198 And Counting – A Corvette That Does It All
Normally when you hear a built ‘Vette fire up, you just assume it’s just another dragstrip toy, but the ’98 C5 owned by Joel Feingold is actually set up to run the standing mile, as well as destroying canyon roads. Feingold purchased the car new in 1998, began modding almost immediately, and the modifications have not stopped yet. Corvettes are definitely fast enough for drag racing, but Feingold wanted to tear through the canyons in Malibu or take on the infamous Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. He fell in love the car’s handing and braking, but lust for more power and better handling took over. Over the years the car has evolved to meet Feingold’s demands, which eventually included participating in the Mojave Mile.
The Mojave Mile is an event held at private airstrip where the goal is to achieve the highest speed at the end of a mile. Feingold’s ‘Vette managed an official 198.1 mph with the density altitude of nearly 5000 feet on his last trip. It took a few refinements and tweaking to manage those numbers; Feingold began to increase the performance with a head and cam upgrade, a supercharger and a roll bar for safety’s sake. Over the years Feingold experimented with different engines and components before settling on the current combo. It has taken him over ten years to get the car to it’s current state. Despite the blood, sweat and tears that come along with parts failures and misspent monies, he always kept a positive attitude and open mind in hope of finding that elusive perfect combination.
One problem that he has experienced through the development of the car to its present condition was his driving style and the capacity to find any misstep or weak point in the engine and drive train. When you approach high level of horsepower and drive it for all it’s worth, you will find out all of the weak points. Finally, the ‘Vette is able to produce over 800 horsepower and be driven hard every time.
The RPM Transmission’s T56 uses shorter 5th and 6th G-Force gears and is combined with a McLeod Dual Disk clutch. The differential features 3:73 cogs, and is strengthened in order to withstand the punishment dished out on the road course and standing mile driving, with parts from Unitrax and Quife. Although almost every aspect of the drivetrain has seen some form of modification in order to improve the top speed, the ‘Vette is still using the stock axles.
To flirt with 200 mph at the end of a standing mile, you need power and plenty of it. A stroked and forged QMP Racing-built LS3 with a total displacement of 418 cubic inches powers this machine. Feingold opted to use a ported LS2 intake manifold while an Alky Control Meth Kit helps keep a cool flow of air into the manifold. Inside the LS3 are an Eagle crankshaft and rods and a custom set of forged JE Blower Pistons that allow the Paxton Novi 2000 to dish out as much force as possible. A set of Tony Mamo custom-ported AFR cylinder heads assist in creating more power in this LS3 combination. When it comes to creating a perfect harmony with any combination, cam choice is critical. Feingold chose to utilize a Comp Cam to achieve decent street driving manners as well as plenty of power for both the standing mile and road course events.
Despite the list of aftermarket performance parts, the stock ignition system is still used, but when it comes time to feed the beast there are plenty of mods involved. A custom fuel system using a MagnaFuel pump and cooler from Sire Performance along with 83lb Siemens injectors are used to supply a steady stream of pump gas. Yes, plain old 91-octane pump gas with a little addition: Torco Race Fuel Concentrate. Feingold is a Torco vendor and truly stands behind the product, using it extensively himself.
Drivability was also a factor in the tuning the car because there is a fine line between a dedicated race set-up and being able to have race-worthy performance while still driving it back and forth to events. Cunningham Motorsports was able to create a custom tune to meet the Feingold’s demands. Despite being street driven, the car required a few safety items in order to participate in the both the road course and standing mile events. A Doug Rippie Motorsports 4-point roll bar, a Crow Enterprizes 5-point harness and a mounted fire extinguisher are the chief safety items on this wicked ’98.
On the dyno at Haddad Motorsports, the car produced in excess of 840 horsepower. With that amount of power one would wonder how Feingold keeps the car planted on the tarmac or road course. The front and rear suspension both feature Pfadt coil overs and T1 sway bars. On a recent trip to Buttonwillow the car made the 135-mile drive from Feingold’s home in Los Angeles, California on the 18-inch LPE/HRE 3-piece wheels with Toyo Proxes R888’s and survived three sessions of what Feingold described as “hard driving,” and was later driven another 135-miles back home. During the road course session Feingold worked the Brembo Gran Turismo Slotted Big Brake Kit; this kit has probably come in handy a few times while driving through Los Angeles’ traffic and twisty canyon roads as well. The most recent alignment and corner weight work was performed by West End Alignment and Alex at Pre Tech Motorsports; after the recent trip to Buttonwillow, Feingold had nothing but praise for all involved in the getting the car to it’s current form.
In the looks department the ’98 is no slouch either. The entire car was repainted Ruby Pearl Mica with a metallic silver accent by Prestige Coach Craft in Marina del Ray, California. The body remains mostly stock with the exception of the RK Sport hood with custom venting. Overall, the ’98 combines beauty, performance and durability, making it well worth all the hard work. For anyone is interested in following Feingold’s exploits with the ’98 please feel free to checkout his website. Joel wanted to make sure to thank Cunningham Motorsports, Torco Race Fuel, Nick and his wife Keri, for all their knowledge, help and support over the years.