Nov 17, 2023
2023 Corvette Z06 Competes in the "Tire Rack One Lap of America" Challenge
In an article originally shared thru the NCM Motorsports Park newsletter, we
In an article originally shared thru the NCM Motorsports Park newsletter, we came across the story we’re about to share with you. There are several factors that make this story a bit of a stand apart from the usual fare we normally publish about the Motorsports Park, but its also an immensely relatable story about perseverence and the spirit of competition and pride that just about every Corvette owner shares in one form or another.
In early May 2023, the National Corvette Museum's Motorsports Park hosted a leg of "The Tire Rack One Lap of America" challenge. Per Tire Rack's website about this event, the "Tire Rack One Lap of America" competition is "a charitable, extreme challenge, street-legal road rally race for driving enthusiasts. It is an event of endurance and vehicle preparation. Featuring eight days of competition between many of North America's fastest street-legal cars, the teams will compete in 10 events over more than 3,000 miles during a week of skid pad, autocross, drag strip, racetrack and highway transit. Teams are self-managed, have no support crews and have to finish on the same set of tires on which they started. Competition traditionally begins at Tire Rack in South Bend, Indiana when Tire Rack hosts One Lap of America competitors to a Wet Skid Pad Challenge before they begin their week-long trek. Competitors return to Tire Rack for the final event the following Saturday for a Dry Skid Pad Challenge and the famous burnout celebration."
While this event attracts a variety of participants with varying levels of equipment and skill, this year's "Tire Rack One Lap of America" challenge participants included Brian Wallace, a Vehicle Performance Engineer for Chevrolet Performance Cars. Brian is a familiar name (and face) amongst the Corvette community, both because of his unique involvment in the development of Chevrolet performance vehicles combined with relationship to father Tom Wallace, former race car driver, team builder, Corvette Chief Engineer (2005-2008) and 2018 Corvette Hall of Fame inductee! It was during Tom's tenure as Corvette Chief Engineer that Chevrolet developed the 2009 Corvette ZR1, the most powerful Corvette (637 horsepower) in the history of the brand (up to that point in time.)
Given both Brian's personal and family history with the Corvette and their combined passion for motorsports, his participation in the "Tire Rack One Lap of America" challenge was a "must do" for him. Says Brian, "It's a group of people that eats, sleeps, and breaths cars. Everybody is always pitching in to help, and it's amazing to be a part of that. I’m kind of living off of adrenaline right now. It's amazing how everyone works as a team."
For this year's week-long event, Brian opted to drive his brand-new, mid-engine C8 Corvette Z06. As with other competitors, Brian started his week-long run in South Bend, Indiana, before travelling hundreds of miles to participate in each of the scheduled one-lap events, which included stops at Grisson Air Force Base, Nelson Ledges, Road Atlanta, Nashville Superspeedway, Thunder Valley Raceway, the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, and, of course, the NCM Motorsports Park road course.
Brian proved that his 2023 Z06 Corvette had real mettle by not only competing in each of the sanctioned events, but by driving it from location to location as he made his week long run in the challenging event. To complicate matters further, he encountered some additional difficulties while commuting from the Hallet Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, Oklahoma to the NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. As he travelled the more than 700 miles between the two locations, he ran into a two-by-four piece of wood on the road which caused damage to his Corvette. While a situation such as this may have deterred a lesser competitor, Brian simply had the repair parts he needed shipped to his hotel overnight. Upon receipt, he (along with other competitors in the event) jumped into action and repaired the Corvette.
"Everyone just jumped in to help us. I was up until about 3:00 in the morning, but we made it."
Once back on the road, Brian eagerly anticipated his arrival in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Recognizing that the "Tire Rack" challenge culminated at the "Home of the Corvette," bringing his new C8 Z06 Corvette to the NCM Motorsports Park was an especially big deal for him.
"This track means a lot to the Corvette Community. It's nice to have one of the most iconic and special cars throughout the whole Corvette heritage."
Brian (along with co-driver Andrew Simrell) arrived in Bowling Green to heavy rains and uncertain driving conditions. Even so, the pair was not deterred as they pulled their Michelin wrapped (and sponsored) Corvette Z06 out onto the tarmac in preparation of the event. The duo, who spent the week competing in the SGT-1 BB Stock GT class, took their car out onto the track after the weather relented enough to allow the teams to get a few laps in on the 3.2 mile race circuit. Already recognized by competitors as one of the toughest road courses in the nation, the NCM Motorsports Park proved even more challenging given the combination of putting a 670 horsepower super-car on wet asphalt.
If he experienced any uncertainty while on the track, he seemed undeterred as he finished his lap on the MSP track. In fact, the only comment he had for the spectators was "This flat plane crank can rev (to) 8,600, make 670 horses, and sounds amazing. (It) is a very special car!"