The Corvette has always been a performance bargain. You’d be hard pressed to find a faster car for the money, especially when you factor in the relative comfort and useability of the Corvette. At this moment this is perhaps most true of the C6, with decent six-speed examples still selling for around $20,000 and up.
But what would happen if you took a top-spec C6 Z06—already a fairly insane car on paper with over 500 horsepower and weighing in at just under 3,400 pounds—and built it with an open checkbook? How much faster could you make this car around a track without making unacceptable compromises in its ability to actually be used on the street? That’s what we wanted to find out at Laptimz Motorsports, so that’s what we did.
What you see here is the result of this experiment: a Corvette that’s far more race-influenced than it was when it left the factory, yet at first glance appears as though it could have left the factory in this state.
Nothing immediately stands out when looking at the car, less the huge LG Motorsports carbon-fiber wing at the rear. Still, all of the carefully selected aftermarket components work within the original design philosophy of the car. But then when you look more closely you start to notice more carbon-fiber. Lots and lots of carbon fiber.
The carbon-fiber rear decklid, roof, and ventilated hood have been refinished in Velocity Yellow to match the factory bodywork that remains in place, and an LG Motorsports splitter and side skirts balance out the aero.
Tow hooks have been cleverly integrated in just the same way you see on the Le Mans-winning Corvettes, which just so happen to be the same color. Actually, this is no coincidence at all, as many cues from hardcore race cars have been applied here beyond the color choice.
Inside, you don’t see the fire suppression system, but it has one. A small tank is located at the rear, the lines painstakingly work their way through the cabin underneath factory trim, and they exit through subtle outlets.
The Recaro Pole Position seats in black cloth certainly don’t scream “stock” but they fit into the cabin nicely, and along with the Schroth Enduro harness for driver and passenger they’re a very necessary addition to stay as safe as possible when tracking the car. Yet, the harnesses are clean and tidy on the harness bar, and the rear cargo area is as accessible and usable as it was when the car rolled off the assembly line. Remember, no major compromises can be made on this Corvette.
For example, the OMP SuperQuadro steering wheel features a flat bottom to aid in entry and exit while still providing a razor-sharp feel of what the front end is doing. Other driver inputs like the delrin shift knob have also been changed, but just ahead of it the stock stereo system remains fully intact along with Bose speakers all around.
Speaking of the front end, let's take a moment to go under the car to fully appreciate the concert of modifications working together to maximize grip. While throwing money at a car is one strategy, at Laptimz Motorsports we prefer to carefully select an array of parts that are sized properly and complement each other for the most balanced result.
Of course, the JRZ RS PRO 3 coilover system with remote reservoirs, adjustable camber kit, splined sway bars, and CNC-machined GSpeed drop spindles with spherical bearings weren’t cheap by any means but they all perform with each other appropriately. Meanwhile, the AP Racing brake system consists of six-piston calipers fit around 372mm rotors up front and a four-piston setup is paired with 340mm rotors out back.
Each corner is finished off with Cobalt XR1 brake pads and Apex VS-5RS wheels, which have replaced the other set seen in some photos here. They measure 18x11” and 18x13” and are wrapped in sticky 315 and 345-series Hoosier R7 rubber. Take a moment to appreciate the stunning finish on these Apex wheels, complete with some leftover brake dust after a recent track day.
You might think that's a lot of tire, but you need it when with this under the hood. We’ve saved the best for last here as the Katech Stage II Track Attack 7.0-liter V8 really is the party piece of this build. From top to bottom, everything has been considered. With American Heritage cylinder heads, a dry-sump system, and a GSpeed cooling system—just to name a few components we selected—this LS7 is fully prepared for a long day of track duty.
Amazingly, with Kooks ceramic-coated exhaust headers and a Burns stainless-steel exhaust the car still passes the 92-db sound check at Laguna Seca raceway. You'll also notice that the MSD coil packs have been relocated, which cleans up the engine bay and also allows optimal routing of the ignition wires to keep them away from that hot exhaust. Further, the car is equipped with fluid coolers for the transmission and differential.
The engine was tuned by Blacktrax Performance, and after a baseline was set the engine was de-tuned for reliability. Output is an effortless 525 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
All in all, it’s a machine that simply works. It works within the legendary Corvette ethos, it works on the street, and it works on the track better than ever. The grip it carries on a road course is unimaginable, the torque comes on immediately as you throttle out of an apex, and the compliance of the JRZ-based suspension is so reliable and intuitive.
But that’s not the most impressive part; it’s really not that hard to make a Corvette track car. More importantly, the Laptimz Motorsports C6 is still a joy to cruise down a highway or a winding backroad with the windows down, the stereo blasting, and the engine howling—exactly what a C1 owner would have done when the very first Corvette was released. You can also head down to Cars and Coffee with your wife or kid (you can only choose one, that hasn’t changed) and bring back a load of groceries on your way home.
It’s a car that you can get in, warm up, and simply enjoy.