Ron Ross' LG Motorsports-built '97 Coupe looks right at home outside Texas Motor Speedway.
Like many red-blooded car nuts throughout the world, Ron Ross of McKinney, Texas, had always wanted a red Corvette. Sure, he'd owned some serious street machines in the past, (like the "beefed up" '70 Nova, complete with an LT-1, Mr. Gasket shifter, and steel wheels, that he drove as a teenager) and later found his way into a pair of late-model SS Camaros (that's after a marriage and family induced penance in economy car hell.) But as anyone with a beating heart well knows, there's nothing like a red Corvette to increase one's pulse rate and get the blood flowing.
In Ross' case, a convergence of two fortuitous events made it happen. The first is that Ron had spent a decade building up his business, Cameron-Ashley Building Products, and was in a position to buy a Corvette. The second was the introduction of the fifth-generation Corvette. Even then, there was a hitch; the local Chevy dealer was sold out, and all he could do was put Ron's name on the waiting list. The Fates were smiling, though, and the dealer called in early July. Someone had decided not to buy a red six-speed Coupe, and Ron didn't have to be asked twice if he wanted it. He gave up his '97 SS in trade, but he had his red Corvette.
For awhile, that was enough. "I had it about a year before modifying it," Ron remembers. "it was my daily driver, and a lot of fun." After awhile, he stopped driving the C5 regularly, wanting to keep the miles down and the car in nice shape. That, however, didn't mean that Ron was satisfied with the Vette as is. When asked why he began modifying his Coupe, the answer is simple, yet compelling: "The need for speed, I guess." That being "why" enough, Ron quickly discovered "how." While taking a ride with the chief financial officer of his company, Gary Swan, Ron mentioned that wanted to "boost the car a bit," and did he know of anyone who could do this?
Custom-made Forgeline wheels allow enough space for race-spec Brembo brakes.
Gary, who had been into Corvettes for a number of years, knew just the place: LG Motorsports. When Ron found out the LG's motto is "Where Money Buys Speed," the first thought through his head was, "I'm gonna like this."
Ron struck up a friendship with LG founder and namesake Lou Gigliotti, and it didn't take long for the pair to end up on the same page as far as the desire to go fast. Which shouldn't be much of a surprise. Gigliotti, after all, races a Corvette-bodied car (built by LG) in the BFGoodrich Trans-Am series. Lou hasn't done too bad, either, winning the event at Long Beach, California, en route to a sixth-place finish in the 2001 series.
Right off the bat, Ross gave Gigliotti and crew a very specific power goal. The fact that this goal was 600 horsepower (on nitrous) might have made some builders blanch, LG didn't even blink. Ross' power lust was satisfied by substantially improving the stock LS1's breathing capabilities. LG slid in a more-aggressive-than-stock Comp Cams camshaft, sporting .528-inch lift and 218 degrees of duration on the intake, along with .535-inch and 224 degree specs on the exhaust side. Comp Cams chrome-moly pushrods run up to the small-block's ported and polished heads, where the stock 1.7-ratio rockers activate new stainless steel valves (2 inches on the intakes and 1.57 inches on the exhausts) fitted with Comp Cams springs.
This relatively stock looking LS1 makes 440hp.but picks up another 100 ponies when you pus
With a Simpson harness and LG rollbar, this C5 is properly equipped for on-track action.