- Top Five Myths Behind Carbon-Fiber Drag Racing Brakes
- BlownZ06 Build Part 3: The Interior Of The Radial-Tire Corvette
- FuelTech's FT600 Engine Management System In Action
- The Bottom End: Pro Line Builds BZ06’s Badass Hemi For RvW Action
- Building Safety In Radial And Pro Mod Cars
- The Top End: BlownZ06's Hemi Engine Comes Together With Boost
- The Final Details of BlownZ06's Engine Build Come Together
- BlownZ06 Build Part 2: Front Suspension & Brakes
- BlownZ06: Chassis Build Part 1 With PMR Race Cars & Quarter-Max
- M&M Transmission’s Billet Aluminum Shifter is Sturdy and Striking
- Wheel Time: BlownZ06 Gets Weld’s Full Throttle And V-Series Wheels
- Ride Height Adjustment On The Fly With RJ's Threaded Strut Mount
- Inside JRi’s Radial-Specific Shocks On Our Project BlownZ06
- Ultimate Adjustability With RJ's Extreme Billet 4-Link System
- First-Look: Dragzine To Build 2017 Corvette Z06 Drag Radial Car
- Project BlownZ06 Gets Some Breathing Room with Burns Custom Headers
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.
A Smashing Success – The 2018 Season In Review
The 2017 Corvette performed flawlessly all season — showing consistency in running in the 3 second range on almost any track surface. Anchored by a ProLine Engines 548 Hemi utilizing AJPE components, powered by a ProCharger F3-136 and FuelTech FT600 EFI system, the combination proved itself to be reliable and spot-on all year.
The championship run, too, had its challenging moments. A full season of drag racing at this level means that you are going to have to stay on your toes.
The team won NMCA Bradenton on a holeshot, and then went out in the first round at NMCA Atlanta with a transmission issue. At NMCA Bowling Green, a parts failure resulted in a hole in the #7 cylinder piston, requiring an engine swap between rounds. Never the less, the team clinched the victory. At NMCA Route 66 and NMCA Norwalk, the team won every round. Finally, at the NMCA finals in Indy, the team in the second round of qualifying ran the fastest e.t. in class history (3.84), but then had a driveline failure which required pretty big thrash to get the car ready for eliminations on Sunday. By that time, they had clinched the 2018 Championship.
This was the second NMCA Championship in three years, with the team having won the NMCA Limited Street championship in 2016. At the Street Car Supernationals 2018 in Las Vegas, the team closed out the season, announcing a partnership with Eric Kvilhaug, who will be driving the Corvette in 2019. At SCSN, the Corvette went four rounds in the “Big Tire No Time” category with Eric behind the wheel and James Lawrence tuning. 2019 will prove exciting, as the team plans a combination of radial and No Time/Big Tire events.
No car runs well without the support of a killer crew. The crew in 2018 consisted of Dean Jigamain, Joe Truiljo, Chase Driskell, Dave Lukason, and J-Money who all helped bring home each round victory. With the team based in Southern California, the added challenge of racing cross country added some complexity to the 2018 championship.
June 1, 2018 – Gearing Up With Strange And U.S. Gear
A race car on this kind of power level pretty well precludes on from cutting corners in any facet, from the chassis to the driveline. Because 3,000 horsepower will no doubt find the weak link, if there is one. A key piece in the equation is the center section, which is responsible for taking all the power and torque from the transmission and driveshaft and applying it to the axles to set things in motion.
When we first started out with BlownZ06 in Bradenton, we equipped her with a 3.70 rear Pro Gear from US Gear. However, after testing, we discussed internally that moving up to a 3.89 gear would produce a better back split and more acceleration on the back side of the race track.
We selected the US Gear Pro gear setup, 9.5-inch diameter, part #: 07-995389. Made from 9310 material, this is the same gear material that is used in Top Fuel. It also features a 35-spline pinion shaft. We’ve had fantastic luck with US Gear’s durability and fit.
While US Gear provided the gears, what we have been using for BlownZ06 is a Strange Ultra Case. The case has a 3.812-inch bore for up to 10-inch ring gears, outfitted with a Strange Pro Series HD lightweight spool, a chromoly 1350 yoke and U-bolt kit for the yoke, and a magnetic pick-up collar for a data acquisition sensor. This spare center section will allow us to swap out gear ratios on the fly between rounds should we need to make a tuneup change for the conditions.
May 29, 2018 – The Final Details Of BlownZ06’s Engine Build Come Together
In this final wrap-up of the build of our Pro Line Racing Hemi powerplant, we sit down with some of the bright minds behind the parts and pieces that made it all possible, including FuelTech’s Anderson Dick, who discusses the state-of-the-art FT600 ECU, ProCharger’s Sergio Shifman, and Chris Jones of PLR, who walks us through the build of the 3,000-plus horsepower mill.
Enjoy this visual look at what made it all happen!
No engine can win races without an induction system, and that’s where BlownZ06’s powerplant really begins to shine. Through the use of a set of Alan Johnson Performance Engineering’s Muscle cylinder heads, a set of trick rocker arms from Reid Machine, an intake from David Visner at Visner Engine Development and one of ProCharger’s finest F-3R-136 superchargers, BlownZ06 became the quickest radial-tire-equipped supercharged car on the planet in only its second outing at the racetrack.
As we discussed in the short-block article, the Pro Line engine-building team has tested these Hemi parts in a wide range of applications. The main focus of using this design is the overarching theme of strength; as the Hemi platform from AJPE has been proven over the years in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol, and other racing classes, it’s no secret that the engine can handle just about any kind of power level without a hiccup.
With the solid foundation in place, we’ve taken a look at the top end components which help to make this engine so successful.
Front-and-center up top on this engine are a set of Alan Johnson Performance Engineering’s P8 Hemi cylinder heads, which are mated with a full compliment of gear from Comp Cams, including a 26700-16 spring package, locks, retainers, and spring locators. The custom spring properties provide enough pressure to get the Ferrea valves sealed back up tight against the massive boost our ProCharger F-3R-136 produces. The 136, with a gigantic 12-inch volute and 3,000 horsepower capability, has already served us well, and in time we’ll add another 400-500 horsepower with a jump up to the larger F-3R-143 head unit. A Chassisworks Component Drive System with a custom internal gear ratio drives the unit at 68,000 rpm…enough to produce 50 psi of boost.
Throughout the rest of this piece, we lay out the AJPE cylinder heads and the myriad valvetrain components, including the custom grind cam designed in a collaborative effort between PLR and the folks in Memphis at Comp, along with the intake manifold.
April 2, 2018 – Building Safety in Pro Mod & Radial Race Cars
Regardless of how quick your race car is, your safety should be priority one. As much as we all love drag racing and want to be in the winner’s circle, it really is just a drag race, and going home safe and sound to your family at the end of the night supersedes any costs, comfort, or other factors that might deter you from preparing as you should. With that in mind, we didn’t want to cut any corners with the safety elements of BlownZ06 — this, after all, a 200 mph racecar, and the faster they go, the greater the safety standards and increased risk of a destructive incident.
As we assembled the car at PMR Race Cars in Rancho Cucamonga, California, our intentions in this area were straightforward, and in particular order: safety, comfort, and convenience …because what’s comfortable and convenient may not always be the safest route. We procured a custom pour-in seat from Quarter-Max and paired it with Kam-Lock, 6-point driver restraints from Stroud Safety, along with a window net to keep the arms inside the car in the event of an an accident. Stroud air-launched parachutes stop the car, with a host of parachute-release components from Quarter-Max. And to combat the possibility of fire — every racer’s worst nightmare — we sourced a complete Pro-Mod spec fire suppression system from the folks at Safecraft.
March 29, 2018 – The Bottom End: Pro Line Builds BZ06’s Badass Hemi For RvW Action
A meeting with Pro Line’s Eric Dillard and Chris Jones set us on the right path with respect to the engine, which offers a number of advantages to the racer in terms of performance, durability, and ease of service. The engine, which will feature a ProCharger F-3R-136 or F-3X-143 supercharger depending on the event, is based on a lightweight TFX Hemi engine block from Alan Johnson Performance Engineering. Yes, this is the same Hemi block configuration you’d find in an 11,000-horsepower Top Fuel or Funny Car, set up for centrifugal supercharger use here.
Join us for a look at the many parts and pieces that comprise this Hemi build-up with the Pro Line gang!
March 20, 2018 – FuelTech’s FT600 Engine Management System In Action
It’s a high-tech racing world that we operate in today, and the days of mastering a mechanical fuel injection and manually adjusting timing and hoping it goes are largely a thing of the past. These days, engine control units are the heart and soul of a racing machine, with the capability to not only control all aspects of an engine, but over time, other systems within the racecar, as well. One of the leaders in this market has undoubtedly been FuelTech, a manufacturer from Brazil that has had a huge impact on the American drag racing scene after setting up a headquarters in Georgia. Their FT600, the latest and greatest ECU from FuelTech, is loaded with more enough features to keep one busy learning for a lifetime, and that’s precisely what BlownZ06 needed to help us wring every last drop of performance out of the car.
While the FT600 is an all-in-one system, it does feature dual FTCAN 2.0 (FuelTech’s CAN bus system) inputs and a multitude of available external component modules. These allow you to tailor your system to your specific application and reduce or eliminate the cost and complexity of superfluous abilities. Why pay for hardware you won’t use, right? The modularity of the system ensures all the meat with no gristle.
Since BlownZ06 is an extremely high-end drag car, it only stands to reason that it would make great use out of the multitude of drag-oriented features FuelTech has incorporated into the ECU. Even something as simple as a line-lock has been incorporated and is now controlled by the ECU, with the improvement of always providing the exact same level of brake pressure in the line-lock. Also built into the ECU is FuelTech’s staging control, which allows you very precise control over your staging routine, in whatever manner you prefer. Traction control is a staple in any class where it’s allowed and there are several options for traction control with the FT600; the first is the built-in time-based offering.
Hit the story link above to read in-depth the features and set-up of the FT600 on BlownZ06!
March 13, 2018 – Gotta’ Love It When A Plan Comes Together
Given all of the world-class ingredients that have gone into the build-up of BlownZ06 and all of the talent involved, we certainly hoped — and to some degree, expected — that at some point we’d have the opportunity to park the car in a winner’s circle. But to do it this quickly … that came as a surprise.
We entered the NMCA’s season opener in Bradenton on a high note, having run in the three-second zone in our debut race a couple of months earlier, also in Bradenton. And while we didn’t get the win there, we were elated with the early performance to say, the least. Right away at the NMCA event, we improved upon those numbers in testing, going a new best of 3.86 to set the centrifugal supercharger drag radial record. While that run came in Radial vs The World trim (about 60 pounds lighter than Radial Wars would permit) we knew were on to something.
Throughout qualifying and testing, we were working to get the convertor optimized. The rearend ratio has also been a big challenge with the new combination we tackled. Out 60-foot is not where it needs to be
and as the weather got worse we struggled with the convertor and gear ratios, but after tow days of qualifying, we were fortunate to qualify second for the show with a 3.90 — just behind DeWayne Mills at 3.88 — putting us in a good position for raceday.
We ran Ronald Fisher in the opening round and advanced with a 3.95 and earned a competition single in the semi-finals. We tried something new on the solo pass and it knocked the tire off. For the final round against small-block runner Marty Stinnett, we knew about the best we had was a 3.93 or 3.94, and we wanted to stay conservative so we’d know we would go down the track. We felt we would get outrun by Marty but wanted to play the odds rather than try to make a ‘hail mary.’ In the end, Marty went red on the tree and we went a 3.94 for the win.
It was great racing with some big names like DeWayne Mills, Marty Stinnett and Kevin Fiscus. We are currently number one in the points heading in to NMCA Atlanta. A special thanks to everyone that helped us this year with the car!
February 28, 2018 – BlownZ06 Build Part 3: The Interior Of The Radial-Tire Corvette
Assembling a complex race car like our BlownZ06 Corvette requires careful planning from the front of the car where the supercharger lives, to the rear where the parachutes are deployed. Each area of the car must work with the others to ensure that on race day, everything goes according to plan. In part three of our series on BlownZ06, Tony Mandella of PMR Race Cars takes us through the interior of the car, along with the process of making a C7 Corvette body from multiple carbon fiber parts fit together correctly on a bare chassis.
To assist in making the interior whole, PMR used a vast array of parts from the Quarter-Max catalog to get the job done. For stopping BlownZ06, Strange Engineering’s carbon fiber brakes were added to all four corners of the Corvette. To keep the view nice and clear, a full set of windows from Optic Armor were used to finish off the exterior.
In this project update, we’ll shift gears to the entirety of the interior, beginning with the cockpit layout at PMR to accommodate the driver and give the Corvette the utmost in functionality. From there we’ll move on to parts like the driveshaft tunnel, the battery and battery disconnect switches, the CO2 bottles to run the boost controllers and other functions, and the pedals, an wrap it up with the final installation of the body and Optic Armor windows.
February 23, 2018 – Top Five Myths Behind Carbon-Fiber Drag Racing Brakes
While horsepower might be king, it’s the brakes that save your life. It’s relatively easy to make 2,000-plus horsepower — or more — but bringing it all to a stop in time before the kitty litter is part of the equation that can sometimes go unchecked. We’ve all seen a car go off the top end of the track when a parachute failed, but what if you had a better chance of getting stopped before the asphalt runs out? That’s where a quality set of brakes is worth its weight in gold.
On a car like this one, with speeds upward of 200 mph and the weight teetering on 2,700 pounds, carbon fiber brakes are a virtual requirement — the very same stuff that brings 330 mph Top Fuel Dragsters to a halt. Carbon fiber brakes are certainly nothing new in motorsports, but they still carry some common misconceptions and myths, and what better way to spotlight the brakes on our ride than to do some debunking. And so we teamed up with Strange Engineering to discuss the top level of drag racing brake technology.
As Strange’s J.C. Cascio shares regarding the pedal response difference between carbon rotors and iron, one of five questions posed: “Carbon brakes work better as they heat up. While steel brakes initially have good bite, they’re susceptible to brake fade if they get too hot. When the carbon is cold, it does not bite as hard as the steel brakes. As the carbon builds heat, they become more aggressive. Carbon is capable of stopping Top Fuel cars from 300-plus mph if the chutes do not deploy.”
January 30, 2018 – The Debut
Following months of preparation taking place on both ends of the country — from the chassis in California to the engine in Georgia — BlownZ06 made its long-awaited debut at the annual U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenon, Florida this weekend. And needless to say, the debut race exceeded even our own expectations.
After its cross-country, 2,535-mile trek to Florida, we spent the days leading up to qualifying for the U.S. Street Nationals shaking the new car down while ProLine Racing tuner Steve Petty dug his claws into the ProCharger-HEMI combination. By the time the event rolled around, the car was steadily chipping its way through the low four-second range, making quicker laps each time it took to the track. Ultimately, we qualified No. 5 in the 19-car Radial vs The World field with a 3.97 194.4 mph — a number we knew the car was fully capable of but perhaps a few more runs away from being reality.
After scoring the first round win with the car, a minor electrical gremlin got us in the second round.
We started by picking a chassis/parts supplier for the build – and that was the team at RJ’s Race Cars/QuarterMax, with most of our dialog with Rickie Jones. RJ’s was to supply the vast majority of all of the chassis components and accessories for the build, including their custom 4-link system, front suspension pieces, and all kinds of parts big and small. PMR Race Cars has been working away on BlownZ06 and in this article, we’ll take a look at what has gone into the rear half of the Corvette to make it its best on race day.
Because BlownZ06 is going to be competing in the fastest radial tire classes, like Outlaw Drag Radial, Pro 275, and Radial versus The World, getting the chassis right is critical to being successful. Tony Mandella and his team at PMR have helped with our previous project cars like BlownZ, so he was our first call when we set sail on this project. He worked hand in hand with RJ’s Race Cars/QuarterMax to develop a complete plan on the car from end to end. This will be our first article in the series on the buildup of BlownZ06 and what goes into building a machine of this caliber.
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.