Katech Corvette Z06 ClubSport

Katech Corvette Z06 ClubSport Katech Corvette Z06 ClubSport
Specialty File

Gravity isn’t one of those things most people think much about. We bet you’d notice, though, if it suddenly increased 10 or 15 percent or shifted polarity and pulled you, say, to the east instead of down. Imagine this (but don’t actually do it): Take the chair you’re sitting in right now, and bolt its feet to a roof that slants at a 45-degree angle. Now try sitting in it. What you’d be experiencing is approximately what someone feels in a car cornering at 1.00 g.

We measure cornering ability in fractions of a g—1.00 g is the earth’s gravitational pull on you at sea level—and to street cars, a full g of cornering is what a 400-lb bench-press is to the average gym rat. In the past year or so, we have tested 210 cars, only a handful of which have met or exceeded 1.00 g on the skidpad: we spotted a Viper SRT10 at an even 1.00 g, a Corvette Z06 at 1.03, a Viper ACR at 1.08, and now this Katech Corvette Z06 ClubSport at an astonishing 1.12 g. The only car we’ve tested in the past year that bests that number was a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup—a purpose-built race car—at 1.16 g.

Katech is the firm that builds the storm-trooper V-8s that have powered Corvettes to class victories at Le Mans five times in the past eight years. In addition to racing engines, the company dabbles in street performance, including completely tuned vehicles such as the Z06 ClubSport.

To arrive at the ClubSport, the company adds power and traction and deletes weight—about 140 pounds, compared with the lightest Z06 we’ve tested. The ClubSport hunkers lower than the base car on Moton dual-adjustable coil-overs and Katech’s own ClubSport wheels, so low that we couldn’t drive over a walnut without worrying about the carbon-fiber front splitter. Katech adds a racy Exedy twin-disc clutch, although its weight and high engagement point make avoiding stop-and-go traffic a pretty great idea.

Hood Pins—When You Actually Need Them—Are Hot

That 140-pound saving comes from myriad sources, including lighter tires, the brakes, and the battery. The stock hood is replaced by a beautifully executed carbon-fiber lift-off piece with rows of sinister vents that increase airflow through the engine compartment. In addition to the menacing look and airflow benefits, the hood weighs only 12 pounds, 13 fewer than the factory unit. Should you desire an additional 90-pound reduction, Katech will remove your A/C, radio, and carpeting, too.

The extra power comes with two weight-saving measures—the carbon-fiber intake and a lightweight exhaust—that up the Z06’s output to a claimed 535 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque from 505 and 470, respectively. The exhaust system retains the stock Z06’s butterfly valve for quieter operation at cruising speeds, although quiet is a relative term. Press the start button, and the LS7 lights off with a Richter-scale explosion that seems capable of activating car alarms and settles into a lumpy, ornery idle representative of the car itself: raw, loud, and racy. Our sound-level meter reported 85 decibels cruising at 70 mph, or exactly what the last Dodge Viper we tested made at full throttle.