Nicholas Short owns Competition Race Parts, a company that is situated fortuitously in the heart of Cup Racing Land, also known as Charlotte, North Carolina, and environs. CRP Racing, as it is called, is actually in Harrisburg, a bedroom of the Big C. CRP wields a serious fabrication sword, capable of complete chassis and suspension construction, as well as safety cages and track-day exhaust systems. CRP builds and preps race cars. It goes much further, of course, but heed the constant: at the bottom of their CAD/CAM hearts Nick and his compatriots are demon-tweak racers.
This C6 race car resembles the street qualifier in form only. Inside, it might feel like Doctor Caligari’s cabinet, rough-hewn but elegant, altogether alien yet soothing in its simplicity, not an ounce of humor, though. It’s driven furiously for short distances and then slammed violently into a cruel arch in the track, only to recover and begin the stalking, gear-changing rant all over again in a completely new environment. There is some psychic respite in the one or two long straights where the C6 could reach its (speed-limited) 170-mph top. We watched a video showing Ron Fellows ripping up Watkins Glen from inside as well as outside the car. You couldn’t find a more perfunctory and relaxed pilot. Indeed, the only movement that stands out is Fellows’ fluid manipulation of the sequential gearbox—followed by that enchanting whine.
Nick’s yellow fang Corvette competes in SCCA’s Pirelli World Challenge Series, a 12-circuit event. In 2010, CRP had wins with Fellows at Mosport and Watkins Glen and took gold at Mid-Ohio behind Mike Skeen. Foremost, the chassis must be as safe and rigid as possible. Top that end, CRP combines an original equipment “frame” with a custom rollcage (more like a “roll-nest”) in a cell that isolates and protects the driver and facilitates the car’s awesome capabilities.
One thing about racers: when they find out what works, they’re not likely to share the enlightenment. Cam timing, spring rates, and flow rates tend to stay proprietary, but in this arena, hard parts can be as common as Cloyes double-roller timing gear or as exotic as the Holinger sequential transmission or the Xceldyne Technologies titanium valves.
Race cars are also likely to manifest one-off components. The light-metal rims on Nick’s C6 are race wheels that were developed by Cragar in a partnership with Hawk Performance and represent the only set in existence. The alliance between the companies is tight so the hoops may be marketed by Hawk rather than Cragar. The Hawk race pads were developed with CRP Racing and will soon be available on the open market.