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C5 ZO6: best track car?!

 
Old 12-19-2015, 09:38 PM
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kdm123
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Default C5 ZO6: best track car?!

My friends have gotten tired of me talking about my Corvette, so I'm looking for a new audience.

So, I've been a Ford guy for a long time and ran several Mustangs as track-day cars. The problem was that they are too slow when stock, and too unreliable when modified.

I've now owned and tracked my C5 ZO6 for a year. I wish other people, especially non-Vette owners, knew what a superb track car this is.

1) It handles better than anything that I have ever driven on a race track. That includes my Formula Ford (open-wheel race car), which is good in its own way, but, although it may seem crazy to say this, my ZO6 is a better driver's car than my FF. I had been driving it only at the main track at Willow Springs (high speed corners), and was really happy with how it handled. But when I first took it to The Streets of Willow (low-speed technical stuff), I was even more impressed. It is just so easy to hit an apex with this car. Even when the front begins to wash out a little, the car responds so well to a little easing off the throttle.

2) It is amazingly user friendly. I have never spun my car. I'm sure I will, but after about 10 events of real honest 9.5th driving, I have not yet done so. I wish I could say I have amazing car control, but I've spun lots of other race cars, so I know it's the car that's saving my butt, not my skilz. When I first drove it, I was surprised at how much it oversteered, but I soon came to realize that it's all very benign oversteer.

3) It's reliable. It really sucked having my Mustangs break down every few events. I was really unhappy about racing because it seemed like I was spending a huge amount of money to just have a miserable day coming home on a tow truck. So far, I have had zero breakdowns at the track. I have to change pads and rotors often at the track, but I've never had anything break. I've had all the mods done that you're supposed to do (oil, diff, trans coolers, radiator, etc), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

4) It's relatively affordable. It costs me $700 in entry fees and consumables to do a single track day, so it's not cheap, but it is far better than anything else with this level of performance. I buy my tires cheap (Federal RSR 595's) for $500 a set, so that helps a lot.

5) It's fast. My best times at Willow are in the high 1:31's. That's good enough to beat 99% of anyone else who shows up. Other people may have faster cars, but their cars are not as easy to drive, and, since they are so much more expensive, these guys don't get much seat time and thus aren't very experienced.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. It's too bad that outside of Corvette enthusiasts, guys don't know that the C5Z is such a superb track car. They all think it's good lots of power but no handling. The power is fun, but it's the handling and the affordability that make this car the best track car that I can think of. Can you guys think of anything better for anything close to the money? I was even thinking of getting an Ariel Atom spec racer prior to buying my car, but at $50K+, it was just too expensive.

Last edited by kdm123; 12-19-2015 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:51 PM
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Pass the Corvette Kool-Aid
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:56 PM
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Welcome to the club.

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Old 12-20-2015, 10:37 AM
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I know a lot of people who I'd NEVER have marked as Corvette guys, really wanting c5Z's. I think there is some recognition building. If you looks at Optima street car challenge...there are a myriad of vettes there for a reason. Danny Popp won like two years in a row with a pretty mildly modded C5Z versus a LOT of stuff.

Corvette has been making a great car since they turned the corner into the C5. C5/6 is really that best beast out there before electronics and complexity really stepped in....not to mention the LSx motor. I think the C5/6 gen cars are really going to have a presence on tracks for a long time. GM did it right with those cars...overall.
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Old 12-20-2015, 01:26 PM
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I got a C5Z as an affordable driver & track car. I'm a car guy not a manufacture dedicated individual. I got rid of my 13 Boss 302, due to a life changing event. That was a great car on and off the track. On street tires (RE11's) I had no issues with C5Z's with streets on track. My skill level is intermediate and rarely drive over 7/10ths. The Boss was dependable, and tracked hard for about 8 months. The transmission was a disaster to shift at times, but I made it work. With that said, I would really like to get on some of the tracks I had the Boss on to see what I can get with the C5Z, as for times (Sebring, PBIR, Homestead, Daytona). I only had a chance to get my C5Z on to Arroyo Seco, because I moved to TX from FL. The Z feels really good, I just need to swap the seats. If I could have kept the Boss, I wouldn't have picked up a Z. I have always admired the C5Z's though, and I'm a happy owner of an 04, no regrets at all.
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:46 AM
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When first arriving to Corvette after 20 years in Porsche - I was taking a ton of crap from my buddies. Not now. A long time race buddy who was familiar with the Corvette made the comment that there is a strong argument to be made that the Corvette is the best sports car in the world when you factor in cost. I tend to believe that.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:19 AM
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I have found my self looking for another for the street so easy to live with! I miss mine since its full race now.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:39 PM
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The base coupe is an even better value if you're okay with buying and upgrading
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:44 PM
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JeremyGSU
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The C5 is a great track car. I passed plenty of C6 Z's and many other much faster cars in my C5 Z at Sebring after I really learned how it handled, etc.

The only thing the Z needs out of the box for tracks like Sebring is a big brake it. The stock calipers simply aren't up to the task of repeated hard braking on tracks like that.

Sure they will work but you will get eaten up in the brake zones by Porsche's and change pads/rotors a lot.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LateBreak
The base coupe is an even better value if you're okay with buying and upgrading
I think so, as there is nothing left unchanged on my race car that made it a z06, plus a little better aero, But to buy it do break fluids and pads and track I don't think you can beat it for the $.

Last edited by z06801; 12-21-2015 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:53 PM
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I agree that one of the best all around track day cars is the C5 Z06. I came out of a Cobra R clone Mustang...good car but the engine is super expensive to mod and becomes unreliable when pumped up. One of the best things about the C5 platform is that you'll be hard pressed to find a V8 car with a lower curb weight. Tracking takes its toll on the brakes, tires, etc....the extra 300 to 500 lbs a Mustang carries really comes into play against it.
One other advantage is the price of take off parts for the C5 on Craigslist, etc.....I was surprised to find that hoods, fenders, etc are actually less money than modern Mustang parts.

IMO, doing a basic brake upgrade, alignment, tires and some basic cooling mods will allow a C5Z06 to be faster on the road course than 98% of every other car out there.

Lastly, I can afford to write off a C5....I also track a Gen 4 Viper and it is nearly bulletproof for track duty. But, the more you track, the higher the chances something "unfortunate" may happen.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TrackAire View Post
I agree that one of the best all around track day cars is the C5 Z06. I came out of a Cobra R clone Mustang...good car but the engine is super expensive to mod and becomes unreliable when pumped up. One of the best things about the C5 platform is that you'll be hard pressed to find a V8 car with a lower curb weight. Tracking takes its toll on the brakes, tires, etc....the extra 300 to 500 lbs a Mustang carries really comes into play against it.
One other advantage is the price of take off parts for the C5 on Craigslist, etc.....I was surprised to find that hoods, fenders, etc are actually less money than modern Mustang parts.

IMO, doing a basic brake upgrade, alignment, tires and some basic cooling mods will allow a C5Z06 to be faster on the road course than 98% of every other car out there.

Lastly, I can afford to write off a C5....I also track a Gen 4 Viper and it is nearly bulletproof for track duty. But, the more you track, the higher the chances something "unfortunate" may happen.
Oooh, you have a 'Vette and a Viper you track? I would like to be like you, sir

Last edited by FruiTay; 12-22-2015 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:31 AM
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TwoSmoke
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Now that base C6 prices are starting to fall, would the base C6 be just as good of a track car as the C5 platform, or better?
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:59 AM
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A few months ago, I was watching a Chris Harris video of him interviewing the chief engineer of the new Cayman GT4. The engineer was talking about how they'd gotten Michelin to custom make tires specific just to the GT4. The wheels on the car are also unique to the car, not on any other Porsche, and super lightweight. I can imagine other car enthusiasts totally geeking out on all that stuff, but I was thinking, "What would it cost me if I tracked that car and bent a wheel? That happens easily enough. And who cares about the tires--they are only going to last 3 track days, and to buy those exact tires would be ridiculously expensive, maybe two or three thousands dollars.

That is why the ZO6 is such a great track car. It is relatively affordable. Granted, it costs me $700 per track day, NOT including the devaluation on my car and possible future repairs, so it's not cheap. However, I can't even imagine the running costs on a GT4 or a GT3, or any Ferrari or other exotic.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TorchRedDriver View Post
Now that base C6 prices are starting to fall, would the base C6 be just as good of a track car as the C5 platform, or better?
More costly to run I think, but otherwise similar. Also need to watch the oiling on LS2 cars as I don't think the base LS2 pan is nearly as good as the 'batwing' C5 pan.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:35 PM
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I would have to agree that a C5 Z06 is one of the best track cars you can buy.

They are fairly "cheap" to get nowadays and pretty affordable to run so long as you take care of it and are mindful of what mods you do. Out of the box it's a great handling car and as JeremyGSU mentioned an experienced driver will pretty much pass most of the cars on the track.

I'd certainly like to hear input from someone who made the jump from a C5Z to C6Z to see how the C6Z compares.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:04 PM
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My biggest struggle after owning a C5 Z06 for a few years is what to replace it with. It has been such a great track car.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:04 PM
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I don't get passed too often in my C5Z.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:07 PM
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I will eventually own a c5z dual duty car... currently I run intermediate with bmccca, pac ext in my trusty 170,000 mile 2006 330i, which has been made into a very good reliable (and fun!) track car. At 260hp in a 3400 lb package its fast enough to be fun, but has still be a great tool in learning the basics in maintaining momentum ... its like some place between a miata and a corvette.

I wish more guys in the novice zone would be willing to learn in something around 200-250 ho in a 3000-3300 pound car. MOST (not all) novice guys showing up in Vettes car be a little scary and tend to have that 'race' mentality. Its not a race. The only thing you win is your skin and car looking the same as when you got there. It's a school, with so many great instructors there to help participants learn some of the requirements of car control, all while having some fun.

That said, theres guys like my dad who pick up a late model Vette at 3300 lbs, a nice manual gear box, more power than just about any muscle car from when he was a kid, and really shityy brakes from the factory (c6 ls3 z51). Fortunately he recognized that taking my track rat out for the first few times to learn some of the basics was the way to go- he still had the time of his life

So take it slow guys, lots of people to learn from and I promise you will impress no one.

As I develop my craft, the need for more power will hit and I will surely find myself with either a c5z, an e46 or e90 M3, or Porsche Cayman S.

Last edited by t.renz791; 12-22-2015 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:40 AM
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I'm still racing a c5z because it won't break. It fits in 3 scca classes and 3 nasa classes and thats just for racing. It is a 15 year old chassis but yet is still competitive with anything modern out there. Just about any other choice and you end up going slower.
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