Get into Track Racing with a Bump From Spec Corvette

If you've always wanted to be a race car driver, Spec Corvette racing is a great way to learn to race without breaking the bank.

The 3.15-mile track at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky played host to a homecoming race. The hometown hero: Spec Corvettes.

As with any spec racing class, the intent behind Spec Corvette is to limit costs and standardize the cars. Using the C5 Corvette as a base, entrants can create a fast, tough racing machine. The low cost of building and maintenance makes it easier for potential drivers to get into racing.

Between laps, drivers, mechanics, and race officials shared what they love about racing these Corvettes with Driven host Tom Gregory. Hear their stories in the video above, or check out a transcript of the highlights below (lightly edited for clarity).

Tom Gregory:
It’s the quintessential sports story; Hometown hero returns home to reclaim glory. But in this story, the hero is a car.

In garages across America, they’re getting ready to prove they still have what it takes to be called America’s sports car.

From the garage at the Pellegrini performance group in Madisonville, Louisiana, the NOLA region team preps their cars to head 600 miles north to the national Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green Kentucky. NCM Motorsports Track

Why Bowling Green, Kentucky?

Why Bowling Green? (00:35)

Alexis Hocevar, Driver and Regional Director, Spec Corvette – NOLA Region: The birthplace of the Corvette, right? I mean that’s where those cars were made. And we’re just going back home to show them off and show everybody what can be done with these cars.

Matt Busby, Operations Manager, NCM Motorsports Park: Some of these cars went to Canada, California, and Florida – wherever, and then they end up back here just looking a little bit different.

Spec Corvette

Why the C5 Corvette?

Sure, these C5s have lived, but they’re still Corvettes. (00:55)

Alexis Hocevar: A V8, rear wheel drive, manual transmission car is the ultimate American cool car.

Oli Thordarson, Driver, Spec Corvette – California Region: The car’s got a great heritage. They’ve become world class sports cars. The cars are fast, they handle great, they’re economical, you can buy a base car to turn into a Spec Corvette for about $10,000.

Larry Brady, Driver, Spec Corvette – Kansas City/Central Region: [A] reasonably inexpensive way to go wheel-to-wheel racing in these C5 race cars.

Working on the car

How the Spec class makes it easier and cheaper to get into racing

And for race cars, they are relatively inexpensive. (1:28)

Jay Pellegrini III, Pellegrini Performance Group: A guy at home could do it himself. You know, if you paid a shop to put a cage in there, you can build a competitive car for $25,000 – $30,000.

Helping to keep the cost down is Spec Racing. (1:39)

Alexis Hocevar: Spec means specifications list for what you can and can’t do, what’s allowable to this car.

Jay Andrew, Regional Director, Great Lakes NASA Region: You don’t have a choice to buy the most expensive, you just have the choice to buy what everybody else has. So that’s the idea of a spec class is to help keep the cap on the expenses and the creep of the expense.

Rod Markovits, Driver, Spec Corvette – NOLA Region: The thing about spec is you don’t use the car to determine ability. It’s the driver performance.

Spec Corvette

Alexis Hocevar: Anybody can win a race on any day, the cars are so evenly matched.

Oli Thordarson: And yesterday, I think the top seven drivers were pretty much on the same spectrum after qualifying. So that just makes for some great racing.

Cecil Stevens, Driver, Spec Corvette – Florida Region: Some of the most talented people that I’ve met in the racing field are moving into Spec Corvette class because of how affordable it is to race. And then you got people like me who were brand new to the sport, who also see it as very appealing that it’s less carnage, less beating and banging typically, than any of your other Spec classes that are out there.

Alexis Hocevar: Most of these guys have driven other race cars. You get behind the wheel of this car, and you have fun. It’s fun.

Alexis Hocevar wasn’t always a Spec Corvette driver. We met him last year when he was racing in the much more expensive super unlimited GT class.

Alexis Hocevar: Those cars, initially, today they are over $100,000. And that wasn’t really – that was just the beginning.

More expensive, didn’t mean more fun.

Alexis Hocevar: We didn’t have the competition. There weren’t a lot of guys at our track, or even regionally, running these kinds of cars.

Then destiny came knocking.

Alexis Hocevar: And I blew the transmission, which was $5,000 – $6,000. And the next day, I got to drive Ben’s car [son and fellow driver Ben Hocevar], and I had a blast. And I came back in and yeah, that’s it. We’re doing it, we’re going to do this Spec Corvette thing.

Alexis wasn’t the only one in the NOLA region to switch seats

Alexis Hocevar: As of January of 2019, we had one car. January 2020, we had six. Today we have eight.

Across the country, this series is seeing similar growth.

Alexis Hocevar: In California is where it was born. They’ve grown to probably 45-50 racers there.

Rod Markovits: So we think we’re soon going to have literally 50,60,100 cars nationwide over the next few years. That just makes it more challenging, more competitive, more environments while national. It’s pretty exciting.


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Spec Corvette Build Sheet With Cost Estimates

Click the image for details on building your very own racing machine.
Build Sheet


At the end of race weekend, drivers cherish the memories they made flying around the track: