Monday, October 29, 2012

A changing landscape ...

The Corvette Spa not only looks after our Vettes but our Viper too - and the picture above is of the time we lent our Viper to our good friend Brian. Visiting us and wanting to drive some laps at nearby High Plains Raceway (HPR) Brian who normally tracks a C6 Vette tuned by A&A Corvette Performance didn’t hesitate to accept an alternative vehicle. So much so that there’s always a possibility that a Viper may appear in his garage too and occupy a space alongside his Vette.

Very soon, the landscape is going to change dramatically. First up there’s the fifth generation of Viper about to hit dealer’s showrooms and then just before January’s Detroit Auto Show, GM will take the wraps of the seventh generation Vette. The stakes are going to be raised significantly and while we are hearing more about the base powerplant of the Vette – a new, revised 6.2 V8 (and not the rumored 5.5 V8) – it will not be long before the specs of the track-ready special, the possible replacement of the ZR1 / Z06, you just have to believe it will match the 640hp on tap now from the new Viper.

 Owners of C6 Vettes will not be left out – they have options. And at the Spa readers of these posts will appreciate that a series of Spa treatments have been announced that let our investments in C6 and C5 Vettes continue to play with these new generations of snakes and rays. And for considerably less money!

Want to know more? Drop me a note – I can be reached at:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vette’s need Tattoos too!

Just brought the C6 Coupe home from a short visit to the Spa – the Corvette Spa, that is. For some time the Heads-Up Display (HUD) had come adrift, a broken bracket it appears. But it’s all fixed and it’s nice to no longer have the distraction that a wobbly display represented. And the whole dashboard sounds as though a little tightening of mounts and bolts has improved its overall “tightness” – not a rattle anywhere even as the Vette is a few months into its seventh year.

The picture above shows just how well its paintwork has stood up – even with four hard years circulating on road courses around the west. It looks well and truly buffed. But even as you can see my reflection, shooting the picture with my trusty iPhone, you can’t miss the Vortech decal. Yes, even Vette’s look great when a couple of well-placed decals are applied.

Over the years, I have applied decals from tracks we lapped, as well as of vendors whose products I really like – Hawk, Bridgestone, Motul, etc. Not to mention clubs like NASA – National Auto Sports Association. However, since returning the C6 Vette, supercharged and all, to daily drive duties, I removed everything. However, now I am actively promoting Vortech superchargers, and the installation package from A&A Corvette Performance, decals of both Vortech and A&A (in red, of course) have been applied.

So if you see the LeMans blue C6 Coupe with the subtle, rather small decals of Vortech on the B pillars and an A&A Corvette beneath the rear Corvette badge – then yes, you will most likely have seen me passing you somewhere … so waive! And say Hi!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A first time ...

There's always a first time and this picture was taken back in May, 2008. It records our very first outing on a track anywhere. While I had been on track a little earlier in the day, I took advantage of some time away from the car to walk to the top of the circuit at Willow Springs International Raceway (WSIR) in Southern California (SoCal) where I captured this scene of Margo leading the pack of HPDE 1 drivers participating in the So Cal NASA sponsored event.

And we were apprehensive – no matter much you prepare for the occasion there’s no escaping the sheer terror that comes with that first exit from the pits. The Vette in the picture here is completely stock apart from upgraded fluids and new tires. It would be six more months before the supercharger would be added but from the very first outing, we just so loved this car – we “bonded” with it pretty much from the outset.

We are now wrapping up our fifth year of track outings – and there’s only one more event left before the Vette(s) are pushed to the back of the garage. To end the program of 2012 we will return to SoCal for a weekend at Buttonwillow - #1, Counter-Clockwise (CCW) and we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather across the Rockies and Sierras … oh well. New tires, a slightly more aggressive alignment and a quick check-up at Corvette Spa gives us a Vette that’s in great shape and we are rearing to go! Stay tuned … yes, there’s always a first but this for sure will not be our last.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What about the mileage ...

For all those who inquire about mileage from a Supercharged C6 Coupe with 580+ rear wheel horse power (RWHP) take a really close look at this photo. It is the one the press rarely discusses or promotes. And yet here it is. On the freeway rolling along in 6th gear doing a tad of 70 mph all the while the engine is ticking over at barely 1600rpm.

Yes, what is being displayed is the average (for this particular trip) of 30.3mpg (and we are talking US gallons and not the bigger Imperial gallon) – indeed, of the cars in the garage today this big blue ‘Vette is our most economical. The car is light, the CD is good, and the gearing is great for road trips even if I would like to have a taller rear end one day.

But yes, at a time when so many compacts are hard pressed to return figures even close to this doesn’t it can come as a bit of a shock that a push-rod low-tech 6-liter Chevy V8 with a Vortech centrifuge supercharger, spinning somewhat casually but under-stressed, all work to be as efficient as this? And not, this is the Average MPG being displayed and not the Instant MPG figures which are often way better than this!

So no, working with the Corvette Spa team and adding a supercharger with the right engine mapping certainly isn’t going to have you heading to the gas station every other day – track it, of course, and it all changes, but heading to the store for a head of lettuce won’t necessarily break the bank!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Watching film ...

I spend a lot of time on youtube looking at film provided by other drivers of their laps on the circuits we routinely visit. This past evening it was of film shot at Buttonwillow running the #1 CCW configuration - one I last lapped some two years ago. Perhaps earlier!

But the value provided by watching others is extremely valuable - the picture of me above was taken as I came off track at Fontana California "Auto Club Speedway" to find out I had shave 5 full seconds from my personal best time. And it was due to the work I had put in prior to placing one tire on the track.

The “Roval” at Fontana is both exciting and challenging as drivers get to experience the high banking of a real NASCAR / IRL oval – some of the very same track experienced recently by the IRL drivers in their season-ending event. The one where somehow, yet again, Will Power found a way to lose the championship – three years in a row now he has placed second after capturing the crown for the best performances on road courses.

In the big Supercharged C6 Coupe (pictured) I routinely pull past the 160 mph mark – perhaps the fastest I run anywhere. There’s nothing quite like pulling the big Vette down into turns one and two and having it then track all the way out to the wall on the shortened back straight prior to entry onto the infield road course – still doing 125+ mph.

And all the while, the supercharger is screaming as it pumps enormous volumes of air through the big pump that is our LS2 pushrod V8! There’s nothing quite like it to be experienced anywhere else. In comparison, taking the C5 Z06 to Buttonwillow will be an exercise in finesse. 

Ahhh to have 600 and even 700 hp pushing a big hole in the air – very few drivers ever get to experience it but at Corvette Spa with the treatments we have now sorted out it’s all just a matter of a check book entry away! You just gotta do it. Once! ANd just look at the smile on my face after knocking off those 5 seconds!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Winters first chill ...

Living in Boulder County, we have seen a couple of really cold days with overnight temperatures dropping below freezing for the first time this fall. And as I walk into our garage, the Vette's are on battery trickle feeders, preserving their batteries for when the sun comes out again.

We’re out of town this week on business; leaving as the weather clearly made an improvement and we know that it will be a lot better when we return and with new tires for the C5 Z06 on route to Corvette Spa, we will be looking for one more weekend track session in Southern California. We will be attending a season-closing event at Buttonwillow put on by NASA SoCal and taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up with old friends. Not just Brian and Jan but Joe, too!

With these plans now set it reminded me of just how many track weekends we have spent in the blue C6 “Supercharged” Coupe – and the input that they have provided in terms of sorting out the best set up for the C6 for daily drive. The picture above shows Margo walking past the C6 Vette after it had been on track - this time Willow Springs International Raceway.

You don’t just throw on a SuperCharger and have at it – there’s considerable fine-tuning that follows to get the set-up just the way you like it. In our case, we broke a number of things along the way – the result of heat, better grip (and brakes) and aggressive shift points for the auto transmission.

Fortunately, at Corvette Spa the lads have experience with racing at many levels and openly talk about what works and what doesn’t and this is one of the advantages that can come from working with a boutique like Corvette Spa. Winter will definitely be a time when every owner in Colorado will not mind their Vette “being in the shop” so let me know how long a stay in the spa you would like … it’s like treating your Vette to an early Christmas!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Business Meetings! The packages unveiled ...

In the years I have been involved in IT I have participated in many business meetings but yesterday, it was the first time where I really enjoyed it. Yes, comparing notes with Curt of Corvette Spa, we came up with three benchmark package prices – based on a C6 LS2 (2005 – 2007) that now form the basis of our business.

When it comes to the “entry level treatment” at the spa, where we simply add a supercharger with all the trimmings, the labor costs, and a tune suited to your driving objectives (street, strip or road course) and where the trimmings do include the much-liked A&A Corvette Performance intercooler (and plumbing), an upgraded fuel system and a more appropriate A&A Corvette Performance 8-rib conversion  … then yes, think in terms of a starting point price of $11,750.00

Stepping up to the “mid-level treatment” at the spa designed for those who really do understand that the car’s engine is just a massive air pump, then on go headers with cats and again, with the labor and tuning involved and when done in combination with adding the supercharger, as above, then yes, think in terms of a starting point price for all of it at around $13,950.00

And yes, talk to Curt about adding your own mufflers and tail pipes to suit at the time all the above is done as he has a couple of ideas about the best combinations!

Finally, there’s the pampering that comes with the uniquely developed “whole nine yards treatment” at the spa combining all of the above with a very friendly cam upgrade including a valve train upgrade (with GM roller rockers, full Manley valve train, roller chain) and a port and polished oil pump to handle the increased oil pressure). Friendly? Look to rear wheel gains in addition to all that is provided as part of the first two levels of 75 rwhp – again, depending on application and your driving objectives. When installed altogether this lifts the price for your time at the spa – supercharger, headers and cam and all that goes with adding these components, labor and an appropriate tune – then look for a starting price of $18,850.00

Why would you do any of this, you may ask? Because you can – and for those with C6 ‘Vettes knowing that the C7 is about to hit the marketplace (and yes, we know some of our C6 ‘Vettes are now worth less than $30K whereas we are expecting prices for the C7 Vetter to move up through $60K+ for even the most rudimentary model), splitting the difference in the cost to just move up to a new entry-level C7 you will have the performance of the best of whatever replaces the ZR1! And yes, we live in the mountains where our elevation calls out for more power – so let’s talk!