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Ultimate Corvette Expected to Go PHEV

General Motors is plugging into EVs in a big way. And, among a wide range of electrified models set to come out over the next several years, one is expected to wear the Chevrolet Corvette badge.

GM CEO Mary Barra has repeatedly said the automaker is on a “path to an all-electric future.”

Several officials have acknowledge the C8 Corvette was designed to be electrified, though they have to confirm what form that will take.

A plug-based ‘Vette would focus on performance – likely nudging 700 hp or more — rather than mileage, though it likely also would be the most efficient version of the sports car.

When “spy shots” began circulating last week showing a plug hanging out of the nose of a new Corvette undergoing winter testing its was initially reported this was the rumored battery version of the sports car.

Parent General Motors subsequently explained that the pics had caught a conventional, gas-powered 2020 ‘Vette,” but the episode only underscores expectations Chevrolet is, indeed developing an electric Corvette — something an assortment of executives, including GM President Mark Reuss have taken pains not to deny.

If anything, Reuss effectively confirmed it is only a question of time, noting last July that the eighth-generation Corvette just coming to market will have to comply with the company’s “strategy of 0-0-0: zero emissions, zero crashes, zero congestion.”

But exactly what that means – or, more precisely, what form that would take – is far from certain.

GM officials have made it clear there will continue to be an assortment of different ‘Vette variants, perhaps more than we’ve seen in the past. During the July unveiling of the C8, several Corvette insiders told Ride that the new, mid-engine platform was specifically designed to allow the use of electric drive, with a battery pack placed below the load floor. What type of system it will be is the real question.

Only a few years ago, GM seemed focused on both conventional and plug-in hybrids, the original Chevy Volt being a good example of its PHEV strategy. But it has pulled the plug on Volt and is, for the most part, moving towards pure battery-electric vehicles. The current example is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with an all-electric Cadillac SUV dues later this year. Among the nearly two dozen other BEVs under development: a battery pickup expected to revive the Hummer name.

For those who still think of battery drive as slow and boring, no need to worry, however. Making 100% of their torque the moment they start spinning, electric motors can deliver insane levels of torque given enough power. The “conventional” hybrid Acura NSX is one example. The plug-in Lincoln Aviator is the fastest and most powerful version of that SUV. And whether you’re talking Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode or the new Porsche Taycan Turbo 4S, pure BEVs can be blindingly fast.

If anything, says Sam Abuelsamid, principal auto analyst with Navigant Research, “no doubt about it,” a battery-based Corvette will be the quickest ever, “easily getting into the 700 horsepower range, with over 1,000 NM torque, and launching from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds.”

A conventional hybrid, even one as exotic as the NSX, is unlikely, various sources indicate. The question, then, is whether Corvette goes all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Abuelsamid is one who believes it will be a BEV, though the evidence is still too vague to be certain. One high-level insider cautioned Ride last July it would be difficult to squeeze in enough batteries to deliver the range BEV buyers would expect. But pulling out the internal combustion engine and transmission could solve that.

Do expect the electric drivetrain to be all-wheel-drive, with motors front and back, every source has agreed upon, something critical in order to get all that power to the pavement.

Another unanswered question is what an electrified Corvette might be called. Some sources have hinted this will be the next-generation Z06, others that it might replace the old ZR1, the traditional pinnacle of the Corvette line-up. There has long been speculation Chevy might be working up a Corvette Zora, an homage to the sports car’s legendary first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and what better way to do that?

How soon? “A bit more than” 24 months was the best answer we could get from insider GM. That’s a bit further out than many expected, but the GM strike last autumn appeared to have pushed back development efforts.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The C8 is the first production Corvette to adopt a mid-engine layout, boosting performance to supercar levels at a fraction of the sale price global competitors demand. An electric ‘Vette, whether PHEV or BEV, would pose an even bigger challenge to exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Source: Paul Eisenstein for Ride.Tech.


Corvette C8.R vs C7.R sound comparison

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – JANUARY 03: #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg during the Daytona January testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 03, 2020 in Daytona International Speedway, United States of America. (Photo by Richard Dole / LAT Images)

Sports car racing fans have come to know the sound of Corvette Racing’s menacing V8 engines as one of IMSA’s most unmistakable soundtracks. The punch to the chest delivered by the Corvette C7.R through the 2019 season, and all of its predecessors dating back to the program’s debut in 1999, was as unique as it was thrilling.

It makes the brand’s greatest shift with its mid-engine C8.R (pictured above) — which debuts in competition this week at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring a fresh V8 motor with an entirely different voice — a new experience for Corvette fans. Thanks to the move to a flat-plane crankshaft in the 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated powerplants, the C8.Rs strike the ears with a higher pitch that, in typical Corvette Racing fashion, is unlike anything else in the field.

Which exhaust note sounds better? Take a listen to the C8.R from testing at the Roar Before The 24, and from a C7.R during December Daytona testing in 2016, and you decide.

C8.R
C7.R

Original Source: Marshall Pruett for Racer.com


Garcia, Gavin uncertain of Corvette C8.R’s Daytona prospects

Corvette Racing’s veteran stars, Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia, are positive about the new mid-engined C8.R’s progress but are uncertain how it will perform relative to its GT Le Mans class opposition at this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gavin’s full-time partner Tommy Milner set Corvette Racing’s fastest time in Roar Before the 24 qualifying  which decides garages and pit stalls, and he was encouragingly just 0.108sec off the top time in class, set by James Calado in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE.

However, Gavin warned that the race will be several hours old before everyone gets an accurate picture of how the GTLM contenders match up.

“The C8.R is a brand new car and this is its first race outing,” said the 2016 Rolex 24 winner. “We won’t know where we are in respect to the competition, and they will be looking at us and figuring out where we’re strong and where we’re weak.

“You can pick up little bits and pieces during the Roar and even in the two or three practice sessions before the Rolex 24, but you never really get a great idea of where you’re at until you get five hours or so into the race.

“But it always comes down to the last two hours. It would be quite remarkable if we could come right out of the box and be super-fast, super-reliable and have a successful weekend the first time out.”

Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans title winner and 2015 Rolex 24 winner Garcia also sounded a note of caution.

“So far, the new Corvette has been quite decent in testing,” said the Spaniard who is entering his seventh season with the legendary team. “It is still very early stages for this car.

“Even though we think we are ready, there are things that can come up. We must do everything we can to make sure we are as prepared as possible. Then we can see what we really have.

“Our testing has been a consistent evolution between track days and simulator work. We’ve been able to develop a plan to develop the car even though we weren’t testing on the track. The correlation of data has been good. Everything that we have tested virtually is working in real life. That makes life a lot easier when you can use all your tools to improve.

“We continue to validate all the work we’ve done and what we find on the racetrack. We are on the right track.”

While Gavin and Milner continue to be partnered by Marcel Fassler for the endurance races, Garcia not only is working with a new enduro extra – Nicky Catsburg – he also has a new full-time partner.

Jordan Taylor, who in 2017 won the IMSA Prototype title with the team owned by his father Wayne Taylor, and has two Rolex 24 wins to his credit, has moved to the GTLM class with Corvette, replacing Jan Magnussen.

This continues a relationship with the Doug Fehan-run team that stretches back to 2012, the first of six years in which Taylor raced a Corvette in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Partnering Gavin and Milner, he won the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2015.

“I’m excited to go back into GT racing with Corvette in GTLM with all-manufacturer teams and all-professional drivers,” he said. “The class will get a lot of eyes on it with the first race for the C8.R.

“The race itself will be extremely difficult. I’ll have to get used to looking in my mirrors again! In testing, I was reminding myself to check the mirrors leaving certain corners so I could get in the habit of doing it for the race.

“So I’m looking forward to it. Overall wins are fantastic, but a win is a win; you still get a Rolex watch no matter what class you’re in! But for us in GTLM, the competition will be the same if not more difficult than in prototypes.”

Source: David Malsher-Lopez


2020 Corvette Convertible Order Banks Are Officially Open

Expect to see them on dealership lots by summer.

As the world prepares for the new Chevrolet Corvette to finally enter production, many people may not realize that it’s only part of the 2020 C8 story. Corvette Blogger reports that Chevrolet dealerships are now able to place orders for the 2020 Corvette Convertible. We’ve confirmed with a GM representative that order banks are indeed open.

The convertible debuted a few months after the official C8 launch, but in many ways it’s been overshadowed by another Corvette model that hasn’t been revealed just yet. The C8.R race car made a surprise appearance at the end of the convertible’s debut event in Florida, and while it’s not a production-ready machine, its high-revving, DOHC flat-plane-crank V8 is virtually guaranteed to appear in a future ‘Vette. The likely candidate is a new Z06, but we still aren’t sure when it will arrive. In the meantime, the irony of the C8.R stealing the show at the convertible’s own reveal isn’t lost on us.

We suspect Corvette buyers aren’t overlooking the convertible, however. Chevrolet has said that 2020 C8 preorders are all but filled, so the drop top could be the last chance for buyers to get in on the mid-engine Corvette’s first production year. Opting for the convertible is a $7,500 premium over the hardtop, and it’s available with all the same options and trim levels. That includes the Z51 performance package which bumps the 6.2-liter V8 to 495 horsepower, and since the Corvette was designed from the beginning to be a convertible, Chevrolet says there’s no loss in performance when going roofless.

According to Corvette Blogger, there are no restrictions on convertible orders save for the number of cars a dealer is allocated. Rumors says that convertible production will begin in April, which would have them on dealer lots just in time for summer.

Source: Corvette Blogger via CNET Roadshow


First Mid-Engine Chevy Corvette Sold for $3 Million at Auction

Barrett-Jackson sold the first C8 Corvette off the line for the Detroit Children’s Fund charity, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick snapped it up.

  • The Barrett-Jackson auction company got $3 million for the very first 2020 Chevrolet Corvette off the line at its January auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, with all proceeds going to a Detroit educational charity.
  • The mid-engine C8 Corvette with VIN 001 gets the Z51 Performance package and the 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8, and the winning bidder was NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.
  • This same auction house sold the last C7 Corvette last spring and took in $2.7 million for a different charity.

UPDATE 1/19/20: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was the winning bidder, paying $3 million for C8 Corvette no. 1 at a high-spirited charity auction event on Saturday featuring GM CEO Mary Barra on the stage. Although the car present at the auction was red, Barrett-Jackson said the actual first car will be “a black-on-black Corvette 3LT loaded with every available option, scheduled to be built during the first quarter of 2020.”

We’ve seen this before: automakers offering the first example of a highly anticipated new model up for auction to benefit a charity. This time, General Motors will auction off the first mid-engine Corvette off the line at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auction in January. All proceeds will go to the Detroit Children’s Fund, which benefits underfunded Detroit public schools.

VIN 001 of the C8 Corvette Stingray is powered by a 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 and is equipped with the Z51 performance package, which adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential with a shorter final-drive ratio, Brembo brakes, a performance exhaust, heavy-duty cooling system, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires.

GM CEO Mary Barra and winning bidder Rick Hendrick pose during the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale on January 18.

There’s no doubt this example will go for well over the $59,995 starting price of the C8 Stingray. Only a few months ago, the final front-engine C7 Corvette sold for $2.7 million at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in June, and the first Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 off the line sold for an insane $1.1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in January, both also for charity.

Source: Car and Driver; Conner Hoffman


Henry claims bronze in Igls’ women’s skeleton World Cup

GLS, Austria (Jan. 17, 2020)– Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) put together two solid runs to claim bronze in today’s women’s skeleton World Cup in Igls. Today was only Henry’s fifth World Cup appearance. Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) and also had strong performances, finishing 14th and 18th, respectively. 

“I’m super excited to have my first World Cup medal,” Henry said.

Henry started her campaign for the medals with a start time of 5.36 seconds and the third best run of 53.80 seconds. Only five-hundredths of a second separated the top five after the first heat. Russian Elena Nikitina was one-hundredth of a second ahead in silver medal position, and hometown competitor Janine Flock was three-hundredths ahead in first place. Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling was on Henry’s heels, just two-hundredths behind in fourth.

“I knew that I had a really good run, but I didn’t know how good,” Henry said. “I got to the bottom and Tuffy (Latour) told me my position and I was like, ‘Oh, ok,” Henry said. “I kind of felt like my legs were jello before the second run. I knew that I could medal as long as I stayed consistent with my push.”

Henry nearly matched her first run start time with a 5.37 push, and the American raced to the finish in 53.90 seconds. She had fallen back a spot, but would later gain it back.

Kimberly Murray from Great Britain surprised even herself with the track record of 53.70 seconds in the second heat. This was Murray’s 10th career World Cup race. She was in 16th place after the first heat, and moved up eight spots to finish eighth. The pressure was on for the remaining competitors.

Loelling broke Murray’s newly set track record with a second run of 53.62 seconds to leap past Henry and take over the lead to win with a combined time of 1:47.44. Flock bumped back one spot into second place with a total time of 1:47.46. Nikitina fell back into fourth to finish behind Henry with only the 10th best run of the second heat. Henry claimed bronze with a total time of 1:47.70.

“There were a couple of mistakes I would have liked to clean up, but when I realized I had medaled I was super excited,” Henry said. ”I can’t be disappointed with my first World Cup medal.”

Wesenberg finished 14th with a two-run combined time of 1:48.59. She clocked start times of 5.69 and 5.72 seconds for runs of 54.31 and 54.28 seconds, respectively.

“Good drive,” said USA Skeleton Technical and Development Lead Coach Caleb Smith from the coach’s box after Wesenberg’s final run.

Graybill pushed identical start times of 5.60 seconds in both heats. She posted a downtime of 54.46 in the first heat, and 54.38 in run two for a combined time of 1:48.84 to lock in 18th place.

Tomorrow will feature the women’s bobsled race at 10 a.m. local time, and the two-man bobsled competition at 2 p.m. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the races. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Jacqueline Loelling (GER) 1:47.44 (53.82, 53.62);
2. Janine Flock (AUT) 1:47.46 (53.77, 53.69);
3. Megan Henry (USA) 1:47.70 (53.80, 53.90);
14. Kendall Wesenberg (USA) 1:48.59 (54.31, 54.28);
18. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:48.84 (54.46, 54.38);

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. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Omaze, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

Source: TeamUSA


Blaser leads USA Skeleton in fifth career World Cup

IGLS, Austria (Jan. 17, 2020)– Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) led the U.S. in this morning’s men’s skeleton World Cup in Igls with an 18th place finish. It was the first time Blaser has raced in Igls. Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) and Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) finished 26th and 28th, respectively.

This is Blaser’s World Cup debut season, and his first time racing the European tracks. Today was the fifth World Cup race of Blaser’s career, and the first time he’s qualified for the second heat. Blaser was the only North American to make the top 20 today.

“We knew it was going to be a development year for me,” Blaser said. “It was my first time in La Plagne (France), my first time in Winterberg (Germany), my first time here– I’m getting those first runs under my belt this season. It was overwhelming at first, but it’s exciting and things are starting to come together over time.”

The Igls track favors fast starters, which gave Blaser a boost today. He posted a first run start time of 5.01 seconds, which was 10th best of the field, and raced to the finish in 53.27 seconds for 19th place to qualify for the second heat. Only the top 20 athletes after the first heat are granted a second run.

“I was elated,” Blaser said.

He nearly matched his first run start time in heat two with a push of 5.02, and moved up a spot with a downtime of 53.05 seconds. Blaser finished 18th with a combined time of 1:46.32.

When USA Skeleton Head Coach Tuffy Latour handed Blaser the phone for this interview, his first reaction was, “Did my mom get Tuffy’s number?”

“This is all new to me,” Blaser said.

Latvian Martins Dukurs was today’s winner in 1:44.50. Reigning Olympic champion Sungbin Yun of Korea was a distant 0.42 seconds behind in second place with a total time of 1:44.92. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov claimed the bronze medal in 1:44.94.

Florian and Ivanov both missed the top 20 cutoff for the second heat. Florian clocked the 22nd best start time of 5.11, and slid to the finish in 53.63 seconds for 26th. Ivanov was 28th fastest off the start with a push time of 5.17, and he maintained 28th place at the finish with a downtime of 53.74.

The women’s skeleton race is up next at 2 p.m. local time. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the Igls races. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 1:44.50 (52.34, 52.16);
2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:44.92 (52.66, 52.26);
3. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:44.94 (52.53, 52.41);
18. Andrew Blaser (USA) 1:46.32 (53.27, 53.05);
26. Austin Florian (USA) (53.63, DNS);
28. Alex Ivanov (USA) (53.74, DNS):

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. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Omaze, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter.


Big C8 news!

And we literally mean “big.”

With production of the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray about to get underway next month, attention is now turning towards future variants. More specifically, the E-Ray, the first of two hybrids planned (the second likely named Zora), as well as the Z06, and, eventually, the ZR1. While we don’t have a precise timeframe as to when any of those will arrive, it goes without saying the Corvette engineering team led by Tadge Juechter is hard at work this very moment.

Details remain mostly vague, but GM Authority has learned something very cool about the C8 Z06. An inside source familiar with the project is claiming the C8 Z06 will sport a massive rear wing, even bigger than what’s found on the outgoing C7 Corvette ZR1. What’s more, it’ll produce higher levels of downforce and create less drag.

Although the C8.R race car has a big rear wing of its own, the Z06’s will differ in both appearance and functionality. Think more along the lines of the rear wing on the Koenigsegg Agera RS. Another unknown is whether or not the C8 Z06 will come with the rear wing as standard or if it will be optional. Some sources are claiming the Corvette team is leaning towards making it standard.

Assuming all goes to plan, the next Z06 could arrive in about two years’ time. Instead of the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, the C8 Z06 is expected to have a new NA 5.5-liter V8 with a flat-plane crank. Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hp.

Additional elements will include an improved suspension, brakes, and additional aerodynamic components aside from the rear wing. There shouldn’t be any mistaking the C8 Z06 for the C8 Stingray, even when the latter is equipped with the Z51 performance package. It should also go without saying the Z06 will command a significant price premium. A fully-loaded 2020 Corvette Stingray will surpass $100,000, so don’t expect the Z06 to cost any less.

Source; Jay Traugott; Carbuzz


Ro leads USA Skeleton in North American Cup finale with two gold medals

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Jan. 7, 2020)– USA Skeleton athletes captured two spots in the top-three North American Cup standings, and collected five medals in the Lake Placid finale this week. Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) led the way for the women’s team with two gold medals and wrapped up her season ranked third overall. Chris Strup (Defiance, Ohio) concluded a successful North American Cup tour ranked second overall in the men’s field, and secured two silver medals in Lake Placid. Daniel Barefoot (Johnstown, Pa.) earned the fifth medal this week for USA Skeleton by claiming silver in today’s finale.

Two single-heat races were held yesterday, and a two-heat race concluded the skeleton North American Cup season today.

Ro struggled in yesterday’s opening heat, finishing sixth with a run of 55.96 seconds. She said one-heat races are tough because you have “one shot, so you have to make it count.”

“Once that was in the books, I had to scrap it and move on,” Ro said.

Kellie Delka of Puerto Rico won with a run of 55.50 seconds. Yuxi Li from China claimed silver with a time of 55.52, and Korean Eunji Kim was third with a downtime of 55.60. Ro was the highest U.S. finisher in sixth.

Ro rebounded in yesterday’s second one-heat race, posting the fastest run of 55.69 seconds to capture her first victory of the week by 0.01 seconds over Kim. Canadian Jaclyn Laberge earned bronze in 55.82.

In today’s two-heat competition, Ro was in third position after a first heat time of 56.03 seconds. She made up nearly half a second to overtake the lead with a second run of 55.83, earning another gold medal with a combined time of 1:51.86.

“The second win is a great feeling,” Ro said. “I tried to play it safe during my first run, but I made some mistakes. I talked to Matt (Antoine) between heats and made the adjustment before I went down for my final run. I think this was crucial for me to learn that I can be confident in my training and in the knowledge I have gained to be able to put two runs together in competition. The support of my teammates and coaches has been great. I’m excited to continue training and see how we all progress.”

Laberge finished second to Ro with an aggregate time of 1:52.06, followed by Kim in third with a total time of 1:52.18.

Ro’s Lake Placid performances helped her secure third place overall in North American Cup points, despite missing three of the eight races this season while racing the European Cup. Kim claimed the title with 373 points. Nicole Rocha Silveira from Brazil finished second overall with 301 points, while Ro was close behind in third with 290 points.

Lauren McDonald (Fairfield, N.J.) had strong performances in her first-career competitive season. The up-and-coming competitor finished 12th and eighth yesterday, and 12th again today. McDonald and Ro are two of the fastest starters on the tour. McDonald pushed a start time of 5.32 seconds yesterday, and Ro pushed a 5.33. McDonald finished the season ranked fourth with 287 points.

Michelle Toukan (Central City, Neb.) placed 19th and 10th yesterday, and wrapped up her season with an impressive sixth place finish today. She is ranked fifth overall with 271 points. Emily Schelberg (Annapolis, Md.) was 18th and 14th yesterday, and she did not finish today’s competition after a crash in the first heat.

In the men’s field, Strup cracked into the top-six in the final stop season, earning two silver medals and a fourth-place finish. Strup claimed double silver medals in yesterday’s single-heat races. His first silver medal was earned with a run of 53.89 seconds. Wenhao Chen from China was victorious in 53.52, while Ander Mirambell from Spain was third in 54.15 seconds.

Strup claimed silver again in yesterday’s second competition with a downtime of 54.33 seconds. Wenhao was golden in 53.73, and Zilong Zhu from China earned bronze in 54.37.

Strup narrowly missed the medals today, finishing a mere one-hundredth of a second from bronze with a combined time of 1:49.04 for fourth place. Strup finished the season ranked second overall with 346 points.

Barefoot was today’s men’s medalist for the U.S. The Intercontinental Cup competitor posted the fastest run of 53.98 seconds in the first heat, and fell back by just 0.06 seconds in the second heat to finish with the silver medal. Wenhao swept the men’s races. He won today with a combined time of 1:48.24, followed by Barefoot with a 1:48.30, and Zilong in third with a cumulative time of 1:49.03.

“I knew that I’ve had enough runs here to win, but I would have to be at my best,” Barefoot said. “I think that self-inflicted pressure caused some unnecessary tension, but I’m glad to have experienced that and learned how to handle it. Just a couple big mistakes spoiled my runs for races six and seven, so I was pretty happy to clean them up a bit and dip into the 53’s on an overall slower day in race eight. I’m most excited about how much our team is improving overall. Everyone is making significant progress and walking with a little confidence their steps! It’s pretty cool to be around.”

Mirambell claimed the overall title with 370 points. Strup was second, and Nathan Crumpton from American Somoa finished third with 345 points.

Barefoot was fourth and fifth yesterday, and he finished the North American Cup season ranked seventh overall. He spent most of his time racing the Intercontinental Cup, thus missed points from three North American Cup races.

Kyler Sultemeier (Fredericksburg, Texas) concluded his first competitive season ranked 14th. He finished 12th in both of yesterday’s races, and 10th today. Hunter Williams (Carnegie, Pa.) also finished his first racing season. Williams finished 17th, 14th, and 17th, and is ranked 21st.

The North American Cup will officially conclude tomorrow with three four-man bobsled competitions in Lake Placid. Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results


Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Kellie Delka (PUR) 55.50;
2. Yuxi Li (CHN) 55.52;
3. Eunji Kim (KOR) 55.60;
6. Mystique Ro (USA) 55.96;
12. Lauren McDonald (USA) 56.93;
18. Emily Schelberg (USA) 57.65;
19. Michelle Toukan (USA) 59.13;

Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Mystique Ro (USA) 55.69;
2. Eunji Kim (KOR) 55.70;
3. Jaclyn Laberge (CAN) 55.82;
8. Lauren McDonald (USA) 56.59;
10. Michelle Toukan (USA) 56.78;
14. Emily Schelberg (USA) 57.42;

Women’s skeleton race #3
1. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:51.86 (56.03, 55.83);
2. Jaclyn Laberge (CAN) 1:52.06 (55.78, 56.28);
3. Eunji Kim (KOR) 1:52.18 (55.90, 56.28);
6. Michelle Toukan (USA) 1:53.43 (56.56, 56.87);
12. Lauren McDonald (USA) 1:54.49 (56.80, 57.69);
Emily Shelberg (USA) (DNF)

Men’s skeleton race #1
1.Wenhao Chen (CHN) 53.52;
2. Chris Strup (USA) 53.89;
3. Ander Mirambell (ESP) 54.15;
4. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 54.21;
12. Kyler Sultemeier (USA) 55.32;
17. Hunter Williams (USA) 55.95;

Men’s skeleton race #2
1.Wenhao Chen (CHN) 53.73;
2. Chris Strup (USA) 54.33;
3. Zilong Zhu (CHN) 54.37;
5. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 54.62;
12. Kyler Sultemeier (USA) 55.95;
14. Hunter Williams (USA) 56.30;

Men’s skeleton race #3
1.Wenhao Chen (CHN) 1:48.24 (54.17, 54.07);
2. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:48.30 (53.98, 54.32);
3. Zilong Zhu (CHN) 1:49.03 (54.67, 54.36);
4. Chris Strup (USA) 1:49.04 (54.40, 54.64);
10. Kyler Sultemeier (USA) 1:51.21 (55.60, 55.61);
15. Hunter Williams (USA) 1:52.46 (56.25, 56.21);

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. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Omaze, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.


The C8 Corvette and Other NACTOY Finalists Discussed on Autoline TV

The 2020 Corvette Stingray was named as one of the three finalists for the prestigious North American Car of the Year Award and the winner will be named Monday morning (Jan 13th) in Detroit. The all-new mid-engine Corvette does have some stiff competition as it’s facing off against the redesigned Toyota Supra and the Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan.

If you’re looking for a scouting report on the three finalists, you’ve come to the right place!

In this recent episode of Autoline This Week, host John McElroy is joined by panelists Gary Vasilash, Jeff Gilbert and Lindsay Brooke to discuss the contenders up for what is by far the most important vehicle award of the year. All four members of the panel are “NACTOY Jurors” who tested each of the cars and they all weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle.

After watching this episode, I am feeling pretty good about the Corvette Stingray’s chances, but that Sonata does have a ton of style and technology for a $30K vehicle so it won’t be a given. Check out the full conversation below:

From Autoline Network via YouTube:

The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) jury comprises roughly 50 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Every year they vote on the best new cars, trucks and utility vehicles that came out in North America. Three of the NACTOY jurors join us on Autoline This Week to discuss the three cars that made it to the finalists’ list, as well as some of the cars that did not make the list. They also predict which vehicles will win the awards for best car, truck and utility.

Panel: Garry Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production Jeff Gilbert, WWJ NewsRadio 950 Lindsay Brooke, SAE International John McElroy, Autoline.tv

Detroit Bureau Steve Burns will be live at the NACTOY award ceremony and will bring us any breaking news from the event. The North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards will be announced on January 13, 2020, at 8 a.m. in Detroit.

Keith Cornett; Corvette Blogger


Corvette Poised for Sebring WEC Return

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg

Corvette Racing set for COTA-Sebring double FIA WEC run with C8.R

Corvette Racing looks set to contest the 1000 Miles of Sebring, in what would be the second consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship outing for the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.

Sportscar365 has learned that provisional plans are in place to run the Sebring WEC race alongside its two-car factory GT Le Mans class program in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring the following day.

It would come as one of the prerequisites from the ACO, which has stipulated that the Pratt & Miller-run team must run in at least two regular-season WEC races in order to be guaranteed a pair of GTE-Pro entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team ran the Shanghai WEC race in 2018 in addition to Sebring last year with its previous-gen Corvette C7.R.

While declining to comment or confirm on any WEC plans beyond its COTA entry, Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said that it’s been their intention to run two regular-season races in the 2019-20 WEC season.

“Right now, that’s the plan but we’re running down a road,” Fehan told Sportscar365.

“We haven’t refined what exactly that plan is going to be. I couldn’t give you every detail and widget.

“We’ve been busy for a couple of years trying to race and design, build and develop the new car. This adds to the challenge of all of that.

“I think most people would understand that we don’t have it completely defined yet.

“It’s a case of dealing it in an orderly fashion.

“We can’t become overwhelmed too much with what’s going on down the road when we have to focus on what we need to accomplish [in Daytona] in a couple of weeks.”

While set to give the new mid-engined GTE contender its competition debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month, the car’s second race will come just four weeks later at Circuit of The Americas, with a single entry having been submitted for the WEC replacement round.

Fehan said details on that program, including drivers, have yet to be determined.

He explained the reason for doing the additional WEC races is to “try as best we can” to support the globe-trotting championship.

“We understand the value that has to the sanctioning body and the value to the global fan base,” he said.

“We know it’s important but they also know the business side of it that prevents us from doing both things. They get that.

“I think they also appreciate how hard we’re trying to make all of the accommodations we can to keep the ball moving down the field. 

“It’s not easy for us and they know it’s not easy for us and they appreciate that.”

No Issues in 2019 ‘Super Sebring’ Endeavor

Fehan said the team faced no issues in its double-duty endeavor at Sebring last year, in what was only the second-ever time the team raced three cars between two different series on the same weekend. 

In addition to its over-the-wall crew and several other staff, drivers Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller took part in both Friday’s eight-hour WEC race and the around-the-clock IMSA enduro the day later.

“That worked out great,” Fehan said. “We were lucky because we had enough equipment.

“It’s not like you can piggyback what you have set up. You’ve got to have a completely additional set of stuff.

“Between stuff that we had in stock and stuff that we had for the Cadillac program, we had enough in place.

“That system is getting better and we learned from that on all the things we did right and all the things that we know we could improve upon.”

Source John Dagys; SportsCar365


‘Everyday Supercar’: A New Corvette Puts a Target on Ferrari’s Back

The $60,000 Stingray pushes its engine to the middle and expectations through the roof.

The new Corvette Stingray is racking up rapturous reviews and dominating industry awards.

From its dream-car debut in 1953 at the Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the Chevrolet Corvette has kept its engine up front, where sports-car tradition says it belongs.

But with sales of many fast, fun cars on the wane — blame the rise of dully practical S.U.V.s, an aging boomer audience or a declining car culture — the Corvette’s creators saw the need for a radical about-face. The 2020 Corvette Stingray has moved its engine behind the driver and passenger, adopting the physics-approved layout that brought Ferdinand Porsche his first racing successes in the 1930s. Today, this approach is associated with money-torching supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.

The long-awaited “mid-engine” Corvette easily outruns its formidable predecessor, as I learned during a time-warping desert drive near Tortilla Flat, Ariz. The eighth-generation “C8” Corvette is earning rapturous reviews and dominating industry awards, as a car that can take on European exotics that cost $200,000 and more, but at a $59,995 base price that reads like a misprint.

“It’s certainly a great moment in the car business,” said Eddie Alterman, chief brand officer for Hearst Autos and a former editor in chief of Car and Driver. “It’s nothing less than the democratization of the supercar.”

At General Motors, that democratization includes a virtual decree that Chevy’s relatively blue-collar baby generate vastly more sales than, say, its Porsche 911 nemesis, enough to earn its keep in profits. Yet sales of sports cars and muscle cars have plunged by nearly half since 2000, on track for just 230,000 this year, according to analysts at Motor Intelligence. A reborn Toyota Supra, despite huge fanfare, has found a lukewarm 500 buyers a month since its summer debut, fewer than one-quarter of the expected 25,000 to 30,000 first-year sales of the Corvette.

At Porsche, a single sport utility vehicle, the Macan, finds more buyers than all the brand’s sports cars and Panamera sedans combined. Unsurprisingly, the world’s speed merchants, including Lamborghini, Bentley and Jaguar, have developed S.U.V.s into their best-sellers around the world, with entries from Aston Martin and Ferrari on the way. Some of those companies had vowed to never sully their names with a sport utility. Never mind.

Into this minefield steps Tadge Juechter. As just the fourth chief engineer in the Corvette’s fabled 67-year history, Mr. Juechter holds one of the most scrutinized positions in the American industry, his every utterance parsed for clues to the ’Vette’s future.

The previous-generation Corvette, the first to wear the Stingray badge since 1968, also generated robust sales beginning in 2014. Yet Mr. Juechter and his team saw a car nearing its end, both in technical terms and its ability to win new buyers.

“We saw an aging demographic, the same faces at Corvette events year after year,” he said.

That honking, 6.2-liter V8 up front had become an Achilles’ heel. The Corvette’s top-shelf, $121,000 ZR1 edition was already pumping out 755 horsepower, keeping pace in an unprecedented industry horsepower war. Moving the engine aftward — shifting critical weight over driven rear wheels — became the only way to apply such monstrous force to the pavement while improving traction and stability.

The move risked alienating the Corvette’s tradition-loving buyer base. At a design clinic for owners of various sports cars, Mr. Juechter discovered that current customers were split roughly 50-50 on the mid-engine switch. But among supercar owners that Chevy hoped to conquer, 90 percent favored it.

“We had to go for it,” Mr. Juechter said. “We did it purely for physics rules, but the byproduct was that it would also appeal to a new generation. We try to respect the past, but not be stuck in the past.”

G.M. had teased the faithful for decades, experimenting with a midmounted layout in a series of fanciful prototypes, beginning with the CERV 1 (for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) in 1959. Finally, for the 2020 model year, the near-mythical mid-engine Corvette is here, including the coupe’s Ferrari-esque view of its V8, provocatively exposed below a glass cover.

The public’s first glimpse of the car, in April, supported the Corvette engineering team’s confidence. Mr. Juechter drove a prototype, its body work disguised by a black-and-white pattern, through a bustling Times Square, with Mary Barra, the G.M. chief, riding shotgun. Rolling, windows down, Mr. Juechter heard younger voices yelling, “Mid-engine Corvette!”

“We imprinted on young people a super passion for this car,” he said. “Our job is to push that, that every drive can be a joy, an adventure.”

Dodging Times Square tourists and Ubers in a 495-horsepower, roughly 190-m.p.h. sports car is one form of adventure. But in my Arizona test, including roller-coaster desert curves, this new model combined moonshot acceleration, handling, tech and versatility like no rival remotely near its price. That includes a 2.8-second catapult to 60 miles an hour, on a par with a $250,000 Ferrari 488 GTB; a sharply improved, jet-fighter-inspired cockpit; and a GPS-based video data system that records street or track drives, overlays them with animated telemetry readouts and lets drivers analyze their performance with racing software.

The Corvette is notably aerodynamic, and gets solid mileage.
New sports cars are safe and approachable for amateurs, yet still rewarding for skilled pilots.

“It doesn’t have the operatic Sturm und Drang of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but it really is an everyday supercar,” Mr. Alterman said.

Fuel economy is surprisingly decent, roughly 26 to 28 miles per gallon at a steady highway cruise. The Corvette is notably aerodynamic, and can deactivate half its cylinders to save fuel. The latest driver-adjustable magnetic suspension, a G.M.-first technology now adopted by several European exotics, lets the ’Vette drive as smoothly as some luxury cars in its Touring mode, despite the sleeping-bear V8 just over your shoulder.

“It couldn’t be just a weekend toy,” Mr. Juechter said. “A lot of people use this as their only car.”

Perhaps because do-it-all S.U.V.s are strong-arming sales — and definitely because today’s fans won’t put up with punishing rides or dodgy reliability — the worldwide trend is all about more practical sports cars that are safe and approachable for amateurs, yet still rewarding for skilled pilots.

Many mid-engine exotics lack a trunk, because the engine hogs the space. Yet Corvette designers made room for a trunk that can fit two golf bags, in addition to the Porsche-style “frunk” up front where the engine used to go.

Even the carefree convertible model doesn’t neglect its chores, with an ingenious powered soft-top that tucks away without stealing an inch of luggage space. Welcome practicality does bring a visual downside: The wide, chunky rear deck makes the ’Vette a bit back heavy.

Proper fits aside, wishful fans didn’t find a little red-ribboned Corvette under their Christmas tree: A now-settled G.M. strike has delayed production until February. For Chevy’s pampered halo car, only about 12 units each hour will roll off the production line in Bowling Green, Ky., down the road from the National Corvette Museum.

In anticipation of huge demand, more than 400 workers have been hired to fill a second daily shift, including employees laid off from Chevy’s closed plant in Lordstown, Ohio. (G.M. plans to open a new battery plant there, part of a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem of South Korea.)

Mr. Juechter is confident that Chevrolet can sell every Corvette it can build, for now. The real test comes after the initial frenzy subsides. Mr. Alterman points to an increasingly short, roughly 18-month shelf life for such high-profile performers, with fickle buyers and collectors always in pursuit of the hot new thing. He sees the Corvette borrowing from Porsche’s ultra-profitable playbook, keeping the lineup fresh with myriad styles, performance upgrades and personalization options.

Though Mr. Juechter wouldn’t comment on future models, the cottage industry of Corvette rumors cites development of a hybrid ’Vette with up to 900 horsepower.

The dominance of S.U.V.s and the momentous shift to electrics has automakers playing offense.

Aside from an industry explosion of superpowered sport utilities, Ford ignited a controversy when it unveiled a Tesla-baiting electric S.U.V. and called it the Mustang Mach E. The traditional Mustang is enjoying its own golden age of performance, including a bonkers Shelby GT500 with 760 horsepower and an affordable four-cylinder model that gets 32 m.p.g. on the highway. Yet Mustang sales continue to tumble.

And while traditionalists are crying foul over the Mustang Mach E — first S.U.V.s stole customers, now they’re stealing legendary names — Mr. Alterman suggests that this heresy won’t be the last. A five-seat, Corvette-branded S.U.V. could be the most “everyday supercar” of all.

“You’ve got that sub-brand of the Mustang that’s so evocative,” he said, “so why not draw on it? There’s an opportunity for Chevy to do the same thing.”

Original Source Lawrence Ulrich; NY Times


Garcia: “Big Steps” to Come With Corvette C8.R at Roar

Corvette Racing drivers on anticipation of Roar Before Rolex 24 with new mid-engined C8.R…

Antonio Garcia believes there will be “big steps” to come in the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s development as the new-for-2020 mid-engined GT Le Mans class contender makes its public debut in this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

The Pratt & Miller-built Corvette, along with Porsche’s 2019-spec 911 RSR, are the two all-new GTE-spec cars set for their first official competitive outings in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition during the three-day mandatory test.

While having already completed private testing at the 3.56-mile oval/road course, Garcia believe every lap will matter in their plan for the weekend.

“There is a lot to discover and develop,” Garcia said. “Usually your starting point is better than what you previously had.

“But this is completely different. We are still in the early stages with this new Corvette.

“There will be big steps for sure.

“I don’t know when we will get to the point where we will start making little steps. We need to run this car and we need to race it to find out where we are against our competition.

“We are concentrating on our own work. Whenever it becomes race time, we will know where we actually are.”

Garcia’s new full-season co-driver Jordan Taylor said they won’t necessarily be concerned about pace at the Roar, which will also set the pit lane and garage allocations through a qualifying session on Sunday morning.

The 28-year-old, who makes the switch from his family’s Wayne Taylor Racing operation, said little things, such as driver changes, will be a focal point as well once they achieve the targeted baseline.

“As many laps as we can get at the Roar and going through the program, getting all the drivers on the same page from a setup point of view and then the little things like pit stops and driver changes will be different than what we’ve had in the past,” he said.

“The car is a little more tricky to get in and out.

“Understanding that muscle memory of the process of getting in and out, where the seatbelts go, where the drinks bottle is, where the air hose goes… those little details that we haven’t refined that were refined with the C7.R are things that will show up in a 24-hour event, so those are things we will need to check off the list at the Roar.”

Gavin: “Very Structured” Plan for Weekend

Team veteran Oliver Gavin, who returns to the No. 4 entry alongside Tommy Milner, said that coming away with achieving 60 or 70 percent of their list will be considered a “big win” over the weekend.

“The team is going to have a very structured plan,” Gavin said. “And that’s one of the things that’s so good about Corvette Racing. We plan our time and fundamentally understand what all we have to work through and the list of things we need to achieve.

“The third drivers will need time in the car. We’ll all have to work through that program and procedure as best we can.

“Certainly we’ll learn a huge amount every time we go on track just with how certain tires work, how the braking package works, the aero setup, weight placement… all kinds of different thoughts that the team will look to work through.

“We know that of that list of 50 things we want to try and achieve, the chances are that if we can come away with 60 or 70 percent of that done, it’s a pretty big win.”

Original Source; John Dagys. Sportscar365


Electric Corvette breaks top speed record at 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h)

Genovation broke its own record with its all-electric Corvette supercar by achieving a top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h).

At this point, we have been reporting on Maryland-based custom carmaker Genovation’s effort to bring an all-electric Corvette to market for years now.

They were supposed to launch their car, which they call the Genovation GXE, in 2018, but they are now talking about 2020 deliveries.

In the meantime, they have been breaking electric top speed records with their prototype.

In 2016, their modified battery-powered Z06 Corvette reached a record-breaking speed of 205.6 mph.

A year later, they broke their own record with a new top speed of 209 mph.

They have kept working on their prototype, and they now announced that they have achieved a new record top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h):

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

During the December test, we broke our previous speed record that was set in September of this same year. That earlier record run was hampered by strong crosswinds, so we were confident that under better weather conditions we could improve upon that result.

He added:

We are thrilled to be the only electric car manufacturer to not only test our vehicle’s record-breaking capabilities, but to validate and achieve this milestone not once, not twice, but three times. Based on the early analysis of the data generated from the new record, we’re confident that we can gain efficiencies which will result in further top end speeds.

The vehicle is equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission (optional paddle shifting eight-speed automatic), which can definitely help reach higher top speeds than single-speed vehicles, like most EVs available today.

However, when it comes to the range, the Genovation GXE is limited to what the company refers to as “more than 175 miles on a full battery charge.”

Original Source: Fred Lambert; Electrek


Ro leads USA Skeleton with sixth place finish in Koenigssee’s European Cup

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Dec. 15, 2019)– Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) finished sixth in the women’s skeleton European Cup race in Koenigssee today as the top U.S. finisher. It was Ro’s career-best European Cup finish, besting her former personal record by three places.

“This has been a trip with a lot of new information flooding in every week,” said Ro, who’s never raced on the European tracks before this season. “It’s been challenging, but fun. Koenigssee has definitely been a track that has tested my confidence. I had some rough training runs, so I watched sleds for six-plus hours a day throughout the week. It was nice to see things click at the end of the trip and to end with a solid personal record.”

Ro has a huge advantage at the start, and she gave herself the lead right off the block today with push times of 5.08 and 5.04 seconds. Both runs of 53.86 and 53.31 seconds were sixth best of each heat. Mystique’s total time of 1:47.17 placed her in sixth.

The European Cup took place in conjunction with the Intercontinental Cup, and Ro said she enjoyed having teammates with her who were also learning the foreign tracks for the first time.

“I’m glad I had the support and encouragement of my teammates as a majority were sliding here for the first time and having similar issues,” Ro said. “Matt (Antoine) has been great at keeping us focused and very encouraged throughout training.”

Ro was ninth yesterday with a combined time of 1:49.11. She clocked starts of 5.13 and 5.06 for runs of 54.96 and 54.15 seconds, respectively.

Kristen Hurley (Columbia, Conn.) just missed yesterday’s top-20 cutoff for the second heat with a run of 56.98 seconds, which placed her in 21st. She moved up four spots today to 17th with a total time of 1:50.43 after clocking runs of 55.67 and 54.76.

British competitor Amelia Coltman claimed gold yesterday in 1:46.21. Germans Josefa Schellmoser and Hanna Staub earned silver and bronze with total times of 1:46.83 and 1:47.42, respectively. Endija Terauda from Latvia was today’s winner in 1:45.78. Luisa Hornung from Germany claimed silver in 1:45.94, while Coltman secured bronze in 1:46.46.

Austin McCrary (Colleyville, Texas) was the sole men’s competitor in Koenigssee. He finished 10th yesterday with a combined time of 1:44.78 and 12th today in 1:43.85. McCrary’s best push time over the two days was 4.99 yesterday, and he posted the sixth-best time of yesterday’s second heat to show his potential on the German track.

Please direct media inquiries to the USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at amanda.bird@usabs.com.

Results

Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Amelia Coltman (GBR) 1:46.21 (53.39, 52.82);
2. Josefa Schellmoser (GER) 1:46.83 (53.47, 53.36);
3. Hanna Staub (GER) 1:47.42 (53.85, 53.57);
9. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:49.11 (54.96, 54.15);
21. Kristen Hurley (USA) (56.98, DNS);

Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Endija Terauda (LAT) 1:45.78 (52.93, 52.85);
2. Luisa Hornung (GER) 1:45.94 (53.27, 52.67);
3. Amelia Coltman (GBR) 1:46.46 (53.46, 53.00);
6. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:47.17 (53.86, 53.31);
17. Kristen Hurley (USA) 1:50.43 (55.67, 54.76);

Men’s skeleton race #1
1. Felix Seibel (GER) 1:43.37 (51.77, 51.60);
2. Lukas David Nydegger (GER) 1:43.45 (51.74, 51.71);
3. Krists Netlaus (LAT) 1:43.71 (51.66, 52.05);
10. Austin McCrary (USA) 1:44.78 (52.68, 52.10);

Men’s skeleton race #2

1. Amedeo Bagnis (ITA) 1:42.35 (50.97, 51.38);
2. Cedric Renner (GER) 1:42.48 (51.35, 51.13);
3. Krists Netlaus (LAT) 1:42.50 (51.44, 51.06);
12. Austin McCrary (USA) 1:43.85 (52.02, 51.83);

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. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.


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


Hennessey Performance Offers First Look at Packages to Tune the C8 Corvette Up to 1200 HP

Texas tuning shop Hennessey Performance has shared some initial information and photos today as they begin to detail their plans to tune the 2020 Corvettes with the top package offering a whopping 1200 HP.

The HPE1200 package will feature a specially-built twin-turbo LT2 V8 with upgraded internals including forged aluminum pistons and forged steel connector rods. The HPE1200 Twin Turbo C8 Corvette will also see its factory dual-clutch transmission upgraded and fortified to handle the additional power.

“We expect the new C8 Corvette to be an excellent platform from which our clients can further personalize their cars, which obviously includes adding more power and performance,” said company founder and chief horsepower evangelist, John Hennessey. “Over the past several months we have had hundreds of inquiries from C8 buyers wanting to know what we will be offering for the new Corvette. Thus, we created an online questionnaire and have received over 250 completed forms and getting more every day. The customers are telling us what they want and big surprise – they want more power!”

Not just content to tune the engine, Hennessey’s C8 Corvette packages will also offer its signature “CarbonAero” carbon fiber body upgrades that includes a front splitter, air dam, and a rear carbon fiber wing. HPE will also offer an upgrade to the Brembo brake systems, as well as an upgraded Penske suspension, and wheel/tire upgrades.

Hennessee says a stainless-steel exhaust system upgrade is also in the works as well as a 700-hp supercharger system once the car’s computer can be accessed for tuning.

“We are very excited about the new C8 Corvette and have big plans for it,” said Hennessey. “From mild to wild, we plan to offer a wide variety of track-tested parts and upgrades that come with a warranty. We’ve modified over 500 C7 Corvettes since 2013 and expect to upgrade many more C8 Corvettes starting in 2020!”

Hennessey has a form on their website to gauge customer interest in their HPE packages for the C8 Corvette, so if you’re interested, head over to HennesseyPerformance.com.

Original source Hennessy Performance


2020 Corvette Stingray Shown at Spring Mountain’s SEMA Display

Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, home of the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School, is located less than hour from Las Vegas and they bring a continent of cars and people to the annual SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Drivers for Ron Fellows School provide hot laps for the attendees which is hella fun if you have ever had the opportunity to catch a ride in one of the ZR1s they have. In addition to the hot laps, Spring Mountain also has booth display at SEMA and featured prominently is the 2020 Corvette Stingray wearing the Ron Fellows Driving School livery.

We asked Spring Mountain’s Todd Crutcher send us some photos of the 2020 Corvette on display as it’s the only place at SEMA outside the Chevrolet display where you catch the C8 Corvette in the flesh.

Chevy had displayed a C8 Corvette with the Ron Fellows door stickers at both the Woodward Dream Cruise and Corvettes at Carlisle, but the car on display at SEMA is much more representative of the Ron Fellows livery that also features the No. 01 car number on the front and back while Michelin stickers are also featured. A windshield banner completes the look.

This C8 Corvette is a Z51 model and 3LT trim package and inside is the two-tone Blue leather interior. The Stingray also shows off the visible carbon fiber roof panel that’s only been spotted a couple of times.

There has yet to be any kind of announcement regarding a driving school for owners of the C8 Corvette at the world-class driving school, but we’ve been told to stay tuned as things are progressing. We do know that a continent of cars will be built for the school and that they will be used as part of the official GM training for dealerships who are selling the new sports cars. While the strike has messed up the original timeline for the school to receive their cars, we expect some sort of announcement will be made in the near future.

If you have purchased a C7 Corvette in the last year, your time is limited to take advantage of the 2-day Corvette Owner’s School that’s heavily subsidized by Chevrolet. To find out more information about the Corvette Owner’s school, visit SpringMountainMotorsports.com or call Melinda or Donna for details 1-800-391-6891. All Corvette enthusiasts are invited!

Spring Mountain / Ron Fellows Driving School


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Review: Say Goodbye to the Bad Guy

Early-build C8 Corvettes are hard at work, ginning up enthusiasm for the biggest sea change in America’s sports car since the C2 dropped the stick axle. The 2020 Corvette is an extraordinary car that makes extraordinary numbers at an extraordinary price—and we would expect nothing less. But before we rush headlong into the mid-engine era, can we stop and appreciate the outgoing C7 one last time?

Because it seems unfair, really, that the 2019 Corvette ZR1 has already become a thing of history, just another Vette in the model’s long and storied line. This is the culmination of not just the most recent generation of Corvette, but also the entire 66 years of the front-engine paradigm. Certainly, it is the costliest Corvette ever (and the highest-priced vehicle GM currently sells), with our test car ringing the bell at $142,075.

You spend that money for more power than in a regular Stingray—300 horses more. This is not unlike having an extra V-6 Camaro engine bolted to the top of your Corvette’s 6.2-liter V-8. Except the ZR1 actually employs a supercharger, with which the big, bad LT5 can blow even the brick house down, making 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet says all that power comes from using both direct injection and good, old-fashioned port injection, a trick that also helps the Silverado return better gas mileage.

At idle the ZR1 rumbles like a seismic event and its rips and crackles at full snort are the sounds of a natural disaster. Hang on and hope that you don’t do anything stupid, like keep your foot in it for too long or try to outsmart its eight-speed automatic. (A seven-speed manual is also available.) Things happen quickly in the ZR1 and there is no chance of running out of car before you run out of road. It may not produce the acceleration numbers of an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S Performance, but the violence of internal combustion in the Corvette augments its own sensation of speed to produce a far more visceral drive.

Indeed, the ZR1 must rank among the baddest sports cars to ever roll on four tires. In this case, those are sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s that owners should probably think about buying in bulk. Yet before the ZR1 was even launched, it was guaranteed to be overshadowed by the C8, just as it would be doomed to share most of its interior bits with the not-aging-so-well C7. Was it really only six years ago that this cabin seemed modern? But Chevy can’t really be blamed for spending money on interior upgrades for the new car rather than throwing good money after bad on this one-and-done special.

Behind the wheel, the view out over the vast hood of the ZR1 is like nothing likely to come again. The tops of its sharp fender creases still call to mind the outrageous C3, but they no longer seem like peaks compared to the mountain range in the center of the hood. The protruding carbon-fiber engine cover stands proud of the hood and is good for at least couple taps up on the power-seat adjuster. If the optional Competition Sport seats are too tight and the Track Performance package too stiff for the comfort of your average Corvette owner, well, those are items you add to your ZR1 when the pursuit of lap times render money no object.

Like its Z06 and Grand Sport siblings, the extra-wide ZR1 makes any road feel narrow, and makes narrow roads seem like goat paths. Thankfully its steering is prescient and immediate, giving the car an astounding athleticism. Talking about things like handling and grip after driving a ZR1 on the street is akin to holding forth on surgical techniques after binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. If the Cessna wing blocking access to the trunk isn’t a strong enough hint that exploring the limits of a ZR1 anywhere that doesn’t require a balaclava and helmet is a bad idea, maybe you’ve just sniffed too much of the ZR1’s resinous off-gassing. That cologne is yet another reminder that even at 218 percent of the price of a base Stingray, the ZR1 is still 100 percent C7.

With first tests of the C8 showing that it’s quicker to 60 miles per hour than the ZR1, the King of Corvettes has already abdicated its throne. It seems sea changes occasionally happen in the blink of an eye.

Originally written by Jeff Sabatini; Automobile


2020 Performance Car of the Year

Eleven worthy competitors, one surprising winner.

Crowning the Road & Track Performance Car of the Year is not an easy task. Each fall, we gather every new or revised performance car that we can get our hands on. While some of these candidates naturally worm into our hearts, this is more than a popularity contest—the award doesn’t simply go to the machine we like the most or the one we think is the coolest. PCOTY is about looking to the future and finding the car that provides the most hope for the enthusiast: a machine that offers everything you expect of a modern vehicle yet still tugs at the heart.

To pick a winner, we used the following criteria:

  • Outright speed and testing numbers are part of the package, but they don’t determine the winner. Beyond sheer pace, a car has to bring emotion to the table.
  • The car must embrace track duty while still being enjoyable on the road.
  • Technology has to be used in service of the driver, not just added speed. Feedback and sensation via complexity is great, but complexity alone doesn’t cut it.
  • Lastly, we ask ourselves, would any other manufacturer build it? Does the car feel uniquely of its story and brand, with a personality all its own?

This year’s test saw 11 cars join us for two days at Northern California’s Thunderhill Raceway Park. A staff vote at the end of our track time cut the field to six contenders. Those six were then road-tripped on a winding, demanding test route through the Sierra Nevada, ending at Lake Tahoe. A final vote at the end of the journey determined the winner.

You might be wondering why we elected to conduct track testing first this year. Past PCOTY contests have tested cars on the road first, then trekked to a closed course. Our current method gave the staff a chance to drive every car in similar conditions, learning their limits in a safe, controlled environment.

When it came to lap times, we enlisted a licensed club racer with no Thunderhill experience: me. We did this for a reason, and it wasn’t to build my ego. Most of our readers are not pro drivers. When you buy a new car, a professional’s lap time at any track is an interesting metric, but it’s rarely reflective of a normal person’s experience. We wanted to stress accessibility and adaptability. How easy is it to get up to speed in a given car? How communicative is the car? Is it hard to learn the quirks? Under the watchful eyes of our testing staff, every PCOTY contender got a quick warm-up session to set tire pressures, then no more than seven timed laps. Just enough to establish a representative lap and suss idiosyncrasies, not enough to set a record.

Of course, no method is perfect. Ambient temperature during our lapping day started at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and eventually hit 107. That kind of heat doesn’t help lap speed, and it ensured that late runners needed shorter stints, as times immediately dropped off. While I made every attempt to, as one of our contributors once said, “underserve all the cars equally,” most amateur drivers will get faster over the course of a day at a track they had never before seen, learning the pavement’s nuances, and I am no exception. With those caveats in mind, it’s best to view the lap times as bellwether, not absolute. A loose guide to judge the spectacular machinery on these pages.

In the end, that’s the key. We hold PCOTY testing each year as reason to celebrate the future of the performance car, not lament it. The industry is undergoing transformation. More than ever, regulations try to force automakers into a box. Consumer trends lean toward amorphous appliances. At Road & Track, we drive hundreds of new cars each year, which means our affection for hydraulic steering, natural aspiration, lightweight efficiency, and a good, old-fashioned stick shift is tested on a regular basis.

Yet look at the field we have here. These cars are proof that there’s still plenty to be excited about. None of them fade into the background or aim to remove you from the experience. In a time when we’re told that the driverless car is around the corner, these machines put the driver squarely at the front of the experience. As it should be.

—Travis Okulski

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this PCOTY thing?

One of this magazine’s crown jewels: A racetrack. A multi-day road route covering hundreds of miles. A king anointed among the year’s most significant new sports and exotic cars. Our priorities are emotion, engineering cohesion, relevance, and price, in that order. Plus beef jerky. (It’s a road trip. There’s always beef jerky.)

Sounds expensive.

It’s not cheap. While fast cars have to work in cities, they’re most effectively and safely tested in the middle of nowhere. In this case, that meant shipping employees and equipment to a remote location, then orchestrating hotels, food, support vehicles, data collection, and two photographers. (Plus we spent $5 on giant stick-on googly eyes.)

Googly eyes?

That was senior editor Zach Bowman. Never give a Tennessean a corporate card in a Walmart.

Did you stick them on something?

One of the dim-looking minivans we use for chase and photography.

What did that poor van do to you?

Not much. But Bowman did walk out of that Walmart with a CD copy of Black Sabbath’s 1970 masterpiece Paranoid, because he wanted to hear “War Pigs” at ear-bleed level while wearing aviator sunglasses and doing van burnouts at stoplights.

That sounds awfully specific.

PCOTY is all about specifics. And generals gathered in their masses.

I’m sure nothing went wrong.

One staffer “ran out of pavement” (his words) and put the McLaren off at Thunderhill. (No one was hurt, and the car was fine.) The Lexus and Lotus got flat tires. And one of our vans was broken into in San Francisco—they took deputy editor Bob Sorokanich’s backpack, but not the copy of Paranoid. Editor-at-large Sam Smith left an open bag of Haribo gummy bears in the van during the break-in and then grumped for a bit because the bag had broken glass in it.

Was Bob upset?

Smith was heartbroken.

Who are the other mooks here?

Staff mooks joined by contributing mooks! Some adept at track driving, others with a penchant for sussing out a car’s foibles on the road. While a few fancy themselves engineers, others have actual engineering know-how. But all love sports cars and have strong opinions about which end of the Corvette should house the engine. You could say each participant brought a very particular set of skills.

Like Liam Neeson in Taken.

Only with more Lamborghini. And Bob, a professional editor who intimidates approximately nobody, speaking calmly about his backpack theft. (“I have a particular set of skills with… adjectives.”)

Why Thunderhill Raceway Park?

It’s a perfect arena. Demanding of both driver and car, modern, safe. Plus great roads in spitting distance.

The mid-engine Corvette: how’d you get a car so rare and new?

We asked to borrow a preproduction C8 from GM. They said yes, with caveats. The Corvette had minders, and they took the car back each night, checking it over. We also had to agree to an embargo, keeping drive impressions confidential for weeks.

What a peek behind the curtain! Got any more secrets?

Maybe! Ask Matt Farah about his superpower. Ask Bowman why he had an obsession with Gatorade Limon Pepino. And whatever you do, don’t ask Smith and Jason Cammisa what happens when Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” hits the radio on a road trip. They will demonstrate. And you will regret it.

Notable Absences

This year’s PCOTY field was one of our strongest, but as with every year, there were notable absences. The absentees generally fall into one of three categories: the car you’re thinking of wasn’t launched as a new vehicle in the year preceding PCOTY testing (and was thus ineligible), the manufacturer wouldn’t lend us one (privately owned test cars are impractical), or the car in question just isn’t any good. Here are the models that received invitations but couldn’t make the party.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: A lightweight DB11 with 715 hp. Aston elected to not participate in the test.

2020 Audi R8: The first facelifted R8s arrived in the U.S. a week before our test. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to get one shipped to Thunderhill.

2020 BMW M8: The new flagship M car was first shown in June, but BMW only made it available for review (in Europe) the same week as PCOTY.

2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: The 710-hp V-8 from the wild, track-focused 488 Pista, in a more road-oriented package. Ferrari couldn’t provide one during our test window.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Supercharged V-8 and hellacious speed, but Ford didn’t provide test cars to journalists until a month after PCOTY testing.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro:
A track-attack version of a car already known for circuit prowess. Only hitch: the first GT R Pros didn’t cross the Atlantic until the tail end of 2019, after this issue shipped to the printer.

2020 Polestar 1: A 600-hp, hybrid, carbon-bodied GT from Volvo’s new electric-performance offshoot. Polestar wasn’t ready to let us borrow one, but don’t worry—we’ll drive it soon.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: On paper, a PCOTY front-runner. Which is a shame, because Porsche had no test cars in the country.

2020 Subaru WRX STI S209: The WRX STI might be a few years old, but the S209 promises to be the best version yet. Subaru held a media test event for the car during PCOTY week, so its loaner 209s were all tied up.

HYPERCARS

We love bleeding-edge science experiments from companies like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Pagani, and Rimac, but hypercars just don’t fit the spirit of this particular test. Mostly because of their near-unattainable prices. We’ve made exceptions in the past, due to circumstance or serendipity (last year’s PCOTY included a McLaren Senna, for example), but in this case, we preferred to avoid the archetype.

—Chris Perkins

Where We Drove

We based the 2020 Performance Car of the Year test out of Willows, California, mostly for the town’s proximity to Thunderhill Raceway. The staff of this magazine spent two days there, setting lap times and evaluating the competitors in the rolling grass north of Sacramento.

Two days at any track is a blessing, but turning laps is less than half of what makes a sports car compelling. Everything about a Lotus or a McLaren hints at where the machine might take you, the lines of the thing whispering how the two of you might burn a tank of fuel. Or three.

We were aiming for gold country. Those mountains played stage to the 1800s boom that brought more than 300,000 people to Northern California in search of a fortune. By 1855, the rush had largely turned to bust, the masses vanishing as quickly as they had appeared. Those people left plenty behind—mostly vestigial towns dotting the hills, but also a spiderweb of wagon-route roads connecting them. On a map, the highways look like sports-car catnip. We only had to get there.

The farmland around Willows is flat and drab, fruit orchards aligned in dusty grids. Our unlikely caravan shot through it in the morning, over Highway 162, a thin needle across the state’s Central Valley, from Willows to Oroville. It’s strange and beautiful, home to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. Great egrets loped through the wetlands on either side of the highway. They chased their reflections for one slow-motion moment, then turned skyward.

Whatever envy we felt only lasted as long as it took us to make our way to Highway 70. The two-lane runs vaguely northeast, winding up and through a fir forest from Oroville. A year ago, the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire, devoured the landscape, and the place still shows the scars of it. Gutted stone homes, black tree trunks like charcoal scrawls. But that road is a work of art, the pavement stitched to the north fork of the Feather River as it pools and falls down the mountain.

The water runs through the core of California’s mother lode, a seam of gold-rich land just three miles wide but more than 120 miles long. John Bidwell found gold in the Feather in 1848 just outside Oroville, creating what would become Bidwell’s Bar, one of the richest mines in the area. Three years later, the place was home to 2000 miners, each aimed at digging money from the ground.

The radio crackled. It was contributor Matt Farah.

“I don’t know who picked this road, but it’s spectacular.”

Farah is a Californian, an East Coast transplant who lives in Venice Beach. He’s a journalist and R&T contributor who spends his days driving around the state, and there we were, on a stretch of pavement he’d never seen. Proof that a hundred lifetimes wouldn’t show you every inch of California. When we stopped for a driver change, the judges gathered on the side of the road. We’re all prone to big gestures and loud voices, but something about that place, the sound of the water and the stillness of those trees, kept us quieter than usual, our vocabularies sapped by the sight of Northern California at its finest. Editor-at-large Sam Smith looked down at the Feather, a coil of green basins. “I can’t believe this is in the same state as Los Angeles.”

Some of our favorite roads are wedded to water, and Highway 70 is one of the best. We chased it upstream for better than an hour. It was already autumn in the hills, the light sharp and clear as it filtered through the trees and splashed over our windshields. Far below, sunbathers and fishermen sat on the banks in the sunlight, oblivious to our passing as the road writhed over steel-trestle bridges and through old stone tunnels.

We paused in Quincy for fuel, the cars jockeying for pumps. The day before, in Willows, it had been 107 degrees, but we’d been gaining elevation with every switchback, and the air now sat closer to 50. None of us dressed warmly enough, but we didn’t care. Every convertible had its top back and the heat cranked, an idiot grin glowing from the driver’s seat. We left the gas station and took off toward Quincy’s main street, then hung a right on Highway 119. The road abandoned the river and climbed further into the ragged mountains.

Up there, teetering snow poles marked the shoulder, placed to guide plows through the winter. They towered over the cars. Suddenly, the sepia photos we saw in every convenience store made sense: 1930s Fords and ’40s Buicks parked beside 20-foot walls of ice and snow.

Highway 119 spilled onto the long, windswept Bucks Lake, and we arrived in a blink, settling into the gravel lot at Lakeshore Resort, a small restaurant and lodge on the shore. With the cars tucked in next to local pickups, we headed inside for lunch. The restaurant’s back patio was drenched in that crackling sunlight that seems so particular to Northern California afternoons. Iced tea arrived by the pitcher, and we washed down burgers as bald eagles circled the lake.

Senior editor Kyle Kinard looked out over the water, whitecaps forming on the surface, whipped up by a far-off wind. He had planned the route, arriving weeks before to scout the path and lay out a map.

“I don’t know how to say this without overselling what’s coming, but it gets better from here.”

After lunch, we turned onto Highway 120 toward La Porte, another wonder. Tighter even than the climb to Bucks Lake, the pavement ascending thousands of feet. In some spots, the road narrowed to one lane, the pavement necking between sheer rock walls and thick stands of trees. One moment, we dived into a set of wooded hairpins. The next, we broke into a clearing above a thousand-foot drop. Kinard was right.

The rest of the day carried on the same. A series of exclamation points. After the mountain, the road unwound, Highway 120’s tight bends making way for a river of fresh tarmac. The trees thinned, replaced by golden fields and stocky barns covered in flaking red paint. The caravan dropped into high gear, enjoying a few miles of lazy pace as the sun set.

Night descended as we made our way toward Tahoe, parading through one camp town after another. We caught Highway 49 through Tahoe National Forest, the trees turning to dark pillars in the fading light. The cooler air made for eager engines, exhausts popping and echoing through the woods. The group spread out, and it wasn’t until we caught up to each other at a stop sign, leading onto a highway, that someone noted we had all been running windows down, stereos off.

We called it a night outside Truckee, filling the garage and driveway of an Airbnb house with more than half a million dollars of sports cars. Editor-in-chief Travis Okulski stood in the drive for a moment, hands in his pockets, surveying the cars as everyone gathered luggage.

“This whole day has been like a movie,” he said.

It was true. We’d run through a series of driving bests. We had watched the roads spiral and contract, fell head over heels for a corner of California as the sun sank low. How many perfect days behind the wheel do you get, really? Sports cars demand so much from your life. Time. Space. Money. They don’t fit the family. They cannot brave a Costco run. Most spend their days slogging through a commute or languishing in a garage. But a good run up a clear bit of asphalt can wipe all that away. A day of it is the stuff of fantasy.

When we woke the next morning, we found ourselves with a pile of sports cars in the heart of some of the country’s best driving. We loaded up again and pointed at Donner Pass. California can be an insufferable place. Expensive and full of itself, but also so gorgeous it hurts, packed with more perfect roads per mile than anywhere else in the nation. The route up the pass felt as precious as all that ore Bidwell and his miners pulled out of those ridges. From up there, Donner Lake shone in the sun, reflecting that unreal California sky back at itself. We parked the cars and marveled.

Installation Lap

You rip toward Turn 1. The straight is shorter than it looks. Fourth gear, though, at the end. Then into the first corner, a tight left-right combo. Looks like a needle-thread: Huck the car in, all the brake for the right, trailing it, maybe, to keep the nose under you in the corner’s second half. Don’t put it in the grass; people put it in the grass here. (Remember the old saw: don’t look for the wall, or you’ll find it.)

Uphill to the right after that. Turn 2, a third-gear left that goes on forever, painted across a hill. Camber will probably make the car push wide in the midcorner, the nose indifferent and light, and then the front tires set, third or fourth gear as the corner opens into the downhill straight that follows, the tail on casters.

Delicacy! Two corners in, it’s obvious: this place wants finesse.

Turn 3 leaps into your face. Overslowing will happen, because it looks tighter than it is. Mountains to the west, filling the windshield. The first time through 3, you realize you can straight-line the sucker, ripping over the curb. Some cars fly a wheel or two. Then the track changes again, blind, Turns 4 and 5, undulating pavement and no camber where you need it, big grassy berms on exit. The car doesn’t turn, then it turns too much. Turn 5 pinches down and seems to want you in that dirt. It’s a quick transition, but you have to keep your hands tidy or the car won’t settle enough to stay on the pavement.

A breath. Bit of a break, the track seems to open up here.

Six seems normal. It’s not. Your first time through here is also a wake-up, a realization as the pavement appears: 6 connects to 7! So you place the car properly or run out of road when you least expect, committed to a line you can’t see, the exit over a hill. There are divots in the grass at the exit, bites in the dirt where people have tried to hit it early, snipe a little more speed on entry, a little more room on the way out.

Seven is a tight left, arm over arm. Doesn’t feel right and probably can’t. Eight and 9 are waiting games. You go up and over the blind-right 8, cresting a hill at the apex, taillights light. Down into a tight, grippy right for 9, and finally the slow, hard left of 10, a release onto the straight.

It feels like walking through an open door—all that paved runoff, hands unwound as soon as you can, right mirror almost kissing the tires stacked next to the wall. The car yelling its guts out, waiting for 1 again. Lot going on here, you think, passing the flag stand. Do it better next time, your inner voice says, as you wrap that first lap.

And with every one after.

—Sam Smith

Lap Times

Mazda Miata RF 1:34.64

Hyundai Veloster N 1:31.44

Toyota Supra 1:28.93

Lexus RC F Track 1:27.56

BMW M2 Competition 1:26.91

Lotus Evora GT 1:25.35

Nissan GT-R Nismo 1:23.80

Porsche 911 Carrera S 1:23.08

Chevrolet Corvette 1:22.83

McLaren 600LT 1:20.42

Lamborghini Huracán Evo 1:20.00

We Chose a Hyundai

A Hyundai hatchback, over some of the most significant supercars of our era. Over the second coming of the Toyota Supra, an all-new Porsche 911, and even that beast of myth and legend, the mid-engine Corvette.

It seems impossible. But before you set this magazine on fire and use it to light a pitchfork-lined path to our door, understand that the Hyundai was not the convenient answer.

Politics and popular opinion all but demanded we hand our laurels to a brand with a dusty pedigree. Over the course of PCOTY testing, each of our judges squirreled away feelings on the hatchback, guarding them from others for fear of ridicule or expulsion. But the truth is simple: the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N is a greater celebration of the philosophies we treasure than any other new vehicle.

Let me explain.

There were 11 cars, handpicked and brilliant. They had to prove capable and engaging on the two undulating miles of Thunderhill Raceway Park’s West track before we’d set them loose on our demanding public-road test route. After two days of track time, only six cars would be allowed to join us on the street drive.

The job should have been easy work for machines like the McLaren 600LT, the Lamborghini Huracán Evo, and the Nissan GT-R NISMO, but 2019 was a big year for sports cars. The Supra has returned. The Chevrolet Corvette is mid-engine for the first time. And the Porsche 911 has entered an all-new generation, a sharper, stronger iteration of the world’s most versatile fast car. The others were no less honed, representing every facet of performance, from affordable gems like the Mazda Miata RF Club and the Hyundai, to serious hardware like the sleeper BMW M2 Competition, the bristling Lexus RC F Track, and the exotic, focused Lotus Evora GT.

We’ve never had such a competitive or disparate group of vehicles, each with an honest shot at taking home the prize. This isn’t an editor’s-choice award or a lap-time sprint for gold. Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year must work well on a track, but it can’t be a one-trick pony; excellent apex behavior must give way to on-road competence. And most of all, a PCOTY winner has to use its technology in service of driver emotion, not just loftier speed. Automakers are increasingly occupied with deleting humanity from the automotive experience, and these days, speed is easy. The harder job is building a car worth driving.

So the Supra should have won, right? It’s a fast, ultra-modern coupe pointed directly at people like us. The Supra nameplate, with its long and storied history, is now engineered in concert with a company—BMW—that rose to prominence selling “the Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Except the Toyota didn’t win. Our judges voted it out, almost unanimously, in the initial cut. The car didn’t leave the track.

Why? How? The Supra is a magnet, low and small and absolutely electric, our testers trying to hide their excitement at simply seeing the thing, let alone driving it. But there’s not much Supra here—none of the name’s legendary solidity and brawn—or even much Toyota. The chassis and driveline are shared with the BMW Z4; the badge on the hood has a BMW part number. The interior smells like a BMW. And despite the Toyota-specific suspension and driveline tune, the car suffers from the same maladies that plague most modern BMWs.

Not that it isn’t seriously fast. Editor-in-chief Travis Okulski took the Supra to a ripping 1:28.93 around Thunderhill West, only a few tenths slower than the more powerful RC F Track. Much of the Supra’s time came from its spectacular front-end grip and precision, the front tires responsive and predictable, though filtered through dead steering. But the real problem is in how the thing does its job. At the limit, it can be twitchy and distant.

“The Toyota somehow manages to be joyless,” editor-at-large Sam Smith said, after his first session. “There’s no reward for focus, no incentive to be a hooligan… It doesn’t feel like any fast Toyota I’ve driven. None of the confidence or unflappability of a second- or third-generation Supra.”

Some of this likely lies at the feet of the car’s maker—without undoing a single fastener, we counted 28 separate uses of the word “BMW,” or the BMW logo, under the Supra’s hood. For a few years now, the Bavarians have been content to turn out cars the mechanical equivalent of the music student who can hit every note at recital but still miss the point of a piece. No surprise, then, that the BMW M2 Competition suffers some of the Supra’s pitfalls, despite clocking an impressive 1:26.91. With 405 hp, the 3600-pound M2 is far from slow, but BMW seems to have worked hard to isolate the driver. All that hustle occurs through a cotton filter. The steering is light and vague. The extra grunt and suspension stiffness over the discontinued, 365-hp base M2 are part of a wholesale trade, exchanging a bit of that car’s talk for straight-line speed and a willingness to drift.

“I have mixed feelings,” contributor Ross Bentley said. “It’s not a bad car, just not what it should be. Good brakes, a little too much understeer. It gives confidence because it’s not going to do anything bad.”

A shame, because nearly everyone praised the M2’s slick gearbox and perfectly positioned pedals. Proof that deep down, BMW still remembers the pleasure of a manual transmission. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to make the cut for the road portion of the test. Heartbreaking for a group of judges packed with BMW owners.

And those cars weren’t alone. PCOTY always carries a few surprises and underdogs. The Lexus RC F was out of its depth in this company, but we adored the car’s audacity, its snorty V-8 and too-stiff chassis. It’s a perfect caricature of a Dodge Challenger: great and hilarious, but unrefined and outshined.

Nothing paints a clearer picture of the field’s competitiveness than the strengths of the vehicles left behind. Five cars had to go, and the Lexus was too flawed to stay. Same for the Nissan GT-R NISMO. Who cares that the GT-R is now in its 12th model year? The Nissan is effortlessly fast and laugh-out-loud entertaining. Of all the six-digit cars on hand, it was also the only one that didn’t come with an army of factory minders. Just one guy in a Nissan Armada carrying an extra set of tires. When we asked him if we should make any concessions for the test’s 107-degree heat, maybe bleed off tire pressures, he just shrugged and smiled.

“Nah, it’ll be fine.”

It was. Despite being the heaviest car in the running, the 3865-pound GT-R popped a 1:23.80, less than a second behind both the Porsche and the Corvette. Nissan has improved the car almost every year since its 2007 launch, taking it from distant missile to talkative weapon. The NISMO feels like an old friend, but this year’s updates weren’t enough to keep its head above water. A great car outdone by exceptional ones.

The Lamborghini was also glorious, but it didn’t leave the track, either. Prior to PCOTY, most of us had only experienced the 630-hp, V-10-powered Huracán Evo on public streets, where phrases like “involuntary manslaughter” and “reckless endangerment” shackle you to what’s possible. Unleashed on a closed circuit, the Evo proved its abilities. Miraculous and terrifying ones, mostly. Violent shifts that echo like small-arms fire. Acceleration that rummages through your stomach to see what you had for lunch. That all-wheel-drive system performs the unnatural with a shrug, thanks partly to a front end that feels stitched to the ground. And when you think you’ve come to the edge of that ocean of traction, the Lamborghini digs around in its cupboard and produces another pitcher of the stuff. Trip into a slide, the car almost catches itself, despite feeling big as a city block.

The Evo was hands-down the fastest car around the course. The sound chased it from corner to corner, a Doppler flag marking position. In a field packed with muted and turbocharged exhaust notes, that barking, naturally aspirated engine could not have stood further apart.

“Lamborghinis are supposed to be all style and no substance,” said contributing editor Jason Cammisa. “This has both in equal measure.”

Okulski had just stepped from the car after his laps when Smith cornered him, curious.

“Remember 2018’s Huracán Performante?” Okulski asked.

“Yeah. Sublime. Nothing wrong with it,” Smith said.

“This is better.”

The only problem lurked on pit lane in white paint. A cannon that bumped the Lamborghini from the list of finalists despite being slower around the track. From its nonsensical doors and carbon-fiber buckets to its airy cockpit and turbocharged, theatrical V-8, the McLaren 600LT managed to out-occasion the Huracán at every turn. The LT had the same lightning acceleration, just married to a lithe chassis and the most tactile steering in the business.

Switching from McLaren to Lamborghini was like trading skin and bone for a pattern of pixels. And while the ever-stable Huracán seems to always have a guiding hand on your back, the McLaren could not care less if you chased your dumbest instincts. Drop the hammer in a second-gear hairpin and it does exactly what a 592-horse rear-driver should: spit you sideways in smoke and noise, the limiter kicking at your skull. The British car accomplished as much as the Italian but said more in the process, pushed you to greater heights. Shouted messages to your spine where the Huracán was all murmurs. And when it came down to it, that was the common thread through our six finalists—a hint that someone in R&D did more than tick boxes.

So we left that Lamborghini behind. The McLaren led the pack on the way out of Willows as we hopscotched a series of slow-moving 18-wheelers. The Veloster was next, followed by the 911 and the Corvette. The Miata bopped along behind, the Lotus and its supercharged bark last in line. We worked our way east, toward Tahoe.

Passing in a 600LT is a profanity. Tap the left paddle twice, check the oncoming lane, then plant your right foot and wait for England to put a boot to your chest. For all of our braying about speed’s irrelevance, there’s plenty to be said for a straight road. And while the McLaren’s capabilities are far past the legal limit, the car has other tricks. You can fold the hardtop or roll down the back cabin glass to let that V-8 gasp in your ear.

Before you die, try to execute at least one full-throttle rip through a mountain tunnel in a 600LT with the roof peeled back. It’ll make the best-of when your life flashes before your eyes.

Our stops turned into mini conferences, judges gathering to point and pick at the cars.

“I cannot believe they just let regular people buy these,” contributor Matt Farah said, gesturing at the McLaren. “It’s so obscenely fast. Feels like the craziest engine on Earth is bolted to your spine.”

“It’s the car Lotus wishes they could build,” deputy editor Bob Sorokanich added. “It simply disappears underneath you.”

The Corvette, too, had a way of vanishing in your hands. Few vehicles have felt so uniquely crafted to flip our switches. Our test car, a pre-production unit supplied by GM, brought caveats. For the record, this is not generally how we like to do things. There can be wide gulfs between a car’s test-build performance and job one, and judging a nearly complete effort isn’t always fair. But the eighth-generation Vette is the most significant sports car in recent memory, and GM said that if we wanted that icon in this year’s PCOTY, we had to accept a prepro car.

No one cared when they rolled it out of the trailer. The Chevrolet turned us into children, pointing and crawling over it even as it was backed from the hauler. The C8 is a weird cocktail of familiar and foreign. It smells like Corvette inside, that faint whiff of glue. The valve covers are sparkly, bass-boat red. You can stuff a live human into the cavernous rear trunk. A single individual can remove and stow the roof panel. You sit so far forward, all but atop the front axle. Which is partly why the steering feels instantaneous.

The Corvette has been nipping at supercar heels for years, and it finally seems poised to take a proper bite. The C8 is a brilliant car. “Some elements—engine blueprint, sound, power delivery—are emphatically Corvette,” said senior editor Kyle Kinard. “Others—seating position, turn-in, rotation—aren’t.” As Smith pointed out, the Corvette has always been centered on the democratization of an experience: an affordable version of the European sports car in the 1950s, of the cocaine-cruiser highway vibe of BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the 1980s, and in recent years, Porsche-besting performance with a Silverado price tag. Viewed through that lens, as a Lamborghini for Lubbock, it is pure success.

But there are kinks. The C8’s cabin felt more claustrophobic than that of the front-engined C7, and someone in the General Motors chain of command decided that this car, mid-engine for the first time, needed to drive a lot like the old one. Steering aside, it feels very much like a C7, minus a bit of balance. We missed the liveliness and poise of other mid-engine cars, the nose grip. The delta prompted a question: if you’re going to scrap 66 years of brand precedent and abandon the manual transmission altogether, why look back? Go for broke.

Still, you could make an argument that such things are irrelevant. So the Corvette doesn’t pirouette like a European supercar costing twice as much. Who cares? In Okulski’s lapping, the Chevrolet was still quicker than its longtime rival, the 911, beating the German by a quarter of a second.

And on the road to Tahoe, it was as good as a Corvette has ever been. Comfortable and relaxed when you wanted, eating miles with that V-8 barely breathing. Or sharp and alive, dicing through switchbacks.

When we stopped for fuel, curious strangers lingered near the fleet, making slow passes on their way to the cashier. The Corvette was king, onlookers ignoring the McLaren and 911 for a better look at the C8. In that crowd, certain cars simply vanished, the Veloster N and Miata RF all but invisible. Win some, lose some.

The hitch, sinking the C8, was the transmission. A twin-clutch automatic, Corvette’s first. In automatic mode, on track or the street, it is perfectly adept, handing out shifts quicker than thought. But manual mode is a half step behind the competition, denying downshifts or letting the engine bash the limiter, unsure of how much intervention to provide.

If you must take our clutch pedals, at least swap them for a transmission that wants to play. GM benchmarked the PDK dual-clutch in the 911 while developing the Vette’s transaxle, and it’s clear why. There is no more satisfying or evolved two-pedal gearbox. The PDK in the new 911 Carrera S is quicker and more focused than any human, but it doesn’t rub your nose in it or rap your knuckles when you slip up. Lap after lap, the trans works with you to be a little quicker, covering your tail when you miss a shift and dropping a gear if it thinks you can gain a tenth.

Maybe the Corvette’s production gearbox will be better. Regardless, the disparity was instructive. The 911 and Vette come from different schools of thought. Chevrolet used to know how to subtly refine a product while guarding its identity; Porsche still does. This new-generation 911 fully embraces its rear-engine heritage, and on track, you can feel that delicious weight imbalance, the car’s strengths helping to fire you off each apex.

“This thing is so good, it’s almost impossible to hate,” Farah said. “Who could ask for more power? Who could ask for better steering or more grip? How do you argue with PDK? The only real problem is that you don’t need to spend nearly as much to go this quick, if you don’t want a Porsche. But the 911 is still the Swiss Army knife of sports cars.”

That’s no small compliment. The Porsche’s back seats are large enough to stow a couple kids or a few small pieces of luggage. And when you don’t have the car by the scruff, it fades from your mind, so you can wrestle with what’s for dinner instead of struggling to see out the back window.

On the other hand, maybe that’s the 911 curse. As Cammisa noted, at commuting speeds, the car turns into a Panamera Coupe, Porsche’s luxury sedan, always in the background.

No one accused the Lotus of blending into anything. The car seemed to have dropped in from a different dimension. Or at least a different time. The Evora GT is a snapshot of sports cars from 10 years ago, bare and alive, a minor evolution of a relatively simple platform that debuted in 2009.

It’s weirdly bad at being a car. The seats are mounted a bit too high. The stereo is an aftermarket afterthought. The ignition sequence is an annoying secret handshake—a series of unintuitive button presses to disable the factory alarm—designed to make you look like an idiot at the valet. The rearview mirror provides a spectacular view of the engine’s wastegate actuator and nothing else. It’s loud. And none of that mattered, because the Evora is that good. The GT’s supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 is the same Toyota engine Lotus has used for years, but it sings. As I chased the Corvette up Northern California’s Donner Pass in second gear, roadside granite bluffs bounced the noise back through the open windows, the blower whine crawling around in my lap. On track, the gears felt a little long, the cable-shifted six-speed too clunky for quick shifts, but on the street, the gearbox was divine. It’s the car most of us would have in our garage.

“Fast, winding canyons are like sailing or skiing or ice-skating,” Smith said. “Just dancing. You choose the flow and the Lotus serves it up on a platter.”

There is magic here, and not from electronic trickery. No electronically adjustable shocks or computer-controlled differentials, just careful geometry and tuning. The stuff that has long made Lotus, Lotus. Unlike others in this group, the Evora demanded something of the driver. Skill was necessary for quick laps, but the car never punished a lack of it. You need more than a pulse to make an Evora circle a road course. But that was also true of another machine.

By cold logic, the Mazda Miata RF Club, the slowest and least powerful car at Thunderhill, should not have made the final cut. The RF is essentially an ordinary Miata with a folding steel hardtop in place of the base model’s soft convertible top. Unlike the convertible, however, the RF cannot meet most track-day roll-over inspections without substantial modifications. But Miatas are not logical cars, and those downsides were trumped by the simple fact that the Mazda is a kid’s birthday party behind the wheel, all sugar and pony rides and bliss. The yards of suspension travel and narrow tires make it the perfect forgiving trainer, intentions shouted through body roll. Much of the good came from the Mazda’s new engine, a rev-happy, 181-hp 2.0-liter. That four is best within a whisper of redline, and while most of us loved using every ounce of its performance, some judges were less interested in thrashing a tiny four-cylinder.

At a stop, Farah held up the Miata key, shaking it.

“I don’t like the Mazda much if you’re not caning the hell out of it,” he said. “Those transitions when you’re passing a semi, say. You have to go from sixth, to fifth, to fourth, to third.”

“Oh, I dig that,” Okulski grinned. “I was behind the Miata earlier, and every time it had to make a pass, you could tell the driver was ripping off downshifts. Looked fun.”

“You have to be comfortable owning a car you have to beat the hell out of all the time,” Farah said. “It’s not fun if you’re going slow and the whole thing is vibrating. It’s buzzy.”

Several other judges met him with cocked eyebrows. Cammisa spoke up. “A car that can rip off a 5.8-second 0-to-60 isn’t slow for most people.”

“Well, I still don’t fit in the damned thing,” Farah laughed.

Either way, the power differential was inconsequential in the Plumas National Forest. That was the Miata’s playground. Tight corners, short sightlines, and the Mazda’s accelerator bolted to the floor—those high-dollar cars couldn’t use their power, and they had nowhere to run. There are moments in our driving lives when everything clicks, and the Miata has long been a reliable key for opening that door. The current RF is the same. Even with some of the world’s most athletic vehicles on hand, the Miata was never left behind, carrying its momentum without spilling a drop.

As we sat around a table discussing the week, competitors dropped from contention one by one. The McLaren, for all its supercar glory, could be simultaneously dull and exhausting at a public pace. Gearbox complaints felled the Corvette from grace; every judge wanted an honest manual in place of the dual-clutch, in part because the manual C7 in similar trim was more joyous and alive. And the 911, so close to perfect, still felt big on those back roads. The Lotus, with its wailing V-6, missed the mark in refinement and, like the GT-R, is an old car trying to stay young, not so much moving the sports-car game forward as preserving it in amber. Even the Miata came up short, hamstrung by a folding hardtop that makes installation of a proper roll bar difficult—necessary hardware if you want to take the car to the track.

Only one machine garnered rave reviews all week, painting every driver’s face with a mile-wide grin. Only one gathered an almost unanimous vote.

The Veloster was an outlier—outgunned and outclassed by nearly every other car in this test. A gawky front-drive hatch, zero brand pedigree, in a field of slinky sports cars. But the Hyundai’s behavior quickly set it apart from the crowd. Hyundai’s head of performance development, Albert Biermann, spent 30 years working for BMW, back when the German company built a different sort of car. It shows, because the Hyundai is a love letter to folks like us. After a few happy miles at Thunderhill, Cammisa took to a logbook to remind us that front-wheel-drive cars famously fall apart on a road course—stumbling over themselves, running out of brake, drowning in understeer. But if that’s a universal truth, no one told Biermann. His work behaves like a front-wheel-drive greatest-hits album: want the savagery of a John Cooper Works Mini with the fleetfoot bliss of a Ford Fiesta ST? Turn-in is immediate, the steering precise and bubbling with feedback. The Hyundai has a more sorted front end and more cohesive feel than cars costing three times as much.

“This is a $30,430 car that makes a Volkswagen Golf R irrelevant,” Cammisa said.

What he did not say: The Golf R, one of history’s great hatchbacks, costs around 10 grand more and feels numb by comparison.

Because the Veloster N is so cheap, anyone with a nine-to-five can sign a note and ride off with one of the sharpest cars on the market. But it was more than price. Pressing the “N” button on the steering wheel changed the car dramatically. We tend to turn up our noses at drive modes on fun cars: Why does a Lamborghini need a Sport setting? Didn’t you buy the expensive loud one? The button makes perfect sense here, switching the car from quiet and comfortable daily driver to snotty hot hatch, the exhaust popping and snapping with more authority than anything the Corvette could muster. It is so fantastically neutral, pivoting at your hips, the throttle and brake yaw rheostats.

No front-drive car should work this well, but the Veloster is eager, urging you to run up and stick a pin in some expensive supercar’s ego. To watch it deflate as you fill their mirrors.

“It doesn’t care how you treat it,” Kinard said. “You can drive it on its tippy toes, like someone who knows what they’re doing. Or you can drive it like me, a ham-fisted Colin McRae wannabe. The thing rewards you.”

“That’s what the Civic Type R should have made people say,” Smith agreed.

There are flaws. The engine has all the character of an ink-jet printer, and the gas and brake pedal occupy different zip codes. But after five minutes, it doesn’t matter. As we chased the new Corvette away from our lunch stop on the final day of testing, the Hyundai had that mid-engine thing’s number, dancing and playing but forever confident. Kinard called it a bucket of puppies, but that’s not quite right. I’ve never met a puppy that can run down a McLaren on a back road.

For all their bluster and power, their lap times and displacement, most of the carmakers at this test made a deal with the devil—they traded what once made them great in the search for outright speed. Never has the disparity been greater between the capabilities of a modern fast car and what is legally possible. The new definition of performance isn’t what a car can do, but what it will do on a good road.

The Veloster N is what a great front-wheel-drive car should feel like. A delight that welds a smile to your face every time you drive it. It cheers you on, treating you like the hero. And it came from a company that had no reason to build it. Chevrolet has to make a Corvette; Porsche, a 911. Short of a giant meteorite or nuclear winter, those names will always exist. Cars like the Veloster N are more special, crafted not of obligation, but for the sheer joy of driving. That’s why the Hyundai Veloster N is Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Car of the Year.

We got your letter, Hyundai. We heart you, too.

—Zach Bowman


2020 Corvette C8 Gets Its First Lego Build, Probably Not Last

Plus a set of step-by-step instructions from the maker himself.

The 2020 Corvette C8 is probably one of the most popular cars this year. Its performance figures matched with an affordable price tag warrant the attention that it has been getting since its reveal. The problem is, those who would like to get their hands on one will have to wait until next year since Chevrolet will commence deliveries in 2020.

If patience isn’t your strongest suit, well, there’s this – 1:20 scale of the Corvette C8 made out of Lego bricks. This isn’t made out of pre-fabricated brick, though. This Lego build by Lasse Deleuran isn’t an official Corvette C8 set but with regular bricks, rather.

Read full story at deBotech

Source: Lasse Deleuran (BrickHub) via The Brothers Brick


2020 CORVETTE C8’S HORSEPOWER, TORQUE FIGURES MAY BE SERIOUSLY UNDERRATED

Officially, the mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 produces 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque at 6,450 rpm and 5,150 rpm, respectively. But a series of dyno pulls Motor Trend performed on a test car suggest that it could produce more — much more.

engine 1

The publication managed to strap one of the Corvettes to a dynamometer and was surprised to record 558 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque at the wheels; assuming a 15 percent drivetrain loss, that works out to an estimated output of 656 hp and 606 lb-ft. (And even assuming an impossible zero percent drivetrain loss, the V8 was still putting out way more than the official numbers.)

Further pulls revealed similar numbers, so this wasn’t a one-off anomaly — something is up here. The possibilities as we see it:

– Chevrolet is dramatically underrating its engines

– This particular press car has been tuned to put out much more than your average stock 2020 Corvette will produce

– Differences between testing methodologies used by Motor Trend and Chevrolet, and/or conditions on the day of testing, account for the difference

– The dyno Motor Trend used is way out of whack

engine

Underrating engines is not an unheard-of practice, but that shouldn’t be the case here: The new Corvette engine’s output has been independently certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). So the horsepower and torque for the model should be more or less known quantities.

Differences in testing methodologies could account for the gap between stated and apparent output. Of the SAE’s approach, Motor Trend writes:

“Their testing does not involve a simple pull from idle to redline, either. Rather, rpm are slowly ramped up and allowed to stabilize before accelerating further. This process results in significantly more heat generation than any single pull from our six dyno runs. For that reason, the engineers say, it’s not uncommon for single chassis dyno pulls to register higher output (and it is extremely unlikely any car will ever generate less than rated output).”

So that could explain some of the discrepancies, but we’re not talking about a few percentage points difference here. Could the problem be in the dyno? That’s certainly possible — dynamometers are great for showing relative increases in power (e.g., boosted output after an engine has been tuned or otherwise modified) but shouldn’t be automatically trusted to provide accurate baseline figures.

But Motor Trend says it’s taken that into account:

“The dyno we used complies with the SAE J1349 procedures, and we’ve used it multiple times in the past. To prove there wasn’t a problem with the dyno, we ran a 2020 Ram 2500 Limited powered by the 6.7-liter turbodiesel Cummins engine, which produces 850 lb-ft of torque but is not SAE-certified. The dyno read 760 lb-ft at the wheels, which means there’s about 890 lb-ft at the crank, much closer to the numbers Ram claims.”

Head to the Motor Trend article to see all the numbers, check out the dyno test reports and read more about the test methodology. There’s some speculation about what may be behind the higher output, including the possibility that the publication’s test car was punched up by Chevy. Until publications can test multiple cars on multiple dynos, we won’t have any real sense of what’s going on.

You can read our first drive of the 2020 Corvette here; we haven’t managed to strap one to a dyno just yet, but be on the lookout for more drives and impressions of the car in the coming days.

Souce: Graham Kozak, AutoWeek


Video

First Test: 2020 Chevy Corvette C8

Source: MotorTrend


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