The Ultimate Power Source ™

OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: Oct 21, 2016

Greg Thurmond's 1965 Chevrolet Corvette- 2016 OUSCI Preview

Greg Thurmond's incredible 1965 Chevrolet Corvette is making its second appearance in the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by K&N Filters. Last year, Greg was one of only a handful of invitees selected from the SEMA Show floor to compete in the OUSCI. In 2016, Thurmond set out to prove that his car was worthy of inclusion in the field based on performance at the track as well.

Thurmond ran the Vette in the ultra-competitive GTL class at four qualifying events in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, hitting Thunderhill, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Circuit of the Americas and Auto Club Speedway. Thurmond could've easily added weight to the car and run in the GTV class for pre-1990 vehicles that weigh over 3,200 pounds, but when it comes time to perform at the OUSCI, a lighter Vette will likely out-perform a heavier version with all other factors being equal.

Besides that, Greg's wife, Jane was competing in the GTV class in her Corvette and as is the case with Rich and Carrie Willhoff, who also race a pair of Corvettes in the series, things seem to be more copacetic if husband and wife aren't competing against each other in the same class.What Greg ended up accomplishing in the GTL class was nothing short of spectacular, as he finished in eighth place in the season-long points chase and did so as the oldest car to finish in the top-20 in GTL. His 1,233 points were enough to place him squarely in the hotly-contested Final 15 list for OUSCI invites, where after ten events, and a perfect possible score of 1,500 points, eight competitors on that list found themselves within just 13 points of each other.

How did Thurmond manage to be so competitive in a car that started with a technology deficit that was measured in decades against most of his GTL contemporaries? We'll start with the body work, which includes fenders that were widened four inches in the front and six inches in the rear and a stunning, custom five-stage candy pearlescent paint job supplied by Martin Auto Color. Greg also installed a custom carbon fiber front air dam to reduce front end lift at high speeds, as well as a custom-fabricated rear diffuser to keep the back end firmly planted at speed. The headlamps now feature custom LEDs and the custom carbon fiber rear bumper also have LED tail lamps. The trim pieces were powder-coated in black by PowderCoatWheels.com.

Newman Car Creations customized the original frame with factory C4 Corvette forged aluminum suspension components, as well as a custom mid-chassis aluminum differential torque arm. Wilwood Brakes supplied super-light brakes with an added Bosch ABS system to help bring Greg's Forgeline racing wheels and 315-series Falken AZENIS to a halt. RideTech supplied the adjustable coilover shocks and Greg came up with his own design for an adjustable rear suspension, fabricated with 6061-T4 aluminum, utilizing transverse--mounted coilover shocks with cantilever rockers and eight quick-change wheel to shock ratios.

Power for Greg's Stingray comes from a 630-horsepower Lingenfelter LS7 dry sump engine with an AVIAID oil sump baffle system, K&N oil filters, Spectre Performance intake system, managed by Holley HP EFI and fueled by a VaporWorx modulated fuel pump system. Hedman headers run into three-inch tubing to Black Widow Exhaust Venom Mufflers. A lightweight, high-performance Centerforce DYAD clutch mated to a Legend Gear & Transmission high-torque LGT700 five-speed overdrive transmission make shifting a breeze and of course, it all starts with an OPTIMA REDTOP battery.

Thurmond carried the carbon fiber theme into the interior, where there are carbon fiber accents on the door panels, dashboard and headliner. Greg also played it safe by installing a DJ Safety three-nozzle fire suppression system and five-point harnesses with Corbeau racing seats. Greg designed and built his own six-point roll cage which features a frame-strengthening design. and Autometer GT series instruments including vital wideband O2 and fuel pressure gauges keep tabs on all the goings on under the hood.

Sometimes when we describe OUSCI cars, we refer to different things the owner did to improve the car, but there is an understanding that much of that work was done by skilled professionals, at the owner's request. In the case of Greg Thurmond, he is the skilled professional others turn to when they want a car built to exacting standards. Greg runs GTS Customs and this was an in-house that K&N thought so highly of, they featured his car in their booth at SEMA last year.

The car has certainly proven itself to be more than just a show-stopper in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series. Greg's best performance of the season came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the car that has become known as "SCAR," finished in the top-ten overall in the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge, as well as the PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge and just outside the top-20 in the Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial and Detroit Speed Autocross.

If you'd like to see more of Greg's work, be sure to follow Outrageous Paint by GTS Customs on Facebook. If you'd like to see Greg's return to the OUSCI, you can buy your tickets now!

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