Once you've made some passes at the dragstrip, you'll be looking for ways to run faster without harming the clutch or driveline of your Corvette. From my experience in making 570 passes at the track, here are five areas that merit close attention.
Burnout procedure for heating the rear tires without a line-lock
A proven way to improve traction on the launch and shifts at the dragstrip is heating the stock rear tires by doing a burnout. Drag radial tires, used by some owners, must be heated by a burnout if they are expected to outperform stock tires. Here's the burnout procedure.
Put the car in Competitive Driving mode (C5) or Traction System Off (C6).
Back into the damp area, not the wet area. Move back far enough to put just a very small amount of water on most of the tread. Don't spin the tires in the water. It helps to open the door and visually verify the desired rear-wheel position in the damp area; keep the door open until you pull forward and verify the correct position for starting the burnout. That spot is just forward of the leading edge of the damp area. Do not spin the rear wheels in the sticky rubber area that is heavily coated with VHT traction compound. Doing so risks breakage.
Heating up the drag radials...
Heating up the drag radials at Capitol Raceway.
Faster cooling of the engine...
Faster cooling of the engine between passes can be achieved by using a carpet fan powered by a small generator.
Put the transmission in Second gear. Because the tires are damp, they spin easily in Second and will heat faster than in First gear. Some drivers prefer First gear.
Bring the motor to 3,500 rpm and pop the clutch, feed the throttle, and immediately apply the brake pedal lightly with your left foot. The brakes keep the rear from walking sideways. The car should start and finish the burnout with no more than one foot or so of forward movement. Don't worry about brake wear. Four seconds on the brakes during a burnout is like braking from 70 mph to 20.
Bring the rpm to about 5,000 and hold it there until the stock tires make first smoke and drag radials make strong smoke. At that point, lift the throttle and release the brakes. The car will roar forward. Push the clutch in. The tires are heated.
In monitoring the volume of smoke produced, it is helpful if the driver's outside mirror is adjusted to provide a view of the left rear wheel. That mirror setting can be stored in memory as part of the race preset.
Warning. If you botch the burnout, don't redo it without rewetting the rear tires.
This burnout procedure takes practice to perfect synchronization of the foot movements. To that end, you can practice burnouts away from the track in any level asphalt parking lot using water from a couple gallon jugs. Draw some lines with chalk to help establish an alignment guide. Pour out two or three gallons of water generally at the rear wheels. This constitutes a pseudo water box for practice.
Shifting drills to improve speed and accuracy
Conduct these drills with the car parked and engine off. But before beginning, drive the car to warm up the driveline, particularly the transmission fluid, for which an oil temperature of 100 degrees is a good surrogate benchmark.
Wear your shifter glove and racing shoes. Restore the driver's seat and steering wheel toyour preset race positions. With those preparatory actions completed, you are ready to start the drills.