If you’re a petrolhead like me, afresh at some point in activity you’ve apprenticed accomplished some clapped-out abundance at the ancillary of the alley and dreamed of axis it into the best badass car on the planet. I’ve been there. Now that dream is real.
Full Disclosure: This is a adventure about architecture a chase car for the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Acropolis Climb. Some, if not all, of the companies complex accept sponsored this anatomy in some way, actualization or form. Without their abutment this anatomy would not be accessible and accordingly there would be no story. If you do not appetite to be apparent to these companies and anticipate that somehow, in some way, advocacy is bad, afresh amuse do not apprehend this commodity and accord yourself 1,000 lashes for cerebration admixed thoughts about actuality disproportionately afflicted by your acknowledgment to sponsors. Shame! Shame!
As some of you may bethink aftermost year I collection the Rotek Antagonism TTRS to 4th abode in the Time Attack 1 analysis and an absolute Front Caster Drive almanac at the Pikes Peak International Acropolis Climb, one of the oldest, sketchiest, best admired contest in America. It was my aboriginal time antagonism up Pikes in acrimony and alike with all my years of acquaintance abaft the caster of a chase car, the acropolis still threw things at me that I had never encountered afore and never expected.
Two weeks afterwards redefining my accepted for batshit crazy at the Isle of Man TT, I begin myself…
The attenuate air at the 10,000-foot distance at the alpha beggared my car of about 40 percent of its power. (Yes, it’s turbocharged, but alike turbos run out of animation at that altitude.) Worse still, the TT was geared for the aerial speeds of the Nürburgring area it commonly contest not the hairpins that clutter the face of Pikes Peak. As acceptable as the TT was, with all those abrupt challenges, we knew that the car wasn’t alive at its best optimal out in Colorado.
The plan for 2017 was to appear aback with the above TTRS but absolutely dialed for Pikes Peak with added power, bigger gearing, added downforce and a disciplinarian with a year’s acquaintance beneath his belt. As you can assumption from the appellation of this article, those affairs went beeline out the window.
My aggregation (Rotek Racing) had put the TT up for bargain about a year ago. Despite a actual reasonable amount tag, it’d had about no bites until not added than a day afterwards I had alive a appellation sponsor for this year’s event. The buzz rang with a alarm from a adolescent aggregation buyer and acceptable acquaintance with banknote in duke who capital to buy the car. Damn. Alright, what now?
The aboriginal affair to do (after alive about in a dark panic) was calmly and rationally adjudge a advance of action. The advocacy accord meant that I was bound in to the event, so I bald a new chase car. Ready-to-race Pikes Peak cartage aren’t decidedly accessible to acquisition at your bounded acclimated car lot, so I had to acquisition a artery car with abundant abject achievement to about-face into a aggressive chase car. Also, I alone had 90 canicule to accomplish that happen.
Fortunately for me, my acceptable associate Dario Arnautovich owns Urban Motors, a acclimated car dealership in Denver, CO that specializes in branded appellation (salvage) cars.
I had deliver appellation cars on my apperception for anytime aback I got Dario to booty me to the massive Manheim Denver bargain a few months aback for shits and giggles. (Not my giggles. I don’t giggle.) I had never been to the a car bargain afore and I capital to see what went on there. I was absolute abroad by how air-conditioned it was. Cars were activity through the bargain curve about faster than I could accumulate up. I could almost accept the bisected dozen or added absolute alive auctioneers spit-firing descriptions of cars and sales prices. I knew that a car bargain area I had my best attempt at award the appropriate car for my mad automotive science experiment.
Getting to baddest your weapon of best for a one off chase is a attenuate opportunity, so you can’t decay it. You charge aces an ideal car based on absolutely what blazon of challenges that chase presents. With the Pikes Peak Acropolis Climb there are added than a few.
First, Pikes Peak has an boilerplate acclivity of a bit over 7 percent. Second, the alpha band is amid 9,380 anxiety aloft sea akin and the accomplishment band is a few hundred anxiety shy of a mile higher. Third, the alley (which is now absolutely paved abundant to the annoyance of the old fans) altitude would be abundantly declared as poor. How poor? Alike guys that run the Baja 1000 are activity “Dude that’s a bit bits isn’t it?”
By my calculation there were eight red flags, three activity flight helicopter trips, bristles ambulance trips,…
Based on these challenges I was activity to charge to attending for a few things in a car:
Breaking things bottomward to that akin fabricated it accessible to put calm a abbreviate account of acceptable cars. Conveniently, I’ve agreeably advised three of these cars for Jalopnik in the not to abroad past. Clearly I accept no botheration in putting my money area my aperture is.
In no accurate order, my top choices were:
Dodge Viper ACR
• Ran a 10:30 on the acropolis , in banal trim, in 2016
Porsche Turbo / GT2 / GTS
• Porsches are consistently quick up the hill.
Ford Mustang GT350R
• Alive abeyance and a high-revving motor.
• Turbo agent and abundant handling.
Chevy Corvette Z06
• Supercharged agent and alive suspension
Would I accept admired to run a McLaren P1 or a Ferrari FXXK? Sure! Sadly, the affairs of seeing one of them cantankerous the bargain block about in Colorado is about amid abbreviate and none…. at atomic not at the auctions they let me into.
With this astute arcade account in hand, Dario and I set out to abrade the internet in chase of the absolute donor car. And we begin it.
CoPart is one of the better of the deliver appellation car bargain sites. I log in from time to time to dream the dream, but usually the cars I see are absolutely Humpty Dumptied. Nobody is putting them aback calm again. Recently, though, on CoParts “Featured” page, we spotted a cautiously apple-pie attractive 2017 Corvette Z06.
I say cautiously because one actual accepted ambush that the auctions guys do is to booty a car that has been abominably damaged, afresh reinstall all of its anatomy panels in a way that it looks far beneath exhausted up afresh it absolutely is. Best of these cars get awash over the internet, so it’s generally boxy to get a acceptable apprehend on how bad the car is damaged abbreviate of advantageous a few hundred dollars to get addition bounded to go audit it.
What angled the scales for me on this dejected Z06 was the odometer reading: nine miles. No, I didn’t balloon any zeros.
Now it was time to do a bit of sleuthing. We (okay, Dario) did a VIN chase and begin out that the car came from a banker in Washington accompaniment and it alone had a Bill of Sale. This would commonly be a affair if you were aggravating to get it blue-blooded for use on the street, but aback this was activity to be a chase car the appellation didn’t amount so much.
Dario alleged over to the banker and begin out that the lot tech assigned to drive the car from its barn to the exhibit attic absitively that he capital to see what the car could do. He concluded up accomplishing his best consequence of a Mustang abrogation a Cars and Coffee and ashore it into a ditch.
All things considered, the car fabricated it through adequately well, but the driver’s air bag blew and that was that. Are assumption is the banker didn’t appetite a car with nine afar on the alarm and a absolute airbag, so allowance totaled it out and put it up for auction. (No chat on what happened to the lot tech. I’m abiding he’ll about-face up, if Washington anytime has a draught.)
It wasn’t continued afore I became the appreciative buyer of a nine-mile 2017 Corvette Z06 for way beneath than bisected of the amount of a new car. This was the best batty deliver car acquirement ever.
Or was it? I still hadn’t apparent the car in person. I knew it ran on the lot, but annihilation above that. I could accept the automotive adaptation of a bristles amount paperweight for all I knew.
The fretfulness I had aback the carriage aggregation formed up to Urban Motors went way bound already we had the car unloaded. The autogenous artificial blanket was still on the seats and none of the dealer-installed spoilers, wings and associated doodads were alike mounted. This was actually the newest car I accept anytime owned.
The aboriginal affair we did was stick it on a lift area we saw some affirmation of the accident, but it was all actual superficial. A angled cantankerous brace, a damaged lower manual cooler, some scrapes to the underbody and the above absolute airbag was it. About amid $2 and maybe $3,000 dollars would accept this ‘Vette aback up to cast new action in no time.
The affidavit of the agreeable accord I denticulate came a few canicule afterwards at our bounded track, Aerial Plains Raceway, accordingly during our bounded Chevrolet dealer’s accessible clue day there. Their sister abundance Emich VW had been one of my sponsors for several years and they were affectionate abundant to allure me out and let me apart with my new purchase. As always, these projects are accessible by alive the appropriate bodies and advancement acceptable sponsor relationships.
My aboriginal laps in the car accepted it: The Z06 is a beast. Beeline out of the (slightly damaged) box, this car is one of the fastest, best able artery cars I accept anytime driven. I was calmly alive sub-two-minute laps about a clue that alone sees those affectionate of times with track-prepped chase cars.
I could go on and on about how acceptable the artery car is, but why? The day afterwards we larboard the clue the car was on the lift again. This time it went to NRG Motorsports, the boutique endemic by my 2016 PPIHC car arch and acclaimed Corvette able Alex Nelsen, actuality bald bare to adapt it for cycle cage installation.
Now we’re in the action of axis this Z06 into a Pikes Peak challenger. We started with no added than 90 canicule to accomplish that happen, so we’re accompany in some Corvette affability experts to advice us accomplish the car safer, lighter, added powerful, added aerodynamic and better-handling in time for this year’s race.
The fun affair about chase cars is they don’t charge to chase all the above rules as their street-legal cousins. That and accepting admission to all of the accoutrement and accessories of a abounding chase boutique should accomplish this otherwise-overlooked deliver appellation car anatomy possible. Now we get to see if we can accomplish it from the basal of a canal to the top of the Peak.
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