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Underground Racing

Underground Racing is synonomous with twin turbochargers and supercharging systems for exotic sports cars. Kevin and KC Howeth began tuning up muscle cars in the 90's and then they turned their attention to supercars.

What's more awesome than a supercar? A supercar with twin turbochargers! Underground Racing builds custom twin turbo intake systems for supercars ranging from the Dodge Viper to the Lamborghini Murielago, putting these already fast cars toe-to-toe with the Bugatti Veyron. With their top performance kits squeezing out as much as 1,600 wheel horsepower, its no wonder they're breaking records in drag racing and top speed challenges.

This Charlotte, NC-based tuner shop specializes in custom-built turbocharging and supercharging systems for exotic sports cars.

If you're a racing fan, you can tell from the location that this company probably has something to do with NASCAR, and you'd be right: Their core business is fabrication of engine components for cars racing in NASCAR, NHRA, Busch, IMSA, SCCA, ARCA, and IHRA.

Brothers Kevin and KC Howeth got their start tuning muscle cars in the 1990s. After building a reputation on supercharged Saleen Mustangs, they extended their reach in the domestic market by opening Underground Racing in 2003, building supercharging and turbocharging kits for the Dodge Viper and Ford GT.

Over time they noticed that Lamborghini Gallardos were hitting the used market at prices far lower than the Viper, and with its four wheel drive and even weight distribution it seemed like an ideal candidate for tuning. Over time the shop's kits expanded to add the Murcielago, Ferrari F430, and Audi R8 V10. UR will soon add to this list, debut tuned versions of the Ferrari 430 Scuderia and Lamborghini LP670-SV at the SEMA show this November, with performance packages available soon after.

The company's original supercharging systems are still available for the Dodge Viper from $10,000 to $35,000, but their focus has moved on to turbocharging. Performance packages are available in four stages: Stage 1 and 2 kits leave the engine untouched, adding turbocharging equipment and remapped engine computers. Stage 3 and 4 require engine and drivetrain modifications. Cost for Stage 1 turbocharging systems start at around $40,000, with Stage 4 kits in the $110,000-$120,000 range. The shop partners with Pro Line Race Engines for engine block work, but everything else is done in-house.

All kits are designed to run at full boost on 117 octane race gas or at reduced pressure burning 93 octane Super Unleaded, making the modifications usable on the street as well as the race track. Conversions come with a 2-year, 24,000 mile warranty, and the exterior remains untouched, keeping these cars usable as daily drivers. However, a lot of owners ask for the rear engine cover so they can show off the polished exhaust and intake piping covering their engines.

Kit installation takes anywhere from four to six weeks. For people who want one of these exotic tuner cars without having to find a suitable base vehicle and wait for modification, the shop has recently added a used car lot that sells both new exotics and used vehicles that have received UR's performance upgrades. The shop also sells performance parts and modifications ala carte, and can build custom suspension systems using Penske racing equipment.

The company is already making a name for itself in racing with UR's own Richard Holt broke 250 mph at the March 2010 Texas Mile top speed race and customer Jonah Yokubaitis' Lamborghini Gallardo and Gallardo LP560 taking the top two spots in the October 2010 race, with both cars exceeding 240 mph. Their most powerful vehicle, the Stage 4 1600hp Dodge Viper, has been clocked doing a quarter mile in 7.98 seconds, passing the finish line at 183 mph. At these speeds, these cars are within reach of the Bugatti Veyron at a fraction of the price.

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