Feras Qartoumy's Corvette Is Re-Writing The Rules of Time Attack Competition
Feras Qartoumy's Corvette Is Re-Writing The Rules of Time Attack Competition
Back in 2021 Feras Qartoumy told us that one of his main objectives for the future was to have the fastest production car that’s ever been to any of the tracks that he competes at. Judging by how he’s spent the past year, it looks like he’s well on his way to making that goal a reality.
The Dallas, Texas-based racer got his start in organized competition when he began campaigning an LS-swapped ‘72 Nova at local autocross events. Although the car was competitive in the discipline, a few shakedown sessions on high-speed road courses revealed some of the compromises that are inherent to half-century-old technology.
Eager to take his racing program to the next level, in 2016 he began to look for a contemporary sportscar platform that was more suited to the task, and the search eventually led him to a 2008 Corvette Z06. While the clean, low-mileage example was more or less stock when he bought it, it didn’t stay that way for long. “I was already beating Corvettes with my Nova,” Qartoumy recalls. “I knew right away that there were some deficiencies that I would need to address in order to make it competitive, so I started making a list. I ended up with a pile parts – suspension, seats, safety equipment, wheels, tires, etc. – on-hand before I even had the car.”
After a lifter failure took out the factory LS7, he decided to step things up with a 468ci LS from Horsepower Research, and the build rapidly evolved from there. He would campaign the car in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge over the next two years, but his interests soon shifted toward time trial competition with series like Gridlife and Global Time Attack. “I’d gotten to the pointy end of the stick with Optima, but I knew the Corvette was never going to be an overall winner there because aesthetics are so important in the series,” he explains. “And for me it was more about going fast.”
Despite some serious competition in the series, Qartoumy quickly found success in Global Time Attack, and by 2019 he was already setting Limited class records in Super Lap Battle events. A string of podium finishes in Gridlife and Global Time Attack events followed, along with several different build iterations for the Corvette.
These days the C6’s setup consists of an LME-built six-bolt 427ci LSX motor with a Callies crank and rods, Diamond pistons, Brodix heads, an MSD Atomic intake manifold, and valvetrain upgrades designed to ensure that the motor could live at RPM peaks exceeding 9000 revs. Qartoumy has a few different turbo setups that he switches between for different events, but his go-to configuration is a pair of Garett G35 900 turbos that give the combination about a thousand horsepower at 12psi. Power is routed to the factory Z06 rear end through a six-speed sequential transmission from Pfitzner Performance Gearbox. The suspension, meanwhile, benefits from Penske 8300 coilovers with Eibach coils and bump springs that still utilize the factory pickup points. “Technically everything on the car is a bolt-on part,” he says with a laugh.
The car has also scored a number of upgrades since we sat down with him last year. After moving over to a Holley Dominator wiring harness that was re-pinned for his MoTeC engine management system and installing fittings from Earl's Performance Plumbing to bolster reliability, Qartoumy also switched to Finspeed Evo wheels after making a discovery that was holding the car back. “We noticed that the tires were moving around on the wheels themselves – if you put a line across the tire and the wheel and then went out for a session, those lines would be in two different places when the car came back in. That was costing us performance in braking and acceleration. Not only are these Finspeed wheels lighter and stronger than the old set, they’ve also got this knurled bead seat design that prevents the tire from moving around on the wheel like that.”
Although the car was already a record-setter at time attack events by the end of 2020, Qartoumy continued to dial in the Corvette in the pursuit of quicker lap times. Within a few months he was winning events in both limited and unlimited classes with the C6. “By the end of 2020 I knew I had the horsepower and suspension sorted out, so I decided to focus on the aero for 2021,” he tells us. “For Gridlife time attack events, the rules between the Track Mod class and the Unlimited class were basically just the tires, and I felt like the car could be competitive in both with just some bigger aero, so I would enter both classes at those events and just change the tire that I was using for the runs in those classes. Some people didn’t like that, though, so they made a rule change to further separate Track Mod from Unlimited to prevent people from doing that.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Qartoumy decided to take his aero game a step further for this season. “We were setting records with the aero package that wasn’t really designed for the car,” he notes. “It was like, ‘let’s take the wing from this and this front splitter from that and see what happens when we bolt it onto my car.’ I knew that I was going to need some help if I was going to take the Corvette to the next level.”
He partnered up with the folks at Verus Engineering to have the car 3D-scanned and run computational fluid dynamics testing in order to get a better understanding of the Corvette’s aerodynamic balance and efficiency. After discovering a number of different areas where they could improve downforce while also reducing drag, the team put together a bespoke aero package for the C6 that immediately showed big results on the lap timer.
“We went to Super Lap Battle at Circuit of the Americas with this untested aero for our first event of 2022,” he says. “And the first lap out, the car was like two seconds faster than I’d run the previous year even though I had to deal with some traffic during the lap. We were just two tenths off of the production-based lap record at 2:06.7, so I knew it was achievable.” Without making any changes to the car, Qartoumy headed back out for another attempt and ran a 2:04.2 followed by a 2:03 in a subsequent session, ultimately beating the previous production-based record by more than three seconds while also setting the overall record for Super Lap Battle in the process.
And it should come as no surprise that he’s still on the hunt for more ways to cut down his lap times. “That really showed what the car is capable of doing when the right people are involved,” he says. “But we also saw on that lap that the car is now making so much downforce that the spring rate couldn’t really keep up. In the videos you can see the car porpoising and vibrating all over the place because it’s bouncing off of the ground. Inside the car it was like having your head in a paint mixer, so that obviously made it harder to be precise. There’s still more time to be had. The data shows that a sub-two-minute lap is possible.”
Since then he’s gone on to set records at Mid-Ohio, Willow Springs, Road America and other racetracks across the country, but he’s quick to point out that there are still plenty more to topple. “We’ve got the Gridlife finals at Heartland Motorsports Park, and I’m going to try to run the Global Time Attack finals at Buttonwillow before the end of the season as well. After that I’ll start looking at changes for next year. I really wanted to make it to some more new tracks this year, but sometimes life puts things on hold. Lime Rock, Virginia International, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Daytona and Laguna Seca are all on my list, and I want to start branching out to F1 tracks outside of the United States. If you google the lap records at Circuit of the Americas, my name comes up alongside the greats. I want to continue that trend.”