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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It was a fun day, guys! I got a ride as a passenger, with roadracing school instructor Reese Cox, at 160 mph, at Road Atlanta!

Reese actualyl has a driving school scheduled for mid June at the Barber Raceway in Alabama, but brought his 427 smallblock Corvette to Road Atlanta today to make sure everything was ready for that school. He and his business partner Paul Smith invited me and several others along. Reese offered to take a few of us as passengers, for a couple of laps each.

The Road Atlanta course is a VERY hilly and very tight course of 2.54 miles length, with 12 turns, most of them very sharp and very technical. It's sort of like driving through your neighborhood at maniac speed.

You can see and download a pdf of the track layout at:

http://www.roadatlanta.com/trackmap.lasso

We shot out of the pits into the middle of turn 1, and immediately had to climb the steepest hill on the track while accelerating out of the pits. The 427 smallblock was just plain awesome in accelerating hard up that hill. We lunged past a slower car so fast the driver didn't have time to wave us through. We shot through the esses right after (turns 2,3, and 4), and went wide enough on the left hand turn at turn 5 to use the entire track width, with the tires in a controlled slide (seems like an oxymoron).

Then, there was a superfast run (well into 3 digits) up a hill and down into turn 6, which is a small radius turn to the right. Then, an incredibly short straight (didn't stop Reese from putting the pedal to the floor!) followed by Turn 7 which is an approximately 45 mph MAXIMUM turn!!

Then, a short straight to turn 8 which is a quick left followed by an instantaneous right, with Reese gassing the 427 up through the gears so that by the time he clears Turn 8 he is heading for 160 mph before he reaches Turn 9, where because it is a relatively gentle turn, he doesn't even slow down. We shoot past a Nissan like a missile. Just before Turn 10A, at 160 mph, he hits the brakes hard again, as Turn 10A is a 90 degree left followed immediately by Turn 10B, which is a 90 degree turn RIGHT. The tires scream through 10A, catches their full grip briefly, and then scream the OTHER way through Turn 10B.

About this time, I am strangely uncocnerned that if we lose traction altogether we will probably be pretty seriously personally mangled up , and instead am thinking "I wonder how much it would cost to replace this rather incredible vehicle if he miscalculates the traction limits with my 235 lb weight added to the righthand side if the car."

Coming out of Turn 10B, you are going almost straight again, BUT SERIOUSLY downhill!! (See the photos below. Look at the cars under the Pirelli "Power is nothing without control" sign). Reese takes this at full throttle, then hits the brakes just mildy for Turn 12 into the straightaway in front of the pits. He blows past another car on the straightaway, as it seems nothing can keep up with the 427 (We were NEVER passed).

Just before the end of the straight, he tucks back into the ideal line, brakes, and powers through Turn 1 up that steep hill again to Turn 2, on the start of the 2nd lap. The Porsche we chase from Turn 3 and catch by Turn 5 moves over 1/3 of the way to Turn 6 and gestures for Reese to pass, and despite the fact that Turn 6 is a sharp low speed right, Reese actually accelerates to pass him and THEN hits the brakes to scrub off about, oh, 80 mph. I'm thinking "Boy, this sure beats any roller coaster I've been on."

And so it goes . . .

Although Reese intended to take each of us for 2 laps, he ended up doing 5 laps with me as his passenger, and set his best time for the day on the last lap (1 minute, 34.5 seconds, or almost 97 mph average speed for the lap).

Apparently, this kind of driving CAN be learned (since Reese IS leading a weekend school next month), and CAN be (relatively) safe if you learn well (He's been doing it a long time). However, we watched a tow truck haul a VERY mangled Mazda RX8 sadly off the track, and is owner, sitting in the cab with the tow truck driver, did not look happy (insurance doesn't cover damage incurred in "competitive or racing events").

I have NO illusions about ever driving like Reese, but since I have confidence in HIS driving skills, and since that expensive 427 Corvette was not bought and paid for by ME. I thoroughly enjoyed myself today!!

Jim G
 

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I was lucky enough to get invited to test drive the MB McLaren at the Iliada testing facility outside Barcelona, Spain. There were 10 Americans and 10 people from the rest of the world that were invited. It was a once in a lifetime experience. We went on three different courses; a slolem course, a road course and a high speed oval. We first drove a SL500 then SL55 AMG's and then finally worked our way up to the SLR. My wife and I drove on the high speed oval (with the air conditioning on) at 205 mph. An incredible ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ken, those are terric photos, but when you load photos onto the website, you need to reduce the resolution a LOT. The way you have loaded them, they take forever to open when you click on the thumbnails.

My camera takes its photos at high resolution too, but I save them in a much lower resolution specifically for uploading, since the extra resolution is wasted on a screen display.

Jim G
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Ken, those are terric photos, but when you load photos onto the website, you need to reduce the resolution a LOT. The way you have loaded them, they take forever to open when you click on the thumbnails.

My camera takes its photos at high resolution too, but I save them in a much lower resolution specifically for uploading, since the extra resolution is wasted on a screen display.

Jim G
Thanks, the first set won't open at all for me, can you open them? How do you reduce the resolution? I will do it again.
Ken
 

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OMG! What a gorgeous car! Kinda makes our SSR's look like Model T's!

Please tell us about the "exhaust" exiting in front of the door!

Ken, good luck with your new "baby"!
 

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That is an awesome car!!! But lets not forget the original post... Jim, you had an awesome ride in that vette. Have you thought about doing the Richard Petty Driving Experience? I did it and IT WAS GREAT!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ken: To reduce the resolution:

1. Open each photo in Microsoft Photoeditor or similar software

2. When you have the photo open, change the SIZE of the image to 50%.

3. Save the photo with "upload" appended to the file name to let you know what it is, and so you retain the original hi res photo for printing, etc.

4. Go back to your posting. Select "edit", delete each current image. Add the new lower res images you created in steps 1 to 3.

I WAS able to open each of your images that I tried to, but it took a LONG, long time! :)

Jim G
 

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Jim,
Thanks I will try that in a little while. I wonder what your friend Reese could do with a SLR, starting with 617 hp?
Ken
 

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Jim:
I placed my order for the 427 Z06 vett last week. Production should start in July, taking museum deliverly, can't wait. Ken, that is one bad ride. bring it to Irvendale Tina can drive the SSR!
Ted :seeya :ssr
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ken: I suspect that most tuners develop a specialty in a particular lineup, but I would not want to presume to speak for Reese. I HAVE seen 2 Maserati's in his shop.

Give him a call and ask. (770-919-7774). Make sure that if Mason answers, he knows specifically which model you are talking about.

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mikepowell: This is the same 427 Corvette that I watched Reese's guys run down the dragstrip 2 weekends ago, proving its versatility I guess.

At the dragstrip, Reese was disappointed, as both this car, and the slightly different variation owned by Chuck Wolf (Reese's machining supplier) both ran 11.07 consistently, until Chuck's fried 3rd gear in its automatic. Reese had hoped for high 10s, and is determined to get there.

This car and Chuck's differ in at least 2 significant ways that I am aware of:

1. This one is a 6-speed, while Chuck's is an automatic

2. This one favors high end more than Chuck's, which concentrates on torque. Chucks's makes close to 600 ft lb amx)

3. This one is notably quieter than Chuck's in terms of exhuast noise.

Note that they ran the same time at the strip, although I'm sure the 60 ft, 1/8th mile, and other stats were not the same. Different approaches both by coincidence resulting in an identical 1/4 mile time.

This 427 smallblack engine is made by having a block machined out to accept larger sleeves. The limit, according to Chuck Wolf, whose machine shop does the machining for MTI, is about 475 cubic inches via this approach, but Chuck and Reese don't like going that big, as they feel it impairs the ability to get a good head gasket seal, because of the geomtry of the block and head bolts. The 427 appears to be durable.

Reese has set up his 427 Corvette to be the versatile and durable MTI development platform, and to also serve as his trackday car for when he teaches classes. Consequently, it has to be absolutely reliable.

Reese has not walked me through all of the individual features built into this car, but to give you an idea of the level of detailing, he HAS described to me, and shown me, the tumbled and cryogenically treated ring and pinion. I have looked at and felt both "normal" and tumbled & cryogenically treated gearsets, and the differences are easily visible. The stock parts look nice until you see and feel the cryo ones, which are much smoother to the touch, and bright enough in appearance to pass for chrome. One non-mechanical female client, when she saw a set in the MTI office, like them so much she wanted to buy them as an AESTHETIC mod until Mason gently told her that they would be invisible once installed! Reese claims they run much quieter and convert less of the power into frictional heat, as well as being much stronger.

The racing seats, steering wheel. rollcage, and track tires obviously telegraph the car's intended purpose to even a casual observer, but if you removed or replaced those items with stock parts, you would never guess that this car is "built" until you actually hit the throttle sufficiently aggressively. I have not driven it, but have driven Chuck Wolf's, and it was absolutely gentle and streetable until you provoked it.

The handling during my ride with Reese on the track really impressed me. I had no idea you could make any car turn corners that quickly and still stay on the track. But, the biggest impression it left with me was the power. The way it climbed that first steep hill once out of the pits was just breathtaking, and the way Reese was able to shoot past any other car he encountered on the track just hammered home the point. Remember, this is not a $200,000 exotic. It probably cost Reese well under $75k order of magnitude, since he started with a used Corvette "Hardtop" (The Z06 style body but NOT a Z06 - the "no frills" and ightweight hardtop that Corvette offered as a model for a year or 2) and I think he said the 427 conversion costs somewhere around $25k, and of course there are those other high test add-ons and mods.

Now if I could just afford to drop that 427 smallblock into my SSR, I would have the best of all worlds for MY wants . . .

Jim G
 

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Jim G...

JimGnitecki said:
Ken, those are terric photos, but when you load photos onto the website, you need to reduce the resolution a LOT. The way you have loaded them, they take forever to open when you click on the thumbnails.

My camera takes its photos at high resolution too, but I save them in a much lower resolution specifically for uploading, since the extra resolution is wasted on a screen display.

Jim G
You are actually telling someone to reduce something!!!! :lol
I bet as a child in school, you could never write a summary of a story.
And let me guess, you had a secret wish to be an author.
Because, you have published alot of novels on this site !!! :glol
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Big Jim: Yes, I know I'm on the SSR forum, but:

1. I just had to let others know how good it feels to actually go around a roadrace track in a fast car with someone who knows how to drive, and this is the only car forum that I go to regularly

2. If you think this is out of place on an SSR forum, imagine how out of place it would be on the Ducati motorcycle forum I post my motorcycle stuff on

3. There IS no forum for "427 smallblock Corvettes running on a roadrace track"!

4. I've noticed that a lot of the SSR Fanatic members also own Corvettes

5. I find myself wondering how a 427 smallblock would work in an SSR (about doubles the power to weight ratio!)

6. If it doesn't interest you, just don't read it! :)

7. In a future posting I might actually mention that both the stock Nissan 350Z and the share-its-platform stock Infinity G35 use carbon fiber driveshafts to control vibration and noise, and those of us with either "tinging" or "ringing" driveshafts even after 1 or 2 Chevrolet warranty replacements just MIGHT find that really interesting, while you might ask why a Nissan post on an SSR board!

Jim G
 

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Buffy said:
OMG! What a gorgeous car! Kinda makes our SSR's look like Model T's!

Please tell us about the "exhaust" exiting in front of the door!

Ken, good luck with your new "baby"!

The exhaust Is a real work of art! It almost sounds as good as my SSR!!!
Ken
 
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