This Cadillac CTS-V Time Attack Race Car Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Caddy.
Drivers Spotlight Edition #7: Chris Drum & His 2005 Cadillac CTS-V Race Car
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Chris Drum
When deciding on a platform to develop and race in NASA Time Trials competition, today we see a lot of BMWs, Corvettes, Mustangs, Porsches, and other off the shelf ready to track sports cars. Chris Drum decided to take the “different” route as he puts it. Rather than choose something proven, he opted to stick with something he’s passionate about. Of course, Cadillac has offered their CTS-V since 2004 which is marketed as a performance luxury sports car. That doesn’t make it an obvious choice though for a competitive platform on track. It’s on the heavier side, lacks factory aero, doesn’t offer many modern technical driver aids, and after all, has four doors. But all of that makes Chris Drum’s 2005 CTS-V race car that much cooler if you ask us.
Chris took ownership of the car in 2021. He has been a Cadillac enthusiast through and through. “I have owned 3 CTS-V's in total, and currently still have 2 of them. I am a big fan of four door cars in general and the CTS-V ticked all the right boxes for me. Four doors, manual, V8. Hard to get any better than that. I owned a C5Z previous to my first CTS-V, and I was building the Corvette to be my first track car, but it didn't work out. Then I ended up with my first CTS-V, which was eventually sold after I bought my silver CTS-V everyone currently knows. I've always liked having a "different" platform and once I took the CTS-V to the track for the first time, did well in it, and saw how much attention it got combined with how much people loved it, I was absolutely hooked on the platform”.
The car was built by Phoenix Performance in 2011. They are renowned experts that specialize in building modern muscle race cars. They have won a boatload of SCCA National championships over the years. The current engine is a crate LS376/525 from GM performance. It makes north of 450 whp/440 wtq turned up, but NASA TT3 classing detunes it to 388 whp.
A few highlights of his build:
- Penske 8700 Series triple adjustable shocks
- AP Racing Pro 5000R front calipers
- GM Performance anti-roll bars
- Single Element rear wing
- Custom plywood front splitter
- 255 and 275 wide Hoosier A7
- Full fire suppression system
“I always liked cars growing up and with that comes racing,” he tells us. “I remember watching NASCAR on TV, and always being drawn to the road courses like Sonoma and Watkins Glen. I was in college, and I rode with a friend to a track day he was running at, and I was instantly hooked. I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. Especially the competitive side of it. I am an extremely competitive person, so I always have to have something pushing me”. His first real track event was with NASA in HPDE1 at Road Atlanta in my first CTS-V in June of '21 after he purchased his track CTS-V. He progressed through the NASA ladder relatively quickly and received his time trial license at CMP in February of '22.
He’s won five NASA events in the TT3 class since. How does one hone their craft so quickly? A combination of tools by utilizing every resource available to him. “I’m analyzing my AiM data consistently. There’s always more tenths to be found. But when you go to a new track, you're starting from scratch. So I am a big fan of watching other lap videos, and thankfully LapMeta allows you to sort by course and filter lap times from fastest to slowest, or by whatever means you want. So, I go through and watch a lot of other people's videos just to try and see where I can improve based on what they are doing in their lap. I am also a big fan of utilizing Racer's 360 as a coaching tool. I have done multiple coaching sessions with them and always gained at least some form of insight from them”.
When asked what mechanical modification has made the most difference he credits the Penske shock package by Anze Suspension. “It is next level”, Chris says. “It's above and beyond any other shock setup I've driven in other CTS-Vs and other platforms. Future plans for the car are to further develop the aero package on it. The current package I've put together has relatively low downforce, so I would like to improve all facets of the aero package. I would also eventually like to put a bigger motor in it, maybe a LS3 based 416, something in the 550-600 whp range, just for fun, as that would be ridiculous. A Motec M1 setup as well as Bosch M5 ABS is on my radar as well, especially considering the constraints of the factory 2005 GM electronics I am currently working with”.
Chris loves the motorsports community and all that it has to offer someone. “I have met so many people I consider to be lifelong friends through this sport that I would not have met otherwise. There are people who will give you the shirt off their back, or lend you their car, just to help you succeed. As well as those companies who help us out. I wouldn't be where I am today with this platform without the guys and girls at Creative Steel (creative-steel.com) behind me. Their support has meant everything to me”.
With regards to his future aspirations he plans to take another step forward in his motorsports journey and do a competition racing school with NASA. His goal is to run his first wheel to wheel race in March. He will also try his hand in a different GM track product for a special one off event. “I am competing in One Lap of America driving a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, so that will be a once in a lifetime experience. Lap time goals involve sub-2:00 laps at VIR and sub-1:30 at Road Atlanta”. We’re told he also wants to try and do a professional race at some point in his life to check it off his bucket list.
Chris tells us his favorite track is Road Atlanta by a longshot. “There is just something special about the place and the way it makes you feel as a racecar driver. The elevation change is phenomenal, the variation of corner speeds is great, and the track requires the right amount of "send" to be properly fast at. It is truly my happy place and the track that feels most like home,”
What a great accomplishment from this young man. I have know Christ since he was a young boy he and my son Cole played baseball together as children and Boy Scouts then went to college together and when he sets his mind on something he goes after it. Great job Chris!!!