For the last several decades, a tortuous stretch of mountain road in the legendary mining area of Virginia City, Nevada has uncovered precious metal of a different sort: the vehicular type. Up until recently, different organizations such as the Ferrari and Shelby owners clubs have sponsored timed runs on the route. A couple years ago, though, Spectre Performance decided to resume the event. In fact, Spectre president Amir Rosenbaum still holds the record of three minutes, 10 seconds in a ‘92 Ferrari F40 on the 5.2-mile public road that boasts hellacious curves and some really hairy 500-foot drop-offs—with no guardrails.
Back in mid June of this year, 40 or so hot rides of all types attempted to best Rosenbaum’s time. We’ll be focusing on the top 10 entrants in upcoming blogs, running the gamut from exotic supercars to vintage muscle machines. Once again, however, it was the Corvette ZR1 driven by Lou Gigliotti that showed everybody the way to the top of the hill.
Hailing from Wylie, Texas, he drove his 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.
“We did three runs,” Gigliotti related, “but on the fourth the ‘Puff Daddy’ Pfadt Camaro crashed on the course—but we didn’t know it. So we’re running at 120 mph, coming around the corner, and he’s sitting in the middle of the road. We missed him literally by inches and there was no room on the other side. We really had to thread the needle.”
What does Lou attribute his winning to? A high-caliber, gunmetal-gray ZR1, for one, which features a host of aftermarket performance mods from his company, LG Motorsports. Major upgrades included a blower, cam, heads and headers. With the supercharger’s pulleys resized to spin out some 20 pounds of pressure, the output is in the neighborhood of 756 rwhp. Gigliotti estimates that there’s a loss of a couple pounds of boost due to the altitude, but power is less of an issue than suspension tuning for the snaking switchbacks.
For improved handling on these challenging twisties, Gigliotti added LG drop spindles and sway bars, plus new endlinks and shocks. The ForgeLine GA3R wheels were increased in size for this year’s assault, too, from 18 to 19 inches, and wrapped with Hoosier A6 rubber (315 front, 345 rear). Other upgrades include LG aero treatments, such as a GT2 rear wing and a high downforce front splitter with tunnels, plus improved cooling and air intakes.
“The car is set up with a bit of understeer, for a safety margin. If you spin there’s no room for error,” he points out. “I love life. Being the fastest on the Hill is one thing—being dead is another.”
If you want to see what the run is like from the his driver’s seat, check out this POV video.
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