GT From The Ground Up (2010)
Passionate about road racing and the American Le Mans series, Christiansen Racing is moving forward with the build of their production-based C6 Corvette to a CASC-OR spec GT2 race car. International regulations are moving towards a single GT class and with the Chevrolet Corvette being such a strong production car it was chosen to be the foundation for the build.
Steel Frame Chassis
The team had significant discussion with Devon and John Powell, our primary consultants, around the decision whether to begin with the lighter aluminum based frame of the Z06 Corvette, however, the decision to use the steel frame of the C6 Z51 Coupe was made for several reasons.
“We took several factors into consideration for the frame choice from strength and weight to cost and repairability, however, driver safety was the primary reason we ended up choosing the steel frame”, stated Gary Kilbride, Christiansen Racing Crew Chief since 2008.
“After consulting with John and Devon Powell, who have built both aluminum and steel framed racing Corvettes, the choice was clear for us to proceed with the production-based steel frame. The ability to connect the steel roll cage to the steel frame would give us the level of safety we required. Safety is a top priority for the whole team and is always a primary consideration in all of the products we use and tightly woven into the processes we follow.”
Wide Body Conversion & Aero
Mosport International Raceway is our home track where we do the vast majority of our testing and practicing. Calabogie and Shannonville are other tracks where we will be competing. Consultation, acquired research, as well as extensive C6 Corvette wind tunnel testing by the Powell RaceShop all suggested that we switch to the wider bodywork of the Z06, Grand Sport or ZR1 models, especially since we are running on higher speed, lower drag tracks like Mosport.
“We've acquired the wider body components and still have a number of aero decisions to make regarding what we'll be doing with the front splitter, rear wing and rear diffuser. As an independent team, cost is a factor, and trial and error can put us over budget very quickly. We're following Devon's lead in building the car from the ground up and at this point aero is a secondary consideration.”
There have been a number of modifications made to the suspension for 2010 - all done by Devon Powell of the Powell RaceShop. Devon recommended a number of components from Pfadt Race Engineering to upgrade the suspension to where we need it to be for competition. Suspension modifications included a spherical bearing kit for the control arms and front and rear sway bars.
“In addition to the spherical bearings and sway bars, we've installed the triple adjustable Penske Racing Shocks with Eibach and Hypercoil springs, Pfadt Race engineering motor mounts and transmission mounts. We are very pleased with how the suspension project has turned out so well right from the start. Our final bit of suspension work will be custom drop spindles to lower the car without changing the suspension geometry.”
“At this point, we've done a little bit with the powertrain, however, we've achieved better results than anticipated. A Level 5 Tremec T56 transmission was installed and the diff was changed to a 3.73. Since we haven't begun the work on the motor yet, we found we were lagging a bit where we needed more power. This was very apparent along Mario Andretti Straight at Mosport. With these changes in place we're pulling hard right up until the leap heading into turn eight. It's made a huge difference.”
Pfadt Race Engineering motor mounts and transmission mounts were also used in this upgrade. It should also be noted that John Powell recommended upgrading the shifter forks in the transmission and Devon upgraded the shifter blocks with a custom fabrication. With these additional upgrades we have gained strength and reliability, however, increased noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
There have been a few modifications and additions to the interior. Most noticably the driver and passenger seats are racing seats outfitted with harnesses by Sparco. For quality and reliability, the team uses all Motorola radio equipment from Racing Radios as well as the data logging equipment of Race Technology.
Hoosier tires are run on CCW wheels. “We chose the CCWs for several reasons but the deciding factor was durability. By going with the single piece forged aluminum wheel we sacrificed a few pounds for durability. This was not an issue for us since we're only using these wheels for practice at this point. We'll be revisiting our wheel options shortly, however, we're very happy with the CCW SP20s to date.”
“We get asked about our goals and objectives and what can be expected from Christiansen Racing. Over the last couple of years I have seen the team gel and progress at a steady pace. There is a real passion and focus on winning and I only see it gaining momentum.”
The car is already scheduled for work at the end of the season, and once again, many changes can be expected as the car gets updated for the 2018 season.
“Pulling the car off the track for the year doesn't mean we're on hold through the winter months. A whole other set of activities takes place off season, from training to strategizing, not to mention the amount of time spent at the Powell RaceShop monitoring progress on the car. 2018 will mark the first year that we will be actively pursuing sponsorship to accelerate the team to where we need to be. We get one step closer every day.”