Car and Driver Sept 01 2001
Csaba Csere, Frank Markus, Daniel Pund, AAron Robinson, Tony Swan and Larry Webster
SEARCHING FOR THE HIGHEST PERFORMANCE STREET CAR IN THE LAND
We found the perfect venue in our backyard — Michigan International Speedway. It not only sports a 2.0-mile tri-oval but also has an infield road-racing loop.
Mallett Cars was founded in 1997, its goal to produce the fastest, highest-quality fifth-generation (C5) Corvettes on the street, drawing on years of motorsports experience, some of which was spent working for Chevy’s racing program.
Mallett Corvettes have competed in every Car and Driver One Lap of America since 1996, placing as high as second in 1997 and as low as 71st two years later. The very car you see here achieved those rankings, plus third overall in both 1998 and 2000. It’s also Chuck Mallett’s daily driver, so we were not surprised to find that it was exceptionally docile and tractable on our road drive, bagging four of five drivability stars ( a low, hard seat cost it a fifth star).
Power comes from an aluminum LS1 V-8, stroked from 3.62 to 3.92 inches and gently bored from 3.90 to 3.92 inches, for 378 cubes total. All new internals, plus smoother-flowing intake and exhaust plumbing, add up to 435 hp in naturally aspirated trim, but this being a full-tilt-boogie exercise, our car also boasted a customized Vortech centrifugal supercharger. Calibrated for pump premium, it blows 9.0 psi of boost, good for 625 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque (running 14.0 psi on 104 octane, he sees upwards of 700 hp).
Routing power through a heavy-duty Mallett clutch to a blueprinted Tremec box at the behest of a billet shorty shifter, the Mallett 435S was much easier to drive smoothly than the Lingenfelter twin-turbo setup. Putting the power down was easy, thanks to Hoosier racing slicks grooved to meet the letter of our stated minimum-tread-depth rule.
The suspension’s composite leaf springs have been ditched in favor of a multi-adjustable coil-over shock unit at each corner, and lowered, with modified Mallett geometry and custom-tuned anti-roll bars. The car is also lightened everywhere with Swiss-cheese holes, thin body panels, and even a clear-coat primer paint job that saves 18 pounds in paint. But a roll cage and fire and data-gathering systems put a lot of that weight back on.
Mallett’s Vette ran like a train all day Monday and garnered high praise in the logbook: “a very civilized machine,” “ride quality in the medium suspension setting is really good,” and “a well-developed car — so secure and planted that I feel most confident in here.”
The car completed three runs and finished third in the official standings, reaching 140 mph, with a course time of 99.3 seconds. And the suspension work paid off with a decisive second-place time on the 0.86-mile road course, clearing the gates a considerable 3.6 seconds ahead of the Lingenfelter Vette.
Mallett’s quiet, linear, and well-weighted Baer brake package also managed to stop the car from 140 mph in an impressive 623 feet. Clearly, this is one impressive daily driver, but next time expect to see a real fire breather.
(Excerpt from Car and Driver magazine write up Sept 01 2001)