhaps the most obvious question regarding the design of the STS system-why the rear mounting? This STS-patented turbo layout is all the rage right now, and it has been applied to everything from passenger cars to pickups. So a few words are probably in order for those who may not have heard much on the topic.
This photo shows the intake...
This photo shows the intake and exhaust tubing supplied by STS with the base C6 kit. Nearly all of it is used by ECS in its Z06 install. The tubing is so shiny because it's HPC-coated. Concerned about boost loss or delay through the intake pipes? STS says the post-turbo intake volume in its systems is similar to that of many conventional turbo systems running a front-mount intercooler, and it only takes about 0.05 seconds to compress that volume.
In a nutshell, rear-mount turbocharging isolates underhood components from the wire-frying heat typically given off by a turbocharger's turbine housing. In addition, the rear-mounting methodology means the turbos themselves run cooler, and the install is simpler and cleaner. Also, no piping downstream of the turbo means no backpressure whatsoever, thereby improving turbocharger performance.
The Z06 rear-mount twin-turbo kit is available exclusively through ECS on a per-customer basis. "We know what we need to do, and the install goes very smoothly," says ECS co-owner Doug Ring. "Just supply us with a Z06, and we'll take care of the rest."
As a sparingly paid freelance journalist, a new Z06 is only a glimmer in the eye of a daydream for me, and I only wish I could take Doug up on the offer. As for the rest of you, check out the accompanying photos and captions, which detail the kit's installation on ECS co-owner Chris Coriell's personal Z06. And if tech specs aren't your thing, don't worry. We've also included performance numbers and a gratuitous, VETTE-quality burnout shot.