Lethal Performanceâ€™s GT350 breaks into 10-second zone with nitrous
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Lethal Performance
When we last left the Lethal Performance Shelby GT350, the car rocked the rollers on the Dynojet at Power by the Hour to the tune of 501 horsepower at the rear-wheels thanks to a few choice bolt-ons, a splash of E85 and a custom tune. Recently the Lethal GT350 gainedÂ one more bolt-on before heading to the drag stripâ€”a Nitrous Express nitrous kit!
Thatâ€™s right, things got serious in a hurry. Lethal Performance installed the same kit that the company deployed on its 2015 Mustang GT to see just how the car would respond to some artificial aspiration.
â€œFor most of our cars, we typically like to try that nitrous out before we put on a blower,â€ Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance explained. â€œWe know how well the vehicles react to nitrous, and with this motor no one had done it before, so why not give it a shot?!â€
With that in mind, the crew at Power by the Hour installed the Nitrous ExpressÂ kit and pilled it for a 150-horsepower hit. They also swapped out the stock spark plugs in favor of a set of cooler Brisk plugs and turned the car over to Lund Racingâ€™s Ken Bjonnes for a custom tune. He tweaked the air/fuel and pulled out a little timing.
â€œI was really impressed with the improvement from 501 to 621,â€ Jared enthused. â€œThe car picked up some power and the torque was awesome.â€
For comparisonâ€™s sake, Lethalâ€™s 2015 Mustang GT put down 542 rear-wheel horsepower on a 150 shot, while the companyâ€™s Boss 302 cranked out 583 at the wheels on a 150 shot and 591 on a 175 shot.
â€œI had the expectation of running 10s from our previous cars, knowing how the Coyotes and react to the nitrous and even the Boss, which is a better comparison. I think our first pass off the trailer with the Boss was a 10.70-something and we were done,” Jared said. “It was just a matter of whether we would break something or not.â€
So Jared, Ken, and hot shoe Jeremy Martorella headed off to Palm Beach International Raceway to run the new combo. With a film crew on hand and time in short supply, Jared opted to forgo a naturally aspirated run. He wanted to run a 10-second pass and not take any chances breaking parts.
While he has a long history of racing and winning, these days Jeremy is the Parts and Service Manager at Palm Beach RV, whose owners are big time car enthusiasts. As such Jeremy is pretty busy and had never driven the GT350 before arriving at the track. He needed a hit or two to figure out where the car liked to launch, where it liked shift, and where he should engage the nitrous.
â€œI said, alright, we are going to have to be pretty aggressive with this,â€ Jeremy explained. â€œThey put the nitrous switch right next to the shifter, so what I said what I would do is come out at 5,000 rpm, go about 20 feet with the car to make sure itâ€™s hooked up, and Iâ€™ll turn it on.â€
After bogging on the first pass Jeremy raised the launch rpm to 6,000 rpm and things were going wellâ€”until the clutch pedal stuck to the floor and hung the Voodoo engine at 9,200 rpm for a second. Jeremy saw a lot of potential, but he thought they were done for the night, as the clutch took a beating when it stuck to the floor.
The smell of clutch was in the air, but Jared was undaunted. Wanting to take one more crack at it, he suggested they remove the factory clutch pedal spring, so Jeremy busted it out with a screwdriver and set out to make one more pass taking it a little easier on the car in deference to the wounded clutch.
â€œI come out and it goes a 1.74 short time, but I can absolutely hear the clutch slipping in first gear. I granny-shift it into second at 7,500, and itâ€™s slipping, but the car is making momentum,â€ Jeremy said. â€œAt least itâ€™s going down the track, so I get it into third and Iâ€™m going past the eighth mile in third gear saying â€˜Come on, come on. One more shift.â€™ I put it in fourth gear and I start clapping and cheering in the car, but it slipped the clutch all the way down the track.â€
You can watch that run right here…
While he was happy about making a clean pass on the hurt clutch, Jeremy was sure that this run was a near miss until he made it to the timing shack and picked up the time slip.
â€œI get the slip and itâ€™s a 10.98. I went ballistic in the car. I am flashing the high-beams going down the return road beeping the horn, and I pull up in the pits,â€ Jeremy said. â€œJared and the crew usually take a good two or three minutes to get there, but they beat me to the pit. They all ran back over. There was a huge celebration on the starting line. From possibly not being able to run the car again to being the first one in the 10s was super, super exciting.â€
Whatâ€™s even more exciting is that Jeremy is confident that this combo will eventually rev to 9,000 rpm on purpose. He really came away impressed with the full GT350 package, especially the Voodoo 5.2-liter engine.
â€œIâ€™d say the â€™15 (GT) almost feels like more of a muscle car. It has a lot of torque. It feels more aggressive. This (GT350) is so much more refined. It has a European feelâ€¦â€ he said. â€œThe engine accelerates very fast. Even though we are still dealing with a car that goes 10.90, given the gearing thatâ€™s in the car, I didnâ€™t expect it to do that going down the track. I figured we were going to be in each gear a long time. Itâ€™s definitely an exciting feeling watching that tach climb up to 8,000 rpm.â€
Of course, the GT350 is geared for road racing and there arenâ€™t many Super 8.8 ratios to choose from at the moment. That said, it could use a bit more gear.
â€œPutting a 4.10, 4.30, 4.56 in the car depending on your rear tire will make it easier to drive for the novice and it will improve the e.t. a ton,â€ Jeremy explained. â€œA heavyweight car with no gear ratio in it can be tricky to accelerate. The way I drove it last night, it probably should have had a 60-foot in the 1.50s, but itâ€™s not possible with the rpm I used and the gearing that it comes with from the factory.â€
However, the Lethal GT350 should soon have enough torque to work with the factory 3.73s because the next step in this project is the one we have all been waiting for.
â€œWhipple time! Letâ€™s see what it can do with some boost,â€ Jared said. â€œWe now know what it can do with some spray and a smoking clutch, so letâ€™s put a Whipple on it and see what this bad boy can do.â€
If Jeremy is right, what it can do should be enough to break through another GT350 e.t. barrier.
â€œThis is going to go very, very fast with a Whipple. Iâ€™d say that same tire with the Whipple and maybe a gear change in the rear, but not by much, this thing will go nines,â€ Jeremy added. â€œIf you can 60-foot this car in the high 1.40s, 1.50s on this 19-inch drag radial, which I think is achievable, itâ€™s going to go very fast.â€
When that time comes, you can read all about it on the SVTP Front Page, so stay tuned.
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