PRI 2011: VMP Tuning’s Justin Starkey And His 817 HP Shelby GT500
As a team of editorial and video folks that are deeply entrenched in the massive automotive enthusiast and performance aftermarket, we see and are involved in countless numbers of project builds from mild to wild, and when a speed shop whips up something interesting, we’re chomping at the bit to learn more about it.
When it comes to original factory vehicles – not legitimate race cars – there has been a huge movement in the last handful of years, largely spawned by the launch of new-age muscle cars from the “big three,” among performance shops across the nation to make a vehicle as quick as possible utilizing as many of the factory parts as possible. Many even base an entire build and mission around the continued use of a single OEM component on the car, simply to prove it could be done.
At this year’s PRI Show, we paid a visit to VMP Tuning, where owner and custom tuner Justin Starkey had his personal ’08 Shelby GT500 prominently on display.
Like so many others in the enthusiast community has, Starkey has put down some impressive numbers using many of the OEM parts, including a 5.4L powerplant that’s bone stock other than a Stage II camshaft from COMP Cams . The modular powerplant has been fitted with VMP’s own 2.3L TVS supercharger, creating 20 pounds of boost. The blower is mated with a Ford Racing throttle body and JLT carbon fiber cold air intake and exhausts through Dynatech 1-7/8-inch long tube headers and the factory 2.5-inch exhaust to create a ridiculous 817 horsepower ad 778 ft-lbs of torque. Starkey performs his tuning on this shop car using SCT’s X3 Power Flash Programmer with a custom VMP tune.
All that power and torque is transferred through the stock, factory T-56 transmission and factory differential to a set of Weld RTS wheels wrapped in M&H 275 Drag Radials, all riding on J&M lower control arms and BMR front control arms mated with the otherwise factory suspension.
Starkey has been a 10.90 at over 130 miles per hour in this sharp GT500 that he insists is plenty capable of running into the nines. To say that today’s factory muscle cars with some minor and relatively affordable modifications are purely incredible would be considered by many an understatement.