Tech: First 10-Second Shelby GT350

0 First 10-Second Shelby GT350 Featured

Shots Fired

Lethal Performance’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 gained one more bolt-on before heading to the drag strip—a Nitrous Express nitrous kit!

In our last report on the Lethal Shelby GT350 project, Power by the Hour added a JLT Cold-Air Intake, a set of Lethal Performance Cat-Delete pipes, a few gallons of E85 and a custom Lund Racing calibration. That added up to over 501 horsepower and 416 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.
In our last report on the Lethal Shelby GT350 project, Power by the Hour added a JLT Cold-Air Intake, a set of Lethal Performance Cat-Delete pipes, a few gallons of E85 and a custom Lund Racing calibration. That added up to over 501 horsepower and 416 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.

That’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.

“For most of our cars, we typically like to try that nitrous out before we put on a blower,” Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance explained. “We 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?!”

Lethal Performance’s Jared Rosen was ready to go big or go home. While a supercharger is the final power adder destined for this car, Jared decided to follow Lethal tradition and hit the Voodoo 5.2 with some spray first. As such, Power by the Hour installed the same Nitrous Express kit that we previously detailed on Lethal’s 2015 Mustang GT project.
Lethal Performance’s Jared Rosen was ready to go big or go home. While a Whipple supercharger is the final power adder destined for this car, Jared decided to follow Lethal tradition and hit the Voodoo 5.2 with some spray first. As such, Power by the Hour installed the same Nitrous Express kit that we previously detailed on Lethal’s 2015 Mustang GT project.

With that in mind, the crew at Power by the Hour installed the Nitrous Express 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 Racing’s Ken Bjonnes for a custom tune. He tweaked the air/fuel and pulled out a little timing.

“I was really impressed with the improvement from 501 to 621,” Jared enthused. “The car picked up some power and the torque was awesome.”

For comparison’s sake, Lethal’s 2015 Mustang GT put down 542 rear-wheel horsepower on a 150 shot, while the company’s Boss 302 cranked out 583 at the wheels on a 150 shot and 591 on a 175 shot.

The NX kit offers a straightforward installation. Mount the bottle in the trunk, wire the heater, run the nitrous line to the engine compartment, feed the fuel solenoid by tapping into the factory fuel line with an adapter, and plumb the lines from the solenoid to the inlet.
The NX kit offers a straightforward installation. Mount the bottle in the trunk, wire the heater, run the nitrous line to the engine compartment, feed the fuel solenoid by tapping into the factory fuel line with an adapter, and plumb the lines from the solenoid to the inlet.

“I 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.”

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.

The Power by the Hour crew pilled the jets for a 150-horsepower shot.
The Power by the Hour crew pilled the jets for a 150-horsepower shot.

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.

“I said, alright, we are going to have to be pretty aggressive with this,” Jeremy explained. “They 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 it’s hooked up, and I’ll turn it on.”

Once again Lethal enlisted a JMS Progressive Nitrous controller to ease the power onset to allow for the best blend of power and traction at the drag strip.
Once again Lethal enlisted a JMS Progressive Nitrous controller to ease the power onset and allow for the best blend of power and traction at the drag strip.

After bogging on the first pass Jeremy raised the launch rpm to 6,000 rpm and things were going well—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.

Power by the Hour mounted the switch nearby the shifter so Jeremy could easily engage the nitrous after shifting into second gear.
Power by the Hour mounted the switch nearby the shifter so Jeremy could easily engage the nitrous after shifting into second gear.

“I 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 it’s slipping, but the car is making momentum,” Jeremy said. “At least it’s going down the track, so I get it into third and I’m going past the eighth mile in third gear saying ‘Come on, come on. One more shift.’ 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.”

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.

Before running the car with the nitrous, they also swapped out the factory spark plugs in favor of an octet of cooler Brisk RR12 plugs. The Brisk plugs have proven popular with the Coyote racing crowd and Lethal continues to have good luck with them on the GT350.
Before running the car with the nitrous, they also swapped out the factory spark plugs in favor of an octet of cooler Brisk RR12 plugs. The Brisk plugs have proven popular with the Coyote racing crowd and Lethal continues to have good luck with them on the GT350.

“I get the slip and it’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,” Jeremy said. “Jared 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.”

What’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.

With the nitrous kit and supporting hardware installed, Lund Racing’s Ken Bjonnes dialed up a new custom calibration that ensured sufficient fuel and reduced ignition timing for the nitrous. With the new file created, he flashed the GT350 with one of the company’s nGauge tuner gauges.
With the nitrous kit and supporting hardware installed, Lund Racing’s Ken Bjonnes dialed up a new custom calibration that ensured sufficient fuel and reduced ignition timing for the nitrous. With the new file created, he flashed the GT350 with one of the company’s nGauge tuner gauges.

“I’d say the ’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 feel…” he said. “The engine accelerates very fast. Even though we are still dealing with a car that goes 10.90, given the gearing that’s in the car, I didn’t expect it to do that going down the track. I figured we were going to be in each gear a long time. It’s definitely an exciting feeling watching that tach climb up to 8,000 rpm.”

Of course, the GT350 is geared for road racing and there aren’t many Super 8.8 ratios to choose from at the moment. That said, it could use a bit more gear.

All the power in the world won’t help if you don’t have traction so Lethal added a pair of  305/35-19 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials to the stock rear wheels. These tires were more than up to the task on the drag strip at Palm Beach International Raceway.
All the power in the world won’t help if you don’t have traction so Lethal added a pair of 305/35-19 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials to the stock rear wheels. These tires were more than up to the task on the drag strip at Palm Beach International Raceway.

“Putting 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,” Jeremy explained. “A 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 it’s not possible with the rpm I used and the gearing that it comes with from the factory.”

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.

Do Voodoo 5.2-liter engines love nitrous? It would seem they do. With a 150 shot, cooler plugs, and a nitrous tune, the Lethal GT350 picked up peak-to-peak gains of 120.06 horsepower and 175.59 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels!
Do Voodoo 5.2-liter engines love nitrous? It would seem they do. With a 150 shot, cooler plugs, and a nitrous tune, the Lethal GT350 picked up peak-to-peak gains of 120.06 horsepower and 175.59 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels!

“Whipple time! Let’s see what it can do with some boost,” Jared said. “We now know what it can do with some spray and a smoking clutch, so let’s put a Whipple on it and see what this bad boy can do.”

If Jeremy is right, what it can do should be enough to break through another GT350 e.t. barrier.

“This is going to go very, very fast with a Whipple. I’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,” Jeremy added. “If you can 60-foot this car in the high 1.40s, 1.50s on this 19-inch drag radial, which I think is achievable, it’s going to go very fast.”

When that time comes, you can read all about it on the SVTP Front Page, so stay tuned.

With the nitrous kit onboard, sticky tires in back, and Jeremy Martorella banging the gears, the Lethal GT350 ran well with the new combo. It became the first 10-second 2016 Shelby GT350 by ripping  off a 10.98-second pass at 125.68 mph despite a slipping stock clutch.
With the nitrous kit onboard, sticky tires in back, and Jeremy Martorella banging the gears, the Lethal GT350 ran well with the new combo. It became the first 10-second 2016 Shelby GT350 by ripping off a 10.98-second pass at 125.68 mph despite a slipping stock clutch.
As you know, we like to take a look at a sampling of the data when we can, and this comparison of the naturally aspirated bolt-ons and the new nitrous combo shows a big fat torque hit down low and thick, three-digit power gains across the powerband. Yeah, this car likes nitrous—a lot!
As you know, we like to take a look at a sampling of the data when we can, and this comparison of the naturally aspirated bolt-ons and the new nitrous combo shows a big fat torque hit down low and thick, three-digit power gains across the powerband. Yeah, this car likes nitrous—a lot!

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