Not many brand new C5 Corvettes have the pedigree of being race-bred from day one, but this one sure does. The original owner, Bill Deters, ordered this '99 Corvette coupe new from Les Stanford Chevrolet in Dearborn, Michigan, in the fall of 1998. The car was taken immediately to Doug Rippie Motorsports in Buffalo, Minnesota, to be transformed into an SCCA terror in the T1 road racing class.
Some of the initial modifications to race the Corvette in the T1 class included removal of the airbags, radio, and A/C. Then a full rollcage, Sparco race seats, and a five-point harness were added. The mufflers were removed and fitted with straight pipes. The GM T1 suspension package for Corvettes that included different control arms with new bushings, front and rear springs, and larger sway bars were added. Doug Rippie also installed new transmission and differential coolers, both with electric pumps. The Corvette ran in the T1 class in basically showroom stock condition, in this configuration, for two years.
In 2001, Rich Gardner, owner of Up Front Technologies, bought the car from Bill Deters and decided to get serious. They did a complete rebuild, making some major modifications. He states, "In 2001, we decided to add more horsepower and improve the handling. The roof is the only body panel we left on the car. When we upgraded the horsepower, we had to improve the oiling system. That's when we added the large 12x12-inch Earl's engine-oil cooler and remote oil filter. We never liked the small filter that comes on Corvettes. Now we have a fullsize filter mounted behind the radiator. We also added a Z06 intake, Z06 heads with lightweight valves, a ZL11 camshaft, TPIS long-tube headers, a ported throttle body, a Blackwing Performance air filter, a reprogrammed computer, and a new custom race exhaust. The car now has 410 rear-wheel horsepower, and that's with a stock short-block, which has never been out of the car." A new Z06 six-speed transmission with a B&M Ripper shifter was also added at that time.
For handling, the car also received top-shelf components including new QA1 12-way adjustable shocks, Up Front Technologies sway links, and two-piece slotted front and rear race rotors. The rear wheelwells were tubbed, and the Corvette now carries CCW 11.5x18-inch front and 12.5x18-inch rear wheels with ARP wheel studs.
Rich concludes, "After the car was put back together, we started running some of the open-track days with the Vipers. There are some Viper owners out there who didn't like it when we passed them at the end of the straightaways or out-brake them going into a corner. We also ran a few SCCA regional events with the car. Of the four entered in 2004, we had three First Place finishes and one Second Place finish."
Looks like this race-bred Corvette eats Vipers for lunch on Sundays. Not bad, not bad at all.
Parts currently on the Up Front Technologies Corvette include:* Z06 six-speed transmission with B&M Ripper shifter* Centerforce clutch & pressure plate* Fidanza aluminum flywheel* Z06 intake* Z06 heads with lightweight valves, CNC-ported* TPIS ZL11 camshaft* Cloyes IRL roller timing chain* 12x12-inch Earl's engine oil cooler with Canton remote oil filter* TPIS long-tube ceramic-coated headers* Custom race exhaust system* Up Front Technologies ported throttle body* Reprogrammed computer* Blackwing performance air filter* SCCA-legal rollcage* Sparco race seats with five-point driver & passenger safety belts* Halon fire system* Transmission and differential coolers* QA1 12-way adjustable shocks* T-1 sway bars & control arms* Up Front Technologies sway links* Two-piece slotted front and rear race rotors* Rear wheelwells have been tubbed* CCW wheels 11.5x18 front and 12.5x18 rear with ARP wheel studs