With the 7A cams being the next impediment to greater output, the Cat Cams and a 4-inch downpipe dumping into a side exit being fitted this winter are expected to bestow the Crow with upward of Veyron-esque equines. And as the ARP head studs are now allowing lift, ARP is in the midst of providing Krauklis units with the strength to cope with the barbaric forces to which he subjects them. Stresses that would send mortal motors cowering back to their motherlands, Krauklis’ solid-lifter 7A has racked up 50k WOT miles sans hiccup in the lower end—and many of those 50k were daily-driven snow and rain miles. He has confessed to tearing it down once out of curiosity, only to slap it back together when he found no discernible wear.

While F&R 400lb springs are run for street, drag runs see 1000lb rear springs to fend off copious squat resulting from launching an 800hp cruise missile. The rest of the suspension is fully 034/Delrin bushings, including Heim-jointed upper strut mounts. ASA 17-inch wheels fit over Porsche 993 Big Red front brakes for street use; however, the 11-pound 8x15 Centerline Convo Pro wheels with Mickey Thompson drag radials don’t, so G60 calipers are swapped in for the strip.

With all the broken bits also came breaking into the 10-second bracket, with most passes witnessing a 1-2 upshift bog (see fasterthenrs2 vids on YouTube). With new bits installed and launch technique honed, Krauklis should soon attain his quest of nines as the upcoming drag season unfolds.

The Crow’s open door invites me in; I am welcomed by a swing-out side bar assisting my ingress through the 10-point rollcage. Strapping into the five-point harness, I’m firmly ensconced in the Corbeau LG1 behind the S2 steering wheel and marveling at the AIM Strata dash.

I peruse the EGT/fuel pressure/volt/coolant temp indicators, then note the integrated programmable shift lights; an accompanying S2 centerstack reveals oil pressure and temp gauges. The Crow is already warmed up and is busily idling at an eager 1350 rpm. The 7A resonates through the cockpit with more than a hint of what is about to transpire, and it does not help that the CompTurbo runs naked; its impeller whirring about, the snail dangling al fresco in the breeze and producing an underlying, yet insistently piercing jetliner whine.

Krauklis casually leans over and informs me in his mild I’m gonna keel you eastern European accent that the Crow has clicked through 60 mph at a datalogged 2.45 seconds. I can handle this, surely.

We forego launch control to accommodate my newness, and in goes the Tilton clutch. This clutch is not for the squeamish, very much an on/off affair that would make Hans ’n Franz proud. I somehow conquer and we’re off, the 01E six-gang feeling quite familiar as I dip a toe into the tempting waters of Second gear.

We’re underway, and I’m trying to decipher the space shuttle-approved AIM dash and deftly negotiate the Tilton. Feeling comfortable, I can now interpret the tach and navigate the powerband simultaneously (comfortable being a relative term), I deploy a series of blindingly quick wide-open upshifts.

Whiiiiine whiiiiir whissstle WOOSH POP—Second—Whiiiiine whiiiiir whissstle WOOSH POP—Third—as boost gradually builds, the revs swell to 5000 then violently slams up against 8500, the apocalyptic scream of the 7A invokes divine Groupe B spirits.

We’re hustling along quite violently and the Heim-jointed, Delrin-bushed suspension telecommunicates the road to my palms. The sound and acceleration provide a bombastic assault that render any preparation moot; the experience relegating me to babbling nonsensically to myself in incomprehensible stutters.

It… is fast.

I extricate myself and entreat Krauklis to honor me with some 8500-rpm fly-bys. Watching a 1,000-pound-sprung, drag slicked, 805-hp Quattro dig itself out of the hole is marvel unto itself, with the apparent thrust of being catapulted off the deck of a carrier.

Krauklis slingshots past and out of sight, and the orchestra trails off. He turns back to fetch me roadside, and we return to base with defenseless G60 smoke billowing out of the front fender wells and associated chuckling giggles of those at witness.

Drag season cometh, the Crow not-so-gently rapping, rapping, at the nine-second door.

By Paul Krasusky
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