Dec 4, 2018 update to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car

Project Z06: Safety Enhancements

One of the primary destinations for our C5 Corvette Z06 will be the SCCA’s new Time Trials program, which allows unrestricted runs while the clocks are running on some of America’s greatest racetracks. With 405hp on tap (and more likely coming in the future) in our car, that means we’d like to add some protection in the form of additional safety gear.

We’ve already discussed our Kirkey Model 47 aluminum seat, which is bolted to an AMT Motorsports Ultralow mount that attaches directly to the floor. This seat/mount combination provides a low, stable platform from which to work that is far more solid and supportive than the stock arrangement. Holding us into this seat is a set of GForce 2-inch quick release harnesses, which are sized for use with popular head and neck safety devices. The harnesses attach to the AMT seat mount via integrated eye bolts, and wrap around our Autopower roll bar.

Installing a roll bar in a C5 can be a bit more complicated than in a standard unibody vehicle. Because the Corvette has a fiberglass body dropped over a steel and aluminum backbone chassis, there’s no real structural floor to support rollover protection attachments as in in a unibody car.

Instead, the main hoop of the roll bar is attached to plates that are welded to the top of the bulkhead separating the passenger area from the cargo area. More plates are welded to the frame back in the cargo area, which requires the removal of some fiberglass to access the steel frame below.

Welding the plates to the frame in the rear is a piece of cake—it’s thick metal being welded to thin metal. Welding to the bulkhead is a bit trickier, since it requires fusing thick plates to a relatively thin piece of formed steel. Complicating matters is the fact that the fuel tanks sit inches below the top of that bulkhead that’s being welded upon. Our advice: Lower the fuel tanks as much as possible, or remove them altogether, before welding commences. It’s a choice between how much you trust your welding skill vs. how easily you think you can survive an explosion.

The final piece of our safety equation was a 10lb mechanical fire system from SPA Technique. Included with their SPAfs SFI10 kit is a bottle, mounts, a release cable, and enough tubing, nozzles and connectors for three discharge points in the car. Using a set of tubing cutters and a simple bender, it’s possible to install the kit in under an hour; once installed, it can be removed or replaced in 15-20 minutes. It’s a perfect solution for someone who may want to track a car that gets used on the street, and therefore needs to be able to install and uninstall the system for track days.

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Brian_13
Brian_13 New Reader
12/4/18 7:17 p.m.

Welding the plates to the frame in the rear is a piece of cake—it’s thick metal being welded to thin metal. Welding to the bulkhead is a bit trickier, since it requires fusing thick plates to a relatively thin piece of formed steel. 

Presumably this is just a typo: it should be "thick metal being welded to thick metal" of the frame, in contrast to welding to the thin bulkhead. It looks like someone already tried to fix this, as the word in error displays as "thin" in the online magazine article, and "think" in the forum version of the same article.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/4/18 10:06 p.m.
Brian_13 said:

Welding the plates to the frame in the rear is a piece of cake—it’s thick metal being welded to thin metal. Welding to the bulkhead is a bit trickier, since it requires fusing thick plates to a relatively thin piece of formed steel. 

Presumably this is just a typo: it should be "thick metal being welded to thick metal" of the frame, in contrast to welding to the thin bulkhead. It looks like someone already tried to fix this, as the word in error displays as "thin" in the online magazine article, and "think" in the forum version of the same article.

Wow we double-hosed that one, didn't we? Thanks for the catch. We'll get it fixed (for real this time).

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