photos: Rick Seitz / Video: Sam McConnell
Jordan Priestley set out to build the best street car Corvette around, and that’s exactly what he did
Bernice is a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, owned by Jordan Priestley, who is also the owner of JDP Motorsports. Jordan names all of his cars something special, and this C7 GS is named such because Bernice means “brings victory” in Greek Mythology. He and his crew at the shop are building this Corvette to become the ultimate street car. Only eights months in the making, Bernice is well on her way to achieving that goal.
Bernice has evolved into a pretty incredible piece of machinery. The C7 Grand Sport is a frequent site at events all over the country. The base of the build starts with a stock bottom-end LT1 with JDP Motorsports Stage 4 heads and camshaft package. A custom Airaid Jr. air intake, MSD Atomic intake manifold, paired with a Nick Williams ported 102mm throttle body ensure that plenty of air is making its way into the deep breather. It’s also equipped with an E85 flex-fuel setup for more power.
This engine exhales into a set of American Racing Headers 1-7/8” long tube headers, which feed into an x-pipe and factory mufflers. It may sound odd that the long tube headers flow into the factory NPP system, but it’s hard to improve upon the amazing job that GM did with the exhaust on these cars. From inside the cockpit of the Corvette, the driver can control sound levels. This feature comes in handy at places where sound levels are regulated; oddly enough the National Corvette Museum track is one place that has rules about how loud your car can be to run on the track.
At wide open, the Corvette screams about 107 decibels, which is on the far edge of extreme considering the average human pain threshold for sound is about 110 decibels, according to Purdue University. However, turned down, it’s only about 89 decibels, which is a totally manageable level in residential areas, or where noise is restricted. For those reasons, it seemed completely unnecessary to yank the technology out. They did, however, ceramic coat the system from heads to the exhaust tip to keep the heat trapped in the pipes and to keep it exiting the car with the most efficiency, while also protecting the other components underneath the car from the heat the exhaust produces since the heat produced while racing is tremendous. With the coating, it’s so safe to the other components that you can touch it with bare hands after less than ten minutes.
This engine modifications and bolt-on combination puts out 560 horsepower to the tires on E85, but it’s more than just a powerful Grand Sport, it’s also been super reliable for the team as they’ve put the monster through hell and back. After all, the goal was to make a great street car, not just another high horsepower Corvette.
“The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was that the platform is extremely impressive, and features like direct injection allowed us to use the car more efficiently, and take it new directions.”-Jordan Priestley
The engine is backed by a Tremec TR606 6-speed transmission with a special prototype Centerforce 8.75” TRIAD Triple Disc clutch. This is one of the models sent out to their sponsored drivers that’s made for extreme pro-touring, auto-crossing, and road racing. Shifting is smooth thanks to a MGW shifter.
Since power is no good unless it’s being used effectively, the suspension has gotten some upgrades. A set of JRi double adjustable coilover shocks at all four corners. It’s also got LG Motorsports 1” Billet Drop Spindles all the way around to give it the stance they were looking for, while maintaining the factory geometry. Jordan explains that when you lower a car, it’s better to lower the wheel point, as opposed to doing anything to change the lower control arm angle, because that way you’ll have better geometry, while being able to achieve an aggressive stance. Another benefit to doing it this way is that they can maintain a fair amount of shock travel from not having to use a shorter shock. Front and rear Hotchkis adjustable sway bars. Next for the suspension will be a mono ball spherical bearing control arm setup, and they’re also going to be testing out a few different sway bar combinations at the track.
Jordan ordered the 1LT, or base model for the Grand Sport, on purpose because he wanted the most basic and lightest car you get from GM to build upon. He also ordered the Z07 package with the car to get the brake system; the Z07 brake system is the best brake package money could buy, and they just wanted it to come in from the factory well equipped with the most reliable brakes and ready to go, or in this case, stop. They got the car setup on a set of staggered 18×11” and 18×12-1/2” Forgeline GA1R monoblock wheels. A set of BFGoodrich Rival S tires are wrapped around the wheels, with a 315/30 up front and 335/30 at the rear for lots of meat to make contact with the pavement.
This is a street car, not by show, but by action. When the weather corporates, Jordan drives Bernice to work every chance he gets. The car gets tons of attention, and he says it’s the sexiest car he’s ever owned, which says a lot coming from the owner of a well-known performance shop.
“If the sun is shining, this is my daily driver.”-Jordan Priestley
Carbon fiber LG Motorsports front and side splitters help with both aerodynamics and appearance, while the Anderson Composites dry carbon hood offers an eight pound weight savings, while being fully functional for extracting heat and creating downforce. A Z06 spoiler from GM pulls the look together perfectly and matches the rest of the pieces. Oracle ghosted side markers hide the side LED light strip until they’re on to really clean it up. On the inside is a set of Racaro Pole Position seats and Brey-Krause harness bar.
Even though the Corvette is still a work in progress, it’s a proven build. In addition to Jordan driving the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport everyday, the car is track proven, and running the circuits of the Optima Street Car Series, SCCA events, NASA events, and NMCA events. There’s so much more to come from this build, and we’ll be watching it carefully!
- CAR: 2017 Corvette Grand Sport
- OWNER: Jordan Priestley
- ENGINE BLOCK: LT1
- CRANKSHAFT: Stock
- CAMSHAFT: JDP Stage II NA by Bullet 226/227 .635/.635 115 LSA
- CYLINDER HEADS: JDP Motorsports Stage II-X
- INDUCTION: Airaid Air Intake, Nick William 102mm Throttle Body, MSD Atomic Intake Manifold s
- EXHAUST: American Racing Headers long-tube 1-7/8 headers and X-pipe, stock mufflers
- TUNING: HP Tuners
- TRANSMISSION: TR6060
- CLUTCH: Centerforce TRIAD 8.75: Triple prototype
- SHIFTER: MGW
- DRIVESHAFT: Stock
- REAREND: Stock
- SUSPENSION: Stock
- BRAKES: ZL1 brake pages
- WHEELS: Forgeline GA1R open lug cap – 18×11” front & 18×12-1/2” rear
- TIRES: BFGoodrich Rival S 315/30 front & 335/30 rear
- POWER: 560 horsepower to the rear wheels
- 1/4-Mile E.T.: 11.7 @ 125 miles per hour