C7s Surprise at SEMA

The annual Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show typically serves as a coming-out party for the latest high-end tuner cars, Corvettes among them. While the belated delivery of the first '14 Stingrays meant C7 supercars were in short supply at last November's get-together, a few prominent Vette tuners did manage to ready their initial offerings in time to make it Las Vegas.

Nowicki Autosport's (www.nowickiautosport.com) Concept7 prototype enjoyed a place of prominence in the sprawling Mobil 1 display, where its subtly enhanced appearance earned plaudits from show attendees throughout the week. Company principal Jeff Nowicki has extensive experience in both the OEM and aftermarket styling fields, and his eye for detail was evident in the Concept7.

Modifications included custom paintwork and HRE wheels, along with a raft of carbon-fiber replacement bits for the factory hood-mounted heat extractor, taillight bezels, rear air-intake ducts, and more. A carbon front splitter, side skirts, and rear spoiler contribute to the car's race-ready look without blunting the Stingray's meticulously honed aerodynamics.

While the initial Concept7 is essentially a styling exercise, Nowicki promises that various horsepower enhancements will be offered on customer vehicles.

Meanwhile, over in the Koni booth, LG Motorsports (www.lgmotorsports.com) showed off its own tweaked C7, this one fitted with a set of the Texas tuner's long-tube headers, Koni single-adjustable shocks, and a full LG carbon ground-effects package. The latter took home SEMA's Best Chevrolet Accessory award, quite an accomplishment given the number of new products that make their debut at the show each year.

We'll have a full roundup of "new at SEMA" Corvettes and parts in next month's issue. In the meantime, be sure to visit Vetteweb.com for a preview.

LT1 Horsepower War Heats Up

Meanwhile, away from the glitz and glam of Sin City, another pair of Corvette-performance specialists have been hard at work extracting more power from the new Stingray's LT1 engine.

As of this writing, the unofficial title of Quickest C7 belongs to Late Model Racecraft (www.latemodelracecraft.com), whose automatic 'ray is fitted with a high-stall Circle D torque converter, American Racing long-tube headers, an LMR "Reaper" heads-and-cam package, and a Nitrous Express kit pumping out an unspecified amount of bottle-fed thrust. Thus configured, the car recorded a 9.9-second, 132.70-mph quarter-mile at Royal Purple Raceway outside Houston.

Redline Motorsports, meanwhile, is hot on LMR's heels with its own C7 (shown), having logged a 10.50-second pass at 132 mph at Palm Beach (Florida) International Raceway. Upgrades to the seven-speed car include a Redline LTX2 camshaft, a set of Kooks long-tubes, and a 125hp blast of nitrous.

Given the two cars' closely matched trap speeds, the difference in e.t.'s is likely attributable to the harder launches enabled by the LMR Vette's automatic transmission.

How much faster can these cars go using internally stock engines? That's tough to say, but with both tuners hard at work on LT1 twin-turbo kits, it's clear the battle for C7 straight-line supremacy is far from over.