We left you a few weeks ago with the burning question: Can Robb Holland of Jalopnik take a salvage-title C7 Corvette Z06 from the bottom of a ditch to the top of Pikes Peak?
The answer is a resounding yes!
A little background: Due to the sudden sale of the last car he raced in 2016 at Pikes Peak, right when he got his first sponsor for the 2017 gig, no less, Holland says he was in a bit of a time crunch to find a replacement racer.
That’s when it hit him that a salvage car might be just the ticket, especially when he came across a 2017 Corvette Z06 with just nine miles (yes, nine miles) on the odometer.
Seems a dealership employee got a little too happy with a brand new Z06 and deployed the airbags after he wound up in a ditch. The insurance company decided to total the Corvette, despite its low mileage, and sent it to auction.
That’s where Holland found it.
“It wasn’t long before I became the proud owner of a nine-mile 2017 Corvette Z06 for way less than half of the cost of a new car,” he reports. “This was the most insane salvage car purchase ever. Or was it? I still hadn’t seen the car in person. I knew it ran on the lot, but nothing beyond that. I could have the automotive version of a five figure paperweight for all I knew.”
Fortunately, an inspection once the car arrived in person proved that the Z06 was quite the tough old bird and had suffered only minor damage that was easily repaired for not much money.
Thus began a 98-day project to turn the Z06 into a Pikes Peak challenger.
Along the way, he and his team ran into numerous challenges that threatened to keep them from passing this toughest of exams, but the Z06 managed to meet them all.
The result, Holland writes in his latest blog, is the “Fastest. Corvette. Ever.” At least on Pikes Peak.
“Our time was 10:55.166, good enough for P4 in Time Attack 1 and the 16th fastest car overall,” he penned. “Yup. I know, it shocked the hell out of me too.”
He admits it wasn’t a perfect run, with overheating issues causing him to back out of the throttle a bunch starting just before the W section of the hill. “I was able to keep the oil temp just below the threshold for limp mode for the rest of the run up, but it definitely cost me time,” he says.
Holland also says that since the run on race day didn’t go off until after 11 a.m., the temperature of the road was substantially higher than in their previous testing at 5 a.m. The higher road temps meant he could get more heat in the tires which meant more grip, but with that extra grip he found that the car was set up way too soft. The grip of the Pirelli DS soft tires overwhelmed the stock bushings and sway bars, making the car feel vague and more than a bit unsettling. So it was hard to push it to 10/10ths with that issue.
“But at the end of the day I am immensely proud of what my team and partners were able to accomplish in such a short timeline,” Holland concludes. “We took what is technically still a street-legal road car from the salvage yards to one step off the podium at one of the most respected motorsports events in the world in 98 days.”
As for this Z06, he says this is not the last you’ll hear of it, with the plan to keep developing it for Pikes Peak 2018. We’ll keep you posted.