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Track day without Z51? Looking to get base model, but occasionally do HPDE stuff

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  • Track day without Z51? Looking to get base model, but occasionally do HPDE stuff

    I am close to placing my order at a dealership. I don't have a lot of money, and can barely afford the base model, so I'm looking at ways to trim costs. I have looked at the features in the Z51 package and most of them seem like they are critical if you want to drive the car 100% on track, or want to shave seconds off your track time. Many of the features would require a trained or experienced driver to really be able to take advantage of, or even be aware of the difference in performance. My other big concern of the Z51 are that I don't want to ruin the daily driving experience with stiff shocks, and also apparently the Z51 package also ruins highway MPG so much that the gov'mnt is looking at making Chevy change the MPG numbers they publish, and I want to take my C8 on long road trips without having the spend more money on gas.

    I have tracked my Porsche Boxster several times and I love it. I don't drive %100, more around %80. I am getting the Magnetic ride, and seems to add be able to stiffen up the suspension and drop the car in Track mode, so that seems pretty cool to me and very helpful for track. I am not concerned about the tires as I won't be pushing that hard, and I have done track days before in my Boxster, and chewed up some tires, but that's fine by me as it's part of the cost of the experience. I have looked at the specs of the "all season" tires on the base model and they are still pretty **** good, and they are still Michelin Pilot Sport tires, so they are the best you can get without going with the Pilot summer tires. So, I'm not concerned about the tires. Nor am I concerned about the cooling either. I am in Washington state, and it rarely gets hot out here, plus the track days I've been to so far are broken up, or I take breaks, so I don't drive more than 30-40 minutes continuously so the car will have time to cool down. My biggest concern is the brakes. I've read the specs and the Z51 brakes are not only larger, but have different materials. The base model brakes are just plain "organic" material and the Z51 material is looks like a composite that is more heat resistant. Brake overheating and fading is my biggest concern. I don't want to go off track because of brake failure. I've looked around and can't seem to find brake pads online for the base model that are good enough for doing track days. I have found many, but they are ceramics and also have a higher heat range so that they need to 'warm up' to get optimal braking so I could not use the same pads daily driving as doing track days. I'm fine with maybe having to swap out pads, but hoping to find alternatives. If I can't I guess I have to go z51. Another option I wish I had was getting the Z51 brake kit without the whole package. I also have looked into maybe getting the Z51 brake kit separately and installing later. Thanks to plenty of numbnuts crashing their new C8s so there are plenty used ones for sale on Ebay. Thoughts? Can I track safely with the base model if I'm not pushing the limits and just want to have some fun going fast in safe environment? Is there better brake pads out there that will help? Not concerned about warranty either, that's already been discussed on these forums and I have all the info I need on that.

    Summary:
    • Are there better brake pads for the base model?
    • Is it possible to install Z51 brakes later?

  • #2
    Short answer: Yes you can track safety your non Z51. The instructors at Spring Mountain Corvette Owners School do it day after day.

    But if you track a non Z51 and there is a warranty claim related to track you, you stand a good chance of it being denied.
    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

    Comment


    • #3
      Be sure to follow the track prep guide, even in your non-Z.

      As far as brakes, if you're willing to go whole hog and replace rotors and calipers / pads, I think any of the aftermarket brake setups that fit a Z51 would fit the base, too. Same size wheels, same suspension, hubs, etc. That's not going to be cheap, but will give you better brakes than even the Z51. And I would expect the Z51 brakes could also be installed. No personal experience with either, though. And either option might require a new master cylinder, as well, since the bore sizes in the calipers might be different.

      As for overheating and running off the track, that will require a willing effort. The Corvette has a brake fade warning system which includes temp sensors for the brakes. If the car decides the brakes are getting too hot, it will warn you on the dash. If you ignore the warning and get the brakes even hotter, at some point the computer will force the car into limp mode, limiting speeds until you go to a dealer and get the system reset. Search the forum and you'll find some information about this.

      Oh, you could also buy the brake cooling ducts from the Z51 and install them on your base, I think.

      GM suggests changing pads can interfere with the performance of the brake sensor and create premature warnings. I don't know if anyone has run into that issue.

      You might want to reach out to forum vendor Cicio. They have a lot of performance mods for the C8. Not surprisingly they focus on the Z51, but they might know what is available for the base model, too.


      BUT: The suspension on the Z51 is not really all that stiff, especially with MSRC. Even with the suspension in track mode, it's far from punishing, and in tour its remarkably comfortable. I haven't driven a Z51 without MSRC, but I've driven one in Sport mode and that's not uncomfortable at all. Firm, yes, but it is a sports car, not a Lincoln Continental. If that's your biggest concern, don't worry about it.

      The A/S tires are, according to the instructors at Ron Fellows, "pretty darn good" for a few laps, but then start to lose grip. Of course, they may well be pushing harder than you will.

      I have to question the EPA numbers compared to real world highway driving. The "highway" test isn't even close to what actual highway travel is, and I suspect doesn't let the C8 spend much time in 7th and 8th gear, which are extreme overdrive and really help mpg, nor in V4 mode. The EPA highway test is based on highway driving in Los Angeles rush hour about 50 years ago. Here is the actual test cycle:

      Click image for larger version

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      Average speed is only 48 mph, and there are lots of acceleration and deceleration events which keep the engine in V8 mode. You might find this thread interesting:

      https://www.midenginecorvetteforum.c...-economy/page2

      Personally, if I were planning on tracking the car even as you describe, I'd get the Z51.
      Last edited by meyerweb; 09-14-2021, 08:54 AM.
      Delivered 5/29!: Scarlet Fever 2021 2LT HTC, Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat, two-tone Natural w/ suede inserts, Mag Ride, Performance Exhaust

      Gone but not forgotten: SunKissed, 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible

      Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club: https://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org/

      Never grow up - It's a trap.

      Comment


      • #4
        I know that tracking without Z51 has warranty ramifications; in fact they state in owners manual that vehicles without Z51 should not be used in them, in which case I'd think they'd refuse to honor warranty in a case like this. So I'd recommend getting it if at all possible, not worth the risk imo plus the package is really worth it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by byangas View Post
          I am getting the Magnetic ride, and seems to add be able to stiffen up the suspension and drop the car in Track mode, so that seems pretty cool to me and very helpful for track.
          Just a minor point, but MSRC will stiffen up the shocks in Track mode but they do nothing to “drop the car”. Adjustable spring perches MAY be available (depending on options) to permanently lower the car.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses. Yes, there are brake cooling duct kits that can be purchased I have found for about $300. Not a bad price. I also have found the Brembo Z51 calipers and pads (used) on Ebay for about $2k, so even though it's a lot of money (to me) it's something I can add later if I need to, but not sure if just getting the calipers and rotors is going to be enough and I have to get additional parts like Z51 specific sensors, etc.

            RE: WARRANTY - I would prefer to keep the conversation about the technical aspects. I already understand completely about the warranty issues. Thank you.

            I know it's easy to "just get the Z51 package", but that's easy to say if you're rich. The reason I am excited about this car is the idea that it's an affordable "super car". If I want to really go nuts on the track, i'd get a 911 or something else in the $150k range, but I don't have that kind of money! Being in the Pacific Northwest, riding on summer only tires is not really an option as it rains a ton, and snows a decent amount too. The package is already near $7k and I would have to buy a second set of tires for the weather here, so that puts it well over $8k. If anyone wants to pitch in and help, I'll gladly get the package! Maybe I should start a "Go Fund Me" page? :-)

            Comment


            • #7
              Honestly after OWNING a non-z51/ non mag ride car, then DRIVING a Z51 mag ride car at Ron Fellows, here are my thoughts. The biggest thing you will be giving up is tire and possibly brakes to some extent. Both can be easily upgraded when they wear out. Even the z51 brakes will wear too.

              Concerning the PDM, the lone setting on the nonz51/non mag ride car is someplace between the sport1 and sport two setting on the 2021/22 Z51s (the lingo is a bit different in the 2020). Going on what all the instructors said this is where you want to be. The first two settings do not do much and the last two have everything almost completely, shades of grey.

              I have never had a cooling issue with my car. Understanding the Z51s have additional cooling there will likely be some difference. IF you are going to be tracking for multiple going several hours without a break, I would say Z51 just for the extra cooling. IF you are doing a few hot laps the non z51 can should be fine. Save the cash and get some forged wheels to save weight with super sticky tires for grip just for track days. People are out there in all kinds of cars at those HPDE evens and more will not be as well equipped as a non-z51 vette.

              Comment


              • #8
                for the driving you describe, just go with the best brake fluid . Fresh high temp brake fluid is all you really need .I don't understand why you think it is cheaper to not buy the Z51, then look at aftermarket brake parts and labor to install . Looks like close to the same amount money spent.
                Good luck with used Ebay calipers. they will need to be rebuilt before use.
                if the cost of tracking is too high , maybe you should not be on track until you realize that a low dollar approach is not the best idea. You can be hurt.
                Just sayin,,,,,,,,
                3LT Long Beach Red , Z51, FE4 , ZZ3, Black interior ,38S red stitching, Q8T, FA5, ER1, CFX, and R8C

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by byangas View Post
                  Thanks for the responses. Yes, there are brake cooling duct kits that can be purchased I have found for about $300. Not a bad price. I also have found the Brembo Z51 calipers and pads (used) on Ebay for about $2k, so even though it's a lot of money (to me) it's something I can add later if I need to, but not sure if just getting the calipers and rotors is going to be enough and I have to get additional parts like Z51 specific sensors, etc.

                  RE: WARRANTY - I would prefer to keep the conversation about the technical aspects. I already understand completely about the warranty issues. Thank you.

                  I know it's easy to "just get the Z51 package", but that's easy to say if you're rich. The reason I am excited about this car is the idea that it's an affordable "super car". If I want to really go nuts on the track, i'd get a 911 or something else in the $150k range, but I don't have that kind of money! Being in the Pacific Northwest, riding on summer only tires is not really an option as it rains a ton, and snows a decent amount too. The package is already near $7k and I would have to buy a second set of tires for the weather here, so that puts it well over $8k. If anyone wants to pitch in and help, I'll gladly get the package! Maybe I should start a "Go Fund Me" page? :-)
                  So $2K for the calipers and pads, but you'll still need rotors, as they're a different size, too. New, at discount, about $600. Then, another $300 for ducts. You're at $2900 plus a lot of work (do you need to pay for labor, or do it yourself?) If you're paying for labor, figure at least another $1000. If you're doing it yourself, what else could you be doing with your time? You're already at almost 2/3 the cost of the Z51 which has everything factory assembled and warranted. (Forget about the track warranty - none of your mods will be warranted at all.)

                  I would say if you don't want to pay for the Z51, just leave the base car stock except for brake ducts, and accept the limitations of the car and just plan on braking sooner, cornering slower, and doing shorter stints. Although if you're worried about going off track, a set of greasy, overheated A/S tires may be a bigger risk than brake fade, so maybe find a used set of factory wheels to mount summer tires on for track use. It really doesn't seem worth it to me to spend a bunch of money upgrading a base car to try to make it better on the track.
                  Delivered 5/29!: Scarlet Fever 2021 2LT HTC, Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat, two-tone Natural w/ suede inserts, Mag Ride, Performance Exhaust

                  Gone but not forgotten: SunKissed, 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible

                  Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club: https://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org/

                  Never grow up - It's a trap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone. Great input. Glad I found this forum! I ordered my car today without Z51 and the guy I worked with also agreed on not needing Z51 for what I plan to do with it and he's been selling Vettes for 40 years (he's 70). Money matters to me and I have gone to 6 different local dealers trying to find the best deal. I was able to save $3k over what every other dealer in town was asking by going with this dealer. If I could afford it, I'd get the LT3, Z51, carbon fiber everywhere, two tone fine leather, nicer seats, etc. I can't, so I'm getting a convertible LT1 with Mag Ride, and hating having to pay $1k for black wheels (should be standard or free)

                    I also ordered the GM factory brake cooling ducts for $250 online. The calipers on the base and the Z51 are both dual piston (4 total), and likely perform the same, the only difference is the size of the rotor, the cooling ducts, and the material of the brakes. I have the ducts figured out, and I am still getting more information and shopping for some "track" pads. Two out of those three should help considerably. I also found out that the C8 has sensors and will tell you when your brakes are overheating, so if that happens I will just take a break, drive the car at 10mph for 5 minutes or so around the parking lot and maybe stop and get some beverages and then back to vroom vroom time. I won't push the car too hard on the track and still have some fun doing speeds that are illegal and unsafe on the streets. Maybe even do a few drag racing days just to really let the car do what it does best and then braking won't really matter (until the end. LOL) My concern about the brakes was because I did see a guy in a suped up Charger go off track because of brake failure. Most likely due to the fact that it's a heavy car and I am sure he didn't consider beefing up the brakes to match the cars weight and power. He was going ***** out in the straights and had to stop all the weight very quickly.

                    Yes, meyerweb you are correct that I'll most likely be braking sooner, and maybe "going slower" in the turns, but "going slower" is relative to the Z51, not other cars out there. My 200hp Boxster was doing max (safe) speed of 120mph on Pacific Raceways track with the pedal to the floor the whole way down the straightaways. Also, I was pushing 90mph through the big turn #1. If I can get up to 130, or even 140 in the straights and 100+ (or even 110) in turn #1, I will have a huge smile on my face the whole way and be loving every bit of it. Maybe the Z51 guys will go 160 in the straights and 120+ in the turns? I don't know. Don't care. It's not about "the other guys" it's about having fun, being safe, enjoying life. I LOOOOOOVVVE this car and I'm super excited that I was able to get one and hopefully it will be in my garage by Thanksgiving, and out on the track in spring!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Buying the z51 would be my suggestion. Why take the chance of having something break and not being under warranty.

                      penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion.

                      be smart and think long term.

                      good luck in making your decision

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Found some brake pads that will do the trick. The description on the product is literally the scenario I've described.

                        https://knsbrakes.com/c/car-series/5...-60+Brake+Pads

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My 22 year old Porsche Boxster tracks just fine and has never had a single issue other than chewed up tires. If the new C8 breaks on the track with how I drive it, then it's a POS. For the "warranty" nancies out there, how the hell is Chevy going to know I was on a track? I can drive 140 on the highway, or zoom through curves on the canyons.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The car has GPS and tracks your location. Believe me, they will know. And if a major component like transmission/engine conks out, well...I've heard out of warranty cost of a tranny is $20K. And mine did conk out with no tracking involved, so it does happen. Not a gamble I'd be willing to take for a net difference of $3K or so, but ymmv.

                            Also note that modifying vehicles tends to decrease their value, and that the actual cost at the end of the day is not $7K for a Z51 package, but something like 50% of this if you have a five year ownership window (probably less than 50% just due to the scarcity of cars nowadays, which won't be improving anytime soon from the looks of it). So if you pay an extra $7K for the Z51 but then sell the car for 50% of new price later on, your OOP costs are $3.5K.....now factor in the lower demand for modded cars and resulting price hit and imo it would really be a wash.
                            Last edited by improviz; 09-15-2021, 09:30 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I wish you all the best having fun with your car on the track.

                              That said, it seems if you were really on a budget and serious about getting the best performance at the lowest price, you wouldn't have gone with a convertible. That upcharge easily would have covered the Z51 package.

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