The previous set of all-season tires were as useless as a stick of deodorant at a Phish concert, and the brakes felt more like a '68 Chevy than a '98. It could have been a lack of maintenance, improper bedding-in of the rotors, or just insufficient factory pieces-but the brakes did not inspire any confidence in normal street driving, let alone spirited driving or racing. Fresh off his Raceway Park road racing school experience, owner Frank Cicerale was definitely itching to improve his Z's handling not to mention its appearance.
Thankfully the folks at Discount Tire were happy to hook us up with a set of Replica Alloys C6 Vette 17x9.5-inch chrome rims and Yokohama S.drive 275/40R17 tires. Meanwhile, Power Slot chipped in a set of cryogenically-treated brake rotors and Hawk added a set of HPS pads. Between the added grip of the tires and extra bite with the brakes, the Z was sure to improve its handling with this small handful of upgrades. We were so pleased with the last brake install that we decided to head back over to our good friends at Stage 1 Automotive in Pompton Plains, New Jersey, which had just undergone some renovations and the opening of a shiny new showroom. Lots of fast, chassis twisting GMs have come out of Stage 1, we were sure they could handle our little Z. Once Stage 1 got us outfitted with the fresh brake upgrades and new rolling stock, it would be time to hit the track.