Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada was the gracious host of this years media preview of impending Chevrolet Performance Parts to support the Corvette C7. Chevrolet rolled out the red carpet for us as we put the latest C7 Corvette parts to the test.
Chevrolet believes in supporting the aftermarket customization of its vehicles with accessories developed in-house. By engineering performance parts for the C7, Camaros, and trucks, Chevy allows owners to leave the showroom with a foot in the right direction in terms of personal expression, while still retaining the factory warranty.
Introduced today were several exciting performance products for the C7. Among the offerings were parts aimed toward the newly emerging T1 (Touring 1) SCCA Corvette class. These parts have been homologated into usage by the SCCA giving prospective teams an even playing field from which to choose aftermarket parts.
In addition to the T1 SCCA class for Corvette owners, Chevrolet announced the birth of the Michelin Corvette Challenge, a racing series developed in cooperation with official Corvette driving school head, and Corvette racing legend, Ron Fellows.
This new racing series will be staged at the Mountain Springs Motorsports Ranch and will cater to entry level drivers wishing to have an opportunity to use their cars for the intended purpose — to race.
According to Fellows, “The Michelin Corvette Challenge begins in February of next year. The cars will be at Spring Mountain, some of this is pooling customers and the club members. We’ll structure it as a payment schedule through the year, and after the last race, the car is yours. It’s serviced, and maintained, but obviously crash damage and tires are on top of that.”
Fellows continued to explain “We’re going to try to make it as inexpensive as possible. The idea is to make it attractive … if you bought a car and you wanted to put all these pieces on it — if you do the series, it will be a better price.”
The focus of these parts was improving chassis, braking, and power-transfer dynamics of the already formidably constructed C7 Stingray Z51 package. Secondarily, emphasized parts filled in aerodynamic and cooling improvements on the Corvette’s systems.
Starting with chassis stiffening, customers will have an option to upgrade the existing aluminum underbody braces with carbon fiber units. These flat-stock carbon laminates are direct replacements for all Z06 and non-Z06 C7 Corvettes and save approximately 17 percent weight over the stock units.
With increased chassis rigidity, the suspension was the next topic to be address by Chevy performance engineers. Arguably one of the most important additions to the Chevy Performance aftermarket lineup is the Corvette Stingray T1 Suspension package. The kit includes new front and rear sway bars, lower control arms featuring stiffer handling bushings, and track-optimized passive shocks. According to Chevrolet, roll-stiffness is increased 40 percent in the front and 20 percent in the rear.
Also available will be an electronics “re-flash” for rough surface performance driving. Called the Rough Surface Track Suspension Calibration, this program alters the capacities of the Magnetic Selective Ride Control available on Z06 Corvettes to accommodate an additional track setting for rough surfaces.
To improve stopping power in the C7, the Z06 brake package includes iron 370 mm by 34 mm front rotors, and 365 mm by 26 mm rear rotors. Clamping power is courtesy of six-piston mono block calipers. With a reported 39 percent greater pad surface area, these brakes should help bring the C7 to a full stop much faster.
For added piece of mind, and performance in the power transfer department, Chevrolet further exemplified their zeal for composite materials. A carbon fiber driveshaft will be available for performance enthusiasts looking to shave every bit of rotating mass possible from their driveline.
The Z06 Carbon Fiber Torque Tube Assembly reduces weight by nearly 15.5 pounds, as reported by Chevrolet. Assembly with high temperature rubber couplers means this driveshaft will stand up to punishing track temperatures.
Given the road racing intentions of the Z06 parts, and its homologation into SCCA T1, other vital areas required attention. The extended operation of these high-output machines in a track environment generates far more heat than they would see under normal road conditions.
To facilitate the cooling needs of the C7, Chevrolet introduced a series of ducting and fluid-cooling packages. Of any part on a track car, brakes see more sustained heat than any other component. To better cool the massive rotors and calipers the Z06/Z51 Front Brake Duct Cooling Kit transfers air from the the available Z06 front grill through the wheelwells to supply an additional 16 percent flow to the brakes.
Keeping the transmission cool on these seven-speed, rev-matching sports cars is a tall order when the driver is showing them aggressive shift after shift at high RPM. Z06 Quarter Panel Vents housed in the rear fender well will feed a reported 25 percent more airflow to the available Z06 Rear Transmission Oil Cooler.
Making full usage of the additional airflow through the Z06 grill, Chevrolet developed a secondary radiator to supplement the standard compliment of engine cooling. Mounted horizontally across the top of the existing unit, Chevrolet reports a drop of 25 degrees F water temperature and 15 degrees F oil temperature. If all that still isn’t enough, there is a 600 watt cooling fan to replace the standard 500 watt part.
Chevrolet continues to explore consumer enthusiasm in OEM performance accessories, and with these offerings we have to take note. Stay tuned for more updates from the SEMA Show and Chevrolet.