They say there are two sides to every story. In no other instance has this statement been more true than when talking about the ongoing battle between Kyle Loftis, owner of 1320 video, and everyone’s favorite do-it-for-daler, Cleetus McFarland. In case you are a little out of the loop, both have been building 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower C5 Corvettes, albeit with very different mantras.
Kyle chose to go in a, errm we’ll say a “realistic” direction, while Cleetus decided to go Fate of the Furious on his Corvette and strip every non-essential component off the car. This lead to two very different methodologies but ultimately culminated in the race that bench racers around the interwebs have been waiting on for some time now.
At first, we were worried about Cleetus and his car he has dubbed Leroy. He chose to stick with the stock bottom end LS1 and throw some boost at it via an LSA TVS1900 supercharger. While it was a cool combination, and even went 9s, it seemed like it was destined for doom when compared to Loftis’ Unicorn Corvette.
Kyle, on the other had, took one of the most immaculate C5Zs we’ve seen in a while—in the rare Speeway White no less—to insane heights and calls it The Unicorn. From the jump, Kyle new he wanted the car to put down at least 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower, so he hit it hard. He turned to Huron Speed for a twin turbo kit for the C5. The LS6 was then ditched for a Thompson Motorsports 370 with forged internals. The car is also running on ethanol and all said and done put an honest 1,000 horsepower to the wheels.
For a little insurance, Kyle also added a bit of nitrous on top of everything. You know, just incase that puny 1,000 ponies wasn’t enough for humble old Leroy. After hearing of Loftis’ setup, Cleetus knew he was going to need more than a stock bottom end LS1 to contend and thus turned to our friends over at Texas-Speed.
If you know anything about Texas-Speed, you know that they don’t know how to do anything small—they are from Texas after all. They provided Cleetus with a 427 cubic inch Gen IV LS engine to make sure the Unicorn had a stable mate. As if that wasn’t enough, Cleetus then hit up the guys at Precision for a couple of 6466 turbos to feed the new beast and topped everything off with a Holley Hi-Ram. A “Bald Eagle Cam” from Texas-Speed gave the mill its unique burble and all said and done—after a few hiccups and set backs—Leroy made just over 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower as well.
And while these two were planning to go head-to-head from the get go, the fact that they were both making 1,000 rear-wheel ponies really made things a lot more interesting real quick. Making similar power, the advantage was obviously in Cleetus’ court at this point. After all, Leroy only weighs in at around 3,000 pounds while the Unicorn must be somewhere north of 3,200 after all of the modifications—not to mention Kyle said he wouldn’t be using the nitrous for his runs. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a trick up his sleeve.
The Playing Field
To even the playing field, Kyle installed a MS3 Pro standalone management system from Amp EFI. One of its features is traction control—an advantage that would be of monumental importance when it comes to actually putting that much power to the ground through an independent rear suspension. Cleetus’ plan, on the other hand, was to simply drive the wheels off his Corvette with good old human modulated pedals.
However, just before the race happened—during testing—Cleetus broke his transaxle when he naively attempted a burnout outside of the burnout box on the track. This immediately sheered the transmission’s output shaft—a common problem with the C5’s drivetrain when paired with big power. Luckily for Leroy, The Shop Inc., the company that built Kyle’s Corvette, actually jumped in and came to his aid, allowing him to make the race.
With both cars up and running, they decided to face off at the Ice Cream Cruise. While both have been guilty of talking a lot of crap at one point or another, it’s obvious that the two are friends and honestly just want to find out which is faster—after which they’re just both stoked they aren’t driving Fords. The racing kicked of with roll racing. In case you don’t want to wade through the entire vlogs, you can fast forward to 10:00 on the 1320video or 2:33 on the McFarland channel.
Spoiler Alert (no not Cleetus’)
The first and only roll race was a decisive victory by Leroy. However, while it seems like Cleetus would have pulled off the win either way, the Unicorn spins badly allowing Leroy to put bus lengths on it before the finish with Loftis backing out of it completely. Leroy spins a good part of the race as well and almost slides across the finish line sideways—though Cleetus’ did a better job of pedaling the car to the win. For some reason, they decide not to do a roll again and head straight to the eighth-mile drag strip, where the Unicorn had the advantage if you ask us.
The big news over at the drag strip is that Cleetus actually finally switched to a wheel/tire combo that is appropriate for his setup. Up until this point, he had been running radials on at least 18-inch wheels–neither of which are doing him any favors. For the big race, he borrowed a set of 28-inch tall Mickey Thompson ET Street R Bias tires which is a much better pairing for his six-speed Corvette. Kyle has been wisely running a similar setup on the Unicorn since its inception.
With Cleetus up 1-0, they hit the staging lanes
After winning the coin toss, Kyle chooses the left lane and the cars pulled to the line. Loftis’ car sounded like a bomb going off on the two-step and rockets off the starting line when the lights drop. Cleetus actually caught Kyle sleeping at the light but instantly blows the tires off, handing the win to Loftis, tying them up at one a piece. According to Loftis, “roll race, I smoked the first two gears; drag race, Cleetus smoked the first two gears, we want a good race. Cleetus has a lot to improve on with new tires, he just made a test pass, he’s making some adjustments we’ll see how it goes.”
After Kyle allows Cleetus to dial in the car a bit more, they pull to the line again. The second race is much more even with Kyle hole shoting Cleetus with an unbelievable .0182 reaction time for the win, making the contest 2-1 in Kyle’s favor. However, the duo decide to give it one more go.
At the tree, Loftis red lights but stays in it. However, it’s still not enough to put Cleetus away as Leroy walks away on the big end. After reviewing the slip, the Unicorn made a bit slower pass than it had all day but Cleetus still walks away with the win
Kissing Your Sister
They say tying is like kissing your sister. While we might not have been happy to see the action end in a tie 2-2, Kyle and Cleetus agree that both cars are pretty evenly matched and in the eighth-mile will likely continue to exchange volleys one-for-one. Apparently this means that the bet they agreed to of defiling each others cars will have to wait as well. We are left with hope though, as the two agree to meet in the future in Florida for some quarter-mile action. After all that waiting, we get to wait some more, but we have to hand it to these two guys, it’s been one hell of a build up. We hate ties.