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Corvette Racing
Duntov Motor Co
Officially Licensed Manufacturer of the Corvette Grand Sport

Duntov Motor Company's new book chronicles the history of both the Original and Continuation Grand Sports

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Duntov Motor Company, LLC

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VIR

This was Mecca’s first race after a frame up restoration.

In vintage racing today, cars that have a real historical racing pedigree are slowly being parked due to the gradual appreciation of their value. These survivors from the golden age of sports car racing have now been largely replaced by replicas, reproductions, and newly-built "vintage" cars.

This 1968 Corvette had been parked in a museum for more than twenty years. The car has a unique history and fifty years worth of documentation to back it up. It was once used by GM in the development of their racing dry sump system; it has evidence of eleven trips to the SCCA National Championships and several Trans-Am entries. Sponsored by the Mecca oil company, it is known widely as the "Mecca" Corvette. It received its SVRA gold medallion just before it was retired and museum bound.

Colby Hillman of Columbus, Ohio, bought the car from the museum with the intention of putting it back where it belongs ? on a race track. He contracted Duntov Motor Company to restore race prepare the car, and to bring it in line with the current state of vintage rules and competition. The restoration was finished in October 2017, but didn’t make its debut until the SVRA National Championships at the Circuit of the Americas in November 2018.

Colby took the freshly restored car and immediately ran in the top half of the most competitive big bore production field found in the US. The goal of the weekend was for Colby to get some seat time, fix any teething issues that might come up, and find enough pace to compete for the Group 6 Endurance National Championship. The Enduro started Sunday morning at 8 AM.

It had rained the night before, so the track was wet for the start of the race. Despite the Porsche friendly conditions, Colby managed to pick up a spot in the first few laps. With several cars littering the edges of the track, Colby anticipated a full course yellow and decided to bring it into the pits for the mandatory five-minute pit stop. In these enduros, it’s always a gamble to come in early. If a full course yellow flies after you have completed your stop, you are almost guaranteed to lose a lap to those who waited and pitted under yellow. In this case, the Chief Steward decided to leave the cars by the side of the track, and race continued under green flag conditions. Fortunately, it remained under green for the rest of the race.

The crew topped off the tank and the pit stop was an almost perfect 5 minutes and 3 seconds. Edward Sevadjian drove the second stint, and because the Mecca Corvette was the first car to stop, Edward rejoined the race in 36th place with 17 laps to go. The Mecca car ran flawlessly, and on lap 20, it passed the Group 6 leading Corvette. By the end of the race it had lapped every other car in the race, with the exception of a Formula 1 Brabham, which had inexplicably been slotted to run with the production cars.

In two years time, Colby Hillman and Duntov Motor Company took a static display museum car and turned it into a National Champion.

VIR

Edward Sevadjian and Colby Hillman

This would be Edward’s third Trans-Am 2 race in 2018, and although the car is four years old, he typically runs in the top ten. After finishing in the top 8 in all practice sessions, Edward went backwards in qualifying where he slotted in 15th. Early in the race Edward reported the power steering was shaking in his hands, and was advised by the crew chief to park the car. Instead he continued, and at about the halfway point in the race, he had worked his way up to 7th. There was a great battle for third, with third through 10th all running nose to tail and trading places. Just halfway through the race our power steering ram mounting bracket finally broke off, and Edward was forced to retire the car. We were looking good for a top five finish and had a shot at third had the car finished the race.

The 2016 VIR

This was Edward’s daughter River’s first race.

This would be Edward’s third Trans-Am 2 race in 2018, and although the car is four years old, he typically runs in the top ten.  After finishing in the top 8 in all practice sessions, Edward went backwards in qualifying where he slotted in 15th.  Early in the race Edward reported the power steering was shaking in his hands, and was advised by the crew chief to park the car.  Instead he continued, and at about the halfway point in the race, he had worked his way up to 7th.  There was a great battle for third, with third through 10th all running nose to tail and trading places.   Just halfway through the race our power steering ram mounting bracket finally broke off, and Edward was forced to retire the car.  We were looking good for a top five finish and had a shot at third had the car finished the race.

VIR

This was Mecca’s first race after a frame up restoration.

VIR

Edward and a very serious Colby Hillman

Colby Hillman’s historic Mecca Corvette had undergone a total restoration prior to the 2017 COTA race, and hadn’t raced since.  This car was well balanced right from the first session and Colby ran in the top half of the field all weekend.  If you consider that this car is a Gold Medallion prepared entry, it would put Colby right at the front of this category.  In addition to its strong pace, the car also won the Group 6 small enduro National Championship.

Clair Schwendeman led that race for 40 minutes, and brought it in for his mandatory 5-minute pit stop with a 30 second lead.  Unfortunately a botched fueling operation eradicated the majority of that lead and Edward (who was co-driving the Mecca entry) passed Clair’s co-driver (the author) four laps into his stint.  Shortly after that, Alan parked the car on the side of the front straight with an electrical issue.  Mecca proceeded to lap every other car in the race with the exception of a 1968 Brabham F1 car that was inexplicably put in with the small block production cars in the ‘little’ enduro.

As to the 2018 Group 6 National Championship, typically the largest field and the best turnout of talent and equipment in vintage racing, the event didn’t exactly live up to its billing.  Instead of the fastest cars and the best drivers in the country competing for a coveted National Championship, this year’s event was lacking the winner of the previous 3 COTA races.

A week prior to the race, Jim Kitzmiller withdrew his entry into the race so Edward was not in the field.  Since last year's race, SVRA added 200 lbs to all of the quick Corvettes, including Kitzmiller, Jody O’Donnell, Peter Klutt and Mike Donohue.  It was an effort to tighten up the field, and a 200 lb penalty was also given to Clair Schwendeman’s Corvette that had finished 9th the last time he ran it at COTA.

With no weight penalty, Gary Klutt, a veteran NASCAR driver and son of Peter Klutt, ran right up with Jody O’Donnell, and in fact ran right into Jody, and Klutt put him into the wall at turn one, lap one.  He then ran away with the race, but was later disqualified for aggressive driving.

Road America International Challenge

Jody’s car after Gary Klutt knocked him right into the wall.

After Gary Klutt and a Cobra were disqualified, Scott Borchetta in an ex Duntov prepared #05 1972 Corvette ended up finishing first overall and he won the BP National Championship.

Road America International Challenge

The Duntov crew, L-R, JD, Steven, Jake, Luke, and Jeffrey, behind Clair’s car with ballast.

First in AP and second overall was pro racing and perennial SCCA National Champion John Heinricy, who drove Jim Sandberg’s big-block Corvette.  John’s fastest lap was a 2:29.1, which was six seconds slower than last year’s fastest lap.  In 2018, the fastest big block Corvettes were all sidelined; Kitzmiller’s by admin, O’Donnell’s by getting rammed into the fence, Gary Klutt by doing the ramming and getting disqualified, and Peter Klutt by an engine issue.

Road America International Challenge

The ballast carrying Mike Donohue (left) and Clair Schwendeman (right) were second and third in BP, and third and fourth overall.  It was a strange and disappointing race, to say the least.

At this year’s annual Corvette Museum event, four new members were inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame.  The Museum’s highest honors went to racers Burt and John Greenwood, former Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace and businessman Mike Yager. 

Duntov Motor Company was asked to bring two of their continuation cars, Don Fiore’s Grand Sport 016 and Rick Mancuso’s Continuation Greenwood Widebody # 001.  Alan Sevadjian was also invited for a two days of book signing of his new book Fifty Years of the Corvette Grand Sport.   It was a great honor and all the Duntov people were treated as royalty.  Here are a few pictures from the event:

Street sign in front of the Museum

GS 016 on the way into the Museum

The Museum bought three cases of books and had everything set up so that people would buy the book inside the store before bringing it out into the lobby for signing.  Apparently they have done this before!

Alan had the pleasure of meeting and signing a book for Herb Fishel, the man behind the
recent Corvette success at Le Mans.

If you have never done this before, its not easy!

The local TV station made everyone feel important.

Dr. Charles Sevadjian and proud GS 016
owner Don Fiore

Our host, National Corvette Museum Director
Wendell Strobe

Rick Mancuso’s Duntov Continuation Greenwood Widebody was another main attraction.

Heading out of the Museum after a fantastic event for Corvette fans in general,
and Duntov Motor Company in particular!

VIR is one of our favorite racetracks. This year’s event included a Pro-Am race, similar in format to the Indy event, but with NASCAR drivers. Jim Kitzmiller was not interested in another Pro-Am event as the last three cost him big money. Clair Schwendeman was on the podium in the last two Indy Pro-Ams, and he wanted another bite of the apple.

We were planning on bringing Tony Parella’s 58 Corvette, but at the last minute Tony asked us to take two Pro-Am cars instead; Mark Hilderbrand’s Corvette, the other an A/Sedan Camaro that would be a spare in case one of the other Pro-Am cars didn’t make it.

The 2016 VIR

It turned out to be a great handling car, but no power!

Sure enough, on Friday Tony came over and asked Alan if he would drive the A/S Camaro with Johnny Benson. Who could say no to that? Unfortunately, it was like running a Sprite in Group 6, and the Alan’s focus became how to avoid being last!

Clair was teamed with Ward Burton. Ward was an absolute pleasure to work with, and just a super guy. He is, however, over the top on ergonomics. The challenge was accommodating both drivers, given there is about an eight inch difference in their heights and about a two foot difference in where they want their steering wheel! The solution was to remount the seat, moving the base forward, the back of the base up and moving the top of the back forward six inches. We also used a seat insert for Ward and a different steering wheel for each driver. Ward’s wheel had a three inch dish; Clair’s was flat. Ward’s wheel ended up about six inches from his chest, right where he wanted it, while Clair ended up learning how to drive his car with a steering wheel about a foot closer to him than it was.

VIR

Ward is telling Clair the dished wheel wasn’t enough – we needed to move the seat forward as well.

Mark Hilderbrand was teamed with Todd Bodine, and like Ward Burton, Todd was all but a member of the crew.  He worked side by side with Mark and the crew right up until the race.

VIR

Clair Schwendeman and Mark Hilderbrand getting feedback from Todd Bodine

The A/S Camaro hadn’t been run since 2012. Its fuel cell foam had dissolved, so it took a ton of work before it would even run. We did get it running in time for Group 6 qualifying, and it wasn’t last – it was 20th out of 29. Mark qualified 5th, Clair 8th.

In the pre-race lecture, the teams were told the pit lane would be closed in the event of a full course yellow, and that the amateur driver could only run 10 laps. Obviously, it was a good idea to get the pit stop over with early, in case a full course yellow came out on the eighth or ninth lap, which is exactly what happened. Those who planned on pitting at lap 10 ended up disqualified.

The Duntov crew was servicing three cars, and they were scheduled to come in on laps 5, 6 and 7. With both Mark and Clair in the pits for their mandatory pit stop and driver change, a full course yellow slowed the field and Mark and two other cars that were on the pit lane at the time rejoined the race a lap ahead of the rest of the field who had pitted earlier on green.

Unfortunately, Ward was not exactly ready when it was time to go, as he wanted to check the radio! While that was going on, the pace car came by and he went a lap down. Once under way, Ward turned the fastest lap Clair’s car ran all weekend, but it was only good for 8th place. Mark and Todd Bodine finished third, and the A/S Camaro of Alan Sevadjian and Johnny Benson was a DNF due to trash in the fuel system.

Road America International Challenge

We weren’t last!

For us there was no Group 6 feature race as the track was wet Sunday morning and we had had enough. It was time to go home.

50 Years of the Grand Sport signing
Racing Brake Pistons
Racing Brake Pistons

After a year of design, prototyping, and development, a new upgrade to the venerable Delco brake caliper is about to be released. The new pistons and seals are designed to stay in the car for a season of racing at ten-tenths. Even with the superior insulating qualities of Duntov’s titanium racing pistons, the current stock-type seals are generally good for only one race weekend. Changing out the seals involves removing, overhauling, reinstalling and bleeding a car-set of calipers, which typically takes eight man-hours. The new Teflon seals are designed to last a lifetime of street driving, but Duntov is in the process of demonstrating continual use for six race-weekends, which would save forty man-hours of labor, and effectively remove one of the reliability issues Corvette racers have always had to contend with.

Racing Brake Pistons Racing Brake Pistons

The internal friction generated by grease-packed conventional opposed tapered roller bearings is substantial. Duntov’s new bearings reduce this rolling resistance by an astonishing 40%. They are available now and we will have them on the website within thirty days.

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