Joao Barion's C7 Corvette Rebuild

Posted by Joel Garcia on

A one of a kind Pro1 corvette.

Born out of a relationship started at The Super Drift Brasil 2019, between the DriftHQ team and Joao Barion. When DriftHQ was introduced to Joao at the event, he was one of the few drivers that allowed them to put cameras on their cars. Without this relationship, the epic video (link below) and this epic C7 build would’ve never happened.

After the introduction from this event, it was time for Barion to make his debut into Formula Drift America during the 2019 season. DriftHQ was there to help him and his team navigate the American series. With DriftHQ helping Barion out over the course of the season, it became evident for him to be more competitive in the series. Version 2.0 of the Babrus C7 will need a complete overhaul for the 2020 season.



The C7 that competed in the 2019 season had little more than an angle kit, a nitrous upgrade from nitrous express, and a couple of mods to pass tech. The corvette was more stock than anything else fielded at FD. When Joao approached Duarte from DriftHQ about the next version of the C7, they quickly started to form a plan to build a one of a kind corvette that no one has attempted before.


With this being a first off build of a C7 in FD. The team at DriftHQ had to constantly have a lifeline to Formula Drift’s technical director, Kevin Wells. He helped construct a plan of attack for something that hasn’t been seen before by the series. With the corvette being an aluminum body, the requirements for roll cage attachments, fuel tank placement, and Rear cradle had to be examined with Kevin. Checking and rechecking for safety and compliance with the rules.

One of the biggest challenges for the team and Kevin, was to figure out the safest way to mount the rear cradle to the carbon fiber body. Due to the inability to weld, tech requires four grade 5 or higher 3/8” through bolts connecting the chassis to the cradle. The team used eight grade 12 5/8” through bolts, and added aluminum sleeves in the frame to connect the chassis to the cradle. This ensured that the rear cradle that is housing the optima batteries stayed where intended during contact.



The next obstacle was in the form of the clutch and transmission. Samsonas developed a prototype style sequential transmission for the C7. Due to covid-19 production was delayed. So the team decided to keep it simple and stick with the stock transmission. With the power being held by a Spec clutch twin disk that was developed for the SFI bell housing. With the SFI bell housing being new for the 2020 season, and to the C7. They had some fitment issues with the clutch, but were able to solve this problem fast and efficiently due to the help provided by their sponsor Spec clutch.


Now that they figured out how to get the power to those Achilies tires, the engine upgrades were next. Last season Barion was running the stock LT4 with a nitrous express kit, but was running into problems with the stock ECU and sensors putting the car into limp mode. The DriftHQ team removed 30lbs of wiring and sensors, simplifying everything using a new Pro Mod ARC flat touch panel. Then replaced the stock engine management with a Injepro ECU. With the old ECU out and a new standalone in it was time to give it a beast to manage.

The corvettes LT4 was taken in for trade by Thomson motorsports, and in its place a Darton sleeved block LT 427ci returned. complete with Calle’s magnum crankshaft, CP bullet rods, Diamond pistons, and to keep them all spinning smoothly at high rpm king bearings were used. To top it all off and make sure they were hitting their horsepower goals, Procharger sent over their race tuner kit in the hopes to break that 1,000hp barrier with ease. To feed that 1,000hp thirst a Nuke performance fuel system was installed.


With the new engine installed, the next step was to tackle the overheating issues they were having from last season, corvettes are notorious for overheating in stock form. To combat the heating issues the DriftHQ team developed a full rear mount radiator setup, complete with two of the highest CFM fans Mishimoto has to offer, and paired with two mishimoto signature radiators.


With all the the issues from last season checked off the list, the team moved onto the suspension. Parts shop max pro coilovers and PBM angle kit from last season staying on the car, the team just wanted to go over everything and check for problems. As excepted everything was in great shape, as Parts shop max products are high quality.


All of this hard work and time put into the C7, it will be a force to reckon with in the upcoming FD season. With the DriftHQ team progressing in their abilities, stepping out of the comfort zone and coming together. You can see how they can over come anything that is thrown at them. The build was a challenge, with every build there will always be side missions during the main quest, but nothing they couldn’t handle. The Corvette has brought DriftHQ and Joao Barion closer, solidifying their partnership with one badass corvette being born.

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