Feb 27, 2018 update to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car

Project Z06: Augmented Accommodations

Here's the divider and cup holder installed.
Here the divider is taken down and you can see into the trunk.

When your intent is to drive your competition car to the track, not all your mods will be performance-oriented. Yes, we’re about to talk about a cupholder. Stock C5 cupholders are hot garbage. And when you’re making 1000-mile drives for some track or autocross time, sometimes you need a place to put that refreshing beverage where you know it’s not going to end up either in your lap or n the floor of the passenger’s side. For those long trips, we added a few comfort and convenience items to our project Corvette Z06.

We contacted Mid America Motorworks who gave us a couple recommendations for how to make a C5 Z06 better on those long hauls. In addition to the aforementioned cupholder—we ended up with one that not only holds a Big Gulp, but has some nice little storage cubbies and tucks cleanly in between the seats out of the way—they also recommended an addition that we feel greatly improves the Corvette Coupe experience, despite not being a performance accessory.

C5 coupes—Z06s in particular, due to their reduced sound deadening—suffer from a lot of interior road noise. The passenger cabin just seems to act as a giant amplifier, creating a drone that can get tiresome as the miles rack up. A simple trunk divider not only creates a nice, finished appearance to the interior, but substantially reduced the boomy, noisy sound level inside the car. It’s really one of the best hundred bucks or so you can spend on a street-driven Corvette coupe. The divider we got from Mid America installs or removes in seconds, and looks for all the world like a factory piece when it’s in place. We’d never own a street-driven Corvette coupe without one of these.

We also took some time to install a modern stereo head unit so we couple properly interface our phones—which are our primary content devices on the road—and have additional USB ports to power the tablets and cameras we use for data Acquisition. Because we didn’t care about the pinnacle of sound in this car—it’s a track machine, after all—we searched the sales at Crutchfield and ended up with a Pioneer head unit that met all our needs. It has usb and aux inputs, Bluetooth connectivity and a relatively low price. For under $150 we had our head unit and the proper adapters. Crutchfield’s tech support was top notch when we had a couple installation issues, but we were up blasting NPR on our new head unit in no time.

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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/27/18 1:09 p.m.

Tomorrow's GRM Live episode? laugh

sleepyhead
sleepyhead HalfDork
2/28/18 7:21 a.m.

wow, you guys really are getting this thing ready for OneLap, eh?  cheeky

chaparral
chaparral Dork
2/28/18 8:45 a.m.

Will you get rid of the deathtrap seats?

I broke my C5's seatback just climbing backwards into the trunk area; I only weighed 150# at the time. Who knows what would've happened if I'd crashed.

May I suggest trying out a Tillett carbon-fiber seat? I've never seen a review of their car seats, but I know their kart seats set the standard.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
2/28/18 9:53 a.m.
chaparral said:

Will you get rid of the deathtrap seats?

I broke my C5's seatback just climbing backwards into the trunk area; I only weighed 150# at the time. Who knows what would've happened if I'd crashed.

May I suggest trying out a Tillett carbon-fiber seat? I've never seen a review of their car seats, but I know their kart seats set the standard.

C5 seats are hot garbage. We definitely plan some upgrades in that department.

We've talked to http://www.marradind.com and will likely be doing some work with them to improve our driver seating arrangements before any serious track use.

Sonolin
Sonolin New Reader
2/28/18 2:18 p.m.

Sounds like you guys are fixing just about all my gripes with the C5. You guys are doing great work! Glad to hear a lot of these complaints can be easily fixed in the aftermarket.

deaconblue
deaconblue New Reader
3/3/18 7:49 p.m.

I have a single Travel Buddy cup holder hanger on the passenger side of the console of my '99 FRC that the PO installed.  It works well enough, but I notice it seems to be in my wife's way at times.  I know they also offer a dual unit, but your above the console between the seats unit looks to be pretty trick.  Two drinks, a third center one for a big gulp or a Yeti cup as well as coin slots, the rear slots for CD or larger items like an iPad.  The side openings look to be for old flip phones or glasses - not sure about Androids, Galaxy or iPhones.  The big question is how does it work when you have to reach across you chest to get to or place your drink in the holder?

I have the sound deadening partition and it makes a world of difference, especially on concert highways.  I plan to remove the interior and install a full under carpet/trim noise and heat insulation kit in hopes of making my '99 FRC a bit more livable.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/3/18 9:00 p.m.
deaconblue said:

I have a single Travel Buddy cup holder hanger on the passenger side of the console of my '99 FRC that the PO installed.  It works well enough, but I notice it seems to be in my wife's way at times.  I know they also offer a dual unit, but your above the console between the seats unit looks to be pretty trick.  Two drinks, a third center one for a big gulp or a Yeti cup as well as coin slots, the rear slots for CD or larger items like an iPad.  The side openings look to be for old flip phones or glasses - not sure about Androids, Galaxy or iPhones.  The big question is how does it work when you have to reach across you chest to get to or place your drink in the holder?

I have the sound deadening partition and it makes a world of difference, especially on concert highways.  I plan to remove the interior and install a full under carpet/trim noise and heat insulation kit in hopes of making my '99 FRC a bit more livable.

The cup part of the cupholder works great, but you're right about the phone holes. They come from a bygone era of Motorola flips and Nokia bricks. Still, my phone is usually on a suction mount on the windshield anyway, doing GPS duty, so it's no biggie.

Personally I can't do the reach around with my left arm. I have to go back with my right arm. It makes you have to kind of grab the cup backhanded, but it's still better than that practical joke of a "cupholder" they put next to the shifter.

As for that divider panel, it fells a little weird to evangelize so passionately about a non-performance upgrade, but these things are just an absolutely essential mod for the coupes. It's $100 you'll never regret spending. I'm actually a little nervous because we plan to put a roll bar in the car before long for time trial events, and I'm really hoping I can find a way to make it work with the bar.

deaconblue
deaconblue New Reader
3/4/18 10:01 a.m.

One other thing to keep in mind it that during the mid-cycle refreshing for the '01 MY they added more/better interior insulation to the C5, but that was dropped from the Z06 models due to weight concerns.  The top priorities on the engineers list of needed improvement over the C5 when designing the C6 were; improved cabin noise and heat isolation and better headlamps.

The PO bought a foam partition than is not covered with a felt material so it could be trimmed fairly easily to fit around a roll cage.  But keep in mind that the roll cage it self would still transmit noise and resonance into the cabin, (who cares with a track car, but if you drive it on the street you will care) unless maybe you could fill the tubing with some type of automotive structural foam, like the factories due with some newer late model vehicle's A-pillars.

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