The last time a Corvette raced in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, George W. Bush was still in office and C6 Corvettes were barely a year old. That seems like a long time ago.
NASA SoCal’s T.C. McNett was the crew chief of that team. He said they only raced it one year, because they had clutch problems and some issues with the fuel cell, and dropped out before the checkers flew.
Obviously, the Chevrolet Corvette is a perennial favorite in Super Touring classes and the platform has proven itself a winner, but making it last 25 hours is a challenge. This year, NASA Northeast’s Adrian Wlostowski brought his 2010 C6 Grand Sport to Thunderhill after competing in early October at the Eastern States Championships, where he had a spindle break on the last race lap. He took the car home to Queens, N.Y., repaired it and towed it to Buttonwillow Raceway in late October and competed in the Western States Championships, where he finished third. He then towed it back to the East Coast to prepare the car for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. For those keeping score at home, that’s four cross-country trips in two months.
“We did a lot of work on cooling and insulation,” Wlostowski said. “Every wire and hose is insulated. There are heat shields on there. We did a special dry-break system that fills up the car from the passenger side, instead of the driver side. That saves us 2 seconds in the pits, but also adds another gallon of gas. We added differential coolers, transmission cooler. Everything was all about cooling.”
In 2016, the team was testing an Exedy clutch, and when they took it apart at the end of the season, everything looked good, so they replaced with an identical new one. Wlostowski learned about all the problems the previous team had while running a Corvette at Thunderhill, so he could stop them before they started. He even let all his drivers drive his road-going Corvette so they could learn to shift it smoothly, to make the gearbox last. So how’d they do?
Team F.A.S.T. Auto Racing started 23rd overall and ninth in ES class. They finished sixth in class and 13th overall. Say it with me: ‘merica.