Video: At Speed Inside A Full-Race Former Grand Am Corvette

Before it was left to collect dust in a garage corner, this Corvette looked to have a promising future. Built for Rolex/Grand-Am racing a decade ago, this monster saw six races before the recession hit. Unfortunately, GM pulled back the purse strings, this C6 had to be set aside. Fortunately, this car’s owner, Mike Kuznicki, brought it out of hibernation for a bit of fun, and the enthusiasts at Speed Academy managed to sample it.

Devoid of detailed graphics, this sinister-looking ‘Vette is all business.

Simple and Effective

The LS6 engine is mostly stock, though it benefits from a GM Hot Cam kit, upgraded rod bolts and head studs, and blueprinting and balancing. That setup allows for plenty of durability and 440 horsepower at the wheels, which is more than enough to push this 2,450-pound Corvette rapidly around the track.

The gold insulation flanking both sides of the stockish LS6 screams purpose-built.

The car was built for $155,000 back in 2008, and that money as well spent. Some goodies include Penske shocks, a full tube frame, Alcon brakes front and rear, a full carbon fiber body, Continental slicks, and a halon fire suppression system. This is probably the most focused car to ever be featured on Speed Academy, and to extract the most from it, they brought in their best hired gun.

Getting Up to Speed

The only significant difference between its Rolex days and today is the addition of a passenger seat – not for the faint of heart.

The driver, Sasha Anis, has had his exploits covered here many times. The former Grand-Am driver, owner of On-Point Dyno, and talented builder struts his stuff here in a series of dramatic laps on cold tires, and shows exactly how one should approach a car of this caliber. With steely determination, the softly spoken Anis stretches the fronts under braking, dials in just the right amount of slip angle at the rear, and bravely tests the braking points to get this serious machine up to operating temperatures in the shortest possible time.

After a few sideways moments during a cautious out-lap, Anis decides to go for it, but the Corvette’s tires aren’t quite up to temperature yet. At the outset of the second lap, he brakes late for the first corner (5:47), but the car twitches nervously at the rear. His quick hands and cadence braking bring the C6 down to reasonable speeds, but when trying to roll some of that into the fast right-hander, the rear breaks away again and he has to catch a series of small slithers before he can apply the throttle again. On cold tires, he has to wrestle with this beast while still treading carefully—a tricky balance to strike.

However, the quick transitions in the infield seem to bring the Continental tires up to temperature quickly, and soon, it’s as if he’s driving a completely different Corvette. By the start of the third lap, it’s clear Anis can lean on the tires, brake late (and listen to the chatter from the rear axle), turn in without fear of a snap, and deploy all 440 horsepower with minimal wheelspin. Considering the dimensions of the car and the abundance of hairpins at Toronto Motorsports Park, that’s quite impressive. From nervous and unusable to confidence-inspiring in the course of two laps; this car is as demanding as it is rewarding.

Just Under The Lap Record

Though they were a second off Speed Academy’s best recorded lap time, the setup wasn’t right for the confines of the circuit. Specifically, the gearing—the Mosport-ready first gear runs all the way to 90 miles an hour—and the tires weren’t good enough to bring out all of the car’s potential. With a few tweaks in setup, this mega-reliable Corvette could, according to Anis, easily sail into the 1:11s. As Anis is an analytical driver with plenty of experience at this course, there’s no reason to doubt him.

 

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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