This Boosted C6 Corvette Is Destroying Lap Records Wherever It Goes

05/11/2021
10 min read

This Boosted C6 Corvette Is Destroying Lap Records Wherever It Goes

05/11/2021
10 min read

Growing up around the performance hardware that rolled into his dad’s body shop and spending weekends at the road courses when pops would bring out the Viper for track days, Feras Qartoumy’s penchant for speed developed early on. “I would kind of be his little pit crew,” he recalls with a laugh. “Or at least I thought I was!”


These days Qartoumy’s got a fast machine of his own, and it has quickly become one of the most formidable production-based time trial cars you’ll find anywhere. Reaching this level of competitiveness has demanded a long development process, though, and it’s one that this hot shoe from Dallas, Texas says isn’t over yet.


“When I was younger, cars kind of took a back seat – it’s an expensive hobby,” he notes. “But I kept working toward the dream of building a car the way I wanted to do it.” That day came in 2017, when Qartoumy embarked a on a pro touring-style project with an LS-swapped third generation Chevy Nova. “I did a lot of autocross with that car and it was really competitive, but after a couple of track days I realized that while it was good around cones, at 150 mph the deficiencies start to show. I wanted to be at the top and run as fast as I could possibly be, and I knew that this car wasn’t going to take me there.”


He started weighing his options for the next build. It needed to be a platform that could deliver the kind of performance he was after, had strong aftermarket support, and wouldn’t break the bank. “At the end of the day, I’m the one who’s doing the majority of the work on the car, so it had to be something that I knew I could easily wrench on.”


Time Attack Vette rear


He narrowed it down to two options. “The first was a Porsche 911 Turbo, because it’s all-wheel drive, has a decent amout of horsepower, and you can make more power pretty easily,” he says. “And the other option was a Corvette. I’m an American muscle car kind of guy anyway, and looking at it dollar-for-dollar, I decided that the performance I could get from out of a C6 Z06 was going to be a lot more cost effective versus an older Porsche. It was really a no-brainer, honestly.”


He devised a plan for the build, sold the Nova, and started buying performance hardware even before he had the new whip in his garage. “I got suspension parts, wheels, tires, seats – I already knew what I wanted to do with the car,” he says. “I just didn’t know how quickly it was going to progress.” He scoured around online for a stock C6 Z06 and found a pristine, low-mileage 2008 example to use as the canvas for his build. “In hindsight, I should have looked for a wrecked Z06,” he quips. “Something that wasn’t as nice as the car was when I bought it – I ended up ripping everything out of it anyway. It snowballed pretty quickly.”


Six months in, he hit a major impasse when a lifter in LS7 decided to check out and took major internals with it. “At that point I decided I was going to build the biggest, baddest naturally aspirated engine I could possibly put together,” he explains. “The goal was to get the most amount of horsepower with the least amount of weight. And that’s when I stumbled across the 468ci LS from Horsepower Research.”


Outfitted with coilovers, beefier sway bars, spherical bushings, bigger brakes, competition spec wheels and tires, good seats and a full interior, he campaigned the car in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge in what he considers to be the “mild” initial state of the build. “I didn’t get too crazy with it at that point, but after running the series for a couple of years, I felt like I had reached the limit with a street car. I needed more. And that’s when I started looking into time attack.”

Encouraged by fellow Optima competitor Jeremy Swenson, Qartoumy set his sights on the GridLife series. He noted that while there weren’t many Corvettes in the field, it was going to take a lot to make the Z06 into a serious contender in its class. During the downtime between the 2018 and 2019 race seasons, he decided to rework the car for the discipline, pulling out the interior and focusing on making the car as light as it possibly could be while adding more aero to give the car more high-speed stability and cornering capability. “I was like – ok, this will have to do it – this is what I can do for now. That was basically ‘Version 1’ of the time attack setup.”


Version 1 proved to be pretty good, as it turns out; at the Super Lap Battle event at Circuit of the Americas in 2019 – his first-ever time attack competition – Qartoumy ended up winning the event and setting the record for the class. He drove the Corvette to podiums at various time attack events throughout the rest of the season, and ended up taking the championship in Super Lap Battle’s Limited class along with national title in Optima’s newly-minted Outlaw class.


He still wanted to take things a step further, though, and after GridLife revised some of their transmission rules, he decided to switch the car over to a PPG sequential box between the ’19 and ’20 season and added an APR GT-1000 rear wing. Although the car was plagued with overheating issues early in the season, Qartoumy ended up setting a record his first time out at Super Lap Battle once again.


“The interesting thing that happened at that event was that Garrett stepped in as a sponsor and the winner received a turbo. So I suddenly had this turbo to use.” After a chat with the folks at Garrett, Qartoumy scored a sponsorship of his own, and one turbo suddenly turned into two turbos. Then COVID hit.


“Everything shut down, and I figured I could either wait this out on the couch, or use the extra months to rebuild the car again.”


Time Attack Vette engine


Not surprisingly, he chose the latter, and in went a twin turbo system developed with Peitz Performance, along with an LME-built, 430ci LSX motor and a set of race-spec brakes from Alcon. And as has become his tradition, Qartoumy set another record and took the win on his first outing of the season at a GridLife event at Gingerman Raceway. But he says that he came back from the event knowing that the car needed more attention.


Qartoumy went on to win every single event he competed in for 2020, setting new track records at courses like Pikes Peak and Buttonwillow along the way. The car proved dominant enough that he found himself at a crossroads at the end of the season once again, wondering if he should continue in the classes he was currently running in or step up to the anything-goes Unlimited class. “I decided it was time for Version 4 of the car – I wanted to see if we could get to the top and be the absolute fastest production car out there.”


Time Attack Vette straightaway


During the off-season the car was gutted once again, and all of the factory wiring was tossed in favor of a Holley EFI Terminator main harness that helped clean up the car's wiring. “We lost like 60 pounds in just wiring alone,” he points out. “It was crazy. And when you look at re-wiring the car from scratch, there’s just so many things you’re going to need that you probably won’t know that you need going into it. And the time – the amount of time it would take to completely re-wire the car by hand would have been nuts. Holley already makes a harness and it’s heat shielded – it made the process so simple.”


Qartoumy also took the opportunity to put a full roll cage in the car and have another engine built. This time around they selected an RHS block and had the folks at LME put together an even gnarlier power plant.


“I explained to them that, since my sixth gear is 1:1, I was limited by MPH – I was already hitting the max top speed of the system, so I needed an extra 1000 RPM to be able to hit 190 mph in sections of some of these tracks. So LME put together a parts list that would be able to handle the boosted engine up to 8000 RPM.”


The combination includes a crank and rods from Callies, Diamond pistons, a custom-ground camshaft from Comp Cams, and an MSD Atomic Airforce intake manifold, and a pair of Garrett G35-900 turbos. He says the new mill is good for up to 1,500 horsepower depending on the amount of boost he wants to run at a given event, though he typically keeps it at around 14 psi, which yields 1000 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque.


Time Attack Vette apex


And to make sure the rest of the car is on pace with the new engine, Qartoumy bolted on new coilovers from Penske and turned to Affinity for a Pikes Peak-inspired aero kit. “I felt like if I could get that level of aero on a car that runs on a circuit, it would be ideal for me,” he says. “The fact that I have up to 1,500hp available if need be, I should be able to push through any increase in drag that it would create.”


Early teething issues with the latest iteration of the Z06 saw the new motor overheating during testing as a result of the intercooler system blocking airflow into the radiator. Qartoumy temporarily solved the problem by mounting a second radiator onto the back of the car shortly before heading to a Super Lap Battle event at Circuit of Americas in early March. Despite the fact that the car was largely untested in its latest form, he ran within one second of the overall production-based record on his first session out with the car on its lowest boost setting.


Knowing the potential that the Corvette has now, he has some ambitious goals set for 2021.


“I want to beat every single production car record at every track I visit this year,” he tells us. “I want to have the fastest production car that’s ever been to a given track – period.”

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