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Ode to the Burnout

Save your letters. we know better.

Thanks to the curiosities of a liberal-arts education, I found myself with a 21-credit workload in my last semester of senior year, one that included a seminar on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Published in 1667, the epic, 10-volume poem wraps itself around the biblical fall of man, painting a picture of humanity’s temptation from Satan’s view. Our professor argued that, deep down, Milton saw temptation as a kind of litmus test for the soul.

This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Road & Track.

If that’s true, Performance Car of the Year might well be the bar exam for moral fortitude. Spend a week in the world’s most spectacular cars. Visit a beckoning track and some of the country’s best roads. Don’t go weak in the knees at the soprano trill of a 600-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter McLaren V-8. Try not to think too hard about being one of the first people on the planet to get your hands around the neck of the mid-engine Corvette. Be a good boy. But as John Henry opined, a man ain’t nothing but a man. We were somewhere outside Tahoe when that wide lake of asphalt and six days of sleep deprivation finally got to me. I’d spent the better part of a week pretending to be a professional. But when I found myself alone, in the first mid-engine Corvette, with acres of empty ski-park pavement ahead, no amount of restraint or discipline could stand up to desire. I had found my garden, and the serpent was waiting.

I’m more of a middle-path kind of guy, anyhow.

Burnouts and donuts, juvenile as they may be, are as pure a celebration of the automobile as you’ll find. Sports cars are wrapped up in the quandaries of personal freedom more than any other vehicle on four wheels, in pushing the bounds of legally and socially acceptable behavior. We do the math every time we choose to take the convertible to work instead of the family crossover, when we push a brake zone a little deeper, when we lean on the accelerator while chasing shadows up a mountain. Or when we turn the rear tires to billowing clouds. Modern life is increasingly a series of confined boxes, and a sports car fits in none of them.

A good burnout isn’t entirely frivolous. If you listen, it will tell you a thing or two about the people who put the car together. In this age of eager litigation, some automakers simply deny you your inalienable right to light tires on fire. Doesn’t matter how many systems you shut off, a digital overlord will step in and pull power until you get back to acting like an adult. On a certain level, it makes sense. If you sat down and designed a sports car by bullet point, listing necessary functions on a spreadsheet, a burnout would be last on the list. Apart from drag racing, the act serves no logical function. But it’s such a fundamental question: Who’s in control of this vehicle? You or some attorney in Michigan?

This next-generation Corvette has moved the badge further from its roots than any Vette before. And from the moment I saw it sulking in the California sun, I needed to know if the thing remembered how to be America’s sweetheart. So I switched off everything and leaned into mechanical masochism. Somewhere, Satan smiled. The car performed a perfect pirouette, that pushrod small-block screaming at the sky while the tires went to vapor. A devotional to free will. Automotive enthusiasm’s shit-eating grin.

If God really wanted us to be good all the time, he wouldn’t have planted that apple tree. Or given us rear-wheel drive.

Original Source: Road&Track


The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is Here! And the BEST C8 Content is at MotorTrend

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most anticipated vehicle reveals of the century so far–are you as excited as we are? For the first time, the production-spec Corvette will be a mid-engine car, opening possibilities to a much higher level of performance than we’ve ever seen from the ‘Vette. But you know all that. You’re here for world-class, comprehensive 2020 Corvette coverage and photos you can only find at MotorTrend.

So be sure to check back frequently, as we’ll be adding Corvette content after the C8’s reveal. Enjoy!

Motor Trend links:

CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE

OMG NEW CORVETTE

C8 ENGINE AND TECH

FUN STUFF

Original source: Motor Trend


2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible in Shadow Gray on Display at GM’s Detroit Headquarters

Photo Credit: Kevlar Bike- Corvette Forum

Inside General Motors’ headquarters known as the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit is a large turntable that is currently featuring all eight generations of the Chevrolet Corvette. The new eighth-generation iteration of America’s Favorite Sports Car is a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible painted in Shadow Gray Metallic.

A Youtuber named portcarlingboats captured a minute of video as the new C8 Convertible spins by him on the turntable.

The visible cues on this Corvette show that it’s a non-Z51 model but it’s loaded with some great looking options that include the two-tone Natural and Black seats, Spectra Gray Trident Wheels and red brake calipers. We also prefer the bright Corvette emblems to the the darker versions on this exterior.

From portcarlingboats via YouTube:

Corvette C8 convertible on display at the GM Headquarters in Detroit Michigan on Sat Nov 23 2019; part of 8 generations of corvette convertibles on a rotating display from 1953 to today; C8 supercar, exotic car, european sports car; this is the car that will change the automotive for years to come; can’t wait for the all electric version to come- No sound

On his original post on the Corvette Forum, Kevlar Bike tells us he is Canadian and that the C8 Corvette on display inside the GM’s HQ is the closest C8 Corvette on display so he made the trip to check it out.

Shadow Gray is one of those colors that change drasticly when viewed in the direct sunlight and the lightings inside the RenCen does nothing to show-off the varying hues within. As a comparision, here is a quick walkaround of a Shadow Gray Metallic C8 at the NCM earlier this year from CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn:

Source:YouTube via MidEngineCorvetteForum.com


Most Expensive 2020 Chevy Corvette Convertible Costs $113,955

Configurator with pricing info is up, so we’ve decided to max it out.

We’ve been periodically checking Chevy’s website for the Corvette C8 Convertible configurator ever since it went up at the beginning of October to see if there’s pricing available. You can finally know how much the desired spec is going to set you back as the configurator now has all the pricing details included. Much like we did with the coupe a few weeks ago, we’ve decided to max out the online builder in an attempt to find out how much a fully loaded Stingray Convertible costs.

We’re not going to go through each and every option as we did in the previous post because most of them are identical. It’s worth pointing out the convertible commands a $7,500 premium over the coupe and it starts at $67,495 for the entry-level 1LT. Go for the better-equipped 3LT and the price jumps to $78,945, and then you can add this $995 Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat paint and a dual racing stripe also priced at $995.

The most expensive options available for the C8 Convertible are the $5,000 Z51 Performance Package and the $4,850 Grounds Effect Kit, but on top of these, you can also add the $2,095 grille insert and $1,145 side mirror caps both finished in visible carbon fiber. Another pricey option is the $2,695 wheel set measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, with a five-spoke design and a Performance Pewter-painted finish.

If you truly want to go all out with the configurator, Chevy will be more than happy to provide you with a two-piece leather travel bag set for $1,450 as well as indoor and outdoor car covers each priced at $460. Inside, a carbon fiber trim adds $1,500 to the final bill, while the Competition Sport bucket seats are an additional $500.

With all the boxes ticked, you’re going to end up with a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible that costs $113,955, plus an additional $110 worth of dealer-installed

As you’re probably aware by now, production of the C8 has been delayed until February 2020, so it’s going to be a long wait to park the new Corvette in your garage.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Original source: Adrian Padeanu; Motor1


VKTRY Performance Insoles Embrace Carbon Fiber For Energy Return

If just a touch of carbon fiber can provide benefits for athletes, then VKTRY founder Matt Arciuolo figured engineering a full-length carbon fiber insole had a range of untapped potential. Following nearly a decade of research and development, all sparked by an effort to provide the USA Olympic bobsled team more explosiveness on their starts, Arciuolo patented a carbon fiber footwear insole customizable to provide performance benefits for athletes far beyond the bobsled. 

VKTRY, now four years beyond that patent and three years since producing its first commercial insoles, has made inroads in major college and professional sports the country over, gaining backing from LSU’s director of athletic training Jack Marucci, now-retired Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Red Sox doctor James Creps and a handful of professional athlete endorders. 

“Insole inserts are passive devices designed to absorb shock, but they don’t generate energy or return energy to the athlete,” Arciuolo says. “Instead of a passive device, I designed this carbon fiber insole to store energy and return it.” 

The process works in four steps, all using the impressive strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fiber. When the heel hits the ground, the VKTRY insole absorbs the shock of the heel strike and returns it like a trampoline, Arciuolo says. When the second phase of an athlete’s gate moves their full body weight over the middle of the insert, the arched design deflects and adds cushioning. “The third phase is where the magic happens,” he says. When athletes pick their heel up to take a step or jump, the carbon fiber stores the energy at the ball of the foot, returning it in the toe-off phase — phase four — “where all the energy stored in the first three phases is returned.” The insole isn’t generating energy on its own, instead using an athlete’s energy and returning it to them for efficiency and explosion.

Using independent studies, including one from Southern Connecticut State University, VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik says science backs that claims, showing the company’s insoles provide over a 9 percent rate of force development, basically explosiveness, than not using the product. 

The carbon fiber is engineered with multiple layers of fibers in different lengths, makeups and directions to offer flexibility where needed and stability in other areas. 

VKTRY was designed for use across multiple sports — major footwear brands from Nike to Asics have started employing carbon fiber in long-distance running shoes for linear benefits — and Wasik says they’ve seen adoption from football to baseball, but have found basketball and volleyball players especially enjoy the energy return for higher jumping ability and less force upon landing. “We hear some great stories from athletes who have suffered from sore knees or shin splints and the pain is gone,” he says. 

The original bobsled design requiring the insole to fit in the tight confines of a spike helped create a product ideal for all athletes, Arciuolo says. “The challenge was not only getting something that worked in terms of propulsion, but also that fit in the shoe,” he says. The carbon fiber portion of the product weighs less than an ounce and is less than a millimeter thick. A proprietary polyurethane top cover provides additional comfort. 

VKTRY isn’t a one-size fits all proposition, with Arciuolo calling it a “truly customized product.” It comes in five different “pro levels,” which are basically different flex levels. Lighter athletes with smaller feet require more flex than a 320-pound football player. To get the same propulsion performance, insoles require customization based on sport, weight and foot size, so an algorithm helps find the best flex level for each athlete. The insole is further customized by sport, using different thickness and sizes. 

“The VK is the best combination of injury protection and performance I have ever seen in insoles,” Vitti says. 

Endorsers of the brand also include Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, Anthony Miller of the Chicago Bears, Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins, Lexie Brown of the Minnesota Lynx, Myles Jones of Chaos Lacrosse Club, George Springer of the Houston Astros, CrossFit world champion Annie Thorisdottir and plenty more. 

Creps says that “for the first time, athletes can experience stabilization, shock absorption and propulsion in a device that is specifically tailored to their size and weight. This is a game changer.” 

Written by Tim Newcomb; Forbes