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Unread 05-20-2015, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - Mark C's 2002 C5 Corvette Track Rat

Project Update for May 20th, 2015: Long overdue race report for the March Optima @ TMS event is finally here. Also gong to show several modifications we've completed on the C5 and future plans.



Since we made a tactical decision before entering Optima @ TMS to put Amy in the Mustang in their GT class, I borrowed Mark's C5 Corvette to run in their GTS class. This Optima event write-up will be in both the S197 Test Mule and the C5 Test Mule forum build threads.

Corvette-less Forums?

Just wanted to note that the original build thread Mark started (not me) on CorvetteForum.com was recently locked, heavily modified, then outright deleted a few days later by the moderators there after our Vorshlag watermarked pictures got another vendor there all spun up and they pitched a fit. Frankly, any photographer worth his salt will watermarks their pictures - its just common practice. We have had a lot of our images stolen and used by competitors, claiming they were their own, so I started watermarking Vorshlag pictures almost a decade ago (and yet it still happens). I got a PM about the pictures from a moderator a day after the thread was locked and deleted, but it was pretty weak.

Did a little research and quickly found that CorvetteForum is now owned by InternetBrands. I cut all ties with this organization after finding out first hand how shady they are. So long story short... this build thread is off of CorvetteForum, but you can read it on the other forums linked in my initial post. Thanks!

March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear 5 event Challenge)

So my comments about prior USCA/Optima events have been all over the place, especially after the cluster-truck last November with the "OUSCI event" in Vegas after SEMA. I couldn't even post my review of that event, it went so far off the rails. This is a big series with all sorts of complications - a wide variety of cars, drivers of all skill levels, and various sponsor and TV obligations - and some rules I won't always agree with, but it is also televised and I can't ignore that for the potential exposure for our business. Fortunately they made a LOT of changes and improvements (new competition rules, timing equipment, and policy changes) in 2015 and it showed at this event back in March. Big improvements, and now the Optima series is back to the fun filled event I knew they could put on.



Since there was a $3000 cash bounty on hand for "new Optima entrants" to win the GT class in a Mustang or Challenger (put out there by Camaro driver Ken Thwaits), we stuck Amy in our 2011 Mustang in that class. Why? Since I'd already run an Optima event before, I wasn't eligible, but I won this class in this car, and even against this particular driver. So since she had a shot at three grand, and she's a good autocrosser and licensed Time Trial competitor, we stuck her in big red. Jon from Vorshlag was also giving the $3000 cash prize a shot in his Legend Lime 2006 GT (above right) as well. Engineering intern Shannon (below right) was also entered in GT class along with her mother Jan, both driving in S197 Mustangs (but they ran Optima last year, so weren't eligible for the $3000 bounty).



Since I wasn't going to be driving our Mustang I rented frequent Vorshlag customer Mark Council's 2002 Corvette (aka: the "eBay special") that I entered in the GTS class (above left). Neither Amy or I did all that well, but we still had a lot of fun and are both glad we went. There were a total of 11 entries from Vorshlag, from employees to customers, and we all had fun at this event. Remember that when reading my rants below - most of which were caused by the car I borrowed, which was untested and modified in weird ways. We've since fixed almost all of these ills, but we only had a few days before this event to repair some broken parts, and I took it with just a quick wheel/tire upgrade we put together.



Funny thing happened - When I signed up the C5 Corvette in GTS class (for 2 seat cars + AWD cars, over 3200 pounds) there were only 6 in class and 5 were novices, and no AWD cars. This was only a week before the event. Well somehow the GTS class grew to 16 cars, with some cars moving up from GTL, and 7 of the late entries were AWD cars. Those types of cars compete exceptionally well at the standing start Speed Stop and Autocross events at Optima, especially the way that they set up their courses. That influx of late entry AWD cars was an unexpected surprise.



This made winning the GTL class no longer "shooting ducks in a barrel", as some seriously fast AWD cars were now balanced between GTL and GTS class, with some hot C6 Z06 entries in both of these classes as well. The 4 seat, 3200+ pound GT class was also stacked, and the vintage class (GTV) had some of the nation's top Goodguys competitors. There would be no easy wins this weekend!

Overall Results from Optima @ TMS: LINK

Amy was always going to be fighting a tough battle, as the top 3 cars in the 26 car GT class were serious, dedicated race cars built only for ONE purpose: racing in the Optima series. Ryan Matthews' 5th gen Camaro (below) is prepped by Detroit Speed; its a gutted and caged race car with a big nasty motor, real aero (with a new spoiler and rear diffuser to meet the 2015 aero rules) and a pro driver in it. Ken Thwaits somehow entered two 5th gen Camaros into this event, who was formerly a pro driver as well. Both his 1LE and Z/28 have radical motors, the same 2015 aero work, good suspension, and more. These 3 cars were in a class to themselves, and it showed in the results.



Let's just breeze past the fact that pro drivers aren't allowed to compete (rule 24), or that participants may not register more than one vehicle per event (rule 22). The rules in USCA are more like suggestions or guidelines. There's a movie quote in there, I think? After the things I've seen over the years, I have stopped getting worried about the rules at Optima events - makes for less stress.



This event was a packed with 72 cars - a record for any USCA/Optima Qualifier event - but they handled the extra volume of entrants well. Compared to last year, where this TMS Optima event had but 32 cars (8 of which we brought), this was a nice improvement. Thanks go out to the Texas shops (Evo-D, Dusold Designs, Robert Jack's crew) and Texas racers who came out and entered and brought customers with them. Vorshlag brought the most entrants and they noted this several times during the event, but more importantly, Texas entries were a big percentage of the overall entry list - which is how these events are supposed to work.



Brian Matteucci (above) is an old college racing buddy and fiend - who sold me the smoking C4 Corvette (project #Dangerzone) I've been running in NASA this season - was also there in one of his two blue C5 Z06 Corvettes. The car he brought this time was his "track rat" that he had recently purchased for NASA TT prep. This car came with a worn-out smoking motor, on its last legs, but with a fresh LS block already in line to be built by HKE. Brian did really well at this Optima event in GTL class, especially considering it was a bone stock C5 Z06. He is an experienced autocross and road racing driver, and he proved that "skill > parts" once again. His Z06 was running on 275mm Bridgestone RE71R tires, which don't suck but were significantly narrower than the 295/315s I had on the 2002 Corvette.



I point out his times to show how badly the "eBay" Corvette I drove did in comparison. Brian and I have known each other and raced together for 25 years, and we have co-driven lots of cars together. Our driving styles and general times are usually very close, so keep that in mind when you see his Autocross and Speed Stop times in a stock C5 Z06 vs the times I was able to lay down in a "modded" C5, using a lot of parts that are "popular on the forums". I only bested him in the Hot Lap challenge, but that was because he only took like 6 laps, due to the excessive blow-by and smoke from his worn out motor.



As I mentioned, another GT class competitor going for that $3000 bounty was Vorshlag's own Jon Beatty. His 2006 Mustang GT was on MCS TT2s, 18x11" Forgestars and some 295 Rivals - which is a package he uses to terrorize local autocrosses in CAM-T class (where he almost always wins).

Vorshlag's Optima Event Gallery: LINK - pictures taken by Brad Maxcy, my S4's #potatocam, or from others posting on Facebook

Doug Willie brought his "F Street" prepped 2013 Camaro autocross car to give this event a try also. Doug did really well and took 4th in the GT class autocross in a stock 2013 Camaro 1LE on skinny 285mm Hankook RS-3 tires (he was saving his 305 Hankooks for an upcoming National Tour). So once again skill > parts, at least in the autocross.



So when it came to our two primary cars, Amy had to run the autocross in the morning Saturday while most of us ran the speed stop. She was shown in 2nd place at the autocross in GT class after the ~3 hours of morning runs, but as the course "rubbered in", the afternoon cars went much quicker and she fell down to 6th place in class (Jon got 5th while Doug got 4th behind the 3 race cars that swept the podium). Bummer. She had never done a Speed Stop event before but persevered and took a whopping 18 runs on that course (next closest was 13 runs). She scored her best time (10.9) on her LAST attempt, placing 6th in class for this event. The chances at that $3000 prize weren't looking good.



And it continued to worsen as Amy's worst event in the Mustang was Sunday in the Hot Lap challenge (time trial), where she struggled to get 9th out of 26 in GT class on the road course. Why? Several reasons. She had never run the 1.1 mile TMS infield road course before, had never run this car on course with street tires and NO aero, and she said the car was WICKED loose. When all you are used to in your car for the past 3 years are 345mm Hoosier A6 tires and big downforce, it can be hard to adapt to no downforce and street tires. Lack of rear grip kept her cautious all day, but I was trying to motivate her and kept telling her to PUSH IT.



Well she did push it, and on the opening laps of her 4th session on track (we all had 6 different 15 minute track sessions on Sunday) she spun it into the infield, shown in this short video, shot from Matteucci's C5 (with a potato for a camera, #potatocam). I couldn't get her to record any of her own video in the car but she managed to have one of the AiM Solo's that recognized this track, so she at least had lap times. And her spin was in good company, as Jon and Doug from our crew both had spins, and as you'll see below, so did I.

It was a tricky, dirty track surface with ChumpCar running the day before. The track management had just added some tar repairs to cracks in the asphalt on the road course and parking lots, but in the heat those were coming up all weekend, making for lots of "OPR" stuck to your tires. It got so bad that it often felt like you'd thrown a wheel weight and people were coming in early to scrape it off. This was also an issue on the autocross, to a smaller degree.



I fought the eBay Corvette all day Saturday in the Speed Stop then the Autocross event, cursing up a blue streak and even making up some new words. The Koni 3000 series dampers are way too long and only work at really TALL stock ride heights. With a 1/2" of lowering on the previously installed aftermarket spring bolts the car had virtually no rear bump travel (1/4"!) and would bottom out simply under acceleration, as well as whenever I hit any actual bumps or dips on course.



Handling was flat TURRIBLE and the braking was a big hot mess as well. The Hawk HP+ front pads were overpowered by the racier (Hawk HTC?) rear pads that had been installed, and this threw the brake bias off so much that not even the C5's ABS could keep up with. This video is my 8th autocross run of 9 attempts, and one of the few where I managed to point it between the cones correctly. From the clutch to the shifter, brakes and handling, what a total MESS this car was. Of course it should have been tested before Optima, but as I wrote in my last C5 thread update, we didn't have the time to do any testing or change any significant parts. We ran what it had + the 18x11 Forgestar CF5 wheels we spec'd and had rush built, shod with some used 295F/315R BFGoodrich rival tires we had around the shop (Rivals were completely out of stock at the time, and this was the best we could come up with on short notice).



Somehow, even in the worst handling car I've driven in a decade, the ebay Corvette still managed 3rd out of 16 in the GTS class for the Autocross, with AWD cars (unsurprisingly) in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th. That finish result was shocking knowing how slow I was compared to Matteucci in the stock C5 Z06. My best time was a 44.995 and Matteucci ran a 42.638, on stock sized wheels and 275 tires compared to my 18x11's and 295/315s. Yes, you CAN make a C5 handle worse than stock, to the tune of 2 seconds, if you choose the wrong parts. So this ended up being a good test, to show which mods to not choose.

continued below
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