Cunningham Motorsports Tunes Project Unicorn- 2001 Corvette Z06

When I first drove the Z06, I figured some of the drivability issues I was experiencing was simply from the fact that this is a “big cam” car. Turns out that’s not the case. The tune on the C5z was three years old and this was leading to a stalling issue among a few other items.
I remember years back when I attended a Shift Sector event and I saw a C6 Z06 break the naturally aspirated world record of 181.30 mph in the half mile. The driver, builder, and tuner was Ryne Cunningham of Cunningham Motorsports. At that point I said, if I ever bought an LS powered anything I would bring it to him.
Well, my C5 Z06 tuning need some work and Ryne was there to help.
The Z06 didn’t come with a dyno sheet but it was estimated that it made 430 wheel horsepower on 93 octane. I wanted to refresh the tune for California 91 and update a few things. I delivered the Z06 to Ryne who has personally owned two of them so he knew what this particularly modified car needed. A few days later, Ryne texted me regarding a few items related to the street tune. It turns out that the previous tune wasn’t that good. The knock sensors were completely shut off as well as the mass airflow sensor. The stalling issue I was experiencing was corrected on the very first flash. It appeared to have just a power dyno tune on the C5Z with no drivability street tune completed. 
The first issue that came up is a standard one with 2001 Z06’s …oil consumption. She was two quarts low before going to in for the dyno tune, and no something I would need to check every other fuel fill up and keep in the trunk of the Z06. We topped it off and it was time for the runs. The very first pull resulted in 431 wheel horsepower but the fuel injectors were at 102% of efficiency. The Z06 is running it’s stock injectors, something that will be corrected very shortly. Leaning out the air fuel mixture slightly to get them to 99% the final power figure was achieved. 440 wheel horsepower and 399 lb-ft of torque. Very strong numbers for an LS6 …I was VERY impressed.
I was anxious to drive the Z06, so my friend and fellow Motor Affair podcast co-host Patrick Stevenson gave me a ride to pick up the Corvette. First impressions show the idle is slightly rougher which is not necessarily a bad thing and that stalling issue is gone. In normal driving, this tune smoothed things out more than I could have realized. It feels daily drivable, something I wouldn’t think would be possible with a big cam LS engine. All with smoother drivability the mid and high end power is simply spectacular. The Z06 on the previous tune would deliver phenomenal power in the last 1500 rpm to redline. With the Cunningham tune it’s between 2500-3000 before redline, and it pulls exceptionally hard and it’s even more fun to drive.
Personally I don’t feel I need more than 500-525 horsepower in a street car that can grip well in the corners. It’s enough to have fun but not get in “too much” trouble. The Z06 is enough for me, and more than enough to make me happy but also occasionally scare me. It’s an amazing driving experience that I’ll continue to shape and mold into my own personal ultimate drivers car Corvette.
[Images / Video: Instagram Cunningham Motorsports / Jason Connor]

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One response to “Cunningham Motorsports Tunes Project Unicorn- 2001 Corvette Z06”

  1. HuntRhymesWith Avatar

    This looks like a serious car. I hope CHP doesn’t give you too much trouble!