Corvettes did better than any other single type of car on this year’s Spectre 341 Hillclimb to Virginia City. Given the potential for full-throttle thrills, it’s no surprise that several participants were Corvette owners. This year, four in particular took on the Geiger Grade leading up to Virginia City: winner Lou Gigliotti, Randy Harris (Sixth place), Ryan Tauchen (14th place), and Frank Vanson (19th place). This quad of Vettes all had exhilarating experiences to relate. We’ve already covered Gigliotti of Wylie, Texas, who drove his winning LG Motorsports 2010 ZR1 to blistering elapsed time of 3:14 (averaging 96.27 mph), a full 7.3 seconds faster than his race-winning run last year.
Besides Gigliotti, seasoned 341 contender Randy Harris manned the wheel of a tricked-out black 2000 C5 for the first time, having run a ’91 ZR1 and Porsche 911 Turbo in the previous two decades. Even though his 650-hp, twin-turbo Lingenfelter mill has less torque than Gigliotti’s grinding machine, he still maintained a speed 88.58 mph over the five-mile sprint, finishing a scant 15 seconds behind the fastest time. Even so, he was not to be consoled:
“That’s a long 15 seconds,” he winced. “What Lou did in the last two years—it’s incredible!”
Harris compensated for having comparatively less power by adding bigger Baer brakes, wider wheels, Fox shocks and fatter swaybars, along with a weight reduction by stripping out the interior.
“I feel I went way overboard with gutting it, but then you turn the key and press the accelerator, and you forget about what’s missing as your senses overtake you,” he points out. “At the Virginia City hill climb, it’s all adrenaline, with your mind and the dangers keeping that adrenaline in check.”
Confirming Gagliotti’s observations, he admits that the most challenging aspect of the 341 is staying focused and, “Not messing up … It’s not a 10/10ths course. I’ve had two wrecks on it over the years, and that kinda slows you down a bit.” Even so, he went home happy: “It was a good year,” he summed up.
Spectre Performance: (909) 673-9800, 1720 South Carlos Ave., Ontario, CA 91761, www.spectreperformance.com.