2001 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe - U-Boat Commander

An Unexpected Underwater Excursion Led To Underhood Modification Of This '01 Coupe

Mike Magda Apr 1, 2004 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0404_08_z 2001_chevrolet_coupe Yokohama_tireds 1/12

Yokohama tires mounted on HRE wheels are used on the street. Hoosier race tires and XMS wheels are used at the track.

Although Alex had the Hypercoil coilover suspension installed at another garage, Tillack Race Shop of Redondo Beach made it work right. Renowned for restoring Ferraris for shows and vintage racing, Tillack first made a stabilizer plate for the rear shocks, then custom-valved the Koni shocks at all four corners. Using four-wheel scales and dummy weights to simulate the driver, Tillack set the ride height and adjusted the springs (rates: 700-pound front, 500-pound rear) for a near perfect balance of the 3,405-pound car. Front-wheel weights are split 887/832 (left and right) and the rear wheels are split 844/841 (left and right). Tillack also installed 14-inch Brembo brakes on the rear. A Hotchkis antiroll bar and polyurethane bushings round out the suspension hardware.

REBS Specialties of Reseda fabricated the four-point rollbar and installed it after applying the red powdercoating. REBS also installed Simpson belts, relocated the battery to the rear, and installed an oil-vapor catch can in the engine bay. Tillack installed the fire-suppression system.

A Wheel-to-Wheel front fascia and chin spoiler ordered from Corvette Garage enhance the body. Alex worked with his local body shop to install the kit, which he says, "fit perfectly." The rear-brake cooling ducts came from ACI, while the non-popup, clear-cover headlights are from Breathless Performance.

As it sits, Alex's Corvette looks as sharp as a hot street machine, with the distinctive body kit and bigger wheels. But on the track, the C5 truly shows its prowess and abilities. Alex often goes to Southern California tracks for club events, including Willow Springs and Buttonwillow. He's a member of the Vette Set club based in Torrance (see www.thevetteset.com), and he often attends open-track days sponsored by Alltime Racing. Here, a group of car owners pitch in to rent the track for a day and get in as much seat time as the tires, engine, or clutch can handle (see www.alltimeracing.com for more information).

Alex tows or sometimes drives his Corvette to the track, then switches to Hoosier race tires (305/30ZR18 rear, 275/35ZR18 front) mounted on XMS wheels from Corvette Garage (9.5x18 front, 11x18 rear). A little bit more negative camber is dialed into the suspension settings, but Alex keeps the other settings neutral. Alex will reach 140 mph down the long front straightaway at Willow Springs and has recorded lap times in the low- to mid-1:30s. For those looking for comparison, full-on '60s Trans Am race cars like Mark Donohue's '69 Camaro ran in the 1-minute, 35-second range at that same track.

Alex's '01 Corvette coupe is the full complement of performance and handling. He's thought of everything, a fact that proves out every time it takes to the track. Now if he can just stay away from those parking-lot downpours, his enthusiasm would be unsinkable. From our vantage point, his Corvette fun appears watertight.

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