Juicing and Boosting a 1,050-WHP ZR1 for 184-MPH SS3 Glory

Article By Rick Jensen (Turboguy). Photography by Corey Davis (iMPREZiONS).

Morris Malone is a Washington-based hot rodder who oversees an erosion control company. That sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry, but in rainy Washington state, it keeps him moving pretty fast.

But Morris is used to that—whether he’s working or driving. This lifelong car enthusiast has built everything from a 700-whp, twin-turbo 350Z to a Camaro ZL1. But when he decided to buy something that was already competitive from the factory, he turned to the fastest Corvette in history. "The 2009 ZR1 was the answer: it had the motor, drivetrain, suspension, brakes and aero right out of the box.” And so began his reign of terror on the local streets, his long nights "Mexico” racing and his quick expulsions from drag strips for being way too fast for the cage requirements.  

And then, because the ZR1’s 9.1:1 compression ratio was "just begging to be sprayed,” he turned to Phoenix-based Cordes Performance Racing. The ZR1’s supercharged V-8 has a forged rotating assembly that deals with 638 horses stock. But Morris and Joe at Cordes hatched a plan to really tax this Vette’s stock short block. High boost or juice can be destructive forces by themselves—but Morris and Cordes had the skills to safely turn the 376-cube V-8’s wick up by adding both, and you’re not going to believe how much power it made. 

Of course, an engine that makes huge power has to flow mad air. And even though the LS9 aftermarket wasn’t exactly booming, Morris and Cordes formulated a plan, and then started modding the 6.2-liter mill. A 102 mm throttle body and intake send O2 to the ported factory blower. It wears a port-matched LPE aftermarket snout, and an overdrive crank pulley and smaller blower pulley combine to bump up the boost to 20 psi.

And then a Nitrous Outlet spacer was installed between the blower lid and the cylinder head runners. Its spray bars supply the CNC-ported Advanced Inductions heads with 200 horses’ worth of sweet, sweet juice. To keep this nuclear horsepower reactor swallowing cool air, a D3PE heat exchanger and an Alkycontrol methanol system combine to keep the compressed intake air at reasonable temps.

The ZR1’s factory two-pump fuel system is stout—but adding the 127-pound FIC injectors with E85-compatible stainless internals have it barely keeping up with the LS9’s mods. Additionally, the nitrous system fuel is fed via a trunk-mounted fuel cell. And there’s a flex fuel sensor that works with the factory ECU so he can run E85. That all adds up to a pretty complicated fuel map, but Nic Desjardins’ tuning skills keep the engine fed, while keeping it safe even at extreme power levels. "Nic is a fantastic tuner who had the car dialed in very quickly with no hiccups,” Morris raves. "I was very impressed.”

With metric crap-tons of air and fuel in each hole, this thing’s fiery power stroke must be epic. Russian-dashcam, meteor-explosion epic. And like your dad at Thanksgiving, it produces a ton of waste gas—so Kooks’ 2-inch long-tube headers were bolted up, which send exhaust to a cat-less X-pipe and out through high-end Akrapovič mufflers.

Remember when we mentioned the LS9 engine’s strength? Well, it carries over to the drivetrain too—aside from an RPS triple-disc clutch and flywheel, the stock trans, driveshaft and rear end all deal with the LS9’s abuse admirably. And traction gets a big boost in the form of massive Mickey Thompson ET Street IIs, bolted to 18x13 CCWs in the rear. Up front, low-drag Continentals ride on 18x8.5s. 

With the interior upgraded with a 6-point RSD cage, gauges and nitrous controls, the ZR1’s tune was zeroed in on the dyno. It took a few sessions, but his latest one put down a whopping 1,050 horses and 1,030 pound-feet at the wheels at 20 psi boost—despite a slipping clutch. With a healthy clutch, that’s around 1,200 at the flywheel, or basically double what a stock ZR1 puts out! 

Since Morris’ ZR1 got CPR, he’s moved past scaring the crap out of grown men on the street, and has moved on to Shift-S3ctor’s half-mile mayhem. Even though he showed up at this year’s event with a hurt clutch, his supercharged Corvette did him proud. "I was battling a few issues out there,” he explains. "My clutch was fairly glazed before we came to SS3, and it was slipping in the high-load, upper rpm range.

"But despite that and a fuel system issue, as soon as you roll on the throttle, it’s like someone lit a rocket behind you! It makes 600 wheel pound-feet at 2100 rpm on just supercharger, and 1,000 when the 200-shot ramps in by 3450 rpm. The magnetic shocks transfer weight awesome, and the ET Street IIs just hook. It’s definitely one of the more violently fun cars I’ve owned!” 

The SS3 radar gun agrees, as the bad blue ZR1 clocked an impressive 184.7 half-mile run. And he was also able to take down a couple cars trapping much higher, including a 911 Turbo that ran just under 190. All this from a comfy Corvette that’s logged 12,000 street miles with nary a hiccup.    

With Morris in love with Shift-S3ctor’s fun, family feel, he’ll be back next year. But since the big boys play at 190+ mph, he hopes to keep pace with a few changes this winter. "I may give ARH’s new 2 1/8-inch race headers with 3.5-inch collectors and 3.5-inch H-pipe a try, as well as some 255 Mast Black Label heads, Crower shaft-mounted rockers, Comp short travel lifters and a larger duration cam. We hope to get up to 1,200 whp with the winter mods, and we’ll see what she does then!”

We can’t wait Morris.


2009 Corvette ZR1
Built by Cordes Performance Racing

Stock pistons
Stock rods
Stock crank
LS9 casting heads and stock valves, with Advanced Inductions CNC port
LS9 factory head gaskets
Katech LS9 head studs
LS9 2.3L 4-lobe supercharger with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering snout (Hand ported and polished by CPR)
Lunati custom ground, CPR spec’d camshaft, 231º/247º duration at .050, .628/.638 lift, 117 LSA
Lunati dual valve springs
Nitrous Outlet 200-shot using LS9 supercharger lid spacer w/nitrous and fuel spray bars
Kooks 2-inch primary long tube headers, 3-inch cat-less X pipe, 3-inch Akrapovič mufflers
LS9 radiator with custom SPAL fans
D3PE heat exchanger system
Synergy 4.5-inch intake
TPIS 102 mm throttle body
RPS triple-disc clutch and flywheel
Stock ZR1 transmission, differential and axles
RSD 6-point roll cage with door bars
Autometer gauge pod on driver-side pillar
Aeroforce gauges
Nitrous Outlet switch in cubby below head unit
Nitrous Outlet billet dual bottle bracket and bottle heater
Nitrous Outlet 2-gallon fuel cell in trunk
Stock carbon fiber front splitter
Stock carbon fiber side skirts
APR carbon fiber diffuser
Custom fender guards overlaid in carbon fiber
C7 carbon extended carbon fiber spoiler
ACS Composite hood insert (deletes factory clear window above supercharger with a functional vent)
18x8.5 front/18x13 rear CCW C2K wheels
245/45/18 Continentals front, 345/35/18 Mickey Thompson ET Street II rear
Stock carbon ceramic 6-piston brakes, 394 mm front rotor, 380 mm rear rotor
Stock front and rear sway bars
Stock front and rear magnetic ride control shocks


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