Late Model Racecraft is no stranger to big power, and quarter mile supremacy. Their latest project, a C7 Corvette is already running deep into the 8s and gunning for the 7s.Founded in 2007, Late Model Racecraft has earned a reputation for building brutal LS-based performance machines over the years. And since their inception, the Houston, Texas based performance outfit has operated under the philosophy that actions speak louder than words.
“Steven Fereday, the owner of LMR, was the first one in the 7s with an LS-based engine,” explains LMR’s Joe Wilkie. “He did a lot of work with Late Model Engines back in the day – they really used his car to help promote their company for the first couple years they were open.” But it wasn’t long before Fereday was ready to set up a shop of his own. “Late Model Racecraft has been pretty far up the ladder in the LS game ever since,” he adds.
While LMR is still heavily involved in competition and busy during the day putting together wicked late-model domestic performance builds, there’s one recent development that has become a focal point for the team. “Once the C7s came out, that became our bread and butter – we really turned all of our efforts towards that car,” Wilkie says. “We spent a lot of time just figuring those cars out, and now I really feel like we’re on top of the game as far as the C7 goes.”
Late Model Racecraft has the track record to back Wilkie’s claim, too. Earlier this month, Richard Broadway's LMR-built 2015 Corvette C7 posted an 8.06-second pass at 170 mph, making it the world’s quickest C7 Corvette, Wilkie says. “We rented the track knowing we’d be running at night time because of the track temps during the day,” he says. “It almost didn’t work out. At 7:30 that night it rained for about ten minutes and soaked the track, so Steven and I grabbed leaf blowers and spent almost two hours drying the track off before we started making passes.”
The record setting ‘Vette dishes out roughly 1300 horsepower by way of a 416ci LME short block, a Callies crank and rods, Wiseco pistons, factory heads that have been milled and ported by LMR, and a Cam Motion camshaft cut to LMR’s specs. A ProCharger F-1X blower with an LMR-designed air-to-water intercooler provides the boost.
But if you want to set world records in the LT world, one power adder isn’t going to cut it. “We have three methanol nozzles on it,” Wilkie points out. “And we also just put Nitrous Express single nozzle system on the car. It’s something we just pieced together here – it’s not some crazy plate kit or something like that – and this one maxes out as a 200hp shot. We can’t flow any more than that.”
GM’s 8L90-E 8-speed automatic was also swapped out for a two-speed Powerglide gearbox. “You’re going to have the internet trolls going crazy over that,” Wilkie says with a laugh. “We already went 8.84 with this car back in November of 2016, and we held the record for the C7 at that point. A shop with a Z06 took the record back around the middle of last year, and then another car nabbed the Stingray record with an 8.77 not long after that. That’s when we decided to do the Powerglide conversion. A lot of people might freak out and say, “Hey, that’s not the stock transmission.” Well, you can buy it too, you know! Ultimately the eight speed doesn’t like to shift once you get past a thousand horsepower, and we’d rather not spend our time burning down gearboxes one after another. You go through a few of those transmissions and you’re already approaching the cost of a Powerglide.”
On the chassis front, the Stingray maintains its factory front suspension while the rear utilizes a 9-inch Ford rear end with a custom coilover setup from Mencer Motorsports. A 15-inch conversion has also been added to allow the team to run the 15-inch wheels on the C7.
Inside, the Stingray looks ready for the morning commute. It’s a task the car will still handle without drama, Wilkie says. “This car still has a full interior and functioning AC – we haven’t removed anything from the inside of the car for weight. We set that record on a Wednesday, and on Saturday morning I picked up the car from the shop and drove it to a Cars and Coffee meet a half-hour away, and I had the AC on while I did it.”
Maintaining street car reliability in a 1300 horsepower world-beater doesn’t happen by accident. “We put Wiseco pistons in all of our engines,” Wilkie tells us. “We’ve seen as much as 950 horsepower on the LT motors with the stock rods and crank with Wiseco pistons in the mix. On the C7 car, we have been making well over a thousand horsepower for more 500 miles and 30 passes, and the pistons have given us no trouble whatsoever.”
The team’s record-setting pass was made on their first run down the strip with nitrous added to the mix. “On the second pass we spun a little bit,” Wilkie says. “By then it was already 2:30 in the morning, so we decided to call it a night.”
But considering the track conditions and the limited number of runs they got with their entire arsenal involved, there’s probably a bit more left in the C7. Along with the team’s intent to start doing some grudge racing with the car down the road, potentially in the True Street class, they’re determined to set another record by breaking through that seven second barrier in the near future.
“We want to be the first ones in the 7s, and it’s reasonable to believe we will be,” Wilkie says. “We just need to go back to the track.”