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2002 Camaro vs 1997 Corvette

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Old 10-22-2016, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default 2002 Camaro vs 1997 Corvette

This may not be your typical ask for help thread because my dumbass has 1st world problems. I already own both cars, but I want to go racing and I'm trying to decide which one to focus on. You'd think this would be easy and it's simply the Corvette. Let me share a little backround first.

I bought the Camaro in 2003 and just refuse to get rid of it. It started off completely stock, it was GM certified used, and I didn't do much at first. It was expensive for me at the time when I was younger, and I was still a very young technician that didn't know much about modding. The Camaro eventually has gone through many set-ups, it grew into a 10 second nitrous car, with a 4k stall converter and a 9inch with a spool. In the last few years I have swapped it to a 6 speed, replaced the spool with a wavetrac and 4.10 gears. redid the entire rear suspension with UMI's roto-joint adjustable parts (it had BMR poly adjustable stuff before), and most importantly installed Sam Strano's springs and sway bars on Koni adjustables. The only thing left from the drag racing is the forged 370ci LQ9 with a healthy cam and nitrous (obviously don't need the nitrous anymore).

The Corvette I bought 2 years ago, it was fairly cheap for a C5 since it needed a clutch and maintence from sitting around. So it has a fresh clutch, fresh fluids, headers and exhaust, tuned. I couldn't resist putting all the take off C5Z parts on it, springs/sways/shocks. It is an awesome car for what I have in it. It doesn't make the power of the Camaro obviously but better in the corners.

So I want to get more serious about autocross, and would like to a few HPDE a year. I haven't taken either of these out on track, just autocross. I haven't been to a HPDE since I got rid of my Miata. I worry about heat taking either of these on track. When I mod the Corvette I certainly don't want it to start feeling like a race car when I drive it on the street. The Z06 parts are just fine IMHO on the street. What I want to do is be competitive for FTD running with my local guys. I'm sure that I could do that with either car, but maybe some of you could point out some pros and cons of each car.

Sorry for the long read, I keep bouncing back and forth, like I said at the top it's 1st world problems.
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:05 PM   #2
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Let me start off by saying that the vette will probably be better/ faster but it seems you already have more raceworthy parts on the camaro. If you're not wanting to sacrifice street manners on the vette I think it's a no brainer to race the camaro and drive the vette. Camaro will do fine and will be fast and competitive IMO.
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:15 AM   #3
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Corvette will be faster but aftermarket parts will have a "Vette Tax" compared to F-Body parts.

I'd take that LQ9 out and drop in an aluminum block LS motor to shave some weight off the front of an already nose heavy car. You don't need power to autocross, in some cases (depending on your throttle control) it can make you slower. Last time I went autocrossing I was 2 seconds faster than a 2016 C7 Z06, mainly because I could focus on my lines rather than worry about the rear swinging around.
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:23 AM   #4
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Put Strano bars on the Vette along with some big rubber and you'll be faster than the already nose heavy Camaro with an iron block and 4.10 gears - no question in my mind. You can squeeze 315's on stock C5Z wheels - run those in a square set-up and the car will be a beast on the autocross track!
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:52 AM   #5
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My Votes on the vette. Here's a quick comparison.
1. Weight: the Vette is going to weight less and also have less unsprang mass with mostly aluminum linkages and IRS. You also have an aluminum block with the vette vs Iron on the Camaro.
2. Handling: a) setup better from the factory for handling
b) you get IRS as mentioned above, which allows you to run some negative chamber in the rear as well
c)Corvette has a lower CG
d)corvette will have a stiffer chassis
3. Power delivery: You may have more power with the Camaro but as M4N14C mentioned carrying your car through better lines is more important than power not to mention managing power through 4k stall vs a 6 speed is going to very difficult and a hand full.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:40 AM   #6
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C5...Takes less mods to go as fast if not faster than the Camaro fully built.

You can spend $15k on a C5 including shocks/springs/tires only or you can spend $15K on a Camaro with built motor/every suspension part known to man bolted on and a better differential only to MAYBE beat the C5. This assumes same wheel/tire used on both (315/30/18's) and same driver (you).

Look up UMI (vendor) Camaro SS they have put together. That is a well sorted out Fbody. Pay attention to what they have done (and the money you would need to spend to duplicate). Then think about simply bolting on shocks/springs/tires on the C5.


IMO the C5 has more potential. Your maxed out Fbody will equate to a stockish C5 with basic mods. So for the long haul a C5 would be better suited.
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Old 10-27-2016, 06:35 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for the replies, I certainly understand that the C5 is better suited and is much further ahead stock for stock. I suspected this would be most people's opinion, my cars are close with all the mods to the Camaro, and the Z06 parts on the C5. However it is very obvious that the Corvette is the more predictable car and would certainly be faster. I'm sure I will try the Camaro once the way it sits, but will continue playing with the Vette.
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Old 11-09-2016, 09:56 AM   #8
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Default Race the f-body

My suggestion is going with the camaro. If you plan to autocross, the SCCA is the most competitive arena for regular guys. Most regions have 8-10 races a year, and you might live in an area where multiple regions are within your grasp. There are a couple of high end racing groups out there, but they are pretty widespread in their events. They do attract some very stiff competition though if you are up to that level. In SCCA racing, the camaro would run in CAM-C class. It seems to be the most popular class out there. While there is a class for the corvette, CAM-S, it does not have the same participation. While some would say that class racing is not the ultimate, and overall FTD or even PAX is king, it is hard to beat class racing for the newer guy. In my area, there are sometimes 10-12 CAM-C cars out of a 110 car total registration. It means something to win your class!
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:27 PM   #9
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I had a highly modified 1999 Z28 that was built for track duty, 385rwhp LS6 under the hood.

So far I am six seconds a lap faster in a stock C5 z06 with the same rwhp, I will go faster with more seat time.
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:04 PM   #10
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OP has yet to specify a class to race in. Pick a class, then pick your weapon of choice.
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Old 12-08-2016, 04:52 PM   #11
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Hit the easy button and go with the corvette. I have a Detroit speed equipped camaro and corvette is not far off from it.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:53 PM   #12
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A buddy of mine who is pretty serious into autox just sold his 4th gen firebird which had a lot of suspension goodies for a stock c5 and has not regrets.

I vote c5.
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