Cleetus McFarland Sets New Six-Speed Corvette World Record

It’s been a minute since we last checked in with our favorite “Do it for Dale”er, Cleetus McFarland. But while we haven’t brought you anything lately, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.

Last we saw, Cleetus had just tied Kyle Loftis (the owner of 1320video) in their Corvette shoot out when Leroy—Cleetus’ Corvette kart—went head to head with the Unicorn—Kyle’s twin-turbo C5 Z06. It was a battle for the ages and just plain entertaining. So how do you follow that up? Well, if you’re Cleetus, by breaking the stick shift Corvette world record, that’s how.

In case you don’t remember the setup on Leroy, the car was originally running 9s on a stock bottom end LS1. An LSA supercharger was providing the boost and it made for one hell of a ride. But when Cleetus received the challenge from Kyle, he knew that a stock bottom end LS wasn’t going to be good enough, so he stepped things up.

For the build, he turned to Texas-Speed & Performance who set him up with a forged 427 cubic inch LS along with a “Bald Eagle” camshaft to ensure Leroy could run with the big boys. A set of 6466 Precision turbos were added to cram up to 30 pounds of boost down the LS engine’s throat and allow it to produce well north of 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower.

Naturally, a Holley Hi-Ram was chosen to feed the PRC cylinder heads which were also provided by Texas-Speed, while go-juice is provided by a set of 1,650cc squirters from the guys over at Fuel Injector Clinic. The setup was originally run by a stock GM computer, but Cleetus quickly realized the limitations of the setup and eventually made the switch to a Holley Dominator setup—with which the car easily cleared 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower yet again, laying down 1,036 ponies with ease.

The whole shebang is backed by an RPM Transmissions built T56 fed by a Monster clutch and channeling power into a built C5 differential. It is a formidable combination to be sure, but not one we thought would be breaking records, but that’s where Cleetus proved us wrong.

After competing with Kyle, Cleetus continued to wrench on the car—dialing in the 1,000 rwhp build and making the switch over to the Holley system. With all the bugs worked out and the Dominator now handling the LS’s processes, the car went low 9s on the initial shake downs. With the 8s in sight, Cleetus wasn’t about to give up.

Image via NJS Media

On the car’s next outing the car bashed its way into the 8s, putting down an 8.90 and officially making it one of the fastest LS-powered six-speed cars in the nation, the fastest stick shift C5 ever, and eliciting quite the reaction from Cleetus and track goers alike.

After that, one things lead to another. After Leroy laid down its first 8-second pass, Cleetus realized that they weren’t too far away from the stick shift Corvette world record which stood at 8.63. Only a few minor changes were made to the car to push for the record including going with a taller 28-inch rear tire. This essentially gave Leroy a little more gear and kept it off the rev limiter at the end of the quarter.

However, at this point, even Cleetus admits that they are now pushing the transmission and differential way outside of their capacities—even going as far as to give them a pep talk before pushing them past their limit. They managed to stay together for the record-breaking pass but are likely on borrowed time at this point. Regardless, Cleetus, undeterred, pull the car to the line on his first shot at the record.

Leroy laid down an 8.96 right off the trailer, solidifying the Corvette kart’s 8-second status, but leaving Cleetus a ways off of his 8.63 goal. And though it was a far cry from the goal, a few mistakes were made that could have sped up the pass including slow shifting and bouncing off the limiter.

Excited to improve, Cleetus quickly returned the car to the line. This, however, almost spelled the demise of the record attempt as the clutch struggled to keep the capable mill and sticky rear slicks paired, simply spinning the clutch while going nowhere off the launch.

After letting the clutch cool off, Cleetus decided to give it another go. The car bogged coming out of the hole resulting in a “slow” 1.57 60-foot time and a decent 9.01 quarter-mile pass. At this point Cleetus wanted to give up, but the guys talked him into one final pass. And luckily they did as Leroy laid down a blistering 8.48 at 163.47 mph, officially making it the quickest and fastest stick shift Corvette of all time.

While most would be more than satisfied with the record, Cleetus has already decided that they will push for the 7s. Just to put that in perspective, that would make it the fastest GM six-speed car of all time. It won’t be an easy task though as Ray Bulach in his blue fourth-gen Camaro is already the record holder for the fastest six-speed GM car in the nation with an insane 8.06—and he’s pushing for 7s as we speak.

Who will win this arms race and be the first stick shift GM vehicle into the 7s? We don’t know. But we can’t wait to find out and you can rest assure we’ll have it for you right here when it does, so stay tuned.

Image via Crowd Control Photography. Cleetus posses with his fans.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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