How to pick the right hubs for your Corvette track car | Project C5 Corvette Z06

J.G.
Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car
Oct 29, 2021

Photography by J.G. Pasterjak

Back in early September, we discussed our installation of some new hubs after one of the fronts in our C5 Corvette Z06 complexly failed. At the time, we said that we thought the new hubs would be fine as we weren’t doing hour-long road races–just autocrosses and time trials.

Yeah, we were wrong.

Since upgrading our powerplant, we’ve been going through hubs at an alarming rate. A set of rear hubs that we installed before SCCA Solo Nats and LS Fest were already showing signs of failure on one side. That’s about 20 autocross runs and 15 hot laps of NCM Motorsports Park for those of you scoring along at home.

So, fine, we relent. “Saving Money” by buying cheap hubs appears to be a wholly false economy as you may get as little as a single weekend out of your stock-type parts–which, depending on the brand, supplier and time of day, can range from about $130 to $260 each. And your car needs four of them.

Not so cheap if you’re buying those six times a year, is it?

Our solution was a call to Sam Strano at Stranoparts. He’s forgotten more about Corvettes than most of us will ever know. Plus he’s nice.

Sam hooked us up with the solution in the form of SKF X-Tracker hubs from aFe Control’s Pfadt line. Each hub costs about $480 and is easily identifiable by its black oxide finish. The X-Trackers are regarded as the “buy once, cry once” solution that solves the C5 hub wear issue forever.

In SKF’s words:

SKF’s X-Tracker consists of a double row angular contact ball bearing arrangement, in which the outboard row is at a higher diameter and contains more balls than the inner row. This unique design increases the bearing’s capacity while improving hub stiffness by 50% over a traditional tapered bearing unit.

In the words of every Corvette racer who uses these things (which is most of them, except us because we wrongly thought we were saving money), they just work, and work practically forever. Which is kind of too bad because we’re getting pretty good at changing hubs.

We’ll be shooting a how-to video on our SKF hub install, so look for that online soon.

Also, note that SKF sells a consumer-grade hub for this application as well. The X-Trackers are, as the name suggests, rated for track work.

But this experience got us thinking about the limitations presented by tracking a production-based car. Let’s be honest, the days of driving our Corvette on the street ended years ago. Because race car.

So we’ve been looking more and more at purpose-built, tube-frame cars. Could that give us more speed with less expensive consumables?

Let’s just look at hubs. Full 5x5-inch race hubs cost about $200 each, and you can rebuild them with $15 bearings.

Something to consider.

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Comments
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Ranger50
Ranger50 MegaDork
10/29/21 9:33 a.m.

I put the skf x-trackers on after a hub failed on my Avalanche while in New Mexico. Rockauto killed the price on them and even with next day air shipping from New York, was cheaper than the cheapest ones at the  flaps. They aren't OEM, but sure are close. And don't impact the nut on, #1 reason hubs fail too soon vs cheapness.

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