2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 - A Fine Line

Race Car Or Street Car? For This C5, The Answer Simply Is Yes

Barry Kluczyk Oct 1, 2003 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0310_05_z 2002_chevy_corvette_z06 Track 2/7

The GTR panels follow the car's original contours, adding visual muscle to the Vette's stance, but in a tasteful, restrained manner. The wider panels, which weigh the same as the Vette's stock panels, also provide room for steamroller-sized rubber.

Of course, Lowry's Vette takes the Specter GTR package to a higher level. Nowicki added a racing front splitter, C5-R HID headlamps, a Specter PowerdomeSC hood, and a Specter-built rear wing (and stanchions). "The rear wing is tied into the chassis, just like a race car," says Nowicki. "It's as functional as it is good looking."

Specter didn't skimp on race-spec parts for the chassis, either. The brakes (initially installed by Extreme Motorsports) are made up of 15-inch-diameter, drilled, zinc-washed Baer rotors and Alcon calipers (six-piston calipers in front, four-piston in the rear). HAL QA1 adjustable, twin-tube shocks were installed, too, along with GM Racing coolers for the transmission and rear differential.

Vemp_0310_04_z 2002_chevy_corvette_z06 Front_side 3/7

But, perhaps, nothing on Mike Lowry's Vette says "race car" like the custom center-lock hubs, which hold in place the 18x11-inch and 19x12.5-inch BBS racing wheels. Custom built by Specter, they add a detail to the car that will likely be unmatched by any other street car. "This Vette is really as close as you can get to a real C5-R for the street," says Nowicki. Indeed, we caught up with Nowicki and the Vette at Waterford Hills Road Course, north of Detroit, as the car was being sorted out prior to delivery to Lowry.

"With all the race-specific parts, especially the engine and suspension, we needed to put the car on a racetrack to fine-tune it," Nowicki says. "We adjusted the ride height, checked for tire clearance in the fenders, and put laps on it to make sure everything was operating as it should." Believe us, as the car casually negotiated the tracks' corners, it looked and sounded the part of a race car.

Vemp_0310_07_z 2002_chevy_corvette_z06 Engine 4/7

Most race cars, however, don't have a stock leather interior (altered only by GT-R-embroidered seats and a dash plaque with the car's Specter build number, 02-002-20), or paint job as rich and detailed as this Vette's. The pearl white metallic paint absolutely glows in the setting sun, while the red and blue graphics accent the car's track-ready demeanor. "The paint scheme reflects my feelings ofAmerican spirit," says Lowry, a Vietnam-era veteran with a background in special operations and intelligence. "I proudly served my country and want the car to reflect that patriotism."

Show-quality paint notwithstanding, Lowry's Z06 seems to be missing nothing in terms of racing equipment...except, maybe, air jacks. But that'd be a ridiculous extravagance, right? "Well, we looked at it," Lowry says, pausing for a moment before adding: "But Jeff felt it would add too much weight to the car. So, we left them off-for now." There's also talk of a Kinsler-style injection setup. "I really think those eight velocity stacks look cool," he says. They certainly do. And they'd look right at home under the hood of a Corvette that, itself, would look at home at Le Mans.


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