Chevy Vintage Corvette - Vette Race 2007

Fancy Racing A Vintage Corvette?

Iain Ayre May 27, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0712_11_z Vette_race_2007 Motorhome 1/15

Big Rig ::: This is the sort of rig that most people will use to go racing in reasonable comfort. You don't need anything this posh, though, most cheap old motorhomes usually have low mileage and lots of life left in them, and you don't need a covered trailer, although they're nice.

Almost nobody in the vintage-racing scene tries to drive their race car to the circuit, race it, and drive home again. It's regarded as courageous and eccentric if you do. That means you need a rig comprising of a motorhome or pickup/camper and a trailer for your race car. You'll need something like seventy gallons of race gas and maybe 300 gallons of pump gas for the motorhome, depending on how far away each circuit is. I don't know what gas is going to cost by the time this is printed (about $3 a gallon), but this is not a poor man's sport, whichever way you look at it. Race tires are another thousand bucks a set, and some people with big power and big credit cards will trash a set of sticky race tires in each of the four races of a weekend. If an engine lets go, you can add another twenty grand to that weekend's bill. However, somebody like Eric will get two seasons out of an engine and three or four races out of a set of tires because he's using them to the optimum and not to the maximum.

On the up side, the better of the vintage racing series organizers are keen to keep the spirit of the sport intact, and that means you won't have to keep up with the big spenders by fitting hugely expensive twelve-pot AP Racing calipers and rotors the size of garbage can lids on your car. If you do, you'll be excluded. The same applies to suspension-if your car came with a transverse leaf spring, you'll be running a transverse leaf on the track, albeit flatter and stronger than stock.

When it comes to repairing breakages or damage, you're in luck with a Corvette compared to most vintage and historic racing cars. replacing a GM differential pinion is cheap and easy compared to that of a '63 Alfa Romeo, and if you have an incident you're looking at $2,000 to replace the Corvette front end panels rather than $20,000 for an E-type front end. Bodywork has to be built and rebuilt to original spec, so while a Corvette owner can take advantage of cheap and easy GRP repairs, all the bodywork on an E-Type must be steel.

Corp_0712_14_z Vette_race_2007 Corvette 2/15

Not Street Legal ::: It seems a shame this car is only used for racing, doesn't it? Highway 1 is just down the road

Choosing the right Corvette to race is a matter of picking which series you want to enter, and looking at the rules carefully to pick the most competitive year and model. There is an option that allows you to pick a "point-in-time" and claim, for example, that your '66 car is prepared to FIA rules for the '67 season, so careful research could get you an advantage.

There can, of course, be other reasons for picking a particular model-Eric Dolson built a '69 Stingray roadster largely because he thinks it's one of the most beautiful cars ever to put rubber on the road. He also likes lots of 160-mph wind in his face, although, aerodynamically, the gain from removing the windshield was probably balanced by the loss of the roof and the ducktail. The open roadster cockpit must be left open according to the rules, so a hard tonneau cover isn't an option. Eric's roadster started off as a small-block, automatic T-top, with the top and ducktail cut off with a Skilsaw and replaced with roadster panels, and the drivetrain changed for a big-block and a four-speed. It was influenced by the '60s/'70s Owen Corning SCCA big-block A Production cars, but was mostly built to emulate the V.V. Cooke big-block Corvette based on the converted 350 that used to beat Porsches and Jags, and was known to many as the "Winningest" Corvette. That concentration on handling, rather than power, has paid off-much of Eric's commanding lead is down to good smooth driving, but he couldn't do it without first getting the car right.

COMMENTS

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print
TO TOP