No. 4 Corvette Team Earns Rolex 24 GTLM Pole with Motul Pole Award 100 Win; Auberlen, Foley Take Top Spot in GT Daytona
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Corvette Racing has shown it can win shorter IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Daytona International Speedway. It remains to be seen if the GT Le Mans (GTLM) stalwart can end a drought in the iconic 24-hour race.
Alexander Sims and Nick Tandy – both new to the team in 2021 – drove to the class victory Sunday in the Motul Pole Award 100, the qualifying race that sets the starting grid for the world-famous Rolex 24 At Daytona that starts Saturday, Jan. 30 on the same DIS road course. Sims and Tandy guided the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to a 12-second win over their teammates, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, in the No. 3 Corvette.
It marked the second straight win for Corvette at Daytona, going back to July’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 when Taylor and Antonio Garcia won in the No. 3. However, a Corvette hasn’t won the big race, the Rolex 24, since 2016.
“It was fun, actually,” Tandy said of Sunday’s race that climaxed the Roar Before the Rolex 24 that in the past consisted only of WeatherTech Championship test sessions. “I think it was good for the Roar. It enables you to get some different testing in, but obviously it’s meaningful.”
Starting third on a wet track from a pre-race shower, Sims jumped the two BMW Team RLL M8s in front of him and took the class lead on the opening lap. From there, it was a battle of strategy as the track began to dry. Sims handed over the car to Tandy on the first pit stop under a full-course caution with just more than an hour remaining in the 100-minute race. The No. 4 also took on slick, dry-condition Michelin tires at the time.
“It was an interesting first taste of the conditions for me in the car,” said Sims, who most recently was a BMW GTLM endurance driver. “But very quickly I was given a lot of confidence from the car as to how to push. I was able to get around the BMWs on the first lap and then just sort of find my feet, lap by lap. … It was nice to just get some experience in the wet and get a feeling for how the car was working.”
The main competition from that point was the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, attempting to stretch its fuel to the finish. But with the race staying green for the final hour, Kevin Estre was forced to stop with 17 minutes remaining and surrendered the lead back to Tandy. Estre and co-driver Cooper MacNeil finished an impressive third in the privateer Porsche.
“I think their plan was to stay out and hope for a lot of yellow and kind of roll the dice that way,” Tandy, the former Porsche GTLM driver, said. “We went with the slick tire in the stop, where a couple of the cars and one of the BMWs stopped and kept the wet (tires). It proved to be a good strategic call from Corvette Racing which got us a 1-2 in the end.”
“Everyone wants to start the Rolex 24 from the pole position. We get to do this (qualifying race) in sort of a pressure situation and run through all the procedures. … It’s obviously a great start for both me and Alexander to kick off our time with Corvette Racing.”
As important as the victory was, it also earned the No. 4 a valuable 35 points toward the GTLM championship under the WeatherTech Championship’s new scoring format.
With the starting grid settled, all cars are idle now until Rolex 24 At Daytona practice begins Thursday. The 59th Rolex 24 takes the green flag at 3:40 p.m. ET Saturday. Live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on NBC. Complete IMSA Radio coverage is also available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Auberlen Earns Another First, Winning an IMSA Qualifying Race
Bill Auberlen has the most race wins in IMSA history, so he’s quite familiar with victories. Taking first place in a qualifying race, however, was something new for the Turner Motorsport driver.
Auberlen and teammate Robby Foley were the GT Daytona (GTD) class winners in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100, crossing the finish line in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 4.424 seconds ahead of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R.
The result gives Auberlen and Foley another Motul Pole Award for the ledger, and the 52-year-old will take whatever accolades come with the 35 points he and Foley earned toward the season championship.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a qualifying race,” Auberlen admitted afterward. “It’s cool to win something new. I like it! To qualify on the pole for the Daytona 24-hour race is amazing. That is really great because that’s just the crown jewel of IMSA, is Daytona.”
The No. 96 BMW followed a similar path to the GTD win as the No. 4 Corvette did in GTLM. Foley started seventh in class and was among a throng of GTD cars to pit at the first opportunity once his 30-mimute minimum drive time was achieved. Auberlen hopped in with fresh slick tires.
The wily veteran stopped again with 50 minutes remaining and stalked the leaders from there, waiting until the No. 111 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 needed to make late pit stops. Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti finished third in the No. 111 Lamborghini.
“The race today, we just tried to execute,” Foley said. “We ran through the driver change, a couple pit stops, so the guys did a nice job in the pits. It was just nice to get back in the swing of things.”
“For sure, it’s the best place to start,” he added of the pole-clinching effort. “I think you can control your own destiny a bit better.”
Photo Credits: Jeremy Welborn
We got some more good news regarding Corvette production over the weekend as we’ve learned that the 2021 Corvettes are now shipping. Not only have they started shipping but some dealers have already announced their arrivals!
Why this is great news is that these first 2021 orders are supposed to go to those who had an order for a 2020 Corvette but unfortunately didn’t make the cut due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We were hearing that the cars were subject to a quality control hold so it’s great news that some of these “bumped” customers will actually get to enjoy their 2021s this year.
Yesterday we read on the Corvette Action Center that MacMulkin has five 2021 Corvette picked up by Jack Cooper Transport and are currently inbound. Earlier today, Mike Furman confirmed on his facebook page that his first 2021s are on a truck as well.
Our friend Rick ‘Corvette’ Conti announced today that he had two 2021 Corvettes dropped off first thing this morning. His two cars are both Torch Red Convertibles and their VIN sequence numbers are #85 and #437.
The Corvette Assembly Plant is normally scheduled to be off this week but instead, they are running both shifts through Wednesday before breaking for the holidays. Those three days should add close to an additional 500-600 Corvettes to the 2021 total. Again, great news!
Following the holiday break, the Corvette Plant will pick up where they left off on January 4th.
Thanks again to all those involved from the Corvette Team to the assembly plant employees, as well as those at Jack Cooper Transportation for all the great work you do in making Corvette Dreams come true!
Corvette Blogger Keith Cornett
The new C8 Corvette is a major break from tradition, transforming the Chevrolet Corvette nameplate with a brand-new mid-engine layout and even higher performance potential. With so much good stuff on offer, the C8 needed a modern exterior restyle to go with it, something that would accommodate the new powertrain placement. Now, we’re getting a look at a stylized C8 Corvette sketch, courtesy of GM Design.
Recently posted to the official GM Design Instagram feed (@generalmotorsdesign), this C8 Corvette design sketch is highly stylized, showing off the overall shape of the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, but without too many details. In fact, the sketch looks as though it shows a single hunk of aluminum that was whittled down to look like the new C8.
The proportions are pure mid-engine goodness, with the cabin moved forward on the body, pushing the eye towards a cone-shaped nose that slants down towards the pavement at an aggressive angle. The front end is flanked by two hugely flared front fenders, which wrap around a concave shape for the wheels. Inside the wheels, we find a V-shaped design that looks a bit like the crossed flag Corvette logo.
Moving along the profile of the sketch, we see a clear C8 Corvette design element in the prominent wide side intakes. The intakes flair out ahead of the rear wheels in a “boomerang” shape that adds tons of visual punch, while also teeing up the ultra-wide rear fender flairs.
The open space created by the side intake is shared by the top of the cabin, which falls away into a relatively flat rear deck lid. Finishing it all off is a blade-like rear spoiler section, which is complemented by thin tail lights and another V-shaped badge. Under the spoiler is the suggestion of a diffuser.
All told, the look is aggressive, sleek, and attractive – just like the C8 Corvette.
Johnathan Lopez- GM Authority
USA Bobsled/Skeleton 2020 Hall of Fame inductees announced
Lake Placid, N.Y.(December 9, 2020) – USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) proudly announced today the six individuals that will be inducted into its Hall of Fame. Steve Mesler, Tristan Gale Geisler, Randy Jones, Vonetta Flowers, James “Nitro” Morgan, and Geoff Bodine will be inducted as the eighth class. A celebration will be held at a future date when inductees can safely gather for a ceremony.
The USABS Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sports of bobsled and skeleton. Their dedication and commitment as athletes and supporters of USABS will be forever honored through their induction into the Hall of Fame.
“These six people are titans of our sports, and we are honored to recognize their achievements as the newest members of our Hall of Fame,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “Our current success is thanks to the hard work, dedication, and success of the people that have come before us and who’ve paved the way for the future. We are grateful for their contributions, and we’re excited to celebrate their accomplishments.”
Mesler’s accomplishments in the sport of bobsled as a push athlete include world champion, Olympic champion, three-time Olympian, and winner of 39 world cup medals – the most of any American bobsled push athlete in history. Mesler won the 2010 Winter Olympic four-man bobsled gold medal as a pusher for the late Steven Holcomb, who was inducted into the 2017 USABS Hall of Fame posthumously. It was the first gold medal for the United States in 62 years. Mesler also earned two world championship medals in four-man bobsled, winning the gold medal in 2009, which was the first in 50 years for the United States, and a bronze in 2004. Mesler attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he competed as a decathlete for the Florida Gators track and field team from 1997 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in exercise and sports science in 2000. In 2009, Mesler and his sister, Dr. Leigh Mesler Parise, founded Classroom Champions, which has grown into an international organization that connects Olympians, Paralympians, student-athletes and pro athletes to millions of students in classrooms across the U.S., Canada, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Costa Rica, and military installations in Germany. Mesler lives in Calgary, Canada with his wife, Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler, and their daughter, Brett.
Gale Geisler was a pioneer in the sport of women’s skeleton, competing in the inaugural women’s skeleton Olympic race in her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002. In front of her friends and family, Gale Geisler became the first-ever women’s skeleton Olympic champion. Growing up in Salt Lake City, she was a downhill ski racer before deciding to switch to skeleton. Gale Geisler followed up her Olympic performance in 2003 with a bronze medal at the world championships in Nagano, Japan. She and her husband, Jonathan Geisler, who is a major in the Marines, have two kids; Brynn and Grey.
Jones competed in the 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006 Olympics as a push athlete, winning the Olympic silver medal in the four-man bobsled event alongside Todd Hays, Bill Schuffenhauer, and Garrett Hines. It was the first time since 1956 that the U.S. won an Olympic medal in men’s bobsled. In addition, he finished the world cup season ranked in the top three three times: third in 1993 and 1997, and second overall in 2003. At one time, Jones held numerous push start records across the world and was considered one of the best push athletes to compete during his world cup seasons. As a team member, Jones represented everything you needed to be a champion in the sport. He had extreme work ethic, tenacious drive, toughness, character, athleticism and exuded great team camaraderie. Jones attended Duke University, where he played football and ran track while earning a Mechanical Engineering degree. He graduated in 1991, and as of 2020, he still holds five team football records for Duke in kick returns. Jones and his wife, Cheri Alou, have twins, Roman and Marissa, and live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flowers was a pioneer as a female brakeman in the sport of bobsled by competing in the first two women’s bobsled Olympic races in 2002 and 2006. Her early accomplishments proved to be an inspiration to several future American push athletes. Flowers was the first member of her family to attend college when she accepted a track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she claimed 35 conference titles and victories in the Penn Relays and The Olympic Festival, and first seven-time All-American. Flowers’ transition to bobsled paved the way for many female sprinters and track athletes to follow in her footsteps by moving from track to bobsled. Flowers pushed Jill Bakken in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, winning the inaugural gold medal in the event. As part of the winning team, Flowers became the first African-American Winter Olympic gold medalist in history in any sport. Since her historic accomplishment, other African-American athletes have won medals at the winter Olympics in bobsled as well as other sports, thanks in part to the path paved by Flowers. She and her husband, Johnny, have 3 boys; Jaden, Jordan, and Jaxon and live in Jacksonville, Florida.
Morgan, known as Jimmy, but nicknamed “Nitro” because of his explosive driving style, started driving bobsleds in 1971 and quickly rose up the ranks as one of the top bobsled pilots in the country. He competed at the 1975 World Championships in Cervina, Italy, where he finished seventh in the two-man event. It was the best American finish at the world championships in Europe in the decade of the 70s. Morgan went on to be the top American bobsled pilot at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games in the two-man and four-man competitions, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively. Morgan tragically lost his life during the 1981 world championships in the final curve of the Cortina, Italy track. He is the only U.S. bobsledder ever killed in competition internationally. Morgan’s younger brother, John, was calling the competition with ABC Sports’ Bill Flemming at the 1981 competition that took Morgan’s life. He joins John as the second Morgan sibling to be inducted into the USABS Hall of Fame. Morgan was one of seven brothers and four sisters, and was raised in Saranac Lake, N.Y. He was also a Vietnam veteran.
Bodine, a former NASCAR driver and the 1986 Daytona 500 winner, brought car racing principles, competitive savvy, and 3-D design software to build a gold-worthy bobsled. Bodine noticed that the team had been using hand-me-down sleds from European teams, and he had a desire to see U.S. Olympic athletes compete in American-made bobsleds. Bodine collaborated with race car designer Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to create the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Cuneo was part of the fourth class of USABS Hall of Fame inductees for his contributions to the sled project. Bo-Dyn bobsleds first appeared in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. The most famous Bo-Dyn sled was the four-man “Night Train,” which was driven by the late Holcomb to the 2010 Olympic gold medal. The achievement ended a 62-year drought for the United States, which had not won a gold medal since the 1948 Winter Games.
There are now 28 members of the USABS Hall of Fame with the addition of Mesler, Gale Geisler, Jones, Flowers, Morgan, and Bodine. Learn more about all 28 Hall of Fame inductees here.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at email@example.com.
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.
Romain Grosjean walked away from a horrific, fiery wreck at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Here’s what led to the crash, and what allowed Grosjean to escape it without serious injury.
Romain Grosjean started Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from 19th on the grid. A poor start by second-placed Valtteri Bottas slowed the entire rest of the field, creating chaos and an opportunity for Grosjean to make up spots in a car that has struggled for outright pace for the past year. He was already making up positions heading into Turn 1, and light contact between a Ferrari and a McLaren on the exit of Turn 3 created even more opportunity. Grosjean saw the opportunity to take another position, maybe even a few, heading into Turn 4, so he dove to the inside line and prepared to out-brake the cars that had exited Turn 3 with far less momentum. This is when his right-rear corner struck the right-front corner of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri entry, forcing Grosjean off track at a high speed.
On an ordinary Formula 1 track, Grosjean would have collided with a wall at a forgiving diagonal, spreading the impact out over the nose and sidepod of the car as it slid along the wall or guardrail. Bahrain’s Turn 3 exit, however, is a temporary guardrail, one that juts out into the paved off-track area meant to allow drivers to recover from exactly this sort of collision. Grosjean’s trajectory just so happened to put him nearly perpendicular to the wall. The nose of his car seemed to hit precisely at a seam in the three-layer guardrail, splitting the barrier open. Rather than absorbing the impact, the wall halted Grosjean’s car immediately.
This is when the car split in two.
The car bisected at the point where the driver’s protective carbon fiber “tub” connects to the powertrain and rear bodywork. The cockpit hit the guardrail with such force, Grosjean and the remainder of the car went clear through to the other side.
This is where the fireball erupted.
Formula 1 cars carry a full fuel load at the start of every race, a safety measure designed to eliminate in-race refueling that can lead to fires in the pit lane. While most of Grosjean’s fuel seemed not to ignite, the immediate and sustained fire implies that at least some fuel seeped out and caught flame. The fireball was enormous and explosive, engulfing only the cockpit area on the infield side of the barrier, the side Grosjean was sitting in.
Seconds later, Grosjean emerged from the flames on his own. A safety team began putting out the fire, and Grosjean leaped over what remained of the barrier and walked to the waiting medical team. He spent an overnight in a hospital in Bahrain, but preliminary scans show no broken bones. Aside from burns on the backs of his hands, Grosjean escaped the horrific crash without major injury.
Grosjean suffered the ultimate nightmare of any racing driver, a perfect storm of cascading catastrophes. Everything that could go wrong did, all at once, and each component of the crash was meant to be controlled by a specific safety measure. Grosjean not only lived, he walked away from one of the most harrowing racing crashes imaginable without a single broken bone.
This is how it happened.
To understand what went right, we also need to understand what went wrong. This starts with the collision itself, a simple result of on-track jockeying for position at the cramped center of a chaotic standing start that left a car careening off the line at a high-speed section of track. All of this is relatively routine, and would traditionally be countered by a flat wall or guardrail positioned to slow an out-of-control car with a glancing blow. Grosjean’s car would hit such a barrier at an angle and slide along its length, dissipating energy and shedding speed. Instead, this particular wall juts outward, covering an access road made from existing runoff area. This positioning created a nearly head-on collision, the first thing to go wrong.
Grosjean struck the wall at a reported 137 mph. A three-piece steel guardrail, colloquially known by the brand-name Armco, is designed to deform on impact, absorbing momentum and keeping the car from piercing through the barrier. The guardrail that Grosjean hit ended up splitting between the first and second bars, the forceful impact of the car’s nose seeming to break the bars in two. This led directly to the worst elements of the incident.
BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson reported that the 137-mph impact had a force of 53 g. That energy had to go somewhere. With the driver’s survival cell suddenly stopped, the impact force pounded through the car, splitting the chassis in half at the point where the cockpit connects to the drivetrain and rear of the car. This splitting off is by design—the car is built to protect the survival cell by dissipating the impact elsewhere, and a violent crash can cause the drivetrain to snap off. But Grosjean’s high-speed separation seems to have released fuel that was then ignited, creating a towering fireball—the third and most dramatic of the catastrophic failures that contributed to this crash.
DAN ISTITENE – FORMULA 1GETTY IMAGES
After the nose of the car pierced the guardrail, the next thing to hit would have been Grosjean’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure of the crash, and the point where we get to see up-close the life-saving power of recent safety changes.
On the other side of the guardrail, the force of the impact actually created a new point for the area above the nose to hit at full speed. In the past, this exposed area would be an open cockpit, and the next point of impact would have been the driver’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure.This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
It was just three years ago when Formula 1 mandated the introduction of the “halo” safety device that adds a secondary protective structure around the driver’s helmet. Grosjean’s halo made direct contact with the top portion of the barrier, a collision that should theoretically be impossible in the controlled conditions of a live race. It was not impossible, of course, and the halo ended up absorbing some portion of the impact.
Grosjean likely survived the impact thanks to the halo; without it, his helmet would have been directly in the line of the impact. It meant he could escape the fire on his own, in under 30 seconds, avoiding more serious injury—and disproving some early fears that the halo would impede a driver’s ability to get free of a burning wreck. Had he not been able to escape, Formula 1’s professional safety team was able to get to the car almost immediately.
Fire protection gear is only effective for so long, and Grosjean was able to get out of the car before coming close to those limitations. Series doctor Ian Roberts, who spoke with the Sky F1 broadcast team after the race, arrived at the crash so quickly, he was able to help Grosjean over the guardrail as crews were still putting the fire out. Formula 1’s professional rescue team, like the IndyCar team that saved James Hinchcliffe’s life in 2015, is a fully-dedicated group, led by Roberts since 2013, with extensive training in extracting, diagnosing and treating drivers immediately at the scene of a crash. The rescue team’s performance at Bahrain was a shining bright spot in this incident, with the safety car arriving mere seconds after Grosjean’s car came to a halt. Thankfully, their role was minimal, but had things gone differently—had Grosjean been knocked unconscious in the crash, or had his tub been trapped within the mangled guardrail instead of piercing through—the rescue team would have been tasked with a difficult extraction under urgent time pressure.
Make no mistake, this was not a proud day for Formula 1. Like so many harrowing wrecks, this incident was the result of a cascade of failures both catastrophic and banal. Racing safety is made up of two components: the car and the track. The Bahrain International Circuit is responsible for the design of the guardrail Grosjean hit as well as its positioning relative to the direction of travel. Formula 1 regulations dictate the height of the car’s nose, which seemed to allow the No. 8 Haas to split through the guardrail, as well as the design and positioning of the fuel system, which was clearly compromised in some way when the car split apart, turning a violent crash into a fiery one. And Formula 1 approved the track, and those walls—along with another, faster track layout for a race next weekend.
All of these individual decisions contributed to the scale of the crash. If the guardrail that angled toward the track had instead been designed as a reinforced barrier running away from the racing line, Grosjean might simply have had an unremarkable crash and retired from the race. If the guardrail was in its current position, but built from a more modern impact-absorbing structure—like the SAFER barriers used in the U.S. or the recently-updated TecPro barriers used in high impact points at multiple Formula 1 tracks—Grosjean might have suffered an unusually painful hit, but the car likely would not have split in two, and there would likely be no impact to the halo. If the car hadn’t broken in half, there likely would have been no fire. Thankfully, other safeguards were in place, and Grosjean was able to survive all four of these catastrophic unexpected problems.
There was also considerable luck involved. Had this crash happened further away from the pit lane, the recovery team would have taken longer to arrive. Had the car gotten tangled in the guardrail rather than piercing all the way through, Grosjean would have struggled to free himself from the wreck. Most importantly, had Grosjean lost consciousness, this could have been a tragedy. A number of things had to go right for everyone involved to get this lucky, but none of that would have mattered without the decades of safety improvements that allowed Grosjean to survive the impact in the first place.
There are failures here that need to be investigated, and changes that will need to be made quickly. The FIA will spend the next few months investigating Grosjean’s crash and will eventually share its findings. Hopefully, what’s learned will make Formula 1 even safer for future generations of drivers and participants. Until then, all we can do is be thankful that auto racing is at a point where so many of these safety features have been implemented already. These findings should lead to real safety improvements, ones that will mean a driver won’t need such improbable luck to survive so many things going wrong. Constant safety improvement has allowed Formula 1, and modern auto racing in general, to reach this point of safety. It can’t stop here simply because Grosjean walked away from what could have easily been a fatal crash. His survival is nothing short of miraculous, and it would have been impossible if Formula 1 ever gave up on getting safer.
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They’re Back! Chip Ganassi Racing Returning to WeatherTech Championship in 2021 with Cadillac DPi Entry
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chip Ganassi Racing, which has fielded seven IMSA season champions and eight Rolex 24 At Daytona champions, is returning to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition with a Cadillac entry in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
Joining its already-successful operations in IndyCar and NASCAR, Chip Ganassi Racing joined IMSA in 2004 and won the first of seven championships that same year. The team competed in the Daytona Prototype category through 2015 before moving to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class from 2016-2019.
Other sports car achievements by the team include 64 total race wins, including marquee events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win three straight Rolex 24s (2006-2008).
“We can’t wait to get back to IMSA and fight for the overall win after several years competing in the GTLM class,” Ganassi said. “Our relationship with General Motors has expanded from the NASCAR Cup Series and we couldn’t be happier. Partnering with Cadillac is a tremendous opportunity for our team and we want to start delivering for them in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”
CGR will field one car in the 2021 season, with the driver lineup to be named. It joins a Cadillac program that has claimed victory the last four years at the Rolex 24, won last month’s Motul Petit Le Mans and came within a single point of winning the 2020 DPi driver, team and manufacturer championships.
“We are very excited to welcome Chip Ganassi Racing to the Cadillac competition family,” Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey said. “Their success across many forms of racing, including sports cars, will be a great addition to our IMSA WeatherTech lineup. Chip’s pedigree at winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona eight times, as well as their championships in this form of racing, gives Cadillac another stalwart team to compete for the 2021 IMSA DPi championship.”
The 2021 WeatherTech Championship season kicks off with The Roar Before The Rolex 24 testing Jan. 22-24 at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Saturday, Jan. 30 on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course.
Source: Mark Robinson
The premier division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is up for grabs this weekend over 12 hours at Sebring International Raceway, and some NTT IndyCar Series stars on the entry list could factor into the outcome.
Reigning six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi will be driving for the top two teams in the IMSA DPi points standings entering Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which will close the season after being rescheduled from its traditional mid-March date because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The No. 7 Team Penske Acura of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor leads by two points over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe. For the third time this season, Rossi will join Castroneves and Taylor, who have won four of the past five races.
Dixon will be making his third start with van der Zande and Briscoe, having won in their previous two outings at the Rolex 24 and last month at the Petit Le Mans (where Castoneves, Taylor and Rossi finished second).
Ranked third in the standings is the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, who trails by nine points. Nasr and Derani, who will be joined by Gabby Chaves this weekend, won in the series’ July 18 visit to Sebring.
Other IndyCar notables who will be racing in the IMSA season finale on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile course:
–2016 series champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya;
–2014 Indy 500 winner and 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 55 Mazda with Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell;
–Sebastien Bourdais, who will drive full time next year for AJ Foyt Racing, will wrap up his IMSA season in the No. 5 Cadillac of Mustang Sampling Racing / JDC-Miller MotorSports;
–In the GTLM category, Andretti Autosport winner Colton Herta will be driving the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Saturday’s coverage of the Twelve Hours of Sebring will begin at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 3-6 p.m. on NBC and 6-10:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Flag-to-flag coverage of the 12-hour race will be available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
By Nate Ryan for Motorsport NBC
Mount Van Hoevenberg track (Provided photo — Jimmy Reed)
LAKE PLACID — USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes are back on ice at Mount Van Hoevenberg to kick off the much-anticipated 2020-2021 season. U.S. athletes are normally on track by early October, but increased safety measures due to the global pandemic delayed the start of the season.
“It’s great to have the team back on the ice,” USABS CEO Aron McGuire said in a statement. “We’ve had all hands on deck to get our athletes back to the ice safely. While it’s complicated and things continually change, our athletes have done an exceptional job of remaining flexible and focused. One of the positives of this pandemic is that we’ve seen just how resilient and strong our athletes are.”
Team trials were originally scheduled to take place in Lake Placid and Park City, Utah, but USABS leadership announced Tuesday, Nov. 3 that team trials will take place entirely in Lake Placid. The coaches and staff want to limit the number of variables involved in team selections by not disrupting the system currently in place. In addition, warmer temperatures are expected in Lake Placid, which may push the current competition days back. USABS is hoping to utilize the Park City track for national team training camps after the team is named.
Skeleton athletes were welcomed to the track by a snow storm Monday, Nov. 2, when they had the opportunity to take their first runs of the season.
“After a longer than normal offseason and so much uncertainty leading into this winter, it was nice to finally get on ice,” skeleton Olympian Kendall Wesenberg said in a press release. “We know how much effort went into getting us to this point, and we are so thankful for the extra effort. Our USABS staff, the U.S. Olympic Training Center staff, and the track crew put in a lot of hard work to make this happen, and it feels great to be back getting to do what we do.”
Bobsledders had to wait one more day before getting back on ice, and took their opening run of the 2020-2021 season the evening of Election Day.
“Getting back in the saddle was huge today,” bobsled pilot Hunter Church said in a press release. “It’s hard enough to go an entire summer without driving, but even harder because my last run of the 2019-2020 season was a crash. It felt really good to shake that off finally. The track crew is hustling the best they can to keep us sliding, and we’re very appreciative for everyone’s extra efforts to get us on ice this season.”
USABS athletes will be training and competing in Lake Placid for the start of national team trials to decide who will compete on the World Cup tour. The U.S. team has opted out of at least the first half of the international season to reduce quarantine times and travel for the athletes.
SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com
Ranging from pure performance monsters to cool and unique designs, here are some of the coolest forms the Corvette has taken over the years.
Long live America’s sports car – first shown to the world at GM’s Motorama in 1953, the Corvette is nearing its 70th anniversary as the premier American sports car, and one that has come to represent the American performance game. With its signature V8 power, and price that makes it a great value for the performance, the Corvette has stuck around in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, even through its darkest years during the Oil Crisis.
Along the way through, the Corvette has also been defined by a multitude of special editions. Ranging from pure performance monsters to awesome looking aesthetic changes, the special edition Corvettes have been some of the coolest forms the car has taken over its long life. These 10 though, are among the sickest special edition Corvettes to ever hit the street.
The greatest of all classic Corvettes, the L88 is an absolutely wicked, special, and rare ‘Vette that now commands millions of dollars at auction.
Unleashed onto the world in 1967, the L88’s development was carried out under command of Zora Arkus-Duntov himself. Packing plenty of racing-oriented modifications, the L88 was intended to help further the Corvette’s status as a motorsports icon. But, what was truly special about the L88, was its engine. Thoroughly modified, the legendary 427 V8 inside the ‘Vette was brought up to a truly wild number of around 580 hp.
Stripped of most comfort based options and features, GM tried to scare people away from buying the monstrous car. Down-rating it, and claiming the engine had 435 hp, intentions were for people to be scared off by the lack of “civilized” features, and opt for another performance package that included them while having similar power. Mostly ending up used as race cars (to GM’s relief), only 20 L88 Corvettes were made in 1967, making them one of the most powerful, and rare special editions in the Corvette’s history.
A familiar name in the modern Corvette’s legacy, the ZR1 began life as a successor to the earth-shattering L88, and still stands for the ultimate performance edition a Corvette can have.
Sold under a Regular Production Order (RPO) from 1970 until 1972, the ZR1 was similar to the L88 in that ordering it meant you had to sacrifice many comfort-based options such as air conditioning, the radio, and power steering. What you got in return though, were specialized performance parts like beefy suspension, a performance transmission, and big brakes. More importantly, though, the ZR1 gave you the special LT1 small-block V8 laying down 370 hp, turning the C3 Corvette into a monster. Yet, only 25 ZR1s were sold in 1970, making it among the rarest special edition Corvettes.
With the Corvette losing most of its performance and overall greatness during the tail end of the C3 generation, and the first years of the C4, the 1990 ZR1 came about to reclaim the nameplate’s glory as a performance monster.
Named “King of the Hill” during its development, this revival of the ZR1 would live up to that name in spades. Forgoing the standard V8 that had been powering the C4, a special 5.7 L LT5 V8 making 380 hp was mounted inside – developing over 400 hp by the end of its run. Not just powerful though, at the time GM owned Lotus and brought them on to make the ZR1 handle as well as it accelerated. An instant success, the 1990 ZR1 was one of the fastest cars of the early ’90s, helping rekindle the Corvette’s flame, and remaining on sale until 1995.
1966 Grand Sport
While somewhat overshadowed by the 1990-95 ZR1, the 1996 Grand Sport was an awesome way to send off the C4 generation Corvette.
Built as an homage to the ’60s Grand Sport Corvette racecars, the 1996 Grand Sport was situated in a tough position. With the C4 ZR1 ending in 1995, and the all-new C5 ready for release in 1997, Chevy needed to make a splash with a special edition for the C4’s retirement.
While not the performance beast that the ZR1 was, the Grand Sport was one of the coolest C4 Corvettes to be released. Tuning the LT1 V8 to 330 hp, and renaming it the LT4, the Grand Sport was genuinely quick for the late ’90s. Sporting the iconic blue and white paint with red fender marks, the 1996 Grand Sport did its job of sending off the C4 with great style and set the tone for later Grand Sport editions of the Corvette.
2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition
Similar to the 1996 Grand Sport, the 2004 Commemorative Edition was a send-off for the C5 generation of Corvette, and focused on a flashy red, white, and blue paint job.
With the C6 on the horizon for 2005, and the C5-R Corvette racecar scoring consecutive class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Commemorative Edition sent off the C5 generation by celebrating those Le Mans victories.
Available on either the coupe, convertible, or Z06 flavors of Corvette, the Commemorative Edition was mostly just aesthetic changes. Painted in the same base scheme as the Le Mans C5-R, the Commemorative Edition came with plenty of cool touches like badges and seat embroidery. One performance touch present though, order the Commemorative Edition Z06, and you had the option to add a carbon fiber hood.
Bringing the special edition ZR1 nameplate back for its third shot at crushing the performance game, 2009 saw it return with the greatest power of any road-going Corvette before it.
Gone from the market since the previous one’s end in 1995, the ZR1 returned with ferocity after 14 years. Like the previous ZR1s it followed in the footsteps of, a monstrous and unique engine was placed inside – the supercharged LS9 V8 spitting out a whopping 638 hp. With features like a window in the hood that displays the supercharger, the most power a stock Corvette had up until it, and a 200 MPH+ top speed, the 2009 ZR1 helped prove that the Corvette was a competitive force in the modern car industry.
2011 Z06 Carbon Limited Edition
Another special edition that celebrates the Corvette’s long-lived presence at Le Mans, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition does more than just add a special paint job though.
Limited to just 500, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition takes the already performance-oriented Z06 and imbues it with performance parts from the monstrous ZR1. Included in the Carbon Limited Edition are the big carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable shocks, wheels, and tires from the ZR1. But that’s not all, as the “Carbon” in its name also refers to the carbon fiber front splitter, hood, and roof panel it comes with. Only available in a special shade of blue or orange, the Carbon Limited Edition is one of the coolest modern Corvette special editions.
2013 427 Convertible
A number that will be instantly recognizable to Chevy fans, the 427 Convertible pays tribute to the legendary 427 big-block V8 of Chevy’s muscle car past.
While the Z06 is a favorite amongst Corvette fans for its balance of performance, affordability, and ease of street use, one of its best features on the C6 generation was the 505 hp LS7 V8. Although the Z06 and its LS7 didn’t come in convertible form – the 427 Convertible changed that.
While missing Z06 exclusive features like its aluminum frame, the 427 Convertible drops the LS7 into a convertible Corvette and adds touches like a special paint scheme, and the rear axle and shock absorbers from the Z06. Back to the name though, the LS7 is technically a 427.7 cu-in engine, but Chevy rounded down to pay tribute to their classic big block, it’s a technicality that’s easy to forgive though, especially when the car is this cool.
The 4th, and most powerful iteration of the legendary ZR1, the C7 based edition is also the last time ZR1 will be used on the Corvette’s traditional front-engine layout.
Even better, or worse – depending on your perspective, the C8 ZR1 is confirmed to be a hybrid. But back to the C7 ZR1 – serving as the 4th time the special edition ZR1 has graced Chevy showrooms, the 2019 ZR1 evolved from the 2009 version with even more ridiculous amounts of power. Capable of a 0-60 MPH time of 3.0 seconds thanks to the 755 hp its supercharged LT5 V8 produces, the 2019 ZR1 is the most powerful and most insane stock Corvette so far – though, the C8 ZR1 is said to be shooting for 900 hp.
2016 Z06 C7/R Edition
A team with many decades of racing legacy, Corvette Racing’s C7.R is the focus of this special edition, using a Z06 to pay tribute to the full-on racecar and its iconic yellow paint.
Limited to only 500 units, the C7.R edition was available on Z06 Corvettes and offered the Z07 Performance Package with its carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. Otherwise, the C7.R Edition is mostly an aesthetic one, packing Corvette Racing Yellow paint, special graphics, wheels, yellow brake calipers, as well as a black interior with yellow contrast stitching. Equipped with the C7 Z06’s supercharged LT4 V8 with 650 hp, the C7.R Edition is one of the coolest for fans of the Corvette Racing team.
SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com
Luxury automakers are trying to lure in younger fans through hyped-up partnerships with insidery clothing companies like Aimé Leon Dore, Kith and Supreme
EARLY THIS FEBRUARY, before we all began sheltering in place, visitors streamed into the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in downtown Manhattan to ogle a one-of-a-kind Porsche.
The refreshed vintage Porsche 964 coupe—white with a shiny red Pegasus emblem, a honey-tinted leather interior and a swooping “duckbill” spoiler tacked on the back—was designed by Teddy Santis, the founder of Aimé Leon Dore, a 7-year-old streetwear label based in Queens. The result of an official partnership between the label and the German automaker, the car sat in the gallery’s center on an interwoven heap of Persian-style rugs. For four days, Mr. Santis’s fans poured through the doors in droves to inspect the interior’s splashes of Loro Piana fabric, scoop up co-branded apparel and take photos of the extremely hyped, extremely not-for-sale auto.
The partnership was the first of several 2020 pair-ups between luxury automakers and youth-seducing clothing designers. This April, Italy’s Lamborghini and the streetwear virtuosos at Supreme released a run of hoodies, quilted jackets, tees and other items splayed with the car brand’s glimmering gold-lettered logo. In September, Mercedes-Benz debuted “Project Geländewagen,” a widely publicized and frankly confusing initiative in which the German carmaker worked with artistic director Virgil Abloh of Off White and Louis Vuitton to design a G-Class SUV. The only tangible result: Sotheby’s auctioned a one-third-scale mock-up of the concept car, with the proceeds going to charity.
The most extensive collaboration yet—between BMW and Kith, a New York hoodie-and-sneaker emporium—was unveiled last week. The results included: a co-branded 94-piece clothing and accessories line; a single rebuilt vintage BMW M3; and 150 special-edition, Kith-branded M4 Competition sports cars that started at $109,250 and were distributed through BMW dealerships.
By selling an actual automobile, the BMW-Kith partnership most closely resembles car and fashion pair-ups of the past, which typically focused on producing limited-edition automobiles. Among the many motor-minded marriages of the past: Lincoln and Givenchy (1979), Peugeot and Lacoste (1984), Mercedes-Benz and Armani (2004) and Thom Browne and Infiniti (2013).
During a preview last week, Kith owner Ronnie Fieg was quick to point out that outsiders might underestimate the number of big spenders who worship his brand. And true enough, within an hour of the Friday morning release of the Kith-ified M4s, all 150 of the six-figure cars were spoken for.
However, for the 2020 partnerships, selling a car is not, the only (or even primary) objective; for the automobile brands, it’s also about targeting a young demographic that could someday evolve into a reliable customer base. As Uwe Dreher, head of marketing for at BMW North America put it, it doesn’t matter if the “people who buy the hoodie with the Kith BMW logo….also buy the car.” As he said in an interview before the launch, many of Kith’s shoppers aren’t even old enough to drive. The partnership is also about building awareness.
For car manufacturers, young people are an increasingly elusive demo. “The people who are buying new cars are people my age, baby boomers,” said Carla Bailo, the president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit in Michigan. A study released in 2019 by Sivak Applied Research found that in 2017, half of all vehicle buyers in the U.S. were over 54 years old, while those 34 and under comprised just 14% of the total. Instead of purchasing cars, many young people are turning to ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft.
Mr. Santis, the Aimé Leon Dore designer, said that Porsche voiced these very concerns at the outset of his collaboration with the brand. “They came to us and they felt like the sports car consumer and enthusiast they had was kind of getting aged out. And the newer kid, the younger kid was more caught up with, you know, Uber and Lyft,” he said. Deniz Keskin, Porsche’s head of brand management and sponsoring, said that “getting access to these new people was definitely a plus” in working with Mr. Santis. Many of the oglers who poured into the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery to see the resulting car, he said, “were only coming from the angle of Teddy’s fashion brand and would normally not attend a Porsche-type event.”
Brandon Watson, 27, a commercial photographer in Buffalo, N.Y., was one such onlooker. As a longstanding Aimé Leon Dore customer, he was duly impressed that Porsche tapped an emerging clothing label. By tying itself with a “streetwear brand,” Mr. Watson said, the automaker “refreshed people’s memories of what Porsche actually is.”
And what’s the perfect way to draw in auto-agnostic kids? Clothes. If streetwear has proven anything, it’s that when armed with enough clout a clothing brand can make any partner—no matter how random—appear desirable via a co-branded T-shirt or hoodie. Kith’s recent collaborators, for example, have included properties as disparate as the see-and-be-seen eatery Nobu, Looney Tunes and Coca-Cola.
Such apparent randomness aside, Mr. Fieg said that he’s felt a personal connection to all of Kith’s collaborators. BMW is no different: his grandfather owned a 1989 M3, the same model Mr. Fieg worked on restoring as part of the collaboration. As for the idea that anything he stuck his logo on would sell, Mr. Fieg said “I never go into anything assuming that. But we have definitely built a loyal consumer in nine years.” “Loyal” might be an understatement: All of Kith’s recent collaborations have sold out swiftly.
In both the BMW and the Porsche collaborations, the idea of bundling in co-branded tees, keychains and other take-home souvenirs came from the clothing brands. Both Mr. Fieg and Mr. Santis viewed that element as vital to making the collaborations a success. “There’s got to be some component of product or merchandise or something tangible that the kid who knows nothing about what we’re talking about shows up and leaves with something,” said Mr. Santis. Porsche went along with the idea of offering clothes; the collaborative pieces sold out in two days.
The art gallery event also allowed Porsche to wiggle further into Instagram, another key piece of the teen-and-twenty-something ecosystem. The entire space was set up like one giant Instagram shoot, complete with the sort of verdant potted plants you can’t escape on the social media platform. Even after the clothes sold out, fans continued to pour into the Dietch gallery to snap selfies next to the Porsche.
Covid-19 has temporarily derailed plans to host these kinds of bustling events, though automakers are trying to find workarounds. For “Project Geländewagen,” Mercedes-Benz created a digital simulacrum of the car that Instagram users could “place” in their homes using augmented reality. Though in theory a savvy way to bring the collaboration right to users, the technology proved a little awkward to use. (Mercedes-Benz declined to be interviewed for this story.)
Meanwhile, BMW and Kith previewed their collaboration for editors and influencers at a small, relatively socially distanced event in Brooklyn, spurring some buzz on social media—albeit much less than Porsche enjoyed from its partnership with Aimé Leon Dore. Nevertheless, by Friday afternoon, just a few hours after it launched on Kith’s website, most of the clothing collection had sold out.
By Jacob Gallagher for WSJ
General Motors today is celebrating two separate reports that show more GM vehicles have the most “Made in the USA” content than any other automaker. We’ve featured both reports already as the new C8 Corvette ranks high on both lists. As a bonus to Corvette enthusiasts, GM is sharing a new video showing the C8 Corvette under construction at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
First up comes the Cars.com American-Made Index for 2020 which had the 2020 Corvette Stingray in 8th place on its vehicles with the most domestic-sourced content. In addition to the Corvette, the Chevrolet Colorado was 10th and GM placed another seven vehicles in the Top 25.
As for the American University Kogod School of Business and its Made in America Auto Index, the 2020 Corvette tied for 3rd place alongside the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups and behind the automatic Chevrolet Camaro. GM had 10 models in the Top 25, the most of any manufacturer. GM also received credit as ranking the highest among manufacturers for total domestic content across all 2020 models.
“We’re proud of GM’s massive American manufacturing footprint, consisting of 11 vehicle assembly plants, 26 stamping, propulsion, component and battery plants, and 19 parts distribution centers,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations. “Our manufacturing strength in the U.S. is a team effort starting with our employees and extending to our supplier partners and local communities across the country.”
The Making of the C8 Corvette
In this video from General Motors, go inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant for a look at how the mid-engine C8 Corvette is manufactured. We also get a great look at the construction of certain parts from vendors like the Bedford aluminum castings and the carbon-fiber rear bumper beam.
When Corvettes are shipped to a Chevrolet dealership, they have to go through a pre-delivery inspection known as PDI. Service technicians take the cars fresh off the truck into the service bays where they run through a checklist of things to do that include installing any parts and accessories as well as checking and topping off the fluids.
We’ve talked about the PDI process previously, and have even shared some of the processes like the installation of a High Wing. Now here’s a chance to watch a 2020 Corvette going through PDI with a time-lapse video that condenses the hour-and-a-half process into just under 5 minutes. While we don’t really learn anything new from the video, we are treated to a scene that most of us will never see.
The video was posted to YouTube by a user named “I Sell Corvettes“:
The long version time-lapse of the C8 pre-delivery inspection. This C8 is a fairly basic, non-Z51 so the PDI is pretty quick and easy, less than an hour and a half.
Power doesn’t always equal victory.
Forget about the 1960s and 70s; we are truly living in the golden age of the muscle car, where power levels have pierced the stratosphere, and quarter-mile times keep tumbling down at an incredible rate. Cars such as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are best suited to racing in a straight line, but people are just as interested in seeing more dynamically capable cars duke it out on the strip. Two such cars are the Chevrolet Corvette, which is no stranger to the drag strip, and the sonorous Ford Shelby GT350. These two cars are more track-focused, but can still get down in the quarter, and in a YouTube video posted by Driving Line we see these two square up for a bit of a friendly battle.
The Corvette shown here is of the Z51 variety and produces 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter V8. The Z51 package also adds an electronic LSD and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. This allows the C8 Corvette to sprint to sixty in only 2.9 seconds, and cross the quarter-mile in a scant 11.2 seconds. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, on the other hand, is motivated by a 5.2-liter Voodoo V8 that produces 526 hp and 429 lb-ft, but the car in the video has seen some extensive modification. Chris Wise’s GT350 now produces 875 hp thanks to a supercharger, while the C8 ‘Vette remains bone stock. That’s quite the power disadvantage.
After some tight practice rounds, the two cars line up for the official race. The Corvette blasts off the line, leaving the Mustang, which is struggling with traction, in the dust. The Corvette keeps pulling down the track, and by the end of the run the Mustang starts crawling back, but it’s too little, too late. The end result reveals that both cars crossed the line in the 11.8-second range. To then level the playing field, both drivers climb in identical Chevy Sparks, packing 98 hp, and burn down the strip. In a show of skill, the Corvette driver takes the race, proving that sometimes skill (and appropriate weight balance) outweighs power.
The Shelby GT350 is not long for this world: we recently found out it will not be produced for the 2021 model. Perhaps GT350 buyers might want to buy a new Corvette instead.
Michael Butler for Car Buzz
And there’s still more in the tank.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 has been hailed as a performance bargain since it first arrived on the scene, but if you’re saving money on the cost of a car, that just means you have more money left over to make it even faster and better. For some, that can even include altering its appearance for a more exotic look. But while some prefer technical circuit racing, where the C8 excels too, the most popular form of motorsport in America is arguably drag racing. We know that a standard C8 with 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque can clock a 10-second quarter-mile, but now someone has made it into the nines.
Extreme Turbo Systems, a company famous for mind-blowingly powerful Nissan GTRs, has just set a new record for the C8, achieving a time of 9.95 seconds at 144 mph. Naturally, this required some extensive modifications, with the ETS C8 receiving new Mahle pistons Ferrea and valves, Mickey Thompson drag radial tires, a bespoke intercooler with an ice box, and direct port methanol injection. As imperative as these mods are, it’s the addition of Precision turbochargers with 46 millimeter wastegates that truly elevates the ETS C8 to a new level.
With 13 psi of boost, this Stingray produces 872 hp. 18 psi generates 980 horses, and then 20 psi gets the team into quadruple digits with an astonishing 1,021 hp. That’s more than double what the car comes with in stock form.
But as any racing enthusiast will tell you, a dyno run does not prove that your car is fast. Thus, ETS headed to Woodburn Dragstrip to lay down some rubber, and despite battling some launch control and transmission issues, achieved some incredible figures. At 11 psi, a time of 10.49 seconds was achieved at 141 mph. Turned up to 13.5 psi, the C8 managed 10.05 at 145 mph. Being that close to the single digits with no breakages, it only makes sense to turn it up again. Interestingly, although the team achieved 9.95 at 144 mph, this was done with just 15 psi, meaning less than 980 hp. Assuming that transmission and launch issues can be resolved and more power put down, this car may achieve mid-nine-second passes very soon.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
A good balance.
Those are a few of the ways Popular Mechanics describes the 2020 Corvette Stingray, the new mid-engine monster from Chevrolet so good it’s just become that magazine’s Car of the Year.
“So much of what makes Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis the stuff of phone wallpaper fantasy is present” in the new Corvette, Popular Mechanics writes.
Things like a 0 to 60 time of 2.8 seconds “with a pleasantly terrifying exhaust sound.”
With the seats so far forward, the Corvette gives you “that tip-of-the-cruise-missile feeling.”
Even after a week-long test drive, Popular Mechanics says the car never lost its novelty, noting that “it is thrilling to hold the keys to this thing.”
Unlike so many other supercars, the new Corvette is still a practical vehicle, with PM calling it “livable. Actually comfortable.”
With two trunks that hold 13 cubic feet of stuff, the Stingray can fit two week’s worth of groceries for three people.
Even a four-hour trip in heavy traffic and rain was “mostly pleasant,” the magazine reports, with sound dampening materials that “kept the cockpit quiet at highway speeds.”
Even the “strange center bar with the air conditioning controls made sense within just a few miles of our first drive,” PM admitted.
It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows, though, as the magazine did point out a few minor nitpicks with the car.
The overall comfort means that the Corvette “loses some of the vibration that helps you feel feedback from the road, even in its most aggressive drive setting. And as our colleagues at Car and Driver have pointed out, the steering feel doesn’t quite have the precision you get from six figures.”
But with a base price under $60,000, the Corvette more than delivers its money’s worth to owners.
PM says the $100,000 718 Cayman and Spider are “slightly more engaging (though slower) driving experiences” thanks to their six-speed manual transmission over the Corvette’s new dual-clutch automatic.
“But for those of us who like a little utility in a two-seater,” PM says, “the Corvette is a good balance.”
Ironically, the gasoline-powered Corvette breaks a three-year-long streak of electric vehicles earning the Car of the Year award. We wouldn’t be surprised, though, when the rumored E-Ray electric hybrid version of the Corvette debuts in a couple of years or so, if that car doesn’t restore order to the PM universe and win this award again.
The Corvette runs blistering laps on track and ruins back roads for the price of a Porsche’s option list.
The spiritual home of the sports car in North America isn’t Detroit. It’s not Southern California. It’s not even Bowling Green. It’s upstate New York, specifically Watkins Glen. A tiny American town with an outsize reputation.
From the November/December 2020 issue of Road & Track.
After World War II, sports cars followed returning service members to America. Lithe, light, and low-powered, they were the antithesis of the American way of travel. Cameron Argetsinger, a Watkins Glen local, saw an opportunity. In 1948, he staged the first Watkins
Glen road race, an event that became an annual showcase of the country’s bravest drivers on challenging country roads. In 1951, legendary General Motors designer Harley Earl attended the race to show off a concept LeSabre and was inspired to build a purely American sports car. In 1953 he came back to the race with his creation: the Corvette.
The first generation wasn’t quite up to its world-beating task. But through seven generations and more than 65 years, the Corvette evolved into a car that did everything a Porsche or a Ferrari could for less than half the price. It’s one of few cars at home in every possible environment. It’s underrated to the point of disdain by those who simply don’t want to believe that an American sports car can beat the hell out of models from Europe.
Part of that may be the working-class price. Another may be the lackluster interiors. The biggest knock may have been the perception that the engine was in the wrong place. And for decades, rumors insisted that the Corvette’s V-8 would move behind the driver. It was always just about to happen, with a string of mid-engine concept cars giving credence to the rumors. But a series of false starts, including one C7-generation plan scuttled by bankruptcy, saw hopes continually fall. Until now.
The C8-generation Corvette is easily the most anticipated American car of the last 20 years, one with impossibly high expectations from customers, journalists, and GM itself. It must be a grand tourer, sports car, track car, drag racer, and golf-club hauler, displaying versatility not expected of any other model. That’s the Corvette’s dilemma: Because it has doubters, it must to do everything flawlessly.
Our first drive of the C8 for Performance Car of the Year saw us get behind the wheel of a preproduction model, one not 100-percent finalized. At the time, it seemed the Stingray was very good but best considered as a building block for higher-powered versions of the car to come, variants that would truly take advantage of the mid-engine architecture.
But the completed car stands on its own. This is the performance bargain of the century.
Like the Corvette, Watkins Glen has evolved. Racing moved from public roads to a purpose-built facility decades ago, but the track is no less daunting. This circuit hosted the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix for two decades and still sees professional sports-car racing each year. It’s one of the old-school tracks, iconic blue barriers lining a course carved out of the land by men on tractors, not mere algorithms. What you get is a gorgeous, flowing track, a fast 3.4-mile goliath as intimidating as it is iconic. This is where we reacquaint ourselves with the C8.
It gets you the first time you push the start button, the familiar small-block bark smacking your brain from behind, the unrefined lope a brief reminder that you’re not in something from Europe. The new engine, dubbed LT2, is an evolution of the V-8 we saw in the C7, now producing 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque with the Z51 package. That gets it to 60 in 2.8 seconds, better than the last-generation Z06 and ZR1, cars with at least 150 more horsepower.
The C8 gives the illusion of ever-present grip. It’s a rear-wheel-drive car with an almost all-wheel-drive character, able to fire in any direction at any time. That acceleration from a dig is thanks to the mid-engine layout and aggressively short gearing from the eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter said shifting weight toward the rear axle would allow the C8 to put more power down, hence the move to a mid-engine layout. Perhaps the C7 Stingray and Grand Sport had no traction issues; the C8 has less than none.
You do lose the dance of clutch, accelerator, and steering, of making sure you have the right mix to stay straight. On the track, going for lap times, that’s undeniably a good thing. But losing that theater is noticeable on the road, where instead of worrying about controlling the rear end, you need to worry about hitting imprisonable speeds within seconds of touching the throttle.
Unlike Corvettes past, the controls are delicate, with light steering and paddle shifters. A sign of modern trends. While it was a sad day when the Corvette lost its third pedal, the gearbox has vastly improved since we first drove the car months ago.
Shifts from the Tremec-designed transmission are crisp and rapid in manual mode, thanks to paddles wired directly to the box. Downshifts are quick and perfectly rev-matched, when you get them. That’s one annoyance. In a heavy braking zone, like into Turn 1 at The Glen, you’re snagging gears quickly. Occasionally the gearbox takes more than one pull to react, likely because a paddle was pulled before the engine was ready to allow a shift. Instead of delaying that shift slightly, the gearbox denies it, then forgets you ever asked. Exercising more patience with the paddle results in delay-free downshifts. Driven in automatic, it’s telepathic, keeping the engine in the powerband at all times and banging off shifts without issue.
Chevrolet has recently compared Corvette automatics to Porsche’s PDK gearbox, and every single time Chevy’s automatic has been a letdown. The PDK is still the best you can buy, but this Tremec is leagues better than any automatic ever fit to a Corvette, a half-step at most behind the best.
Tucked in the hills just outside the hamlet that bears the same name, Watkins Glen International is one of America’s greatest and most challenging tracks.
1. TURN ONE
A fast right. Get your braking done beforehand, hit an early apex, and use all the track for the fast run up the esses.
2. THE BUS STOP
The place to be brave. Brake late and clobber the curbs. The Vette was touching 150 before the braking zone.
3. THE BOOT
Quicker than it looks. Use the track’s compression to get back to power early, maximizing that short straight.
4. THE TABLETOP
Secretly the most challenging turn on track. An off-camber left, get this one wrong and you’ll end up in the wall.
Like the gearbox, the brakes have gone digital, a brake-by-wire setup bypassing the physical connection between pedal and braking system (though there is a mechanical backup if the by-wire system fails). This means the computer can change the pedal feel depending on the driving situation, which is gimmicky—and disconcerting, since brakes should be a constant—but also a likely sign of an upcoming hybrid system. But left in Sport mode the pedal is linear and accurate, the brakes showing no fade after repeated use at more than 150 mph through The Glen’s bus-stop chicane.
The delicate controls, light steering, and paddle-shift gearbox may lead you to believe that the Vette needs a light touch. Not the case. In fact, it’s the opposite; in corners like The Glen’s Turn 5, a long, downhill right-hand sweeper, you need patience with the throttle lest you make the front push. A big swing at the wheel or an aggressive move on the pedals is needed to make the Corvette come around. Steering, while accurate, is numb, meaning your inputs must be informed by something other than your hands.
Vague steering is always a letdown. But as the pace gets higher, the chassis comes alive. It may not be as adjustable as the last car, likely a design choice made to save drivers from the 6.2-liter pendulum behind their backs. Still, speeds become very serious very fast, although the car remains stable and predictable, two confidence builders. The last thing you want in a car this accessible to so many people is a tricky experience. Otherwise we’d likely be hearing about a lot of owners who aren’t thrilled with GM after wrapping their C8s tail-first around a tree.
But get on the power at the right time, and from apex to corner exit there isn’t much that drives like this. A big part is the fantastic Performance Traction Management (PTM) system, hyper-advanced traction control that actually cuts spark instead of using the brakes to bring the car back in line. This is racing-level stuff, and it works excellently, though we’re not sure it’s being fully exploited. The sheer rear-end grip is so massive that traction control is more safety net than necessity.
Stopwatch estimates from pit lane put the Corvette at a sub-2:10 lap at The Glen, positively blistering when you consider that this is a lightly optioned base Corvette putting up numbers that are tough for any car to match.
On the road, heads snap when it drives by, some innocent bystanders wondering what the hell it is, some refusing to believe it exists at all. The front three-quarter view is the winner, a mixture of angles and shapes invoking stealth fighters. The rear view is inelegant at best, the need for golf-bag storage creating squarish hips, denying the Corvette the lithe, tapered beauty of other mid-engine cars. No matter what you think of its looks, it has serious presence.
The ride quality is simply outstanding. Magnetic Ride Control shocks make this the most comfortable sports car you can drive that doesn’t cost more than $300,000. It’s truly a feat, keeping the Corvette comfortable for hours. And this iteration has an excellent interior.
The seats are normally a Vette low point. The GT2 buckets in our car were supportive and on the verge of being too tight, though that’s honestly a sign that I need to spend more time on the bike than I do eating cookies. It’s a great place to be, especially if you’re behind the wheel.
Everything is angled towards the driver, including a raised panel housing the ancillary controls, which creates a border wall the passenger must summit in order to change the radio station. On the track or a solo drive, it’s wonderful, a cocoon that lets you focus without distraction. But trips with a friend or significant other feel like you’re in two different cars, particularly if your passenger is short. There is one blessing of the control wall: Passengers with music ADD won’t change the radio as often.
While companions struggle to find some way to turn off the Gin Blossoms, you can focus on driving. The gearbox’s on-track blindspots are eradicated on the road. The dual-clutch system begs you to put it in manual mode, as if it knows it can do everything itself but would really rather have you as part of the fun. There may not be a clutch pedal, but the transmission feels visceral enough that you can forget it’s not there.
The C8 Corvette is years of anticipation made real. On first impression, it does all the right things. It tucks crisply into corners, the engine has that perfect lope, it attracts the eye, and it feels like you’re driving a car worth three times the price. It’s a wonderful road car you could use daily, in any location, without worry. Unlike any other mid-engine car, it’s relaxed around town, a gentle cruiser, perfectly at home. On a good road it comes alive, quick and agile, the small-block V-8 once again proving it will never be outdated. It’s an outstanding combination.
Yet something undefinable is missing. The C7-generation Corvette had layers, getting better the more time you spent behind the wheel. The C8 seems to throw everything at you from the first drive, shouting its inherent specialness from minute one, relentlessly showing you every trick it has. It’s the same with its appearance. The C7 flew under the radar, eliciting knowing nods and glances and occasional waves, but nothing that’d attract a civilian crowd. The new car may as well come with a disco ball and DJ air horns. A drawback? Perhaps not. But if you’re running an errand, expect it to take twice as long as planned. Grocery run? Everybody on the dance floor! WAH-WAH-WAHHHHH!
Put it all in perspective. The Corvette’s base price is $59,995, with our tester coming in at $86,710. Either price is a bargain for a car with Ferrari/McLaren levels of performance. It’s impressive on every level, and the mid-engine platform will pay bigger dividends as engineers add power, hybrid systems, and handling packages that truly exploit the layout, if you actually need more performance. It’s hard to imagine that anyone does; more speed usually leads to sacrifices in comfort, usability, and—most importantly—price.
After every run at The Glen I had the same thought: This is the first car from Chevrolet with the engine behind the driver since the Corvair. Their corporate history is not mid-engine unobtanium but budget performance. And now they have a mid-engine Corvette that runs blistering laps on track and ruins backroads for the price of an option package on a high-end supercar.
If this is the future of performance, we’re going to be all right.
TRAVIS OKULSKI for Road and Track
Fifth win for GTLM leaders, sixth for first-year Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2020) – Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor’s charmed season continued Saturday as they claimed another victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a victory in their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Garcia passed John Edwards for the lead with 21 minutes left and held on despite a late-race caution on a tricky and treacherous night at the Roval – the first time for Corvette Racing at the venue. The duo extended their GTLM Drivers’ Championship lead to 24 points over their Corvette Racing teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, who finished fourth in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Chevrolet also saw its lead grow in the Manufacturers standings to 14 points.
Garcia and Taylor have now won five of eight races this year and four of the last five in the first year of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R. Taylor began on pole position Saturday for the second consecutive race, but conditions were much different at the green flag with a steady rain having pelted the track since mid-afternoon. The first 16 minutes featured two full-course cautions, and both Corvettes came in at 20 minutes running for fuel, tires and driver changes – Taylor to Garcia and Gavin to Milner.
On the restart, Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette ran second while Milner made a big move on the inside of the first corner to move from fourth to third. He fell back a few laps later before the track began to dry somewhat, and the Corvettes grew stronger during a long-green flag run. It culminated with Garcia moving in front with a move on Edwards to the inside of Turn 8 just before the infield section rejoined the banked oval part of the track.
Garcia pulled away quickly and led by as much as five seconds a handful of laps later. Milner, too, was making a charge back to podium position before part of the No. 4 Corvette’s right-rear suspension broke with 11 minutes remaining. Milner went hard into the outside wall but got out of the car under his own power and later was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
The race began again with five minutes to go, and Garcia pulled out to a one-second lead with a lap to go and rain falling again. He crossed the finish line with a 1.474-second margin of victory.
Corvette Racing heads back to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for next week’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans on Oct. 15-17.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“It was super, super stressful. Even if it felt like I was just following the 24, I was really hanging on. I probably crashed four or five times, just like everyone else. Jordan gave me some very good indications before he jumped out and before we went green to give me confidence in following the BMW. They were really strong right away, but I didn’t really give up. As soon as I felt like we stabilized on lap times, I kept pressuring him and using traffic to close up. They were very strong as you saw with their sister car. As soon as I saw they were struggling a little bit with tires – especially the 24 – I stayed patient even when the 25 was coming. I saw my opportunity and went for it. I don’t know if it was risky move or not, but at that point I didn’t think about the championship. I wanted to win the race. As soon as I got past, I put my head down, tried to open a gap and it worked. I’m very happy for Corvette Racing and Team Chevy. I’m glad Tommy is OK. We have a very fast car but also a very safe car. That’s a magnificent combination of car here. It’s great to be driving for the best team out there and keep winning races. We need to keep this mentality and go all the way to the end.”
DID THE TRACK IMPROVE FROM THE START? “The first two laps was close to how we finish. It was very difficult at the beginning. There was a massive river going across at Turn Three, and I almost lost it two or three times there. The conditions definitely improved, but lap by lap you know where to place your car, and following someone opens the water a little bit for you. Once we got into a rhythm, the track improved for sure but it started to rain at the end. Being in the wet in the dark also makes it difficult to spot standing water.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“At the beginning of the race, there obviously was a lot of water on the track, and with the lighting it was hard to see where the standing water was. Considering our championship position, it was kind of damage control for me, trying to stay on the track and handing off the car in one piece. It was easy to get caught up in battling with people at that point of the race, but there was really no point. You weren’t going to win the race in the first 20 or 30 minutes. I was glad to get through that phase and hand over the car to Antonio and let him go for it. He did a great job of keeping the car out of the wall for those first few laps and putting the pressure on the BMW. We would have been happy leaving here with a podium given the championship position with three races to go. But he kept the pressure on, never put a wheel wrong and was able to get by. It’s really awesome to maximize the points when we didn’t expect it. We can go into the last three races and race for the win, as well. It’s another great day for Corvette Racing. It’s good to see that Tommy walked away from that big hit at the end. It says a lot about Chevrolet and Corvette Racing and how safe they build the race cars and how strong they are. It give us a lot of confidence when we strap in that we’re going to be safe.”
ROLE OF THE CHEVROLET SIMULATOR IN RACE PREP: “If it wasn’t for the simulator, we probably wouldn’t have been able to put it on the pole and been able to stay out of trouble like that. So the simulator was a big tool for us. I’m glad this all worked out.”
LOOKING TO PETIT LE MANS: “We’re already thinking about it. It’s at the top of Antonio’s list of races to win. The focus has already shifted. The guys are driving to Atlanta tomorrow to prep the cars, but unfortunately they’ll have a lot to prep on the 4 car. We did a test day there last week where Nicky (Catsburg) and Marcel (Fassler) were able to get some laps. At the Six-Hour, we struggled with a few things and I think we found a few things at the test for some long runs and working on the different compounds of tires. This weekend was good to get in some mixed conditions. We haven’t had a lot of rain and mixed conditions in a race setting other than Road America. It was good to get a bit of everything. Now no matter what we see at Petit Le Mans, we feel pretty well prepared.”
DID THE ADDITIONAL INFIELD LIGHTING HELP? “Yes, we tested here about a month ago and the lighting was pretty difficult to see where you were going. They’ve definitely made some nice improvements. If it had been a dry race, the visibility would have been great. When you add in the water with the type of surface they have here, it’s very reflective when there’s a lot of water on it. It’s hard to distinguish what’s a damp section and what’s a deep section. It’s hard to pick out what’s what at night. It took some getting used to, but it probably made a good show on TV. It looked pretty spectacular when I got out and watched all the headlights reflecting off everything. This was definitely a cool event, and I’m glad we were able to win the first one back here.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“This whole weekend has been a massive challenge. The format of this race and the way it has happened made for some quite difficult sessions. Then you add in the extra element of the weather conditions, it just seemed like it was culminating in somewhat of a bit of a perfect storm for us. The start of the race for me was crazy. There were massive amounts of standing weather everywhere. I was just hanging on, just driving the car around and trying not to crash. I had multiple moments every single lap thinking well I could finish the race by doing something daft, so I just got myself into a position where I could sort of survive. Others were spinning off and crashing, and we ended up in third when we came in for the pit stop and hand it over for Tommy to drive. It was looking okay for a while and Tommy had pretty good pace. Then we had the issue at the right-rear. We still are trying to figure out what exactly happened. It just seems if something can go wrong, it will go wrong for us unfortunately. But I am very happy Tommy was able to walk away. It was a pretty high-speed accident so that’s a great testament to the guys at Chevrolet and Corvette for how well they’ve engineering the road car and the race car. That was a really big hit and Tommy was able to walk away on his own. And of course, I’m happy for Jordan and Antonio in picking up another win. It’s another positive outcome for the team.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“I didn’t have any indication at any point that there was something going wrong. Everything felt totally normal up until it wasn’t. I had almost finished on the banking, which is more G-loading than Daytona. It doesn’t really explain the problem, it seems like. At first I thought I lost a tire, like it just overheated or something like that for how quickly it went around. The first indications were that wasn’t the case. The track had some pretty gnarly weeps in the seams of the race track that would get you a little bit loose sometimes, but it was never really a huge deal. Upon further inspection, it looks like once the car got back to the trucks, we did have something at the right-rear and the wheel came off. Fortunately, this is a really strong and safe Corvette that we have and it held up really well. Selfishly I’m glad it is nothing I did wrong, but that doesn’t change the outcome. There is still a lot of work for the guys to get the car fixed and get ready to go to Petit Le Mans in less than a week. I feel bad for the guys for the amount of work they have to do. Obviously, the first thing we do as a team is to figure out what the failure is, how it happened and make the necessary changes to prevent that from happening again. The guys will go through that in the next couple of days and come up with a good plan.
“In the last part there, I don’t know if it was the BMW kind of fading or us getting better. I got a little bit unlucky at the start of my stint with traffic. I got balked pretty bad there going into Turn One and had a little moment and the No. 25 got around me. We knew that was going to be a big deal here. It seemed like the car was getting better toward the end. Once Antonio got around the No. 24, he was able to pull away with a little bit of a gap. I was just trying to put a little pressure on the two cars in front of me and see if we could make them make a mistake again to get around. Passing is very difficult here, but it never quite got to that point unfortunately for us. It just wasn’t our day today. I felt like we had a pretty good car. We were fast in practice and it looked like we were making decent progress at the end, but we never got there.”
That wasn’t even close!
Can the C6 Corvette ZR1 keep up with a brand new Lamborghini supercar? Well to find out the team at Track Day headed out to Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania to run some roll races and find out. The Chevy Corvette is known for its ability to punch above its weight class, but can the highest performance Corvette from 14 years ago match a contemporary modern Italian exotic?
The ZR1 trim level has signified the highest performance levels of Corvettes for decades and the C6 ZR1 was a game-changer when it first debuted in 2006. Powered by a supercharged 638 horsepower 6.2-liter LS9 V8 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the C6 ZR1 elevated the Corvette’s performance into the league for supercars. In 2006 638 horsepower (475kW) was a shocking figure and was enough to embarrass almost any car on the road.
The C6 Corvette ZR1 was far more than a powerful engine and benefitted from a Magnaride suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and extensive use of carbon fiber. The ZR1 was a showcase of the best engineering General Motors could offer consumers. Although many critics mocked interior build quality, the C6 ZR1 has a cult following today thanks to its level of performance while still offering an analog driving experience.
Chris Okula for Motor1
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe is a Chevy’s newest supercar. It features a powerful V8 engine, excellent handling with multiple drive modes and a comfy interior.
Chevy’s new Corvette is kryptonite to the ever-growing bevy of Supercars.
For more than 65 years Chevrolet’s everyman’s dream car has put its throbbing V8 power in front of the driver, but with the eighth generation that all changes. Supercars beware!
Now the Vette’s 6.2-liter V8 moves behind the driver in a mid-engine arrangement that seems new and exciting even though supercar makers, plus Ford with its GT, have been milking this layout for years.
While new and exciting looking there’s a familiarity too with the new Corvette. Stand in front and you’ll see the family resemblance, the pointed nose, the long headlights, the rounded front wheel wells. There’s even a tall flat rear shoulder that exudes Corvette styling.
Yet there’s the engine, under a glass rear window, Corvette headers confirming this isn’t a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren. And the grumble and rumble from the brilliant metallic Sebring Orange test car’s V8 also lets even the uninitiated know this isn’t an electric motor-assisted V6 as in Acura’s NSX, which resembles the Vette in profile.
Certainly a Ferrari V8 or Lamborghini V12’s growl would set them apart, so why should they get queasy in the presence of this new Vette?
Consider this. It looks a lot like them (a neighbor asked if it was a McLaren or Ferrari), packs nearly 500 horsepower, drives like it’s ready for the track and … wait for it … only starts at $59,995. Oh sure, I know that’s a lot of coin from your 401k, but it’s only a down payment compared with the supercars’ retail pricing.
A quick comparison with the heavyweights:
- A McLaren 570GT, the British firm’s low-cost entry level racer, starts at $205,450 and packs 562 horsepower from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Torque is rated at 443 lb.-ft.
- A Ferrari 488 GTB lists at $266,397 and boasts 660 hp from its 3.9-liter turbo V8.
- A Lamborghini Aventador crushes them all with 740 hp from its 6.5-liter V12 and comes with AWD. However, it lists at $421,145.
All of these have 7-speed automatics, while Corvette has a new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic that shifts better than you or I ever will. Plus, in Track mode, the crackle it emits as downshifting is absolutely inspiring.
And the non-turbo aluminum small-block Chevy V8 with the Z51 Performance package ($5,000) found on the test car delivers 495 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, instantly. No turbo lag here, because there’s no turbo. Power is instant as you tromp the accelerator. Like the $180,000 BMW M8 Competition convertible driven a week earlier, the much lighter Vette (3,647 lbs. vs. 4,251) explodes down a highway entry ramp, reaching 100 mph. Please don’t ask how I know.
But to be honest, as enthralled as I was with the raw power, it was the handling and smoothness of the well-balanced Vette’s chassis that impressed most. I have a route in rural southeast Wisconsin that will test any car’s handling and ride quality. This was the easiest sports car, or wannabe, that I’ve driven on this route, perhaps with the exception of that much pricier M8 (roughly $100,000 more).The Stingray Coupe features three driving modes: Sport, Track, and Tour.
On one stretch I repeated the route three times, once each in Tour, Sport and Track mode. Track, as you’d assume, is most precise for steering with a wheel you barely needed to twitch to slice through a daunting S-curve. The wheel becomes incredibly tight and racy. In Sport it’s a slight wheel and shock tightening and in Tour it’s easy to steer, but still effortless to control. Track is more fun, Tour is more practical.
Take a rural “rustic” road and you’ll want Tour to somewhat soften the naturally stiff sports car ride. Plus note the Vette still has a relatively short 107.2-inch wheelbase. The longer the wheelbase, the smoother the ride.
You’re not buying a Vette, or any supercar, for smooth, boulevard cruising though. Yet this one will not beat you up. And yes, we all know the average Vette buyer has aged a bit. A friend happily told me that at 65 I am the perfect age for a Corvette. Ha! Maybe WAS! This new design is targeting much younger driving enthusiasts. It will succeed.
Certainly performance per dollar is there and for those interested in such feats of strength, Car & Driver magazine puts this Vette at 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, while Chevy says it can eek out a bit better. Still, it’s about a second quicker than the older C7 Vette. Likewise Car & Driver reports its Corvette topped out at 184 mph, while Chevy claims 194. Either way, you’re in for a huge speeding ticket!
For the record the test car’s Z51 performance package upped the ante with performance brakes, performance suspension, performance exhaust and rear axle ratio, plus an electronic limited-slip differential, a rear spoiler, run-flat performance tires and a heavy-duty cooling system).The Stingray Coupe can go 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, almost a second faster than the last model Chevy released.
A group of onlookers at Hartford Municipal Airport praised the new Vette’s looks, but were especially curious about its removable roof panel and stylish new interior. Several owned Vettes.
First, the roof panel is easy to remove. Flip two levers over the windshield as with most convertible tops, and then release a lever in back and the roof is easily lifted off. Best with two people unless the singular person is tall and strong of upper body strength. You won’t want the fiberglass top to slip and mar the car’s paint job.
In any case, with two of you lifting and the rear hatch (which covers the engine and rear trunk space) released, you can slide the top into the trunk for storage while driving. It only fits one way.
Inside, the orange test car was all black leather with gray stitching and a lot of satin or brushed chrome trim on the doors, door armrests and steering wheel spokes and under the info screen. It looks great as does the raised ridge that divides the driver from the passenger. There you’ll find climate and seat heat/cool controls for both folks. It’s easy for the driver to use, but less so for the passenger. Also awkward to get at is the wireless phone charger that’s in a little pocket between and behind the seats. It’s standard on the 2LT trim Vette, which this was.
I loved the seats as did all the passengers. These were powered GT2 seats ($1,495) and heated and cooled, plus multi-adjustable including side bolsters. But I slipped right in and was instantly at ease. A power tilt/telescope square (racer-like) steering wheel also helps. That wheel gives you more legroom and allows easier viewing of the 12-inch instrument cluster.The Stingray Coupe’s interior features all black leather with gray stitching and a lot of satin or brushed chrome trim on the doors.
The 8-inch screen also is easily read and simple to use. Two Favorites buttons on the underside of the steering wheel also help the driver quickly find tunes. A Bose high-performance stereo system with 14 speakers also helps. That’s part of the $7,300 2LT package that includes a load of extras, like adjustable head-up display, navigation system, front-view camera, anti-theft system, rear cross traffic and blind-spot alert.
That front camera can help if you park near a curb or parking lot block because the Vette has a low nose. But fear not, there’s a button to lift the car’s nose an inch or so to avoid scrapes. That’s $1,495 extra.
I also found the foot well a little tight because I’m short and had the seat fairly far forward. Rear visibility isn’t great either, but you expect that in mid-engine car. Rear view cameras and mirror/cameras help in that regard. I used them exclusively when backing.
On the considerable plus side are superb brakes, 13.6-inch discs up front and 13.8-inchers in back. Calipers are black Corvette branded and whoa this baby down in a hurry.
The two trunks, one front, one rear, also give you decent storage for a couple suitcases or grocery bags when eating takes precedence over driving. And I know it’s a small thing, but I loved the orange seatbelts on the test car, just $395 extra.
Gas mileage was good too and there’s no gas guzzler tax here. The EPA puts the Vette at 15 mpg city and 27 highway. I got 19.3 mpg in a 60/40 mix heavier on highway. A Vette owner told me he sometimes gets nearly 40 mpg on the highway. Know too that 91 octane fuel is required for the V8. But that’s to be expected.
All told the test car ended up at $79,315, considerably more than the base 1LT model, but still way less budget busting than any supercar, and a full $100,000 less than last week’s spectacular M8 convertible. Not exactly a poor man’s supercar, but much more approachable than those with fancier nameplates.
The new Vette is a winner! Overview: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe
Hits: Supercar looks, powerful V8, excellent handling and multiple drive modes. Comfy interior with good screen, easy controls for driver, fine stereo, power tilt/telescope wheel, square steering wheel, HUD, plus removable and storable roof panel, two trunks and great stopping power. Price is a bargain!
Misses: Stiff ride, especially in Track mode, tight foot well, poor rear visibility, awkward climate controls for passenger and tough-to reach wireless charger behind seats.
Made In: Bowling Green, Ky.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8, 495 hp
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Weight: 3,647 lbs.
Wheelbase: 107.2 in.
Length: 182.3 in.
Cargo: 12.6 cu.ft. (2 trunks)
MPG: 15/27, 19.3 (tested)
Base Price: $59,995 (includes delivery)
Major Options: 2LT package (Chevy infotainment 3 w/Nav, Bose performance series 14 speaker audio system, cargo nets, head-up display, HD front curb view camera, memory driver and passenger convenience package, rear camera mirror, performance data and video recorder, heated/cooled seats, power lumbar support and bolsters, heated steering wheel, theft-deterrent system, universal home remote, wireless charging, 9 months of Sirius radio, power heated outside foldaway mirrors, rear cross traffic alert, blind-spot alert), $7,300
Z51 performance package (performance brakes, suspension, exhaust, rear axle, electronic limited-slip differential, rear spoiler, run-flat perf. tires, heavy-duty cooling system), $5,000
GT2 bucket seats, $1,495
Front lift adjustable height w/memory, $1,495
Body color exterior accents, $995
Sebring orange paint, $995
19-inch front, 20-inch rear carbon flash painted aluminum wheels/composite rockers, black, $550
Orange seat belts, $395
Carbon flash metallic painted outside mirrors, $100
Test Vehicle: $79,315
Editor’s note: Mark Savage’s auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.
Corvette Racing is loving the new Corvette C8.R. The team had already taken four wins in its new-for-2020 mid-engine race cars heading into this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio and managed to make it five after the No. 3 car of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia dominated the race from flag to flag.
Taylor put the No. 3 Corvette C8.R on pole position for Sunday’s race, but lost the lead to the No. 4 C8.R sister car of Oliver Gavin shortly after the green flag came out. The American eventually worked his way past his British teammate, however, with the No. 3 Corvette C8.R then remaining in the top position in GTLM for the rest of the two hour and 40-minute race.
“The 3 car has been particularly strong all weekend,” Taylor said post-race. “We led all four sessions. I think we just had a little bit of speed on them all weekend. The balance of the car was just really strong from the get-go. It says a lot for the team, coming here for the first time with the Corvette C8.R, with no testing, just simulator time and rolling off the truck so strong. I think it’s hard to complain about anything at this point.”
“Jordan did a fantastic job all day long, getting on pole and then getting a solid lead even if there were a ton of yellows,” added Garcia. “When you are in that position, you are in control of the race. The C8.R worked perfectly again today. Not only on a quick lap but the consistency through the stint was the main thing. The C7 was good as we proved over the years, but this is definitely a step forward.”
While the 1-2 result for Corvette Racing was a welcome result for the American team, it was somewhat diminished by the fact that the GTLM field only had four cars in it Sunday. Porsche pulled its factory drivers from all events this past weekend after four members of its 24 Hours of Le Mans program tested positive for COVID-19, leaving only the two Corvette Racing entries and a pair of BMW M8s in the GTLM field.
Click here to view complete results from the 2020 Acura Sports Car Challenge from Mid-Ohio.
Kids have been hanging out of car windows screaming, grown adults stopping in my driveway to take photos, and minions asking lists of questions at gas stations. Any number of fellow drivers waved their hands for me to roll down my window. “Is that the new Corvette,” they screamed. When I confirmed it was, the overwhelming sentiment was, “I thought it was, but it didn’t look right.” That’s because the engine has changed its latitude from front to behind the driver. The rest of the car is just as dramatic.
Paint To Light The Night
It flares its presence with Sebring orange metallic paint and Carbon Flash black accents that include 19-inch/20-inch wheels front/rear. It’s all good, but moving the engine location changes proportions, shortening the nose and lengthening the rear roofline that ends in a high wide deck. Peaked fenders, pointy nose, and quad taillamps all whisper “Corvette” while the rear window becomes a viewing platform for the engine. It’s all familiar, but oh so different.
Hallmarks of previous generation Corvettes have been their roomy interiors, generous cargo space, and all-day comfort. Unlike most supercars, Corvettes could be driven to work with ease. Even drivers of advancing years and generous proportions fit inside. Mid-engine cars tend to be cramped and uncomfortable. Designers knew they would have to overcome those deficiencies to meet Corvette enthusiasts’ expectations.
Drivers feel like they’re commanding a warp-speed starship when facing the reconfigurable flatscreen instrument cluster, heated squircle steering wheel, and flatscreen infotainment system. A large head-up display changes configuration with the drive modes. Climate controls are housed in a thin panel running from dash to console. Tech includes a 14-speaker Bose Performance series audio system, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Seeing out was bound to be more difficult, but a rearview camera mirror, front camera, rear parking sensors, crosspath detection, and blind zone alert alieve any concerns.
Passengers sit further forward in the chassis than in previous generations, but there’s still ample space. Drivers get wide footwells with a proper dead pedal. Heated and ventilated seats feature power side bolsters and lumbar while a roomy trunk behind the engine and deep frunk in the nose provide nearly as much cargo space as the C7. The roof panel still fits in the trunk. So does a set of golf clubs.
Fastest Vette Yet
Fully exposed, the engine is one potent device. The 6.2-liter V8 spins out 495 horsepower and 470 lb. ft. of torque. It all gets to the rear wheels through an 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. There’s no manual option, so pat the paddles to shift yourself. If you want a selfie, click quick as the fastest ever Vette evaporates 0-60 mph in under three seconds and terminates just shy of 200 mph. Fuel economy rates 15/27-MPG city/highway.
So why, after nearly 70 years, did engineers move the engine from front to middle? Well, they kept adding power to the front-engine cars, but could not get them to go appreciably faster. They just couldn’t get weight to transfer to the rear wheels. This one hooks up and is far better balanced on the track.
Shred curvy backroads and you can almost think it through. It’s an easier car to drive, especially with Tour, Sport, and Track modes that change the steering weight, throttle sensitivity, and transmission shift points. The Z51 package adds performance brakes, suspension, exhaust, and electronic limited slip differential. There’s a slight hesitation before unholy acceleration as the e-diff sorts itself, but after that, bliss. Even with the stiffer suspension, it’s not brutal. I’d drive it anywhere.
Chevrolet could have served up another very competent front-engine Corvette, but instead delivered a car that’s still clearly a Corvette, but one that causes teenage boys to swoon and little girls to scream. Continuing another Corvette tradition, the C8 is one a heck of a deal. Base models start at $58,900, but rose to $79,315 as tested. That’s a pittance compared to the Porsche Boxster, Acura NSX, and Ford GT.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51
- Two-passenger, RWD Coupe
- Powertrain: 6.2-liter V8, 10-spd trans
- Output: 495hp/470 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 19”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Comfort, Performance
- 0-60 mph: 2.9s
- Fuel economy: 15/27 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Bowling Green, KY
- Base/As-tested price: $58,900/$79,315
Casey Willams – WFYI
From its exterior design to its driving experience, there are so many remarkable new qualities of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette compared to its predecessor. We’ve already given GM’s iconic sports car the full review treatment and have covered what it’s like in everyday driving, but a new steering-wheel button in the 2020 Vette caught my eye during a recent test drive.
Positioned to the left of the horn pad is a silver-colored button with a lone letter Z on it. At first glance, it looks like the Z logo from Nissan’s famed sports car, but it actually pays homage to the Corvette’s long history with the letter Z; the letter has appeared over the years in the form of high-powered versions (ZR1 and Z06) and performance option packages (Z51).
Pressing the button activates Z-Mode, one of two new driver-configurable modes on the 2020 Corvette (the other new mode is dubbed MyMode). Like the M buttons on some BMW models, the Corvette’s Z button lets drivers instantly select their preferred performance settings.
While the MyMode, Weather, Tour, Sport and Track modes are selected using a knob on the center console, Z-Mode is only accessible from the steering wheel. In addition to the exhaust sound, steering, suspension (when equipped with Magnetic Ride Control) and braking settings that are configurable within MyMode, Z-Mode also includes a powertrain setting that controls gas pedal, transmission and engine response.
The inclusion of new customizable drive modes are welcome additions for a car like the Corvette, but how the driver controls these modes is just as important. Combining the Corvette’s configurable features into one button with Z-Mode is smart, and putting it on the steering wheel where it’s easy to activate is doubly so.
Mike Hanley for Cars.com
From design to specs and pricing, here’s what you should know about the iconic American sports car as it enters its second year as a mid-engine speedster.
Is there a more American car than the Chevrolet Corvette? The Ford Mustang fan base may quibble with the thought, but there’s no denying that countless enthusiasts believe it to be true. And because of that, each new iteration of the sports car stokes excitement among Chevy loyalists. But it had been decades since the announcement of a new ‘Vette garnered as much anticipation as the unveiling of the eighth-generation model last year.
That’s because, after years of rumors and speculation, the 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray was the first iteration of the model to feature a mid-engine layout. For Corvette diehards, that news was momentous. After all, moving the engine back would almost certainly allow the car to compete more directly with its high-performance European peers. Yet, it would also likely alter its signature look—a mid-engine placement would mean a new frame. Indeed, Chevy took the opportunity to completely reimagine the Corvette’s design, discarding more than a few signature features for the new C8, including the elongated nose of its predecessors. The result is a sports car that looks primed to compete for attention, not only with American devotees, but with collectors of European supercars as well.
The 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray Chevrolet
Engine, Specs and Performance
Any discussion about the C8 Corvette can only begin in one place: the engine. After 67 years of commitment to a front-engine configuration for the Corvette, Chevrolet decided to kick off the new decade by repositioning the car’s powerhouse behind the driver and passenger seats. And this isn’t just any old engine—it’s a brand-new, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT2 V-8.
While that base motor, which is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, isn’t all that different from the one featured in the C7, it is more powerful, bringing a solid 490 hp of grunt and 465 ft lbs of torque. The new power train enables the car to rocket from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds. The C8 can also complete the quarter-mile in just over 11 seconds and reach a top speed of 184 mph. And if that’s not enough for you, a Z51 performance package will boost the horsepower and torque figures to 495 hp and 470 ft lbs, respectively, giving all other performance numbers a lift as well. One thing to note: There is only one transmission option, something that has caused consternation among the faithful.
To help manage all that power, the C8 Corvette has a Driver Mode Selector that allows you to pick from six driving modes, including Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, MyMode and Z Mode (the latter two of which are customizable). It’s also equipped with a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, with disc brakes and four-piston calipers on each wheel. The Z51 package also includes an electronic limited-slip differential, new final drive ratio, improved cooling system for the brakes, an enhanced suspension and a performance exhaust.
A New Exterior
Like any other vehicle, the iconic sports car has seen its shape and design shift since it was introduced in 1953. But from generation to generation, no design overhaul has been as jarring as the C8’s. For that last 25 years or so—about the time the C5 debuted in the mid ’90s—we’ve been able to see the previous generation of ‘Vettes within the new iteration’s design. That stops with the C8.
Chevrolet used the change in layout as a chance to alter the ‘Vette’s profile, discarding some of its trademark features. Gone is the long, signature nose and slightly squared-off back. The front still comes to a peak, but the rest of the lines and angles are sharper and the cockpit has been moved forward. That shift rids the car of the slinky elegance that’s been a part of its shape since the ’60s but gives its a new boldness. This is a vehicle designed for speed, and it looks like it. The new design, which is available as both a coupe and convertible, gives the American vehicle a decidedly more European aesthetic.
Inside the C8 Corvette Chevrolet
Interior, Infotainment and Cargo
But it’s not just the car’s exterior that’s been given a makeover. Open up the C8’s doors and you’ll find a cabin that actually looks like the cockpit of a futuristic fighter jet. Sit down in the low-slung driver seat and you’re met with a rectangular steering wheel, which includes two large paddle shifters. Behind that is a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, which includes a new tachometer, to help keep track of your vehicle and its performance as you drive.
Embedded into the center console is an 8-inch infotainment screen that’s angled toward the driver. It’s equipped with Chevy’s Infotainment 3 Plus system, which features Bluetooth connectivity, a 4G mobile hotspot and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The vehicle is also equipped with a high-performance, 14-speaker Bose audio system that is sure to be music to any audiophile’s ears. You’ll also have three different styles of bucket seats to choose from, as well as a variety of color and material options, including Napa leather and suede microfiber. And for those worried about cargo space due to the design changes, the C8 offers a front compartment and rear trunk that still has room for two sets of golf clubs.
The C8 Corvette’s Infotainment 3 Plus system Chevrolet
Like anyone else interested in high-performance vehicles, we were excited to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Corvette. But that test-drive through Nevada made one thing abundantly clear: While definitely a step in the right direction—and an incredible vehicle for its price—the new C8 wasn’t fully ready to shine. This is a car, after all, that wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Lamborghinis and McLarens, but it simply didn’t feel fully refined yet. From our “First Drive” write-up earlier this year:
“The new ‘Vette is a remarkable achievement for something starting under $60,000, but it’ll be a while before the C8 matures into the outstanding machine I’m confident it can be. Maybe that machine is the forthcoming Stingray convertible. Maybe it’s an eventual higher-powered Corvette variant. Either way, I feel the magic looming.”
Of course, it’s important to remember that the 2020 model is the very first installment of the C8. On average, different ‘Vette generations have managed to stick around for more than eight years. That gives the brand some time to improve the car—and find that magic.
Pricing: Is the Corvette C8 Worth It?
When Chevrolet first announced the mid-engine C8 Corvette, they promised it would start at less than $60,000. As far-fetched as that sounded at the time, the automaker delivered on that promise. Just like last year, the ‘Vette starts at $59,995 for the coupe and $67,495 for the convertible. Of course, with a near-endless list of options and trim levels, its price can quickly climb skywards, with a fully loaded convertible available for north of $100,000. Still, when you consider the kind of vehicles that the C8 is competing with, even the most expensive version seems like a bargain in comparison.
What’s Next: More Ways to Customize
As promising as the C8 Corvette may be, its first year has gone anything but smoothly. First, the United Auto Workers strikes delayed production of the eagerly anticipated vehicle, then the coronavirus pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill Chevy has responded by offering more standard features and a raft of exciting new options for the car’s second go-around.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now come standard with the C8, as does a redesigned digital cluster and GM’s Buckle to Drive safety tech. As for the new options, there are two exterior finishes to choose from (Red Mist Tintcoat and Silver Flare Metallic), two new interior color schemes (Sky Cool Grey and Yellow Strike) and you can add racing or stinger stripes. Most exciting of all, though, is that the Magnetic Ride Control from the Z51 performance package is now available as a stand-alone option.
If none of that sounds sexy enough for you, don’t worry. Rumors are swirling that a high-performance Z06 variant packing a 600 hp, DOHC 32-valve 5.5-liter V-8 could arrive as soon as next year.