Rising From The Ashes: Project Red Dragon Is Getting Some Boost

Trying to find a way to keep a project car fresh can be a challenge, but sometimes the car itself finds a way to do it for you and you just have to hold on for the ride. For us, that project car was Red Dragon, and it decided that it didn’t want to be a nitrous car anymore, an needed a change. Now we’re grabbing another gear and taking this F-body to boost town.

Our original goal with Project Red Dragon was to create a 9-second street car with as few modifications as possible. We were well on our way to making that happen when the car’s original LS1 started spitting out some metal shavings. Instead of just keeping things simple and building an even stouter nitrous engine, we’re totally flipping the script and turning the Red Dragon into a turbo car.

The Red Dragon was making plenty of steam on giggle juice but it's going to be a whole new animal with the amount of boost we're going to throw at it!

Now, with this conversion to boost as a power-adder for Red Dragon, we’re not just bolting on a turbo kit, we’re making a lot of changes to the car so it can support more horsepower while being uber-reliable. This means we’re upgrading the fuel system so the car can run on E85, we’re swapping in a TH400 transmission, having ATI upgrade our torque converter, and we’re beefing up the suspension.

To replace the wounded LS1 we’re swapping in a used 6.0-liter LS to keep things reasonable in the budget department. This engine has spent its life huffing nitrous, so to maximize it for a boosted application and freshen it up, COMP Cams is providing us with everything to swap in a turbo cam. We’re also going to upgrade the lifters, rocker arms, and other valvetrain parts. Keeping the engine balanced will be a harmonic balancer from Fluidampr.

The 6.0-liter truck engine is going to see plenty of upgrades to help get it ready for the conversion to boost.

The Huron Speed T6 kit we got came with all of the hot side and cold side parts along with a beefy intercooler.

The turbo system of choice will be a Huron Speed V3 T6 kit. This setup will remove the A/C from the car. We actually were going to go with a T4 kit, but the team at Huron Speed talked us into going big…who doesn’t love more horsepower, right? We upgraded to an HS Black Series 6-inch intercooler so the IATs will be kept low and there will room to add more horsepower in the future.

Our turbo for this build is an 80mm unit from VS Racing that can make well over 1,000 horsepower. All of the boost will be kept in check by a pair of Turbosmart Race Port 50mm blow-off valves, Hyper-Gate wastegates, and an eBoost2 boost controller. With this kit, we will need to relocate the battery to the rear hatch, and Tick Performance hooked us up with one of its battery relocation kits to make that happen.

Tick Performance, VS Racing, and Turbosmart are all helping out with parts to make the Red Dragon come to life with boost.

To keep the 6.0 fed with plenty of E-85 fuel and let us run more boost we’re adding a really trick fuel system from DeatchWerks. A 415 lph fuel pump is going into the stock tank and it will be in charge of filling the DeatchWerks 5.5-liter surge tank we’re going to be using. That surge tank will have three 400 lph fuel pumps capable of supporting over 2,000 horsepower inside. The E-85 from the surge tank will be pumped to the engine via DeatchWerks fuel lines and fittings. A set of DeatchWerks fuel rails and 220-pound injectors are the last stop before the fuel is sent into the engine. There won’t be a shortage of fuel for the Red Dragon, that’s for sure!

Providing enough E-85 is going to be critical, so we teamed up with DeatchWerks to build a fuel system that can support 2,000 horsepower on the corn!

We wanted to make sure the Huron Speed turbo kit would fit flawlessly, so BMR Suspension stepped up and provided one of its LS1 turbo K-members, along with a full set of control arms for good measure. Since we’re moving away from a 4l60e transmission to the TH400, BMR will also be sending us one of its transmission conversion crossmembers. With all this extra horsepower we will have on tap it seemed like a good idea to beef up the torque arm. Once again BMR came through and hooked us up with one of its Xtreme Torque Arms that’s welded to the chassis and has an integrated driveshaft safety loop.

The plan is to do plenty of unboxing videos so you can check out the parts we use, and there will be some other videos uploaded to the Dragzine Facebook page, as well. So, get ready to follow along as we turn up the boost on the Red Dragon on our quest for a 9-second time slip!

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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