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Old 02-24-2021, 05:05 AM
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Default Road to Optima 2021

Some might be interested in this - as many know, I've been building a 1976 Corvette for three years. At about year 2, Randy Probst said something that made me reconsider how far I was taking the build. That offhand comment was "the Camaro (5th gen) handles better then the similar Corvette" .... well just a few days before I was looking at a Camaro rear cradle and thought... hmmmm ... big brakes, much better geometry... why not.
Enter my 'road racing' life. When I was younger I raced shifter karts - and honestly, to this day, I think it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I also used to run Rabbits against friends in the forests around Walla Walla Washington. I like a good handling car. But the deal is I've raced against others but sometimes it brings out a monster I don't like... running against the clock (and me) is better for all.... enter Optima. I looked through the rules - updated every year - and thought "I can compete - make up for my seriously lacking talent and experience with a car that should handle really well and perhaps will make it possible for me not make an utter fool of myself." I do fool on most days ending in Y but utter fool, I avoid.... so my goal, dead last without being someone's next-year warning.

So the car.
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is a 1976 Corvette with flares, C5/C6 Corvette front suspension and 5th gen Camaro rear suspension. 4 speed, and 427. I like LS, but I think big bore, short stroke with a mile-wide power band is the way to go here.

So that's the me and the car. Next, how to get prepped.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:06 AM
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Optima 2021 starts March 20 in Vegas.... I could, actually be there, but woefully unprepared.
The first step, however, is the 2021 rules still have my loophole (must be a stock-looking car with stock suspension mounting points - and they are, just from a different year car)... but Optima gives you the chance to ask the rule guy - you send pictures (which you saw last post) and describe the car, mods, etc. This car could easily end up in Outlaw class - which is basically a car shaped tube chassis car. There be dragons in that pond, but the GTV class .... so I asked.

the request
The body, registration, and 1/3rd of the chassis is a 1976 Corvette (and as you will see from the attached pictures, would walk by thinking it's stock). The issue is going to be the chassis. It's a sectioned frame with a 2005 Corvette front suspension with all stock components (including arms, tray, rack and pinion.) The rear section is from a 2010 Camaro SS. They are both 'stock' width and covered by flares. I'm using Aiden-American coil overs - the Camaro rear had the equivalent of coil overs, the Corvette front, I replaced with an Aiden-American conversion kit. For completeness, the motor is a BBC 427 and 4 speed.
I built the car myself, and now am seeing several people copying my pan - it's a lot of fun and hopefully can showcase that home builders still can build competitive cars.
Thank you for your time. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or wish to see more pictures.
Sincerely,

the response
Aaron,
You are good to run your car in GTV this season. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you,

Mike Morrison|Chief of Tech & Road Course Segment Manager
919 Conference Drive, Suite 4-350|Goodlettsville, TN 37072
C: 214-738-6072
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now the work begins because the motor is in pieces because I'd spun a bearing.... oh yeah, and I still need to get experience..... next
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:22 AM
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If you live in the Pacific NW, rain is simply a part of life.edited It's not an annoyance, you eventually realize that you're not going to melt; however, if you want to practice autocross or lap times on a road course, the track needs to be at least a bit dry.edited With that said Optima happens rain or shine - so working wipers are necessary as well.edited But we need a list.

First me: safety gear.
2015 or newer helmet (mine is 2010)
firesuit
cotton under clothes
neck brace
shoes
gloves

Second. Me training.
Track day training (coming March 7)
Do autocross (2x once at the end of March and end of April)
​​​​​​​But even more important - just drive the car.

it's here where you say "but I thought the first race was March 20... : you're right.... not going to make it or the next month in Louisiana... goal is Willow Springs on Memorial Day weekend (Friday/Sat. May 28, 29).edited Backup and potential second date is middle of July in Utah.
and I just paid the non-refundable fee for Willow Springs*.... no pressure

Third: transportation/pit crew
I have no flipping clue this will change and there are potentials (some don't know they're potential yet)...'worst' case, I tow the Corvette on my trailer behind my Colorado then stay at the fine hotels in Bakersfield (sarcasm).edited I might have a Class B motorhome coming... but we will see, my other lodging choice is the Suburban.... which actually isn't a bad thing at all..
I also need to do something to get the Corvette on my trailer... otherwise the nose will hit when loading/unloading.

Fourth, car
In the training on the 7th, I'll finally get an inspection of the car to be certain it won't get booted when I get to Willow Springs
tires - this is mandatory, I need 200 treadwear tires
tuning - before I go in May, I need to get a solid tune on this combination.edited I have it slightly de-tuned (meaning running a tad rich and took a couple degrees out) so the clutch has a chance to fully bed.edited I do know that after my first 5 mile jaunt, I should consider adjusting the lifters again.
I also need to figure a way of blocking the hood vent in case it is raining so water doesn't go straight down the intake.
install the horn
wire the light motors
install a radio (I may just take the 2 point deduction here)
Decide whether or not I'm going to put real race seats in with the 5th harness point.


*fun aside - they ask specifics on your car, some I had to admit "don't know yet"... wonder what it's like to be fully prepared.edited At this point, I'll drive the car every chance I can to be certain the bugs are out - but more importantly, to break in the motor.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:23 AM
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So there's the first steps... if y'all are interested - say so, I'll keep updating...the end will be youtube videos of me running.....edited
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:26 PM
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Keep us posted.
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:28 PM
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Sounds like a fun spring/summer
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:31 AM
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yes! YES! YES!
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:16 PM
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Please school me on race suits. I'm not much of a onesie wearer - but outside of that.... I overheat far more then I get cold....

what should I know?
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:23 PM
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My thoughts/experience in SEDiv (SCCA)

1. Minimum get a SFI 3.2A/5 Double Layer Suit - gives 10 seconds (when new) exit time.
Your minimum exit time should be 5 seconds - they may want to check this when car is certified.
Factor in time to stop, car damage, etc. -- it could get painful.
You can find these suits from $200- up.

2. Wear Nomex undergarmets (less costly than CarbonX).
These give added layer of protection.
Between sessions most everyone unzips suit and ties around waist.
Better still a trailer with aircon!

3. Get a CoolShirt. (Or, make one)
At least you can make the ice box and pump setup, and then buy the shirt. Its just a $15 bilge pump in a cooler with a few switches and some hose... fittings available at McMaster.

There is also a helmet/head cool setup available. Have not ops checked that (yet).
Sebring is HOT/HOT! And, we call it our home track.

4. Don't be tempted to wear wicking undergarmets (UnderArmor for example).
Unless SFI approved, they'll melt and burn you.
Cotton doesn't melt - doesn't wick, just absorbs.

5. Balaclava is drivers choice 2 eye hole or 1 eye hole.
Neck gaiter often not required with balaclava. With a beard - you need one.

6. Between sessions, I have a vest kind of like this one:

If you can, get one with "Phase Change" materials. It works better than ice cubes - just like the blue ice for the freezer box.
My crew wears it when I'm on track - scores me some "points."

As always - YMMV.

Cheers - Jim

PS - I'll add Speedway has a long discussion here:
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Last edited by phantomjock; 02-26-2021 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: add link
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:12 PM
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so much to learn. Thank you
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:25 PM
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NHRA allows two piece, pants and jacket. But like Phantomjock said, check the rules. As far as long term comfort, canít really say as I certified at a drag race school and my project is still (emphasis on still) a work in progress.
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:48 PM
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My thoughts after reading....

2 piece v 1 piece. Ever seen a race track bathroom? okay, imagine you're exiting that double chili with onions hot dog you purchased at the gourmet restaurant attached to the track and the top half of your suit is now mopping the floor.... the other issue is exit speed. While you have to be able to exit your car in 5 seconds, often you need to be even faster exiting your suit because the facilities are 2.8 miles away from where they set up the course. Now with mask requirements, you have to do twice that because your mask is not in your car but in your tow rig....

and there is a third reason....
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I get that onesies look more professional, but the more I think and read about it.... finishing is my only goal perhaps make a new friend or two on the way - and I think in that last area, now having a growing stain on the front of your onesie might make one talked about for all the wrong reasons.....
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:50 PM
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And it gets even more complicated - because you might (should) be wearing a "cup." Just a "little slack" in your anti-submarne belts - and you'll not be sporting a "pair of footballs" in your jock!

Having spent the majority of my adult life wearing an OD-green nomex set of PJs (onesies), I get it. And, long delivery flights after a number of coffees came with the same problem. We had "piddle packs" which were at best a chore to use. At worst a mess. Those suits did have a bottom zipper. Easy enough to add one, then you could just go on the floor. Isn't that why there is no carpet and holes required for drainage?

The USAF has a new approach called the AMXDmax. They are uni-sex (how many variants required now?)

And, there are "external catheters" available:


Most sessions are short enough to make it to the porta-john. And, you could bring a sub-sandwich. But the chili is still tempting... I'll have mine on fries.

Cheers - Jim
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:55 AM
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Not taking the carpet out of this car.... I seriously think if I do Wilwood challenge that I'll build a track-only car with screw on flares....


Toyo Proxes.... they seem like the best junction of price and performance. The price range seems 1000-1500. love input or experience of others here... it really needs to be a streetable tire - I could use a PS4 or even a PS2, but I don't think my talent is yet that I would notice any difference in performance. ... next year, certainly... but not yet

Helmets. I used to road race bicycles - and I like Bell helmets, they fit, they too seem to be a good junction of price and features. But I don't get why people have full face helmets in this venue.... thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:58 AM
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This idea gets you track-side/AX/Track Days, and then you are ready to mount slicks:


(surprising, how many in this search - don't have slicks on the cart! Maybe Toyo R888s )
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Cheers - Jim
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomjock View Post
This idea gets you track-side/AX/Track Days, and then you are ready to mount slicks:


(surprising, how many in this search - don't have slicks on the cart! Maybe Toyo R888s )
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Cheers - Jim
It's been suggested that I drive it to California. I have no doubt it'd make it - but I'd be deaf when I got there. It's like my FJ40, I drive it all over the place but if where I'm going takes more then 1 tank of fuel to get there.... it gets towed.... (120 miles).

Those tires are interesting - especially since the rules seem to put those in the outlaw class (no street tread).... I suppose it could be argued, though, but going back to my skill level... it seems like a pointless fight.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:27 PM
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HANS .... there is a lot of "why" questions for this format - however, since you enablers planted the seed about the Wilwood challenge and other events....

thoughts? what should I look for?
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:55 PM
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Enablers, LOL. Yeah, just throwing gas on the fire, cars are definitely addictive.

I imagine they are doing virtual interdictions now with covid!
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
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Enablers, LOL. Yeah, just throwing gas on the fire, cars are definitely addictive.

I imagine they are doing virtual interdictions now with covid!
Gapping is social distancing
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Old 03-13-2021, 04:45 AM
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and because reasons, I signed up for UMC in July as well..


reason being it's selling out and my wife has been really supportive.... we will see how supportive when I come back burned, broke and penniless (but with a huge grin)...
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Old 03-18-2021, 05:14 PM
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I'm going to put this here in the Road to Optima, but also cross post it to the project page.

Saturday afternoon, I took the car out - so far, I've been driving like a saint but things happened (things), and I really got on it 4th gear 5600 rpm. On a public highway.... moving on.

I think that before I go racing (not Optima), that I need to spend a lot of time making this thing go through the air better. It feels solid but... I think I'm going to have to do some pretty substantial air management...

and if you're calculating.. I paled when I did... 137 mph.... bad me.

Last edited by SuperBuickGuy; 03-18-2021 at 05:41 PM..
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Old 03-22-2021, 07:26 PM
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brake fluid... any thoughts?
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
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brake fluid... any thoughts?
I put some high temp stuff from Jegs in the Camaro. Seemed like a good idea.
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Old 03-23-2021, 10:24 AM
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Juist a quick thought. That seems lile good speed, and I bet there is more available. First chance you get be sure and "scale" the car. Front/Rear and L/R. There are a lot of setup guides for c5/6m not so much C3 old skool Greenwood, and there is a Corvette Handling that has some AX info in the Downloads section too. All that nice upgrade to strengthen the suspension needs to be put to good use.

Cheers - Jim
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Old 03-23-2021, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomjock View Post
Juist a quick thought. That seems lile good speed, and I bet there is more available. First chance you get be sure and "scale" the car. Front/Rear and L/R. There are a lot of setup guides for c5/6m not so much C3 old skool Greenwood, and there is a Corvette Handling that has some AX info in the Downloads section too. All that nice upgrade to strengthen the suspension needs to be put to good use.

Cheers - Jim
I have scaled it... oh memory where are you... the split was 49.5/50.5, I got the cross measurement equal with me in the car... I'll dig up the post.... somewhere after August 24th this year (the day I got my scales)
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and now I just realize I may have a problem (a good one, but still)... I have to weigh in at more then 3200 lbs... the real number is 220lbs plus the first number (3176).... I think before I get too concerned, I'll reweigh. I changed the ride height - so there could differences (and I need to change it again with perhaps a different rear spring because my assumptions when I ordered those springs was wrong... typing out loud, I need to verify rates, maybe put the fronts on the rear)....

Last edited by SuperBuickGuy; 03-23-2021 at 02:52 PM..
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:59 AM
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lots of 'news' I've signed up on SCCA and signed up for my first autocross with them in Portland, Oregon on April 16. I had to 'class' my car, and I classed at Xtreme Street, XA... that is, barely disguised race car that looks like a street car (in short, I suspect USCA is cutting into their turf). XA class (more then 2750 lbs, rwd)

my result last weekend
2 NOVCAMS 976 , Aaron Chevrolet Corvette 41.339 +2.235 +2.235

I see they classed me as CAMS... hmmm.... I'll have to fix that.
The ride back was quite a ride. 65 mph headwinds (sustained), then torrential rain, then class 3 hurricane winds, then heavy, heavy snow - but the moment I went across the pass, it was still wet (though 10 minutes later, I bet it wasn't).....

I met a lot of really neat people. Funny thing, since I drive a Corvette, everyone told me about all the Corvette people and who I should know and talk to (who had Corvettes)...

I got to ride along in two, different cars - which was beyond cool. They have a great novice enabler (not sure that was her actual title), who went out of her way to explain all the overlooked things about how to do this successfully.

In other news, my tire went flat - but the good news is I have a 12v air compressor - so it was easy to fix.

I had a brake line leak a bit - tightened it up before my last run and it didn't seem to leak again.

There is that puff of smoke on right handers... that I need to fix

Dried the car off this morning.... it got soaked - thankfully nothing that won't easily dry - but before I drive in another rainstorm, I'm taping the gap at the sunroof - I don't blame astrotop... the windshield, at one point, had a good 1" of ice on it and then snow on top of it.

I don't know if I'll get another round in Spokane - Portland is the week before, but if I can. I will... neat people, neat place, nice 4x4 track...
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:16 AM
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The challenge that is only me, or just never talked about.
Shipping.

I know that likelihood of something arriving is inversely related to the likelihood it will show up on time. UPS, my rock-solid delivery company.edited 3 days later.edited Then another seller used FedUp (with predictable results).editededited

Add to this, the UPS shipment had the wrong parts.edited Took 4 phone calls to get the right parts on their way and they might make it in time for this weekend.edited I'd love for my new differential to show but I know the part hadn't even been pulled - so rather then frustrate myself, I'll call them next week if it hasn't shown.editededited

​​​​​​​
*oh, and I'm racing very locally this weekend (by racing, I mean Ax). Did spend money at my local sponsor of the Autocross... was very pleasantly surprised to find his prices were very much in line with what I could buy online. You can be sure I'll shop there more often.
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Old 04-18-2021, 08:56 PM
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humph.edited I went to PIR, they have noise limits.... 97 db noise limits. if you've been following along, you'll know that my noise at full song is 111 db.edited I didn't find out before I went but I'm so glad I did because I spent time with my parents - something that's been hard to do since I saw them a year ago....edited

but I have a problem to fix.edited Thinking a corkscrew with some steel wool as the first shot.edited I'm also not against injecting water to muffle the sound... I really need to be below 105 - from there it's arguable....edited
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Old Yesterday, 09:40 PM
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One guy here welded a couple of 3” ID glass packs together to quiet down his 502 if I remember correctly. So, two per side and it sounded pretty good. The police told me the spiral turbo mufflers were too loud so I added vortex cones ( perforated plate cones). I always thought a short section of glass pack would help a lot, but never bothered as there were no other complaints.

Another thing, you might look at how they make those tuned resonator mufflers, and adapt that to side pipes.

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Old Today, 12:17 AM
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I think these are $$$, but if you have perforated plate they are two opposing cones.

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Old Today, 01:55 AM
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Thinking of my post on your other thread -- made me wonder if there might be any advantages of "extra" flow from a 2x2 exhaust with the cut outs... Another item to put in my "to do some research" file.

Where I'm going - you mentioned you are seeing a "cap" on your HP at higher RPM: Is it air in - or Is it air out? Hmmm... I'll need to do some looking.

I do like the blown aero options that that dual system could open up too. [But you knew that.]

Cheers - Jim
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