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OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: Nov 30, 2016

What's the Best Vehicle for Winning the OUSCI?

Danny Popp has won the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational a record-setting fourth time, with three of those wins coming in his 2003 Chevrolet Corvette. Does that mean the C5 Corvette is the best platform for taking home the coveted title? We'll take a look into that question, but before we get into various options folks have, we should qualify all of these options by pointing out that all of these examples cited are extremely well-built cars, with very capable drivers behind the wheel. If you are considering any of these vehicles for yourself, you should be realistic about how you will stack up as a driver within in this group. You should also understand that many of these cars have been refined, modified and upgraded for several years, with the specific intent of being more competitive in the OUSCI. With that, let's start looking at what some of the top cars in the OUSCI have been in recent years.

C5 Corvette

If someone is going to start a list of the cars most-capable of winning the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, they should probably start with a C5 Corvette or should they? Danny Popp has won the last three OUSCI titles in his 2003 ZO6 Corvette, but does that mean the C5, at least for now, is the car of choice for anyone serious about winning the OUSCI? Not necessarily, as Popp also won an OUSCI title in a C6 Corvette. There may also be something to be said about the driving ability of Danny Popp.

The lone year in the last five that Popp did not win the OUSCI, he finished third in a fifth gen Camaro, which makes us think Popp might be a threat to win the OUSCI in just about any reasonable performance car he decides to campaign. However, even if you eliminate the Popp factor, the C5 has proven itself to be a very capable competitor in the OUSCI as of late. Seven of the top-25 cars in the 2016 OUSCI were C5 Corvettes, with Karl Dunn leading the pack of people not named Danny Popp with his sixth place finish in his 2002 ZO6.

However, the standout performance of the C5 is not a long-term trend, like we've seen with some of our other contenders. While most credit Popp as the alpha male in the C5 world (and he probably is), it was Karl Dunn that seemed to be the first to identify the potential of the platform within the structure of the OUSCI & OSUSC rules. The C5 is a very reasonably-priced, lightweight performance car, capable of accommodating both big rubber and big power under the hood and the suspension improvements and increased structural rigidity was light years ahead of what it replaced on the C4 platform. Popp has owned his '03 ZO6 since it was new and had it in his back pocket the whole time, but apparently was just waiting for the right moment to spring it on everyone. Brian Hobaugh was another early adopter, but outside of those three, the success of the C5 platform has really only emerged in 2016. However, the C6 Corvette has a strong track record as well and is on option worth considering.

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