I'm new to the forum and am not yet a Corvette owner. I'm a long-time track day enthusiast and vintage racer. I am considering buying an '02 Z06 and am wondering what kind of track-day car it would be. What happens when you take a totally stock Z06 and drive it 10/10th on the track? Can the brakes handle it? (I race at Willow Springs and Buttonwillow.) How reliable is the car overall? If I did 10 events a year, what kind of problems might I expect to run into?
I got mine in july. I have done 3 track days so far. I got it to do TTA NASA events. first event I did completely stock as I bought it. well the tranny was over filled and would vent halfway through a session when it got hot and I would get black flagged. I drained and refilled with proper amounts and good now, so you might want to check that, I think thats common for service places to do that. I also discovered that the car needs race tires and race brake pads. on my second event I had good tires, but ran "performance street pads" the brakes were really scary at the end of day one. I was giving up a ton of time braking early. So third track day I had race tires and race pads. I also added a GM T1 front sway bar. I set the TTA track record and won a pair of hoosiers.
so yeah, its a very capable car even stock with just good tires and brakes. but it likes tires and brakes, it goes through them. figure a set of pads in a weekend. oh and my rotors are about shot too, so figure a pair of rotors every 3 or so track weekends. I drove a much lighter and less power car before the vette, I was not prepared for how consumable brakes are on it.
Mine has been stunningly reliable, but I over maintain it a bit. I've been running around 10 days a year for the last 4 years and the only equipment failure I had was an EBCM. As Trigger mentioned, I have went through a crap ton of consumables though.
I have an 02 Z that I bought 3 years ago this coming April. It had 17,000 miles and now has 31,000. I have a Doug Rippie oil cooler, Kooks headers, Blackwing, and a dyno tune. Absolutely no problems so far. Definetly plan on a brake pad upgrade. I run Hawk 9012 and keep them on for street use. I do think I will need to upgrade further. Figure 5-6 weekends plus or minus for front rotors. As far as tires I had run Nitto NT05 since they have stock size 17" fronts and 18" rears. I now have a set of 4-18" wheeels and plan on going with Nitto NT01. Plan on changing trans and rear dif fluids after 5 or 6 weekends if for nothing else than piece of mind. The 02 Z is a complete blast!!!
Due to having a transaxle, car low to ground ( little cooling airflow) and exhaust pipes running next to both, hot weather and extended high engine loads at least best is to add coolers to at least the trannie and best case also to rear end.
Trannie fluid gets hot enough that by the time the heat light comes on the fluid is already foaming and about 260 degrees.
Also think of engine oil cooler, at least using a colder Tstat then the stock 190 degree and consider 3rd party radiator that flows about 40% more volume then stock.
Vented hood helps a lot.
Tracks close to sealevel in hot conditions the stock 28 lb/hr fuel injectors are a bit too small so bit larger would prevent high knock counts which kills off timing.
Larger injectors would allow more timing being dialed in via PCM tune.
Custom tune of the PCM will reduce torque management yanking out timing and prevent abuse mode, allows more torque at low to mid range, reduces false misfires, turns radiator fans on sooner, shut off CAGS ( 1 to 4th shift) and adjust AFR for hot running conditions.
Then comes all the other mods maybe thicker like T1 sway bars, race wheel alignment and of course brake setup.
Back in 2002 Chevy took the 02' Z06 and ran it for 24 hours on a race track. Now they didn't just start a clock and 24 hours later were done. They would start the stop watch only when the car was on the track and then stop it when it was off. A true 24 hours test.
I think if you have few, and I mean few, engine modifications, your car can be very reliable. You are going to have wear parts (tires, pads, rotors).
The rotors are easy. Just go to NAPA or Advanced Auto Parts and buy the cheap blank rotors. Dont spend a bunch of money on drilled and slotted Kryo frozen rotors. I know this sounds counterintuitive but any guy that tracks a car can tell you rotors don't have to be great to stop a car. It's the pads. Spend the money on the pads and your car will stop on a fricken dime. I have one word for you...(Carbotech)
Tires, well choose your posion. They do wear fast but if you take it easy you car get two or three good track days out of them. Nitto NT-05 are good but the NT-01's are better. $1100-$1200 per set.
Steel braided break lines are a good idea for safety. Your pads and rotors will get red hot and the heat can transfer to the rubber lines and possibly melt them.
Racing break fluid with a higher boiling point is also a really good idea. I use Super Blue.
Gas! Now why would I say gas? The government has mandated that a certain amount of gas stations in the united states carry Ethanol enriched gas. Unless you car is a Flex Fuel car don't use any gas with Ethanol in it. Here is a link to a site that shows all the non-ethanol gas statins in the US and Canada.
Hell there is even an App for your iPhone.
Good luck and have fun running the Z on the track. As you can tell by the posts it's not a cheap hobby. If you want cheap, buy a Miata.
2002 Z06 Black on Black
Last edited by Dperreault; 01-08-2013 at 10:15 PM.
Thanks for all the great advice guys! I'm very tempted, but being a loyal Ford owner (2001 Cobra, 2009 NASCAR stock car, more...) I'm not sure if I want to go over to the dark side yet.
I've always figured that the best track-day car is one that hasn't been modified (other than for reliability and safety). I broke my own rule a few years ago when I bought my '01 Cobra with an aftermarket blower. It's a fantastic car when it's working, but I've spent $$$$$$$ on it. Just this past year I spent $12K on it and only completed 4 successful track days.
I did over 20 track days last year in my '09 Z06. In addition - I drove it all the time and put on roughly 11,000 miles (from Feb to Oct).
Went through 3 sets of brake pads on the front (HP Plus) and two on the rear (HP Plus). Front rotors lasted the season (DBA5000) but are shot and will be replaced in spring. Rear rotors have life remaining (DBA4000).
The Michelin Pilot Super Sports were great. My first shaved set (to 4/32) didn't last long - DUH!. We shaved 'em thinking we needed to - but it wasn't necessary. Second set went on right before Pocono in mid-June, and then went to Road American 10 days later. Finished the season at Mid-Ohio in mid-Sept and had more local track days before putting the car away in Oct. I'll need new MPSS next year, but getting many track days and miles on them with no chunking or problem of any sort was fantastic.
In 2011 - on a different track car - I went through 3 sets of Pirelli PZeroCorsas in one season. All sets chunked despite close attention to pressures/temperatures. THOSE we should have shaved as Pirelli recommended but it absolutely takes tons of life off when you shave.
I use Motul Dot 4 brake fluid and put on Goodridge stainless lines. The only mod to the engine is a K&N air filter - otherwise bone stock, including the exhaust.
I do maintenance RELIGIOUSLY and change oil, tranny & clutch fluid far more than recommended intervals. It is the cheapest insurance you can buy. I pay close attention to pad wear, rotor wear and tire pressures/temps (and keep a log for each event).
The Z06 has turned out to be a great value, a ton of performance, a lot of fun to drive and an attractive car to look at and enjoy.
On the interior I put in Caravaggio Race Seats because the OEM were incredibly soft and uncomfortable, and I wanted to have a 6 point harness properly installed.
It has performed beautifully and been completely reliable. Obviously (in part ) due to careful attention paid to consumables, and maintenance commensurate with use.
Quick question, are the front brake pads you used one piece?
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If nothing else, this thread helps show how large the consumable rate differences are based on the driver. Some of us get 2 days out of race pads and 4-6 days out of race tires, others can run street tires and street pads and get 2-3x the life from them.
Absolutely Jon. With the differences in tires, driving skill-level, driving style, and track layout it becomes difficult to predict how long parts last. Then you get into other things like alignment specs, brake pad composition, etc. etc.
But all-in-all the Z is a very durable car. Anybody who has watched guys run the sh!t out of their cars on a road course or drag strip would be impressed with the amount of abuse they can take.
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." - Frank Zappa
'04 MS/Blk - Z06Fest IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI - WinterFest I "Bus Driver",WinterFest IV
NEEDMOREGARAGE what style of Pilot Sports do you run? Do you need to heat cycle them?
Michelin Pilot Super Sports.
For heat cycling I simply heated 'em up a bit with street driving and let them sit overnight. Then a week later drove the 300 miles to Pocono and had a blast for two days.
It wasn't "formal" heat cycling but it was enough and they worked great. There are several GT3's and GT3RS at our track - all running MPSS. I have them on two other cars (primarily summer street cars) and have other friends putting them on their cars for summer tires. It's amazing how the multicompound works so well, and can have a treadwear rating of 300 but still perform incredibly well on track. The guy with the GT3RS who drives harder than anyone I know, who has years of race background said they are the closest thing to street legal slicks he's ever driven (and he has tried them all).
Last edited by needmoregarage; 01-24-2013 at 08:44 PM.
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