photos by: the author
Dirk Stratton Gives a Corvette a New Lease on Life Through Drifting
For the last three months, we’ve been bringing you a string of Corvette features and we have no reason to apologize for it. We’ve been seeing a lot of great Vettes lately, many of which you’ll be reading about in the coming months, however none of them are set up quite like Dirk Stratton’s. Just in case that name may sound familiar to our readers, you may recall a previous mention of him from an earlier story we ran some time ago.
Dirk is 24-year old Internet Sales Specialist at a car dealership in Beloit, Ohio who has been centered around racing in just about all of its forms, since he was a child, His father, Don, was the NHRA Competition Eliminator World Championship Winner in 2001, and currently owns/operates the dealership in which Dirk works. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, as Dirk has taken his father’s passion of racing and motorsport, and directed it towards Formula-D drift competition.
Located in the middle of the small rural town, is the Stratton Chevrolet dealership, and sitting tucked away next to Dirk’s ProCharged LT1 4th-gen Camaro, LS-swapped Nissan 240SX and his Sonic Turbo, is this unconventional C6 Corvette. Originally picked up as a salvage-title Cyber Grey, LS3-powered example, things have certainly evolved with Dirk’s Corvette since his purchase.
Under the hood, you’ll find a Lingenfelter-prepped 427 cubic-inch LS7, stuffed with a Callies DragonSlayer crankshaft, Diamond pistons and Oliver connecting rods. Bolted to the block, is a pair of LPE CNC-ported LS7 castings, housing 1.8 LS7 rockers and a COMP Cams trunnion upgrade. A set of 2.205 intake/ 1.615 exhaust valves compliment the LPE GT19 hydraulic bumpstick, that is ground to the tune of 227/239 duration, .678/.688 lift and a 114 LSA. An ARE windage tray, oil pan and pump keep the high-revving engine lubricated, with a Lingenfelter E85 pump and 60-lb injectors pumping fuel through its veins.
Oxygen is fed into the alloy mill, courtesy of an AIRAID cold-air induction kit, OEM MAF, throttle body and a MSD Atomic AirForce intake manifold. The spent fumes exit through Hooker Blackheart long-tube headers, X-Pipe and 3-inch diameter piping, with the mufflers and catalytic converters intentionally M.I.A. The soundtrack is both immense and impressive, and it definitely makes quite a noise while it’s locked in a drift at many Formula-D events all over the East Coast and Midwest.
Naturally it takes more than great skill and high horsepower to become successful in drifting — the car needs to be sorted out front to back. Dirk obviously addressed these issues as well, which is why he elected to go with MTI Racing to build him a sequential TR6060 manual gearbox. Paired with a Monster LT1-R twin-disc clutch and #18 flywheel, Dirk rows through the gears with a MTI billet sequential shifter. The 575 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque is sent to the rear wheels, courtesy of an RPM Transmissions-modified OE IRS, with 3.91 gears and (surprisingly) stock axles.
Sitting on the opposing ends of the rear axle, are Cosmis Racing XT-005R wheels wrapped in Archilles 123S rubber that house Wilwood 4-piston dual calipers, with Superlight 6-piston calipers up front form the same manufacturer. Not only to they improve stopping power offer the OEM binders substantially, but they also work perfectly for Dirk’s intended uses. The suspension upgrades have been relatively sublet, but effective, thanks to Fortune Auto front and rear shocks/struts, springs, stock upper and lower A-arms and OEM sway bars.
The Vette has also been put on a diet, thanks to the blend of Z06 and Extreme Dimensions widebody panels and Sparco race seats, and Dirk also included some additional touches that are both cosmetic and functional, such as Trackspec Motorsports hood louvers and the custom Lexan rear spoiler for improved downforce. Adding more safety and security to both the car and its occupants, is a fire suppression system, roll cage and a Racepak IQ3 logger.
In Dirk’s own words, “I have only been drifting for 3 years, but I love it! It’s exciting for me to keep learning and honing my skills. I was able to win the Midwest Drift Union Formula Drift Pro Am series with the Corvette my first year competing a full season and get my Pro2 license. I am not slowing down, I will be pushing forward to compete even more in 2016 and 2017 and improving my skills along the way. The main 3 modifications to the car that really make it work, I owe to my good friend Justin Robertson of JRfab. He fabbed up the custom steering angle setup up front, and the dual-caliper setup on the rear for the hydraulic E-brake and the fully tig-welded roll cage.
It was a fun process that took a total of around 7 months. We didn’t know how well the car would work, but I knew after my first test run it was going to work great! From then to now the car just keeps getting more developed and I keep learning how to drive it better and better each event. The car is simply a drift rocket ship! With the increased power of the Lingenfelter LS7 and the increased grip from the Achilles radial tires it is extremely quick while maintaining angle thanks to the J.R. Fab custom steering angle setup.”
- CAR: 2009 Corvette
- OWNER: Dirk Stratton
- ENGINE BLOCK: GM LS7
- DISPLACEMENT: 427 cubic inches (7.0L)
- CRANKSHAFT: Callies; DragonSlayer
- PISTONS: Diamond
- CAMSHAFT: Lingenfelter; GT19 hydraulic,
- CONNECTING RODS: Oliver
- CYLINDER HEADS: Lingenfelter; CNC-ported LS7 castings
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 13.2:1
- INDUCTION: MSD Atomic AirForce intake manifold, AIRAID cold-air intake, stock throttle body and MAF sensor
- OILING: ARE; windage tray, pan, pump
- EXHAUST: Hooker; Blackheart long-tube headers, X-Pipe, 3-inch diameter piping, muffler delete
- FUEL DELIVERY: Lingenfelter E85 pump, 60-lb injectors
- TUNING: Lingenfelter
- TRANSMISSION: MTI Racing; TR6060
- CLUTCH: Monster; twin-disc LT1-R
- DRIVESHAFT: Stock, with solid couplers
- REAREND: RPM Transmissions; 3.91 gears, stock axles
- SUSPENSION: Fortune Auto front and rear shocks/struts, springs, stock upper and lower A-arms and sway bars
- BRAKES: Wildwood; Superlight 6-piston (front), 4-piston dual caliper (rear)
- WHEELS: Cosmis Racing; XT-005R
- TIRES: Archilles; 123S
- HP/TQ.: 575/531
Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, AutoCentric Media Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.