First-Look: Dragzine To Build 2017 Corvette Z06 Drag Radial Car
Project BlownZ06 is Dragzine’s most ambitious build to date, centering around the ground-up construction of a C7 Z06 Corvette by PMR Race Cars for Outlaw Drag Radial, Pro 275, Radial vs The World, and other radial eliminators with the NMCA, NMCA West, and Outlaw venues.
We’ve partnered with the world-renowned team at Pro Line Racing for a unique new partnership, in conjunction with ProCharger, to assemble a first-of-its-kind supercharged 548 cubic-inch Hemi engine package for the build that we hope will have the same world record-setting result as other Pro Line and ProCharger customers.
It takes a lot of fine-tuning to get a high-horsepower car down the racetrack — no matter if it’s running on radials or slicks — and we want to give ourselves every advantage in the tuning department that we possibly can. One of those advantages, which racers in Pro Stock, Pro Modified, and other high-horsepower categories have been making use of for over a decade is RJ Race Cars’ Extreme 4-Link system, which provides virtually five times the adjustability in the 4-link, and therefore in the instant center, than a traditional 4-link.
This 4-link system features billet weld-on chassis brackets that utilize a unique bolt-on 4-link plate system with a keyway that allows both top and bottom 4-link plates to move up and down in increments of 1/8-inch, allowing fine tune adjustments to be made to the instant center of the 4-link. With the adjustability on tap in this design, it was an obvious choice for our new BlownZ06 C7 Corvette drag radial car — we’ll be pairing it with JRi Shocks and a host of internals from Strange Engineering and US Gear in the center section to guide the car into (hopefully) the three-second zone at 200 mph.
There’s a lot of work yet to be done to get BlownZ06 race-ready — from wiring and plumbing to several odds and ends on the chassis and suspension side, but nevertheless, we made our anticipated and planned unveiling at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where the car was on display at the Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels booth in front of tens of thousands of attendees. Once the show wraps, the car will be whisked back to PMR Race Cars, where we’ll get back to work on the final items on the checklist in preparation for testing in the offseason.
We haven’t updated you guys nearly as much as we should have over the last month as we have been on a complete mad thrash to get the roller ready for the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. We are here and we are going to be flying through a significant amount of updates that have been done to the car. First off, we’re going to show you the last picture that you will be able to see online prior to the show. At the show, the car is going to be on display at the Mickey Thompson Tires SEMA show display. This is all you get until next week unless you check our Facebook page for updates!
August 5, 2017 – Ride Height Adjustment On The Fly With RJ’s Threaded Strut Mount
While much of the focus in drag racing suspension seems to rest on the rear of the car, what’s going on up front is every bit as important to producing a well-balanced, efficient chassis with solid driving characteristics. In an upcoming feature we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the JRi front strut that will be helping us to accomplish this on our Project BlownZ06 radial tire C7 Corvette, but before we can get to that, we first have to center in on the mechanisms for mounting the strut to our PMR Race Cars-built chassis. For that, we sourced one of Quarter-Max’s trick Threaded Adjustable Strut Mount kits.
What makes this strut mount kit different from your more traditional setup? It’s in the simplicity of adjustability. In the past, struts were mounted directly to the upper framerail and could not be located up and down in any fashion; in order to adjust ride height, you were forced to adjust your spring setting, therefore affecting the compression and travel of the strut. Other setups on the market employed the use of spacers that could be added or removed above the spring cup to provide some adjustability, but as Rickie Jones comments, such methods were time-consuming and rudimentary by comparison.
August 2, 2017 – Wheel Time: BlownZ06 Gets Weld’s Full Throttle And V-Series Wheels
BlownZ06 is going to be packing a ton of horsepower, and it will need it to compete in the brutally competitive world of head-up radial racing, so we need to maximize every advantage possible, including in the wheel department. Using lightweight wheels like the Full Throttle and V-Series from WELD will allow us to swing weight to more crucial areas of the chassis.
With the Full Throttle wheel, WELD wanted to create something that would work for a larger percentage of their customers. To help accomplish this, the wheel is offered in 15×3.5 spindle and lug mount styles, along with 17×3.5 and 17×4.5 for late model cars with bigger front brakes. These choices go beyond the size for WELD, as they take other important factors into consideration, as well.
As an owner of M&M Transmission and a celebrated race car driver campaigning Jason Carter’s 1978 Malibu in heads-up classes across the country, Mark Micke consistently comes up with ways in which his customers — and he — can be even more competitive. His latest creation is a shifter which is as beautiful as it is buzzworthy, and we simply knew it had to be a part of our Project BlownZ06 Corvette build.
The shifters start out as billet 6061 T6 aluminum that is machined for two hours before M&M Transmission staffer Ryan Stegman cleans and polishes them. They’re then anodized and laser-etched, and stainless steel bracketry, fasteners, hardware and shifter arms are added, as is the cable, which is custom-made by Glendinning Products in South Carolina.
The shifters are available in a two speed-specific version which work with Powerglides and two-speed Turbo 400s, a three speed-specific safe neutral version which works with Turbo 400s and a standard three speed-specific reverse pattern for Turbo 350s and Turbo 400s.
July 16, 2017 – There has been a tremendous amount of work done by the team at PMR Race Cars on BlownZ06. We’re excited to share it all with you. This is a lot of pictures, with some captions telling you guys what is going on. With this project, we have about 10 different articles that we are going to be publishing on it, but in the mean time, we are testing you with our photo galleries of the updates!
You can see we have the Pro Line Hemi in place and we are starting to lay out the frame rails.. this is a critical part of the process.
The rear of the car, with the anti-roll bar and rear end in place. We are starting to work on the mid plate. The rear tree is under construction as well.
We are starting to get the engine in place and figuring out how to design the front frame rails.
Here we are setting up the front strut locations, and we have the front down bars roughed in.
You can start seeing some of the magic. We’ve got some VERY trick JRi front struts on this radial ride. This is a JRI 6-inch travel front strut in a Strange Ultra housing. Using the Strange spindle-mount system, the Weld wheels, and the RJ’s adjustable upper front strut cup.
Another angle of the front suspension.
Going to the rear of the car, we have mocked up the JRi 21.5-inch, 7-inch stroke rear shocks – 4 way adjustable. You can see the Carbon Strange 5 x 5 rear brakes, and the RJ’s 4-link.
The RJ’s Extreme 4-link brackets are works of art. This gives very precise 1/16-inch movement in the 4-link.
You can see the full rear of the car mocked up here with the RJ’s 4-link and RJ’s wishbone. Killer.
Reid supplied our Turbo 400 bell housing and case for the Hemi. We are mocking up the M&M Turbo 400 and you can see we have the double frame rails roughed in as well.
Front of the car is ready for the ProCharger 136/143 and the Chris Alston/CDS Gear Drive to get mocked up.
PMR’s fabricator’s doing their welding magic.
To comply with Limited Drag Radial and other rules, we must cut the factory rear quarter panels into the rear of the car and not use the lightweight ones that come with our kit. Oops. This isn’t a big issue as they are effectively identical.
RJ’s lightweight steering wheel, steering kit, and the rack from Stilleto.
With the Weld Wheels and the Mickey Thompson 315 radials, we have a roller.
Wow that looks stunning.
Bird’s eye view of BlownZ06.
Complete roller, angle 2.
One last thing that we can’t go without showing. The beautiful exhaust flanges from our friends at Pro Fabrication. These are absolutely beautiful and the guys at Pro Fab do these for Pro Line exclusively. Can’t wait to show more pictures of these CNC flanges when we do the exhaust article!
May 11, 2017
Look at what Santa dropped off: a Pro Line 548 Hemi mock-up engine. It was glorious … an all-billet block and heads with a Visner billet intake manifold topping it all off. We will be using the billet Pro Line engine to mock everything up within the frame rails and front suspension. Sadly, our sugar plum dreams of riding off into the sunset will need to wait for our “real” engine, not just a mock-up.
PMR continued to make progress on the chassis. Right now, we’ve got the QuarterMax Extreme 4-link mocked up with the QuarterMax Extreme Adjustable Billet 4-Link Chassis Brackets which are extremely trick as part of the construction of our rear tree. This 4-link system gives you a great deal of flexibility.
This 4-link system features billet weld-on chassis brackets that utilize a unique bolt-on 4-link plate system with a keyway that allows both top and bottom 4-link plates to move up and down in increments of 1/8-inch, allowing fine tune adjustments to be made to the instant center of the 4-link.
May 5, 2017
Well, BlownZ06 is no longer merely a rendering. The guys at PMR Race Cars in Rancho Cucamonga, California are already bending pipe and laying welds, and they’ve made some significant progress in a short time. With the help of Quarter-Max Chassis & Racing Components and Strange Engineering they’re pretty far along with getting the chassis mocked up. We have an extensive quantity of Quarter-Max and RJ’s parts on the chassis side, and we’ve got some beautiful new Strange Carbon fiber brakes.
Building a class-legal C7 Corvette drag car is not a simple or cheap endeavor. It required a lot of extensive dialog with rules makers and with our chassis partners to figure out how to handle and interpret the variety of rules that existed out there in some of these classes. Unlike a Mustang or a 1969 Camaro, the rules simply aren’t written with an all plastic/composite body shell road racing beast in mind.
The biggest challenges lay in a few simple areas:
- The C7 Z06 body is compromised of composite panels bolted to a plastic inner structure, which is bolted to a combination of outer framerails and various aluminum supporting brackets and stiffeners.
- The framerails run front to back, bumper to bumper, but are large, bulky, and on the outer perimeter of the frame bonded to the rocker panels.
- The firewall and window “box frame” area is plastic and aluminum and does not comply with NHRA requirements.
- The roof is a removable “T-top” type roof that snaps in to the non-NHRA compliant “box-frame” for Pro Mod and/or supercharged methanol combinations.
- The biggest challenge – the front suspension is a large mono-leaf that does not either lend itself to drag racing or have any available aftermarket options.
In speaking to many rulesmakers, it was determined that we would need to gain clarification from both others that had built Corvettes, but also talk hand-in-hand to figure out how to build a class-legal car that still met NHRA legality and was comparable to other class category cars. What we were eventually able to work out was a set of common rules variables:
- Use of factory OEM Corvette frame rails from the center of the spindle through the rear of the main body in the OEM location
- Factory Corvette wheelbase
- Factory Corvette lights, tail lights, side marker lights, etc.
- Stock body length, appearance, and profile is needed for all body components
- The use of OEM Chevrolet rocker panels, inner door jambs, and inner-door structure
- Utilizing factory OEM C7 “Z06” rear quarter panels, aka “real glass”. This will require joining together the OE factory quarter panels into the rear Skinny Kid race cars hatch/bumper. Luckily, we found some Z06 fenders on eBay for a reasonable price!
- A “strut” retrofit was acceptable/legal so long as we retained the factory subframe/framerails
Because the rules many of the categories we’re planning to compete in require the factory framerails, we purchased a set of OEM framerails and body panels to build the car from the ground-up, rather than cut apart a valuable Z06 and waste both time and money. With this in mind, PMR had to start from the outside in, rather than the other way around, to incorporate the factory framerails into the build.
They began by mocking the body up on the frame rails, since the placement and positioning, in regarding to the OEM door jams, rockers, will be dictated by the frame rails. They’ve since mocked up and partially tacked much of the roll cage, and by the next few weeks we will be finalizing much of the welding on the chassis.