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Old 08-30-2020, 01:57 PM   #1
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Questions Those who have tracked a c5 z06

Owning a Corvette has always been a dream. Currently the c5 z06s are in the area that are where I feel in this climate I would feel comfortable with this kind of purchase. Having the car in my signature, dealing with smog and the potential of the motor be stressed in high heat and boost on the track. I know some upgraded cooling is a must for track duty but having a reliable 400whp with a few mods that are smog legal and something I can drive to and from the track. This would not be a daily but a weekend/pleasure and track car.

Just looking for some thoughts on who has tracked this car. At 3100lbs and 400hp it really seems like an attractive package

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Old 08-30-2020, 02:46 PM   #2
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Compare tire prices, you'll wear them at the same rate that you wear them with the 86 assuming you keep your driving style the same. I've thought about it, I'm probably going harrop emissions legal supercharger instead of a faster car because I don't really want the higher consumable costs.

Also c5 interior is as bad as 86, and the drivers seat is notorious for failing.
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Old 08-30-2020, 03:23 PM   #3
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Compared to the c5 the FRS is way nicer place. I just have this nagging voice that it's not a matter if but when the engine will let go due to boosted. Granted I always run e50 at a minimum. I know the tires will be more but the more I think about it the more I just deal with smog and just enjoy the car. If the motor goes get a DD Camry or Accord or truck and convert FRS to full race car

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Old 08-30-2020, 03:37 PM   #4
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Compared to the c5 the FRS is way nicer place. I just have this nagging voice that it's not a matter if but when the engine will let go due to boosted. Granted I always run e50 at a minimum. I know the tires will be more but the more I think about it the more I just deal with smog and just enjoy the car. If the motor goes get a DD Camry or Accord or truck and convert FRS to full race car

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It sounds like you've already convinced yourself of what would work best for you.
I'll be devil's advocate and say I'd take the FRS over the Corvette; I'd rather replace a Subaru short block every few years than be stuck in an early 2000s Chevrolet for any length of time
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Old 08-30-2020, 03:40 PM   #5
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I've been tracking Miatas for the last decade before recently going to BRZ this summer, in parallel to my brother who has been tracking his 04 Z06 with me since 2012, and I've watched his car slowly transform from a weekend fun car to mostly a dedicated track car. It's not for the faint of heart. The C5 is an extremely capable car, but it was also both way ahead of its time and way behind its time. I say the former because it's extremely fast for a nearly 25 year old platform and can put down lap times that modern cars struggle to compete with. I say the latter because as fast as it was, it was not overbuilt and track ready from the factory in the way that modern "track day cars" are. (read: 1le Camaros, new Corvettes, etc). A BBK is required if you can drive the car near its limit, or else you'll go through rotors and pads nearly every weekend and a high cost. Contol arm bushings wear out and are expensive. When the clutch goes or the diff wears out, the whole rear subframe and rear transaxle is dropped and it's expensive to have done or time consuming and difficult to attempt yourself. I've seen his valves break at the track, coil packs go bad, among other things underhood, because the engine runs really hot on the stock system. Tires are way more money and you'll wear them out faster. He's dealt with the notorious ignition switch issue, the underhood temps have killed multiple starters on him, the C5 shifter is junk and as mentioned, the interior feels very dated.

I was considering buying one instead of the BRZ but when I really considered all the time and money he's put into his car, I started to rethink it. The nail in the coffin was when I asked him if he would do it over and he basically said definitely not. He'd either start with a c6, which sorted a bunch of the above out, or go straight to a c7, which sorted it all out.

I'll add the caveat that he has a lot of track time - he's an instructor and averages about 10-15 weekends a year and probably gets a min 3 hours of on track time each weekend, and also drives the car pretty close to its limit. If you're only doing a couple weekends a year and aren't trying to put down at-limit hotlaps, your money and consumables will go farther.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-30-2020, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasting View Post
I've been tracking Miatas for the last decade before recently going to BRZ this summer, in parallel to my brother who has been tracking his 04 Z06 with me since 2012, and I've watched his car slowly transform from a weekend fun car to mostly a dedicated track car. It's not for the faint of heart. The C5 is an extremely capable car, but it was also both way ahead of its time and way behind its time. I say the former because it's extremely fast for a nearly 25 year old platform and can put down lap times that modern cars struggle to compete with. I say the latter because as fast as it was, it was not overbuilt and track ready from the factory in the way that modern "track day cars" are. (read: 1le Camaros, new Corvettes, etc). A BBK is required if you can drive the car near its limit, or else you'll go through rotors and pads nearly every weekend and a high cost. Contol arm bushings wear out and are expensive. When the clutch goes or the diff wears out, the whole rear subframe and rear transaxle is dropped and it's expensive to have done or time consuming and difficult to attempt yourself. I've seen his valves break at the track, coil packs go bad, among other things underhood, because the engine runs really hot on the stock system. Tires are way more money and you'll wear them out faster. He's dealt with the notorious ignition switch issue, the underhood temps have killed multiple starters on him, the C5 shifter is junk and as mentioned, the interior feels very dated.

I was considering buying one instead of the BRZ but when I really considered all the time and money he's put into his car, I started to rethink it. The nail in the coffin was when I asked him if he would do it over and he basically said definitely not. He'd either start with a c6, which sorted a bunch of the above out, or go straight to a c7, which sorted it all out.

I'll add the caveat that he has a lot of track time - he's an instructor and averages about 10-15 weekends a year and probably gets a min 3 hours of on track time each weekend, and also drives the car pretty close to its limit. If you're only doing a couple weekends a year and aren't trying to put down at-limit hotlaps, your money and consumables will go farther.

Hope that helps.
Super helpful thank you.

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Old 08-30-2020, 04:04 PM   #7
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Keep them coming I want to hear things both ways. I believe also if you look at the c5 z06 was a 52k car in 2004. Which can translate to higher repairs cost vs the FRS... Before going down the rabbit hole of this debate my track spec good vents came in. I am curious to see helpful these will be getting hot air out of the engine bay. Along with JRDC I am hoping this will be enough to keep temps in check till I get more serious. Currently still a novice and more into HPDE vs competitive open wheel racing

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Old 08-30-2020, 04:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasting View Post
I've been tracking Miatas for the last decade before recently going to BRZ this summer, in parallel to my brother who has been tracking his 04 Z06 with me since 2012, and I've watched his car slowly transform from a weekend fun car to mostly a dedicated track car. It's not for the faint of heart. The C5 is an extremely capable car, but it was also both way ahead of its time and way behind its time. I say the former because it's extremely fast for a nearly 25 year old platform and can put down lap times that modern cars struggle to compete with. I say the latter because as fast as it was, it was not overbuilt and track ready from the factory in the way that modern "track day cars" are. (read: 1le Camaros, new Corvettes, etc). A BBK is required if you can drive the car near its limit, or else you'll go through rotors and pads nearly every weekend and a high cost. Contol arm bushings wear out and are expensive. When the clutch goes or the diff wears out, the whole rear subframe and rear transaxle is dropped and it's expensive to have done or time consuming and difficult to attempt yourself. I've seen his valves break at the track, coil packs go bad, among other things underhood, because the engine runs really hot on the stock system. Tires are way more money and you'll wear them out faster. He's dealt with the notorious ignition switch issue, the underhood temps have killed multiple starters on him, the C5 shifter is junk and as mentioned, the interior feels very dated.

I was considering buying one instead of the BRZ but when I really considered all the time and money he's put into his car, I started to rethink it. The nail in the coffin was when I asked him if he would do it over and he basically said definitely not. He'd either start with a c6, which sorted a bunch of the above out, or go straight to a c7, which sorted it all out.

I'll add the caveat that he has a lot of track time - he's an instructor and averages about 10-15 weekends a year and probably gets a min 3 hours of on track time each weekend, and also drives the car pretty close to its limit. If you're only doing a couple weekends a year and aren't trying to put down at-limit hotlaps, your money and consumables will go farther.

Hope that helps.
This is pretty much dead on. I had an 04 Z06 for 4 years and it is a great car but it will need a lot of little things to actually be reliable if you drive it hard.

Seating, cooling, and braking are the big ones for reliability. I had a big Ron Davis radiator with integrated engine and trans oil coolers - and stock exhaust manifolds to keep engine bay temps reasonable-ish. Sparco seat and steering wheel, wilwood brakes with real ducts feeding through the centers of the front rotors. Ideally some proper hood vents would be good but I didn't get them.

Delrin bushings plus a good alignment and shocks go a long way toward making the car feel good to drive vs just being fast yet vague/wobbly. Throw on a bigger front sway bar too, like 33mm-ish, and they end up being very sharp, predictable, easy and rewarding to drive... kind of like a stock 86.

The engine and chassis are great but you should essentially plan to replace everything bolted to them. That being said, to really make (almost) any street car into a good track car you will end up doing the same kind of things.

I would probably go back to a C5 (non-Z06 for the targa+hatch) if I were to do track events again, but I prefer my 86 now since it's a better street car.
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Old 08-30-2020, 04:56 PM   #9
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This is pretty much dead on. I had an 04 Z06 for 4 years and it is a great car but it will need a lot of little things to actually be reliable if you drive it hard.

Seating, cooling, and braking are the big ones for reliability. I had a big Ron Davis radiator with integrated engine and trans oil coolers - and stock exhaust manifolds to keep engine bay temps reasonable-ish. Sparco seat and steering wheel, wilwood brakes with real ducts feeding through the centers of the front rotors. Ideally some proper hood vents would be good but I didn't get them.

Delrin bushings plus a good alignment and shocks go a long way toward making the car feel good to drive vs just being fast yet vague/wobbly. Throw on a bigger front sway bar too, like 33mm-ish, and they end up being very sharp, predictable, easy and rewarding to drive... kind of like a stock 86.

The engine and chassis are great but you should essentially plan to replace everything bolted to them. That being said, to really make (almost) any street car into a good track car you will end up doing the same kind of things.

I would probably go back to a C5 (non-Z06 for the targa+hatch) if I were to do track events again, but I prefer my 86 now since it's a better street car.
Super helpful

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Old 08-30-2020, 07:50 PM   #10
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I had a C5Z for a while. Pads and rotors are dirt cheap to replace, motor bits are less expensive than FA20 stuff. Shifter I swapped to a C6Z shifter and knob for almost nothing and it was a huge improvement over stock. They are bottom feeders for air, so keep the radiator clean of leaves and stuff and run it until you start running in to heat issues. The interior is meh, but I never found it that bad.

Literally the most expensive change between the twins and the C5Z would likely be tires and anything resulting from the car being at least 19 years old now.

If you're only tracking find an FRC or Z06, it's worth it for the lightweight and rigidity. The targa top cars usually have some creaks and pops that can be annoying (in my experience.)
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Old 08-31-2020, 10:16 PM   #11
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Everyone I've ever talked to about tracking a Corvette says to skip the C5, and go directly to the C6 Z06. It has its own set of challenges but is much more of a turn key solution than the C5.
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Old 08-31-2020, 10:36 PM   #12
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Everyone I've ever talked to about tracking a Corvette says to skip the C5, and go directly to the C6 Z06. It has its own set of challenges but is much more of a turn key solution than the C5.
C6 out of my budget not mention the hit I will take on the FRS. It's pretty clear and the information kinda supports my decision

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Old 09-01-2020, 10:27 AM   #13
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Dont the first and second gen C5 Z06 have theyre share of differences for track duty? Instead of just splitting it up between C5/C6 what about 385hp Z06 and 405hp Z06?
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:49 AM   #14
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Dont the first and second gen C5 Z06 have theyre share of differences for track duty? Instead of just splitting it up between C5/C6 what about 385hp Z06 and 405hp Z06?
There isnt a ton of difference between the two C5Z models and the lower HP rating was for the first year. Not considered a generation change they're all considered C5Z.
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