388 cid Whipple-Supercharged LS7 Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

388 cid Whipple-Supercharged LS7 Engine

Unable to afford a COPO Camaro, Bob Reinhardt of Madcap Racing Engines decided to build an even better version. It’s a 388 cid LS7-based engine with a 4.0L Whipple on methanol fuel – and it’s injected. It’s pretty cool, and Bob expects to make around 2,000 horsepower. Find out what makes the build unique.

Engine of the Week is presented by

We last caught up with the guys at Madcap Racing Engines, owned by NHRA legend V. Gaines, back in 2018 when we featured a 747 cid big block Chevy nitrous engine the shop built. We chatted with shop manager, Bob Reinhardt, who has remained hard at work churning out big cubic inch engines, as well as a 388 cid Whipple-supercharged LS7 engine for his own use.

“I bought a 2006 Pro Stock car that this is going in, so now I can get after it,” Reinhardt says.

Reinhardt, like Gaines, has been into racing for a long time. He took that interest and translated it into engine and machine work and eventually a career at Sonny’s Racing Engines for 13-14 years. He then came to Madcap, which bills itself as Denver’s fastest machine shop, in 2010.

“Mainly we do really high-end drag racing stuff, whether it’s Top Sportsman, Top Dragster or Pro Mod,” Reinhardt says. “We do NHRA 500, which has been our main focus for a long time due to V. (Gaines) racing.”

Madcap is a full machine shop and does everything in-house except for really high-end cylinder head development.

“We can do basic porting and whatnot, but for the really high-end development we work with a couple of different companies on that,” he says. “Everything else we do in-house.”

The Whipple-charged LS engine came about because Bob helps a local guy who has a couple of blown COPOs and the platform fascinates him.

“I can’t afford a COPO, so I built a better version,” he says. “It’s a 388 cid LS7-based motor with a 4.0L Whipple on methanol fuel – and it’s injected. It’s pretty cool. As it is, I think I can get pretty close to 2,000 horsepower.”

Bob and Madcap already built a more tamed down version of this engine using a hydraulic roller and a not as aggressive build, which was capable of 1,400 horsepower.

“The engine is LS7-based, so it has six studs around each cylinder as opposed to four like a typical LS2 or LS3 has, so that helps,” he says. “It’s using ARP studs everywhere. Over the winter, I may upgrade the headstuds to half inch. Right now, they’re 7/16ths. It’s got all really good, solid parts. A billet crank, GRP rods, Gibtec pistons, Brodix BR7 cylinder heads, a custom COMP camshaft, and ACL bearings.

“For the valvetrain, we used titanium intake and exhaust valves, as well as Crower shaft rockers. Basically, it’s a really high-end bracket build. The engine features a 4.0L Whipple supercharger. The whole thing is cool and it’s neat to me because it’s kind of unique – at least in the drag racing world it is.”

In addition, Reinhardt is going to convert it to a Dailey billet pan dry sump set up. It also has a Holley Dominator ECU, and its coil on plug.

“I’ve also done a couple of tricks to the fuel system to make more power and get it to run cooler,” Reinhardt says. “I’m blowing alcohol through the blower to cool the inlet charge and I took the intercooler out of it. Nobody’s really doing that at the moment, but that way I don’t need the intercooler. It still has good, cold air inlet temperature, which is part of why it makes so much power compared to a gas version with the intercooler.”

Having already made over 1,700 horsepower on a less aggressive tune and without the use of the shop’s fastest pulley’s, Bob has his sights set on 2,000 horsepower and racing in Top Sportsman.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Scat Crankshafts. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Volkswagen Beetle’s Air-Cooled and Turbocharged Engine

This Volkswagen Beetle cost owner Steve Dalton $600 when he bought it back in high school for use as a daily driver. Every year since he’s owned the car, the Beetle and its engine have gotten some sort of performance upgrade to the point that it is at now. Steve is a regular on the

This Volkswagen Beetle cost owner Steve Dalton $600 when he bought it back in high school for use as a daily driver. Every year since he's owned the car, the Beetle and its engine have gotten some sort of performance upgrade to the point that it is at now. Steve is a regular on the drag-and-drive scene, and we caught up with him at Sick Week 2024 to get the details of the air-cooled and turbocharged VW engine for this episode of Engine of the Week.

ProCharged 572 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

Inspired to build a hot rod with all its systems exposed, Leroy Edwards used his 50 years of mechanic experience to build this cool-looking car himself. Powering this hot rod is a ProCharged 572 cid big block Chevy engine with nitrous adding an extra kick. Check it out!

big block Chevy engine
Twin-Turbo 6.4L Gen III Hemi Engine

After rebuilding his ‘Lil Red Express truck for the past two years following a collision during the Midwest Drags, Rick Russell got back to drag-and-drive competition at Sick Week 2024. This time, ‘Lil Red Express featured a twin-turbo 6.4L Gen III Hemi engine!

Lil Red Express
All-Billet K24 2.2L Honda Engine

We’ve known JBR Engines owner Jose Bello for a few years, and well before that, we knew his shop was one of the premier shops in the Honda and import engine scene. During a recent visit, we got to see an all-billet Honda K24 2.2L engine coming together for a customer looking to improve upon his 5.86-second quarter mile time!

872 cid Reher Morrison Pro Mod Nitrous Engine

A car like this 1966 Corvette featuring an 872 cid Reher Morrison Pro Mod nitrous engine is trying to kill itself every minute it’s running. But, a lot of this drag-and-drive racing is about loving the car you’re working on and feeling it’s a cool hot rod. John Ens and Dave Schroeder certainly have a cool hot rod, even if it’s a bit different! Check it out!

Other Posts
Kevin Smith’s Turbocharged 388 cid LS Engine

Kevin Smith, owner of KSR Performance & Fabrication, has been a big part of the drag and drive community for a while now. His shop, in addition to all the performance and fab work it regularly does, stays open during events like Sick Week, so competitors can utilize the lifts and tools to get back

KSR LS engine
Kolby Bouck’s Twin-Turbo Gen II Coyote Engine

Kolby Bouck’s twin-turbo Gen II Coyote-powered Mustang was hard to miss at Sick Week 2024. Competing in the 1/8th-mile class, he was knocking out very low 5-second passes. Hear what’s inside his high-horsepower Coyote engine in this episode of Engine of the Week! Related Articles – There’s More Than Meets the Eye to Connecting Rods

Gen II Coyote engine
Scat Red Label Series Rotating Assembly for Gen III Hemi Engines

Scat’s new Red Label Series rotating assemblies for Gen III Hemis feature a 4.050″ stroke crank, 4340 steel 6.125″ connecting rods, and 2618 RaceTec pistons.

Scat Hemi engine rotating assembly
Richard Guido’s Turbocharged 521 cid Pontiac Engine

Known by many as the Canadian Chuck Norris, Richard Guido has been a staple of the drag-and-drive scene for a long time. Not only does his Pontiac GTO, boasting a turbocharged 521 cid Pontiac engine, drive literally everywhere, the car gets it done on the track as well having won back-to-back Sick Week Stick Shift

Pontiac engine