If you're an engine nerd, then you better be paying close attention to midget racing. It's like a breeding ground for crazy projects that are actually put to the test in competition. Just a while ago, we highlighted a wicked Honda K24 project that runs 15:1 compression and costs roughly $40,000. This billet 2.7-liter from Katech Performance is like that in a lot of ways, except it's based on a gen-five Chevy LT and makes north of 400 horsepower.
The small but mighty power plant debuted at this year's Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis. There, Katech had one mounted on a stand in all its shiny glory. The form will be familiar to anyone who's spent time at a dirt track; it's essentially a 90-degree V8 that's been cut in half. Builders take advantage of the 45-degree lean as it moves more weight to the left side of the car, which helps with turn-in.
It's a traditional pushrod engine that uses high compression—14:1, to be exact—instead of forced induction to make big power. The bore is relatively big at 4.125 inches but the stroke is short at 3.085 inches, enabling high revs. Katech says it's limited to 8,600 rpm but it's been tested at 9,500 rpm without any float from the titanium valves. You might also notice the port injection, which obviously isn't direct like you'd find on a production LT, but this particular setup is built to burn methanol.
Katech notes that while it's designed specifically for midget competition, it can be adapted for pretty much any type of racing as well as on-road applications. I can't think of any off the top of my head but if you think your daily driver needs a dry-sump, aluminum lump like this, then hey, who am I to judge? It weighs less than 200 pounds so worse comes to worse, you and a friend could install or remove it by hand. (Please don't actually do that.)
There's no word yet on price but you can bet it'll be high. All the hyper-specialized modern midget engines are, really. At least you're collaborating with Katech, which has plenty of experience building all kinds of engines and components that race everywhere from Tulsa to Le Mans. It's crucial for top-level teams to have that type of support, especially if they're running USAC, Xtreme Outlaws, or the POWRI Midget series like this is intended for.
I've got 20 bucks for the first person to buy one and run it in their EK hatch at the local fun drags.
Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: email@example.com