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The road to Optima Challenge 2021

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  • The road to Optima Challenge 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.

    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.
    Last edited by SuperBuickGuy; February 23, 2021, 10:06 PM.
    Doing it all wrong since 1966

  • #2
    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.

    the response
    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
    Doing it all wrong since 1966


    • #3
      If you live in the Pacific NW, rain is simply a part of life. 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. With that said Optima happens rain or shine - so working wipers are necessary as well. But we need a list.

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

      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). 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). 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. 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. 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. 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.
      Doing it all wrong since 1966


      • #4
        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.....
        Doing it all wrong since 1966


        • #5
          Of course we are interested . It's 5am , I'd like like to be more clever but this is all I've got .
          Previously HoosierL98GTA


          • #6
            Good Luck,
            God's Speed,
            and Perseverance !!!

            Race Tech Inspection Experience.......
            Be Polite, AND OFFER NOTHING UNLESS ASKED! Don't Confess to Sins that they might not have seen, and if did, and forgot later looking for other things.........
            And if something isn't right, Be Polite, ask for a variance, or what can be corrected by race time.....or of course, the Ol' "I heard your daughter needs Dental Braces, here's a little bit to put a Smile on her Face" slipping him a Benjamin or two........


            • #7
              As long as you don't have to sticker it all up.
              My hobby is needing a hobby.


              • #8
                I'm along for the ride
                Melbourne Australia

                65 Hardtop Impala, 70 GTS Monaro, 93 "80" Landcruiser


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RockJustRock View Post
                  As long as you don't have to sticker it all up.

                  thankfully, they allow them to be put on removeable banners. but yeah, not only are their stickers but they ask you what's in your car so the stickers match the car....custom stickers...

                  ah well, for what it is, the racing (outside of the car cost) is pretty reasonable - if that means I have look like a tarted up sticker whore... so be it
                  Doing it all wrong since 1966


                  • #10
                    I don't suppose magnetic backed stickers would do you much good.
                    Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                    • #11
                      Looks sooo sexy! What's your opinion about casinos? I think if you play wisely you will never get in trouble with it. And of course you have to gamble only at tested online casinos such as online casino river cree I play there for a long time already and definitely can say it's a legit service which takes care of his members. Follow the link I left to read more about it and register if you would like to.
                      Last edited by tommmmy; March 4, 2021, 03:27 AM.


                      • #12
                        I hope you can make it happen, sounds like a great adventure!

                        How far from likely is it that you could drive the car to the event? That seems to really add to the adventure....and staying in dive motels is all part of the fun
                        My fabulous web page

                        "If it don't go, chrome it!" --Stroker McGurk


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by squirrel View Post
                          I hope you can make it happen, sounds like a great adventure!

                          How far from likely is it that you could drive the car to the event? That seems to really add to the adventure....and staying in dive motels is all part of the fun
                          1100 miles one way. That would be a long drive in the Corvette....
                          Doing it all wrong since 1966


                          • #14
                            Subscribed to your epic adventure.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RockJustRock View Post
                              As long as you don't have to sticker it all up.
                              "Have to?" Guilty:

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                              I'll add the numbers on the side windows and the windshield for ECTA and keep those on there to go to Daytona and they'll add some more to the sides and the front and ... whore. I had the ECTA class/numbers on the side windows when I went to autocross and the announcer kept saying he thought it was a drag racing car. I didn't correct him, Red did just about as well in the cones as a funny car would but that was all the driver at fault.
                              Charter member of the Turd Nuggets