The Corvette is, and honestly will forever be, one of America’s greatest icons in the motoring world. It’s been in production for over 60 years, and is one of the few vehicles that those that aren’t car nuts recognize. You will see some odd-ball builds, but for the most part it’s a holy grail of a platform. When I found out that a Japanese-based company OS Giken had their hands on a C5 Corvette and they were building it out for SCCA’s STU class with input from Stranoparts, and Ciro Racing Design, it was clear that the results would be pretty spectacular. OS Giken’s build of this car showcased that the Japanese tuning approach to this platform transformed this already great car into one one of the best. The OS Giken build also gave C5 owners ideas on how to make their cars more competitive with an inside look with open communication to the community. After a very successful year in 2015, I had to reach out to Jon Lugod, avid autocrosser, OS Giken Product Guru, and National Champion, to get the scoop of this awesome Corvette.
What type of car do you have (mod list later on in the questionnaire)?
It is a 2000 Chevrolet Corvette Fixed Roof Coupe (FRC).
A lot of people give their cars nicknames/actual names. Does the Vette have one?
‘Murica. Pretty self explanatory…
Mod List! Let’s have it!
- Ankeny Racing Ent. Penske 8300 Double Adjustable
- OS Giken Super Lock – Dual Core LSD
- Bride Stradia II Sport Reclinable Seats
- Bride Seat Sliders
- VBP 1020/740 Composite Springs
- StranoParts 33mm Front Sway Bar (Spherical Endlinks)
- StranoParts 25mm Rear Sway Bar (Spherical Endlinks)
- AFE Intake
- LG Motorsports Custom Headers w/ HFCs
- C5 Z06 Titanium Exhaust
- Church Automotive Testing Custom Engine Tune
- Planted Technology Seat Brackets
- Stoptech Sports Kit Brake Package
- Pioneer Digital Media Player (no cd)
- Titanium Bullet Shift Knob
- Ciro Design Custom Wheel Spacers Front and Rear
- Optima Red Top Battery
- Radium 1L Oil Catch Can
- ATi Super Damper (crank pulley)
- GM Performance Red Wires w/ protective booties
- Latheworks Custom Titanium Shift Knob
What was the biggest “surprise” obstacle you faced when you worked on the car (as in what was maybe supposed to have been an easy task but ended up being a pretty huge undertaking)?
Figuring out the proper leaf springs. They are VERY different in behavior than typical linear coilover spring. Most people don’t test multiple springs for their application but I definitely did to try and find a clear answer. The internet can be dangerous for data research in that regard. I feel that what I landed with is ideal for STU as it’s not too demanding from the tires and is very compliant while still providing the crisp handing generally provided by springs. BTW, I did not find SSP/ASP/SSM setups to work at all on street tires for STU prep which is what a lot of people were saying to copy.
As an obviously very Japanese company, what was the motivating factor to build a C5 Corvette for STU?
We wanted to build a project car and all of us here autocross. It was a no brainer that our project car would have to deal with some SCCA class at a reasonable tire budget. We toyed with the idea of building an Integra Type R for STX but did not like the theft possibility with that car. Also it wouldn’t really stand out in terms of its wow factor for the company (it’s just another JDM car). The Corvette seemed like a good idea because we have products for the American Domestic Market that could use more exposure. We thought a JDM themed Chevrolet Corvette would really get the attention of both the JDM crowd as well as the diehard Domestic crowd. Also too, the Corvette had already been in the class since 2013 but nobody was building them. At least to me it felt rewarding to build something this specific on my own accord with no relative data points to look at (stiff suspension & street tires).
How much tire testing did you end up doing before going with the right size that made the car feel like it was in its’ “sweet” spot?
Well we started out on the Hankook RS3 Version 2 Tires (285mm width) on 10.5” rim. Those felt good and had no complaints on how they performed at the time. That was until I had a conversation with an old friend (Rod from Bridgestone) about the RE-71R’s. Our race teams in Japan praised this tire in Time Attack and raised my interest on the possibility of it coming to the States. Once Rod told me there was a green flag on it, I was committed to run them. For 18’s the largest size was a 275 so that made the decision much easier for us.
Let’s talk suspension. Given the geometry what do you think is one thing the car could do better (i.e. sweepers, hairpins, transients)?
The car’s strong point is in the sweepers. The gearing does not inspire that go fast feeling that you typically get from a favored (geared) autocross car, but when you figure out how to carry the speed and lots of part throttle it can be very rewarding. Confusing at times but rewarding.
What would you say the car’s primary strength is?
Again, its ability to carry the speed. The car struggles with being a momentum car or a power car. The car definitely becomes a power car when the speeds get above 55mph. Our SoCal events are somewhat fast and can be very fun at times going straight.
Given the supporting motor upgrades, has it been fairly reliable given the severe punishment it goes through?
Yes, I mean it is an LSx motor we are talking about. It’s pretty stout in terms of reliability. We did nothing to really stress it for more power so I don’t see a concern in that regard.
Are there any sponsors you would like to acknowledge for their assistance in getting your car to the way that it is?
- OS Giken Japan
- Bridgestone Motorsports
- BRIDE / LotUSA
- Ankeny Racing Ent.
- LG Motorsports
- Stoptech Performance
- Church Automotive Testing
- Radium Engineering
- Ciro Racing Design
Do you feel as though the car needs further development or is at the pinnacle of it’s performance within it’s class?
The car can afford to lose more weight here and there. The Bridgestone 285 should be coming by March 2016. That should be a pretty good increase in performance as well. I did want to try a new style shock valving by Damperworks on these Penske’s to help the transitional performance. Lots of fine tuning here and there but every little thing counts!