Tuners have had a field day with the LS family of V8 engines from General Motors, improving their performance levels to pull upwards of an amazing 1,000-hp from them in some cases.
Now that the LT1 motor has upped the ante to at least 450-hp in the base Stingray for the 2014 model year, tuners should be able to get even higher numbers than they are with the current LS1 motor, right?
Not so fast, warns Ken Lingenfelter of renowned Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.
Lingenfelter tells Ronnie Schreiber of The Truth About Cars that GM has so far been holding tightly onto the LT1 motor so he hasn’t had actual experience with one of them yet, but he is afraid that the performance levels attainable with the LT series may not be as great as the LS series.
He points out to Schreiber that factory engines are normally built with performance limits, unlike the days when Formula One used “hand grenade” qualifying engines, designed to make great gobs of power but only for a few laps. Lingenfelter and his crew were able to get a lot more performance out of the LS engines, but from what he’s been able to find out about the LT1, he’s afraid that the new motor – which offers the highest specific output of any GM engine ever – may be closer to its limits in production form than the LS.
That doesn’t bode well for tuners.
We’re already seeing reports this week that Chevy hopes to get 600 and 700 hp out of the LS engine for the Z06 and ZR1 models of the seventh-generation Corvette, but Lingenfelter is afraid that 700 hp may be the best that can be wrung out of the new engine.
Lingenfelter adds that the LT1 will mark the first time GM has used direct injection in its V8 engine family, so tuners will face a learning curve, too.
Based on the good ol’ American ingenuity of the past, though, don’t bet against tuners being able to get better performance out of the LT1 engines. It just may take a little more work.
The Truth About Cars