Road to Optima 2021

SuperBuickGuy

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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.
https://i.imgur.com/cFX2k9j.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/pH8apVL.jpg
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.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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
www.driveusca.com

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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
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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?
 

phantomjock

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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. CleSection XL 6f275b2d 2556 403a a1c3 b3f6a23ca84e

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) Wcw
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.
Clubsystem 510x510
There is also a helmet/head cool setup available. Have not ops checked that (yet). Coolaclavameasurements 510x632
Sebring is HOT/HOT! And, we call it our home track. :banghead:

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:
000x2000 8e5052e9 0d24 4fe8 a2f9 ad317c3db0a1 400x
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:
https://www.speedwaymotors.com/the-toolbox/choosing-your-next-racing-suit/31017
 
Last edited:

rtj

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NHRA allows two piece, pants and jacket. But like Phantomjock said, check the rules. As far as long term comfort, can’t really say as I certified at a drag race school and my project is still (emphasis on still) a work in progress.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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....
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smjhQagJtdM[/ame]

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.....
 

phantomjock

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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:
CathKit 590x

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
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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?
 

SuperBuickGuy

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This idea gets you track-side/AX/Track Days, and then you are ready to mount slicks:
01 1200x675

(surprising, how many in this search - don't have slicks on the cart! Maybe Toyo R888s )
https://www.google.com/search?q=aut...ULOs0KHQbfC88Q_AUoAXoECBEQAw&biw=1366&bih=598

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.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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?
 

rtj

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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!
 

SuperBuickGuy

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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)... :devil:
 
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