When a Duramax Meets a New Corvette

It’s become a thing, hasn’t it? Whereas before the Fast and the Furious made four cylinder tuners all the craze, now the big dog truck drivers want in on the action. Here, you’ll see a souped up twin turbo charged diesel Duramax drop into a dead sprint against a classic Corvette. Who would ever think it would even be a serious race? First note – highway racing? Totally illegal. Definitely don’t try this at home (or on the freeway).

That said, it’s amazing the sound of that twin turbo diesel Chevy Duramax spinning up into warp drive. Off the factory floor, the Chevy Duramax is known for many things: great tow and payload capacity, a strong reliable engine with 765 lb-ft of torque, and enough brute force to claw its way to any job site imaginable. That said – it’s never been known for speed.


The whole phenomenon is known as “tuning” and before where it may have only applied to smaller cars and trucks – it’s been taken into the big times with the Chevy Duramax. Installing a twin turbo kit on top of the already powerful engine can bring it within the realm of 750+ rear wheel horsepower (RW HP).

What it Takes to Bring a Duramax to the Races

That’s some pick-up and go power! However, with the added capability comes the need to properly supply the engine with usable fuel. The mainline fuel distribution method for the factory engine settings is not at all helpful for racing.

In fact, they’re not even equipped with a pump to pump diesel fuel system! In order to really get the right pressure for a twin turbo diesel engine, many Duramax drivers will install an AirDog II Fuel Preporator or similar. The purpose is simple – it helps keep water out of the diesel fuel line and get it to the prefect pressure before feeding it into the turbo. Regardless of which system is selected, an optimal flow rate of 260 gallons per hour (gph) is expected for most high octane racing.

While completely optional, a lot of off road enthusiasts turned highway racers will put on 3” drop shackles to give the truck a bit more lift. If this is done, the Z71 skid plates usually aren’t far behind. Absolutely essential for improving aerodynamics and protecting the undercarriage – it’s an oft overlooked step that becomes immediately apparent when the front suspension gives after a jump.

It’s the Little Changes that Made Duramax Great

Believe it or not, not every Chevy Duramax was created equal. In fact, the Chevrolet Duramax line of trucks underwent some major renovations between 2006 and 2007. In 2004, they switched from a single turbocharger, air-to-air intercooler to a single VGT, air-to-air intercooler. That minor change up helped contribute an additional 10 horsepower and nearly 80 lb-ft of torque. But for the most part, the Allison 1000 6 speed auto transmission has been a mainstay since 2006 – which drives will arguably prefer over the previous 5 speed auto incorporated in the 2001-2004 LB7 line. At present, the factory model of Chevy Duramax comes equipped with a 6.6 L Turbo-Diesel V8 engine capable of 397 hp and 765 lb ft of torque. For reference, that’s more than a Hummer H1 and arguably competitive with some semi tractor trailer trucks such as the Cascadia from Freightliner.

Freeway Races – Judge of Car or Character?

Which is partially one of the reasons why the Corvette may have lost – he didn’t even suspect that a real race had begun! The Chevy Duramax is a hauler – not a racer. So one would think, anyway… And who can blame him? Off the factory floor, the 2015 Corvette has an eight cylinder engine capable of displacing 6.2 liters at a go. With a raw torque of 460 lb-ft and 455 horsepower – it’s lighter, more agile, and a tried and true sprinter. Most importantly, it can come equipped with either an 8-speed automatic or a racing style 7-speed manual. A final curb weight of less than 3,500 lbs means it’s less than half the weight of the average Chevy Duramax and way more available engine power.


Yet… Facts are facts. Either the Corvette driver didn’t want to increase his insurance rate or wasn’t willing to risk his MSRP $53,000 sports car against a similarly priced truck. Freeway racing certainly won’t make friends but it will set precedents as we suspect this is far from the last souped up Chevy Duramax tuner to make the top YouTube favorites. Duramax drivers – would you rather spend the money gearing your rig for racing or pummeling mud pits? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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That’s some pick-up and go power! However, with the added capability comes the need to properly supply the engine with usable fuel. The mainline fuel distribution method for th