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Vorshlag C5 Corvette Development Thread

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  • #16
    Re: Vorshlag C5 Corvette Development Thread

    continued from below

    SCCA at Lone Star Park, July 30, 2016

    Event pic and video gallery:

    At this SCCA regional event Mark's Corvette had 3 drivers - Mark and Chase drove it in CAM-S while I jumped up to "X" class to run it in a different heat. And heat was the key word - it was 97°F during my runs and I forgot to bring my cooler - which led to heat exhaustion that day pretty badly (2 other people at this event went to the hospital that day, from the same effects). It hit me so hard that day that it has crept back and got me another 3 times this summer. I'm really trying to stay ahead of it by drinking lots of water and Gatorade type drinks, but heat is really killing me this year.

    You can't see it as much in the in-car video below, but I was fighting the ABS system in all of the big braking zones once again. This run the ABS completely goes bonkers on me and I blew 30 feet off line. The GM ABS is really starting to spook me - I just cannot use the brakes as hard as I can in a Ford, BMW or Subaru. Frustrating.

    The handling was much improved with proper rear compression valving set this time, and my raw time was pretty good on my 3rd run, but I clipped a damned cone again - just ran over the base. By my 4th and 5th runs my hands were shaking badly, I slowed down, and I knew I was in trouble with dehydration. That run heat took almost 2 hours and there was nowhere to hide from the relentless sun. By days end it was 104°F and I was close to throwing up. After the Corvette loaded in my trailer and I sat in the truck for 30 minutes with the AC on full blast, trying to regain control of my brain, with a pounding migraine from the heat exhaustion. I somehow got home, then drank a lot of water and passed out by 5 pm and slept for 14 hours. I felt terrible the next day, my whole body hurt. This was a bad day.

    My results in the "X" class were marred by my 3rd run cone (4th and 5th runs are thrown out in "X"), so I was somewhere near the bottom of the class. Mark and Chase ran in CAM-S a later heat but were about a second behind my best clean run. The rear tires were really giving up the ghost that day. They have been racing the car every other week all summer on this set, ever since the ProSolo, and did a huge number of runs on the rear tires. After this event we all decided the rear's needed to get bigger, so talked about an 18x12" rear wheel and 335mm tire for the remainder of the season.

    SCCA at TMS Bus Lot, August 28th, 2016

    Event pic and video gallery:

    This was last weekend's event, but the day before I was at Motorsport Ranch running baseline track times in my wife's 2013 FR-S. I got overheated and was feeling sick Saturday afternoon. On Sunday at the autocross I was already starting "behind" on my hydration, and heat exhaustion kicked my butt again on Sunday. This was getting ridiculous.

    I made a point to bring a stocked cooler with waters and Gatorade drinks and kept one in my hand all day, drinking non stop, but the previous day's damage was just too much to un-do. It wasn't even that hot, only about 90°F when I left at 2 pm, but I was feeling it while driving. I hit a record 6 cones over 5 runs in Mark's car that day, fought ICE MODE on every run, and had arguably my worst drive of the year. Right before Nationals, yay...

    This layout was what I call a "busy little Miata Course" - as are all of the courses at Texas Region events - but that's what we had to navigate in this car. Mark was ahead of me all day, and I just couldn't seem to get ahead enough on the courses or stay off the cones. I am not even showing my in-car video, its just awful. Mark, however, drove very well and put .425 seconds on me that day and pax'd top 20.

    We both felt the recent changes (see below) of new swaybars and wider 18x12" wheels/335mm tires made a big improvement out back. Mark's run above shows the Corvette doing so much better in corner exit than ever before.

    Running on fresh 315F/335R Rival-S tires, 18x11/12" wheels, MCS TT2 coilovers, Eibach bars, August 2016

    The MCS TT2 coilovers and new swaybars have improved the turn-in massively, and the roll/lean was visibly lower in head-on shots. Compared to the first time I drove the car on "good" tires, at the Optima event in 2014, its a night and day difference. That (below) was on 295/315 Rivals and Koni shocks with stock springs and bars. The new setup (above) has wider and sticker 315/35 Rival-S tires, yet radically less roll/dive/lean.

    Running on 18x11" wheels, Koni dampers, stock springs and shocks, and used 295F/315 Rival tires, April 2014

    So Mark was feeling good when we loaded up the Corvette that day, but I felt like crap again. And this was our last test event before heading to the 2016 SCCA Solo Nationals. I agreed to this months ago, but now I'm heading back to Lincoln for the first time in 4 years on a "low" for the season. I've gotta get my head in the game and stay hydrated next week in Nebraska. CAM-S is no joke at the National level. If anyone reading this sees me in Lincoln without a bottle of liquid in my hand, tell me to get some water!


    After the July event and before the August autocross we brought the car back to Vorshlag for some updates. After the August event we installed fresh front tires on the C5, in preparation for the Solo Nationals. I will quickly show that here.

    The aftermarket swaybar choices for the C5 aren't all that great, but we had supplied Mark's dad's C6 Corvette with an Eibach setup earlier this year. They were adjustable at both ends of the car and nicely built. So Mark wanted a set of Eibach bars for his C5. We ordered the C5 versions (no good pictures exist) and they showed up... non-adjustable. Oh well, they are tubular and larger in diameter, and Donnie installed them here with grease zerks and fitted the bushings to the bars so they can rotate (endlinks removed) with "pinkie effort". That's my rule on swaybars - no bind in the body mount bushings is allowed. Drilled, zerked, fitted, and greased every time.

    When I won a single BFG tire for my 2nd place finish at the ProSolo driving Mark's car I donated the winnings to Mark - it was his car, after all. We requested the Rival-S in a 335/30/18 size and rounded up two more 335s after they had run out of stock this summer (thanks for the hookup, whoever you were), which arrived the same day as the wider rear wheels.

    Earlier this year we saw some long lead times on custom Forgestar wheels, but this summer the wait times have shrunk as they invest in higher stocking levels of wheel blanks. A pair of 18x12" F14 wheels were custom spec'd rush ordered in "raw" finish (that can save you as much as 3-4 weeks) and mounted with the new 335s out back.

    The 18x12's have way more "poke" that I would ever spec for anyone, but Mark finally broke down and said he's commit to flared fenders - at all 4 corners - after Nationals. So we really ordered these 18x12" wheels for the front, but will use them on the rear for Nationals. Forgestar confirmed to me on the phone yesterday that they finally have 18x13" wheel tooling and these wider blanks should be arriving in October time frame. So the rears on this car will go to either 18x13" F14 or 18x14" M14 2-piece Forgestars. The car might switch autocross classes, too.

    The 315/30/18 Rival-S has been on backorder for many weeks as well, so we did some searching and Mark bought this set of 4 wheels and 4 new 315s mounted but never raced. Two of these became the "National set" of fronts.

    Running race compound brake pads makes the wheels dusty in a short time. One autocross and the red wheels look black (above). One of the things I'm always giving Mark grief about is how dirty he lets the Corvette get. He doesn't care - clean doesn't mean fast - but I keep reminding him that the giant "VORSHLAG" decal on the side means that I do care. So every time it is in my shop we seem to be cleaning it...

    We found a trick to cleaning metallic brake dust off of powder coated wheels years ago - a German chemical cleaner called "Sonax wheel cleaner", which I have mentioned here before. We have been ordering this stuff online and it is a bit pricey. Now there's a cheaper USA-made alternative called Code RED, which you can find at Pep Boys stores for about half the price per ounce. It uses the same chemical process that reacts to the iron particles in brake dust, which changes color from green to red once the process is finished. This must be washed off before it dries, and sometimes it takes two coats and some scrubbing, but its the best stuff I've ever seen for cleaning brake material off of wheels.

    Another pet peeve of mine with this car for the past year has been the unpainted front bumper cover. We replaced this when his previous co-driver had a big "off" and tore up the nose, but Mark wouldn't let me get it painted then. This time, as a condition of my co-drive, I insisted.

    Our friends at Heritage Collision Center in Sherman, Texas did a fine job and painted the nose and licensed plate cover back in body color. They had to do a bit of bodywork, as the unpainted nose took a lot of bug hits over the last year which damaged the surface. It looks as good as new now.

    Jon here at Vorshlag made some fresh "class/number panel" decals for the side and they classed up the car a bit from the hand cut tape decals (oiy!).


    We worked on some other things this summer, some of which are not finished, and I will talk about them after we readdress them after Nationals. For now we have the C5 as "ready as it can be" and loaded in the trailer. I leave for Nebraska tomorrow, picking up Mark along the way. I have no idea how we will do at Nationals, but I haven't been in 4 years and it will be fun to be there racing, win or lose.

    Vorshlag is also sponsoring the "Nationals Winner" jackets for all of the "supplemental" classes: CAM-C, CAM-T, CAM-S, and STP / STPL. These are all classes I feel are too important to ignore, and we have pushed the SCCA hard for two of these classes to be created (namely CAM-S and STP). I will do a write-up after Nationals and talk about the other systems we have been working on, as well as talk about the new autocross classing plans Mark has for this C5 in 2017.

    Last edited by Fair!; 09-03-2016, 04:52 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • #17
      Re: Vorshlag C5 Corvette Development Thread

      Project Update for September 11, 2016: After returning from the 2016 Solo Nationals I had a pile of work to catch up on, so I worked all weekend and then sat down to do my post-event write-up. It will be brief as we haven't done any work on the car since returning, and Mark still has to decide what class to run next year: CAM-S or SSM. I don't have anything poignant to say about 9/11, even after being at Ground Zero a handful of weeks after this terrible event (it was still burning) - other than to say "I will never forget". I also lost a family member while I was at Nationals, and two others from the CAM/Optima community passed away during the same week, so that's been a bit rough.

      There were some potential rules updates in CAM that were discussed and I will go over what was proposed at the Town Hall Meeting during Nationals. I drove pretty poorly and finished just outside the trophies, 7th out of 21 in CAM-S. Pretty disappointed in that, but the C5 ran solid and "coulda been a contender" with a better driver. Even with all of that we both still had a LOT of fun at Nationals this past week and I'm glad I went. It has been 4 years since I last attended - too long - but the fresh outlook of CAM is what brought me back.

      Photo and Video gallery:

      I usually take hundreds of pictures during my trips to Solo Nationals, but I had a bunch of stuff on my mind and just didn't take a ton this time. My wife Amy is usually with us and also snaps pics, but she didn't have a car to race this year and stayed home to work. The photo gallery above only has a little over 100 pics, mostly of the CAM cars, but also a few oddities we noticed during our 5 days in Lincoln.


      Most people don't live in Lincoln, Nebraska, so the vast majority of the 1350+ competitors at this year's Solo Nationals had to travel to this very centrally located event site, where the SCCA has held Nationals for the last half dozen years. For some folks (on the coasts) the trip spans days of driving or a transport service and a flight, but we brought Mark's Corvette up inside my trailer with our Ford F350 towing flawlessly. This truck is by far the nicest vehicle I own and has more horsepower (400) than any of my current race cars, which is kinda sad.

      From Vorshlag's Plano, Texas location, the trip to Lincoln was about 640 miles, which should take about 9-1/2 hours with no stops. I had to stop in Edmond, Oklahoma, to pick up Mark. Luckily that was almost directly on the way North to Nebraska. I left my house at 6 am Sunday hoping to get to the event site, unload the Corvette, and unhook the trailer before dark.

      We grabbed some breakfast in Oklahoma and kept driving north. Once we got into Kansas we drove for hours across this vista of corn and windmills, then we had a blowout on the trailer. GRR, I hate trailer tires, and replaced all 4 of them after I had 4 blowouts on the way too and from Miller for NASA Nationals in 2013.

      I know why this happened. Where I park my trailer on my property two tires are shielded from the sun by trees, but the other two (right side) get baked. I was suspicious of these two dry rotted tires before we left, but after replacing two front truck tires my "trailer budget" was pretty slim, so this blowout wasn't a huge surprise. We stopped within seconds of the tread cap coming off so it didn't do any damage. We installed one of two brand new mounted spares in a handful of minutes, and were back underway. #500psi

      Not 10 minutes later I got popped by a cop doing 63 in a 50 zone. I was really being careful not to speed, because I hate getting speeding tickets in these flyover states, some of which are known to fund their municipalities with speed traps. The Kansas and Nebraska highways have lots of changing speed zones, going from 70 mph to 55 mph and back again, quickly and seemingly at random - there's nothing out here but fields of corn!

      The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than pulling into a Kansas fuel station to be greeted by the bare ass of CP competitor Jeff Stroh mooning us as we pulled up to the truck stop pumps, LOL! We saw lots of fellow autocrossers traveling to Nebraska, of course. We arrived on site in Lincoln by about 5 pm Sunday and managed to unhook, unload, and get the Corvette through tech in less than 2 minutes (no line yet!). We also checked in at registration before the lines got too long on Monday. We parked 3 trailers from Texas racers in a circle to shield us from the unrelenting wind and inevitable rain.


      This was Mark's first Solo Nationals but I had been many times and understood the schedule. Monday is always when the Town Hall Meeting is held, which is one of the only times the members get to speak with the BOD, SEB and Advisory Committee (AC) folks face to face. I am not a huge fan of the way that rules get made, and have sent hundreds of letters to the SEB over the years, so I show up at these when I can.

      After a politically motivated shit storm following the 2012 Solo Nationals, I had walked away from the SCCA for the past 4 years, vowing to never build a car around SCCA Solo rules again. I've stuck to that plan, which has made my life easier. I do miss the challenge of Solo and as you have seen here in this thread, have dipped my toes back into the SCCA Solo scene in the past year. It was the brave new world of CAM that brought me back, so I wanted to go to the Town Hall to hear what was on the horizon for this category - to make sure that this set of classes stays as "un-SCCA" as possible.

      After some introductions and opening remarks by the SEB, they open the microphone to racers that want to bring up questions. Several sad pleas from SSR racers (this is a "throw-back" Super Stock class that still runs Hoosiers, that is quietly dying), and some talk about a potential revival of Street Prepared category with some "too little, too late" rules updates (this once popular category is also dying), we broke up into groups where the AC's met with members to talk about rules and trends at tables spread across the tent area.

      The wind was howling and felt like the tent would blow away at any minute, so we had to almost yell to be heard from 5 feet away (see video above). The "rules czar" of CAM, Raleigh Boreen, met with the interested CAM racers. We had a good discussion about the 3 existing classes. As many of you know, CAM is a very new category for SCCA, isn't (and may never be) "Nationally recognized", and the somewhat unlimited nature of the rules falls well outside of SCCA norms. That's why I like it - this isn't some 5 decade old category with old and busted rules, entrenched racers resistant to change, and is almost completely devoid of the politics that wrecks many classes over time. There is no "committee", which is probably why CAM has only one page of rules for 3 classes.

      Still, there were some concerns voiced by a few racers. "Money in racing" is always brought up, and the "have nots" always want an equalizer. Luckily that was largely ignored in this "builders class", so we moved onto other details. The existing rule for "+150 pound penalty for Lexan front windshields" was discussed, argued, yet most folks missed the point entirely (double pane safety glass windshields are safer, and side and rear Lexan windows are not a safety issue). Raleigh reigned that in and we moved on.

      So CAM is pretty simple: domestic front engine/RWD cars, some wheelbase limits, 200 treadwear tires, limited aero, and a minimum weight are all that the rules really care about in CAM. But the minimum weight in CAM-S (2350 lbs) is way lower than CAM-C (3200) and CAM-T (3000). CAM-C (newer with ABS) and CAM-T (older w/o ABS) are for 4 seat cars, and CAM-S is for the 2 seat cars with a shorter allowable wheelbase and ABS is allowed. CAM-S was supposed to be for real and kit car Cobras, and they can weigh about 2350 pounds in stock form.

      We lobbied to have the C4/C5/C6 Corvettes and Vipers added to the CAM category last year - initially asking for a 4th class called "CAM-SS" tailor made for these modern 2-seat domestic sports cars with a 2800 or 2900 minimum weight. We had hoped to keep this separate from CAM-S and the uber-light Cobras (and other CAM-S builds people can dream up, like tube framed ultra lights based loosely on some domestic car built in the last 115 years) and keep the min weight attainable without a tube frame build.

      At this town hall, Mark and I brought up the 650 pound penalty that is added to C4/C5/C6 Corvettes and Vipers in CAM-S. So we plead the case for moving these cars out of CAM-S into a new class called CAM-SS, and leaving the older 2 seat Corvettes (C3s are popular), Cobras, and lightweight custom builds in CAM-S. Or at the least dropping the 3000 pound min weight for them in CMA-S. Not wanting to rock the boat, we just wanted to follow the original plan for CAM: Classes separated by "old and new" + "4 seat and 2 seat" guidelines. Some CAM-S racers didn't want this, yet they don't want to race against "superior chassis with ABS" like the C5/C6 Corvettes. Some even suggested moving the C3 Corvette into CAM-T, which most CAM-T racers vehemently argued against.

      There were the "no rules!" folks, who oppose any changes, and a few weird arguments like "weight doesn't matter", arguing that the 2350 pound Cobras were somehow at a disadvantage because they were 650 pounds lighter - which I openly scoffed at. A handful of racers in CAM agreed that the 4th class, CAM-SS, would be best to move these modern ABS equipped cars away from the existing CAM-S classic cars. Hopefully this is the only change that comes of this Town Hall meeting, as the rest of the ideas just went in circles and didn't fix anything. Closing the 650 pound penalty in CAM-S still allows for the "crazy" builds but lets the more abundant C4/C5/C6/C7 Corvettes a place to race on a level playing field. Ultimately it is up to Raleigh, and he said he was aiming to have the 2017 CAM rules posted early - by November 1st or Thanksgiving at the latest - to give racers time to adjust for any tweaks to this new class.

      So we will see what becomes of that and Mark will decide where to take the C5 next soon after. SSM allows some big aero and of course Hoosiers. CAM-S has street tires, no aero, but seems more fun. And there are "damned rotaries" in CAM!

      The practice course is running most days during Nationals held on a separate part of the site far away from the grid and main course areas. The Nebraska Region SCCA runs the practice and it sells out weeks or even months ahead of Nationals. Mark thought ahead and bought a 4 run pass for us to use to get familiar with the concrete surface and maybe make some small changes to the car.

      We ran this on Monday before the Town Hall, with our 4 runs slotted from 2-3 pm. The wind was powerful and blew over the timers every couple of minutes, so in the 5 chances we had to check out the course we got no times on 4 of those. I got a somewhat lackluster time on my "sighting run", the first shot at the course either of us took, on cold tires. Instead of sticking around another hour trying to get re-runs on the 4 "no time" runs, we just packed it in and "saved the tires". I've made drastic changes based on runs from previous Nationals Practice courses and it always bit me in the ass. The car felt a little pushy, and we adjusted tire pressures UP from our local asphalt courses to this grippy concrete, but left the car alone otherwise.

      The rest of Monday was spent sitting around waiting for the course to be open for walk. We roamed around and got stopped by dozens of people, even ran into Brett Madson, who was my pick to win CAM-C (and he did, by a good margin).

      We walked the West course only, which was what we would be driving first on Tuesday. All of us scratched our heads at the unusual way that the course was marked. It was dominated by 3 cone clusters and cone walls, which I felt would lead to a lot of lost DNFs and cones (it did). On our first walk through we would find the #500psi cone, which was one that got pounded the most on this course.

      Bret's SN95 Mustang is pretty much a maxed out CAM-C build. It has a 2-valve 4.6L V8 that makes 380 whp (???). It is built light and has hundreds of pounds of lead in the rear frame rails, so that helps the front-to-rear bias greatly. It has a built T45, he runs 335 mm Rival S tires at all 4 corners, and uses modern Watts Link and decent spring rates. Nothing exotic, easily attainable, just one of the first folks to really build for CAM-C. He also drove his ass off and won the class by nearly a second.

      We ran across a lot of funny stuff in the paddock, like the fully furnished tent with hot tub in one area. The "Taco Truck on Every Corner" golf cart. Lots of wild SM cars with giant tires - a friend asked me to take pictures of the Subarus in SM, so you will see lots of 315mm and 335mm shod Subies in the gallery.

      The BRZ below left had a neat GoPro video camera mounted to a tow hook at the front, which I thought was a novel idea. This was one of nearly 150 of the "86 twins" that filled STX and CS classes. CS had 86 cars and STX had 72 entries, both with a very heavy BRZ/FR-S contingent. Giant freakin classes!

      After a long day of activities on Monday we headed to the hotel to check in. Mark had a room at a fancy Marriott downtown he got on hotel points, which was really nice. This was the first time I had stayed in a hotel in "The Haymarket", which is the downtown high end hotel, food and bar district. It is always where we end up going to eat during Nationals, and it actually makes sense to stay there if you are going to eat there - other than the F350 barely fit inside the parking garage.

      continued below
      Last edited by Fair!; 09-12-2016, 04:05 PM.
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #18
        Re: Vorshlag C5 Corvette Development Thread

        continued from above

        We ate well in the Haymarket district restaurants with a different group of racer friends each night: Buzzard Billy's had decent Cajun food, BurgerFi had a great burger and onion rings, and we had some good grub at Lazlo's.

        I didn't get much sleep that week, however, as a certain somebody who's room I shared snored like an unmuffled rotary at full revs. I stayed up and watched the F1 race, surfed the interwebs, and listened to music on my phone until there was a break in the sound, then I would doze off and try to start my side of the snoring battle. With 1-2 hours of sleep each night it began to catch up to me, but I managed to drive "about like I usually do" through mild sleep deprivation.


        Tuesday morning bright and early was already hot - damn hot - and breezy. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all sunny days with ambient temps in the 95°F range each day, so I made sure to drink plenty of water and consumed most of a case of Powerade that week. Always with a drink in hand, trying to stay out of the sun, and slathered in SPF50 sun screen when I needed to walk course or stand in grid. I managed NOT to get heat exhaustion or sunburned all week, which was a major accomplishment for me.

        It was super busy that morning, and I was assigned course work during heat one for FP, GS and STX Ladies. The West Course kept us hopping and the 1.5 hours flew by quickly. Then we waited for one heat in our paddock before another course walk between heats 1-2 and we gridded up in heat 2.

        Day 1 run 3, Terry driving terribly

        I didn't bring my good camera with us to grid on Tuesday so all of these pics are from Wednesday on East course. The in-car video above is my 3rd and final run from this West course, which kicked my ass. It was hard to see and I got caught out with mistakes on every run. Mark and I both had trouble here, as did many others - even the designer for the West Course coned every run on his own course.

        I stayed off the cones, but probably too far off. I was driving too conservatively, always seeming to get on throttle too late, turning in too early and getting "behind" on the cones in every section. This made for some slow times, which seems to be par for the course lately for how I've been driving in Mark's Corvette. Which is a shame, because the car was working beautifully! I managed to stay out of "Ice Mode" on the ABS, which seems to be less prevalent in this car on concrete than on asphalt. It is still there, but just harder to achieve.

        There was a 3rd gear shift necessary in the final section before the finish that I struggled with. In my 2nd run I was going for 3rd and hit a bump, which popped my visor halfway down, and the bottom edge went right across my vision. I was blind for about 3 seconds, so I reached up and popped the visor down so I could see, then when I looked up again I was 30 feet offline and about to plow down some cones. My first run was crap and this nearly aborted run matched that time, so I went into run 3 with nothing but junk. It was more of a "safety" run than anything, trying to be clean and salvage something for day 2.

        Mark had issues on every run and his 1st attempt ended up being his fastest. He started off well but just never got faster, which always hurts. I think we were both caught off guard at the higher grip levels available on Rival-S tires on concrete, as neither of us had any experience with this tire on this type of surface. Both the OKC and Texas Region SCCA events are all held on asphalt - we lost our last 2 concrete lots in Dallas 2 years ago - and it shows. We kept trying to push ourselves to go faster, but the tires always seemed to have more in it.

        Serious autocrossers will travel to Lincoln to run the Spring Nationals and even some of their regional events before Nationals, and we should have done that. But Mark was still dabbling in SSM on Hoosiers earlier this year, and I had no intentions of taking anything to Solo Nats, so we just went up more on a dare than anything else.

        CAM classes: CAM-C had 27 drivers, CAM-T had 11, and CAM-S had 21. After the 3 runs were over for day 1 we had both fallen to mid-pack, 11th and 12th out of 21 in CAM-S, and almost 2 seconds out of the lead. That night someone told us that a cone was found for another CAM-S competitor ahead of us, so we moved up to 10th and 11th. Not a good place to be heading into day 2, but I was doing the rain dance and hoping for a miracle - which is what we would need to move up significantly.


        We didn't walk the East Course until the end of the day on Tuesday. I won't walk the 2nd course in a 2-course event until after the 1st course is done, to keep my mind clear. We walked this one again Wednesday morning.

        This course flowed better and was much easier to see. I enjoyed this course better even with the wet and dry conditions.

        I worked course while Mark worked Impound, and the skies looked pretty bad in first heat. The entire heat 3 was CAM cars but we got a few STX drivers to help us work on Day 2, to balance out the worker load. I got paired up on corner with the head of the STAC, who had some great comments about the Street Touring category - which I watch closely and raced in for 5+ years (STU) starting back in 2005. We stayed dry the majority of this heat but it started to sprinkle at the beginning of 3rd runs, and really started to rain in the closing minutes.

        After heat 1 we went back to the trailer to stay dry and the rain came down hard in heat 2. C-Prepared was running and the wet conditions really shook things up. I was hoping for a continuous light rain, to keep course wet but still driveable. It stopped raining about 30 minutes before we needed to head up for heat 3. That's right when my sister called and told me our father had died. This was a huge shock and it messed with my head. A lot. I had to drive in less than an hour so I tried to wrap my brain around driving, visualizing the course, and thinking of ways to catch up some time versus other CAM-S drivers.

        Mike "Junior" Johnson's flared C3 has LSX power, giant Rival-S tires, and weighed in at 2934 pounds. He took 3rd in CAM-S

        The grid area was sopping wet but the rain had stopped as CAM gridded up for heat 3. There were substantial puddles on course, mostly on the right side... which was the start and finish areas. The rest of the course was still wet but the wind and sun were drying things quickly.

        Richard Jung's CAM-S 1968 C3 Corvette also has LSX power and tips the scales at 2950 pounds

        I went out first (I was 99 to Mark's 199) and it was still very wet, but I pushed the car hard trying to set an early quick time. I hit the first cone in the first slalom but had a decent raw time. A number of other driver's had cones on their first wet runs, too, but Mark managed a clean and faster run in the later part of the first runs - he was the last car to take the course for CAM-S each time, being # 199. This moved him right into the trophies, so we had some small hope there.

        Run 2 was getting dry on the left half of the course but still sopping wet on the right. I dropped 3 seconds into the 69.0 range but again, hit the same cone in the first slalom. I wasn't even aware I was hitting it but the cone sheets don't lie. Mark went even quicker with a 66.5 time on his 2nd run, solidifying his trophy position around 5th place now, even better.

        We go into run 3 and I am sitting on cones and I really need a "hero run" - finally clean and much faster. All of the CAM drivers are dropping several seconds per run as the course dried out, and the 2nd drivers are seeing even drier conditions than the 1st. I was the final "1st driver" to take the last run on West course and I gave it all I had. I dropped another 3 seconds to a 64.102 second run, which felt incredible. If the video would have worked for our last runs I would show it... it was precise, faster, and I felt good about it. This run moved me into 5th and final trophy spot as I came across the line, and I gave a hoot and a hollar!

        Mark had the driest look at this course in CAM-S, and he dropped 1.6 seconds to a 64.917. But by then the 2nd driver CAM-S times had dropped into the 63 and even 62 second range, so he fell out of the trophies and down to 11th. At the end of heat 3 my 3rd run was the 6th quickest in class, but I was too far back from day 1 and finished 7th of 21, one spot out of trophies by .277 sec. Here are the Official Results.

        Shawn Lambert and Eric Brown took this 2002 C5 Z06 to 1st and 5th in CAM-S class on BFG's... this tire took 1st-12th in class


        We went back to our paddock spot, a little down but glad that one of us could catch up a few spots. Mark said he was happy with finish in his first ever Solo Nationals, but I'm never happy with anything other than 1st, hehe. We went to lunch as the sun came out, which made the site a humid and wet mess, grabbing some mediocre Mexican food and plenty of water. We had time to kill before the banquet, which was slated from 5:30 until 10 pm.

        After our 2 hour lunch break we came back, loaded up the Corvette and packed the trailer for the drive home Thursday morning. We got cleaned up at the hotel, made it to the banquet hall early, and talked to dozens of folks. Right as the "banquet chicken" lines opened up for the Tues-Wed banquet, we eased our way out of the hall and again went to the Haymarket for Indian food at The Oven, which was amazing. We ran into some Texas Region SCCA folks and shared a table with them.

        Thursday morning we hooked up the F-350 to the trailer and said our goodbyes. Apparently there was a MASSIVE rain storm some time after we left - 2 inches fell in 20 minutes - and some associated controversy over the event stopping, some drivers getting dry runs before/after the rains, etc.

        Texas Region's Feras Qartoumy built this 72 Nova at home, but "don't call it the Murder Nova"

        As I write this at least 5 classes are still under protest or appeal, but eventually that will get that sorted out. I do dislike the "some wet / some dry" runs in the same heat, but its Nebraska in September - IT ALWAYS RAINS.

        Keith Lamming in CAM-C had an unusual thing happen to him on course: airbags exploded. This is a known issue in the 2010-11 5th Gen Camaros, where high grip slaloms will trick the car into thinking it is going to crash and the curtain airbags deploy. Keith said he normally removes the air bag fuse before any autocross run but simply forgot this time and it "did what they all do" in autocross. This isn't a thing on 2012-15 5th gens, apparently.

        Long time Optima racer Todd Rumpke passed away early during the week of Solo Nationals. He was 53 when he lost his battle with cancer last week. There was a big tribute to him at LS Fest this past weekend where Danny Popp drove his C6 Corvette in competition. I remember Todd from when I raced against him at OUSCI. The news hit everyone hard.

        Tony "Rosco" Rietdorf was at Solo Nationals and ran the CAM Challenge in his SN95 Mustang. Sunday night after the Challenge he fell off the back of a golf cart in paddock and his head hit the concrete. An E.R. doc was on the scene within seconds but Tony was unresponsive. The EMTs arrived quickly and he went to the hospital where they induced a coma to reduce brain swelling. There was a GoFundMe page created to help pay for his medical costs, which is still up. We got news last night that he passed away. So sad that a freak accident in the paddock could claim the life of a 36 year old so quickly. Just sucks.

        I also lost my father the same week. Its complicated... but I didn't have much of a relationship with him, nor did my sisters. Still sucked hearing this news, which was unexpected. Throat cancer took him at age 75.

        And on that positive note... let's wrap it up!

        WHAT'S NEXT?

        The "drive home from Nationals" always ends up where massive bench racing and planning happens, and this exercise is fun. I dreamed up no less than 4 cars "I need to build" for the 2017 season, two of which were CAM cars, but the reality is that... maybe one of them will get funded and built. I've got the manpower and the know-how to do more, just not the budget to build a fraction of what we can dream up.

        There are some plans for Mark's C5 still in process, which I'm not allowed to talk about just yet. I was going to bring his C5 back to Vorshlag after Nationals but Mark had an OKC autocross the following Sunday (today), so I dropped it off at his place and we will get our hands on it sometime in the near future.

        The pending rules changes (or not, we shall see) in CAM might prompt Mark to stay in CAM-S. If either the 650 pound penalty for C4/C5/C6 and Vipers goes away or they move to CAM-SS, he might stay in CAM. Otherwise he might move over to SSM and play with Hoosiers and aero. We shall see sometime in November when Raleigh releases any new rules for CAM. I will write up another entry here when we know more, or when get to play with this C5 - or another C5/C6 - in the future.

        Thanks for reading,
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev