By supercharging a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering got a jump start on learning about the engine family that powers the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. (LINGENFELTER PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING)
One of the first seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes to be delivered went to Decatur, Ind., where the folks at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering put the car on a dynamometer to run baseline numbers before they started taking the engine apart.
Why would someone get a new car and immediately tear it apart?
“You sound like my mother-in-law,” laughed Mike Copeland, vice president of operations for the high-performance automotive company founded by drag racer John Lingenfelter and now owned by his cousin, Michigan-resident Ken Lingenfelter.
“There are a percentage of people out there who want more than the factory can provide,” Copeland continued. “They are our customers and we need to be ready to supply them.”
The new Corvette is powered by a 6.2-liter version of the new fifth-generation Chevrolet small block V-8 engine. Though specially tweaked for the Corvette, the engine is from the same new small block family that powers the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and also will be used in the Chevrolet Camaro and other GM products, including sport utility vehicles.
To jump-start its effort to further boost the Corvette’s already dazzling performance, the folks at Lingenfelter got their hands on a new Silverado several months ago and started exploring its drivetrain and its potential.
“It’s the same engine family as the new Corvette and this was our first opportunity to go out and learn about that engine package,” Copeland said.
One of the things Lingenfelter’s crew did was to take their Silverado to the drag strip, where it sprinted a quarter-mile in 15.4 seconds. Not bad at all for a 5,360-pound vehicle (weighed with no driver and half a tank of fuel) and a four-wheel-drive powertrain.
Then they installed a Magnuson TVS 1900 supercharger and went back to Muncie Dragway, where the truck did the same sprint, though now in just 13.89 seconds, and exceeded 100 miles per hour (100.07) while passing through the timing lights. Both runs were made on 93-octane gasoline.
Copeland said supercharging the GM small-block V-8 is popular with its customers, and not only because they want more power off the line. The factory 5.3-liter pickup engine is rated at 302 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The Lingenfelter supercharger installation boosts those figures to 402 and 422, respectively.
“It reduces 0-60 times,” Copeland said, “but it also lets you pass a lot easier. It also gives you more performance while you’re towing,” he said. “It works very well in towing applications.”
While the supercharger doesn’t increasing towing capacity, it makes passing while you’re towing much easier, Copeland said.
“It’s huge when passing,” he said. “When you step on the throttle, you no longer wait for the engine to catch up.”
Copeland added that he’d just drive back and forth from the Lingenfelter shop to northern Michigan in his supercharged 2013 GM pickup, towing a trailer up and a Jeep back, and adding that unless you slam your foot down off the line, “there’s no penalty in fuel economy.”
Though full production of supercharger kits for the 2014 GM trucks won’t be achieved until November, Copeland said several already are available. The kit, he said, will be priced very close to the price of a Lingenfelter-installed kit for the 2013 pickups — $8,900 — or the kit will be available for owner installation. The superchargers come with a Lingenfelter Performance Engineering warranty.
Because of its early work with the small block from the pickup, Lingenfelter was able to anticipate some things about the Corvette powerplant and already is testing its own high-performance camshafts and cylinder head packages.
Copeland praised the new GM engine family and its new engine control computer.
“It presents its share of challenges, but has so much more capability,” he said. “It offers tremendous capability.”
Such as? Well, he said, with the new engine and its controller, tuners can use the gas pedal to control the throttle not just overall but specifically for each separate gear.
Lingenfelter expects to start releasing Corvette upgrades before the end of September.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com.