*photography by: Greg Connoyer
Since the 1950s, enthusiasts have been known to take Corvettes out of their element and into a world that they weren’t intended for. Even with humble beginnings, Corvettes with Blue Flame 6-cylinder engines and solid rear axles were crafted for the road courses of the Western world. Taking on the cars from Europe like MGs, Austin-Healeys and Jaguars, hot-rodders on our shores would replace the tiny 6-shooter with something significantly more powerful for the dragstrip.
It’s much the same story today, with late-model C5, C6 and C7 Corvette owners taking their track-tuned Z06s and transforming them into killer LSX Series drag cars and standing-mile competitors. A perfect example would be the Vette on this page, a 2006 Z06 built with the Texas Mile in mind. In fact, it is currently the fastest pump gas C6Z that has ever competed in the Texas Mile.
Owned by Ben Craven of Craven Performance, this C6Z has been taken out of the role of serious track contender (although it still could hold its own on the twisties) and transformed it for a standing-mile terror, destined for the Texas Mile. It’s a theme that’s becoming more and more common as the years pass on, as enthusiasts abandoned the quarter-mile in the name of higher speeds and a longer track experience.
But this isn’t just some stickered up C6 with black factory wheels and an APR aero kit, the whole car has went under the knife for the sake of eclipsing the 200-mph barrier that so many other would-be contenders seek. But with the right selection of parts, careful planning, skill and a great tune, Ben pulled it all together, successfully running a 208.9 mph on pump gas.
Digging a little deeper, we pop the hood to find not a typical LS7 427, but an RHS block specced out to 440 cubic-inches. Utilizing a Callies crank, rods and Wiseco pistons, the bottom end makes for a solid and stout foundation in which to apply boost, reliably and effectively.
That’s how an intercooled ProCharger/Cartek F1X blower with a 4.25-inch pulley system can safely pump out 18-pounds of boost into the engine, safely, without having to worry about throwing a rod. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because there are plenty of other details that come into play when building such a solid car.
Working our way up from the bottom end, a CP Performance/COMP Cams bumpstick with an undisclosed grind was chosen specifically with the aforementioned boost in mind. A set of GM-cast, West Coast Cylinder Heads were selected for the engine, with a ported LS7 intake and throttle body forcing the air into each of the combustion chambers.
The 440 LS relies on a set of Injector Dynamics (ID) 1000cc injectors, triple 340 RSI hanger fuel pumps, and an Aeromotive A2000 regulator set at 58-psi., to feed that thirsty monster the 93-octane pump gas it relies on for the ‘Mile. The ignition system is kept mostly stock with only the addition of MSD plug wires and NGK plugs. The only changes made to the oiling system is a Katech ported oil pump.
The exhaust exits the AMT Racing Engines-built 440, through American Racing Headers 1-7/8 long-tubes, X-pipe and an OEM catback. It provides the perfect balance of performance and an excellent soundtrack, without being overly obnoxious. Besides, the butterfly valves in the stock exhaust are just to cool to let go of.
The Corvette still uses a manually-selected 6-speed to motivate it forward, but it has since been upgraded with an RPM Transmissions TR-6060 gearbox, with an RPM-sourced triple-carbon clutch, flywheel and MGW shifter. The power is then sent to the RPM/Quaife rear axle and 3.42 gears, via, a Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber ‘shaft. DSS axles are also found exiting on either side of the rearend.
Putting the power to the ground is a set of black OEM Z06 wheels, wrapped in Toyo R888s on the front and Mickey Thompson drag radials on the rear, which aid in traction. They’re very much needed, as the yellow bullet slingshots down the Texas Mile with 1150 hp and 800 lb-ft of twist sent to the rear wheels. Bringing the car to a halt, are the stock binders improved upon with Hawk Performance pads.
Although this car is set up for the long straights, a set of Pfadt sway bars were bolted into place to improve overall handling, as well as a Pfadt 4-point roll bar for increased safety. A set of Auto Meter gauges and a 5-point harness are other improvements Ben has made to the interior.
The overall package looks and functions as it should. There isn’t any unnecessary scoops, spoilers or wings, no tacky chrome under the hood and no gold chain hanging from the owner’s neck. This is one Corvette that not only should appeal to the younger enthusiast, but to the serious track goer looking to make a name for himself on the Texas Mile. As Ben has proven, you can be successful when you plan accordingly.
- CAR: 2006 Corvette Z06
- OWNER: Ben Craven
- ENGINE BLOCK: RHS block, engine assembled by AMT Racing Engines
- DISPLACEMENT: 440 ci.
- CRANKSHAFT: Callies
- PISTONS: Wiseco, forged
- CONNECTING RODS: Callies
- CAMSHAFT: CP Performance/COMP Cams; custom grind
- CYLINDER HEADS: WCCH; ported and polished, stock rockers w/trunnion upgrade, Ferrera valves
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.1:1
- INDUCTION: Ported LS7 intake manifold and throttle body.
- OILING: Katech pump, stock pan
- POWER ADDER: ProCharger/Cartek F1X, 4.25-inch pulley
- INTERCOOLER: ProCharger
- BOOST: 18-psi.
- EXHAUST: American Racing 1-7/8 long-tubes and X-pipe, stock pipes and mufflers
- FUEL DELIVERY: ID1000 injectors, triple 340 RSI Hanger fuel pumps, Aeromotive A2000 regulator
- IGNITION: Stock coil packs, MSD wires, NGK plugs
- TUNING: FAP Tuning
- TRANSMISSION: RPM Transmissons TR6060
- CLUTCH: RPM; triple carbon clutch and flywheel
- DRIVESHAFT: Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber
- REAREND: RPM Transmissions/Quaife; differential, 3.42 gears, Driveshaft Shop axels
- SUSPENSION: Pfadt sway bars (front and rear)
- CHASSIS MODS: Pfadt 4-point roll bar
- BRAKES: Stock, Hawk pads
- WHEELS: Stock; 18×10 (front), 18×12 (rear)
- TIRES: Toyo R888 (front), M/T (rear)
- HP/TQ.: 1150/800
- BEST STANDING-MILE MPH: 208.9 (93-octane)
Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, AutoCentric Media Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.