Gold Gets the Gold: RideTech’s 48-Hour Corvette at the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show
If we were to give you a choice between three cars to take to your next autocross, which would you pick: A 650-horsepower 1972 C3 Corvette with a bolt-on coilover suspension? A 605-horsepower C5 with a coilover suspension system? Or a brand new C7 ZO6?
Your first thought would probably be to go with the C7, or even the C5, considering they both have modern power and a good suspension. Well, since you didn’t take the malaise-era C3, you just got beat by .4-second in that ZO6.
RideTech gave itself a challenge back in March of this year by building a 1972 C3 Corvette in just 48-hours. Not a straight 48-hours, mind you, as the build was split up into three 16-hour days. Still a short time to get such a project done, let alone done right. But that’s exactly what they did.
To see how it stacked up against the rest of the Corvettes in their fleet, RideTech and Lingenfelter teamed up to sponsor the autocross and customer ride-along at the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show at the Indinanpolis Motor Speedway.
The C3 was purchased off of Ebay and the LT1 that was installed was ripped out and replaced by a Lingenfelter LS7 sending 650-horsepower to a Centerforce DYAD multi-disc clutch and a Bowler Performance Stage II Tremec T-56 Magnum. While power is great, it’s the control that makes the 48-hour Corvette a modern-car slayer. To keep the Forgeline wheels and Falken Azenis RT615Ks on the pavement, RideTech installed their Level 3 CoilOver System. It’s a complete bolt on system for the front and rear that replaces the old C3 system.
The rear features offset trailing arms that are stronger and allow the installation of larger wheels while a new upper crossmember makes mounting the TQ Series Coilovers and working on the rear differential easier than GM ever imagined.
The most important change, however, is done to the camber links. They are relocated for optimized camber gain for better, less sketchy handling.
The front portion of the kit is just as well engineered. The upper and lower arms are replaced with tubular StrongArms that use Delrin bushings for a more stable movement over rubber. The upper arms also feature integrated caster slugs for more precise and consistent caster settings. The spindles are redesigned to be taller and control camber gain far better than stock ever did, and the Billet steering arms eliminate bump steer.
Ackerman angles are also optimized for precise turning and work with the Tru Turn steering linages. The front also uses the RideTech TQ series coilovers and both sets feature a remote reservoir with a rebound adjustment and high- and low-speed compression adjustment.
That total package with driver Chris Smith turned in a best time of 18.635-seconds, while Danny Popp in the RideTech C5 Corvette turned in an 18.897-second for second place. Third went to the C7 ZO6 driven by Bret Voelkel, president of RideTech, with a time of 19.035-seconds.
The RideTech C5 was also driven by Todd Green, who turned in a time of 19.549-seconds. As a more impressive job by RideTech, they also brought out the C2 – a barn find car – that put down a 20.02-second lap on the narrowest tire in the group, 245mm wide Falken tires. It also features the RideTech Level 3 C2 suspension. It just goes to show that a good suspension on the right tires can really turn any Corvette into an autocross dominator.