Ryan Briscoe take a blast in the 2012 60th Anniversary ZR1 Indy 500 Pace Car – calls it, “One hell of a race car!”
This weekend is the 96th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsports, the Indy 500. Over the years, some of the cars that pace the race have become stars themselves. And none more that the Corvette Indy Pace Cars. After all, the Indy 500 is America’s race and the Corvette is America’s high performance sports car, so the relationship is a natural. This will be the 11th time (‘78, ‘86. ‘95, ‘98, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, and ‘08) a Corvette has served as the official Indy 500 pace car.
The last time a Corvette served as an Indy 500 pace car was in 2008 when not one, but two unique Indy Pace Car Corvettes were on hand. A black and silver version was available as an option for Corvette buyers, with 234 Coupes and 266 convertibles sold that year. But the actual pace car was an experimental, Gold Rush Green Z06 running on E-85 fuel. This unique paint was a brilliant candy gold that changed into candy lime green depending on the light and angle of view. I thought for sure this might be a prototype paint for a possible Continue reading
It’s too bad Chevy didn’t do this 50 years ago!
The very cool “Chevy Runs Deep” video featuring the C6.R Corvette racers is at the bottom of this post.
Wouldn’t it have been awesome if General Motors had told the AMA to “stuff it” back in 1957? Why should Ford and Chrysler get all the racing glory? Just before the GM enforced the 1957 AMA ban on racing, paperwork had been submitted to take Duntov’s Corvette SS race car to Le Mans. And what might have happened if Zora had been allowed to fully develop the ‘63 Grand Sport. Ah, the stuff of bench racing.
In the early years of the Corvette, Chevrolet and General Motors seemed to almost be shy about their involvement in Corvette racing. While the infamous 1957 AMA ban on corporate involvement in racing was for a very long time, their excuse for not being upfront about racing, there was PLENTY of back door parts and engineering “field testing” going on. Select individuals received special assistance that always kept things a little murky. Names such as Smokey Yunick, Roger Penske, Bill Jenkins, Jim Hall, John Greenwood, and others were often gifted with development parts (at no, or little charge) in exchange for feedback from the race track.
And for the regular customers, there were plenty of go-fast parts that were unofficially referred to as Duntov’s “racer kits.” Not that the parts came in a special box, like an AMT model kit, but they did give a wanna-be Corvette racer the benefit of solid Chevrolet engineered parts for their racing efforts.
Fortunately for every Corvette owner for the last several decades, many race developed parts slowly and subtly made their way into production Corvettes. The tide didn’t really turn in the corporate attitude towards racing until the mid-’80s when Chevrolet began to build specially prepared cars for the Corvette Challenge Series. Plus, there was a lot of help given to the C4 Corvette racers in the Showroom Stock Series. Then there was the GTP Lola/Corvettes and the Morrison Motorsports speed demon C4 ZR1 Corvette that shattered speed records. Continue reading
The old Corvette vs 911 Porsche rivalery heats up!
Motor Trend magazine has a neat new TV program titled, “Head 2 Head.” To kick off the series MTs Editor at Large, Angus MacKenzie pits the 2012 Grand Sport Corvette against a 2012 911 Carrera S. The program is a lot of fun to watch. There are vintage clips of both cars from 1963 when the rivalry first started with the arrival of the 911 taking on the new Corvette Sting Ray. Footage of the Sting Ray is from a Chevrolet promotional film featuring race car drivers Dave MacDonald and Dr. Dick Thompson wringing out the new ‘63 Vette at the Chevrolet test track in the Summer of ‘62.
Comparisons of the two cars has always been somewhat of a force fit. In the olden days, the Corvette had the upper hand in power, but the Porsche was smaller and lighter – more expensive too. Fast forward 48 years and now the 911 is a smidge larger than the Corvette and is only 211-pounds lighter than the Corvette. Continue reading
What was once considered pie-in-the-sky and experimental, is now regular production!
Aluminum has been the automotive industry’s magic material for over 60 years. Corvette engineers have been thinking about an all-aluminum engine and drive train for the Vette since the 1957 Q-Corvette proposal. While it took until 1997 to get there, the engineering department seeded aluminum parts whenever they could.
Nearly 40 years ago, Corvette engineering decided to explore an all-aluminum Corvette. Everything but the tires, plastics, wiring, glass, and other essentials was to be aluminum. Working with Reynolds Aluminum Company, the experimental XP-895 was debuted to the automotive press in 1973. The chassis design was the same as the experimental 2-rotor Corvette, but power was supplied by a 400-CID small-block engine. The completed aluminum car weighed 400-pounds less than the steel bodied XP-892 Wankel-powered experimental. While the styling of the aluminum “Corvette” was interesting, the only design element that connected it to anything Corvette was the aft portion of the roof, from the B-pillar back. Overall, it did not scream “CORVETTE!” but then again, the all-aluminum car wasn’t supposed to be a styling exercise for the C4 Corvette, it was a feasibility study.
Fast forward to the 2006 Z06 and its aluminum chassis. One of the biggest challenges with an aluminum chassis is the strength of materials issue. Lightweight aluminum is soft, so there were interesting shape and construction problems that had to be worked out to mass-produce such a chassis. While it is true that the Z06 wasn’t the first car to use an aluminum chassis (many hand-made exotic cars had aluminum chassis) the Z06 was the first “mass produced” car to have an all-aluminum chassis, engine, and suspension. The net result to that the 2012 Z06 weighs about the same as a C2 mid-year Corvette… with nearly double the horsepower as a base model C2. That’s progress for you. Continue reading
Another look at AWD, does it really matter?
(Cast your vote at the bottom of this post.)
The other day I was sharing with you the November 2011 Road & track cover story about the 2-second club – three world-class sports cars capable of 0-to-60 in LESS than 3-seconds. Club members include the Nissan GT-R Premium, the Porsche 911 Turbo S, and the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. All three cars had AWD and except for the nuts-o 1,183-HP Bugatti, the other two members have LESS horsepower that the ZR1. Plus, the ZR1 Corvette weighs 225-pounds LESS than the Porsche. So, the Corvette with a 106-horsepower advantage isn’t in the club, what’s up with that? “All-wheel-drive” boys and girls.
Well don’t despair Corvette fans, not all AWD supercars are in the 2-second club. The Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV could only to the 0-to-60 scoot in 3.0-seconds, so no club membership card for the Lambo either. The June ‘09 Car & Driver Lambo test car was packing 661-HP, 487 LB/FT of torque, weighed 3,850-pounds, and has a top speed of 209 to 213-mph. All that for only $457,500 – enough to buy three ZR1s and a Z06! But we won’t beat them up over a few hundred grand.
Autocar Magazine created the below video comparison between the top gun Corvette and Lamborghini cars. The Lambo has the horsepower edge plus AWD and the ZR1 has the weight advantage. So who wins on a road course? (The video is on the next page –>>) Continue reading
Champion Corvette Driver Ron Fellows Tests the Chops of a C6 Grand Sport Corvette On the Race Track & Gives a Mini-Tour of His Driving School
Ron Fellows Day continues with two FUN videos. About the only criticism I’ve ever heard about the Grand Sport is that it doesn’t have any more grunt that the base Corvette. True, true, but look at what you do get.
The 430-horsepower Corvette scoots to 60-mph in just a tick under 4-seconds, 1G lateral on the skid pad, AND gets an EPA estimated 26-MPG. I’ve heard anecdotal stories of drivers feather footing a modern Corvette at 55-MPH and getting in the low 30-plus MPG. The GS is available with the Dual-Mode exhaust (okay, it’s only an extra 6-HP, but we’ll take it) the Magnetic Selective Ride Control option and a few other goodies.
So, what’s this kind of capability like when driven by a world-class champion race car driver? The first video is a walk through with Ron of the key features of the Grand Sport. Ron says, “Now it’s time to have some fun!”.
The second video was filmed at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, the home of the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School. Continue reading
But on the street, it’s grump, Grump, GRUMP!
Jeremy Clarkson from the TV program, “Top Gear” arguably has the best car-guy job on the planet! All he has to do is drive, burn rubber, and critique. And his critiques are usually, ah, I’ll be a lot nicer that the comments people leave on YouTube, and describe them as “crabby.”
Clarkson starts off flogging the pants off the 505-horsepower C6 Z06 at Willow Springs Raceway and is just about besides himself! He loves what the car will do on the track and has WAY too much fun rear-wheel-drifting the “Zed-Oh-Six” as he calls the car. (He’s a Brit, so we’ll cut him a little slack!) Everything is sweetness, light, and adrenaline… COOL!
Then, it’s out on to real roads – that’s when the “Clarkson grumping” begins! It’s no surprise that the C6 Z06 is closer to a track car than a GT street machine. And with 505 “net” horsepower, the overall package is more like a Continue reading
One for the heart and one with ATTITUDE!
We all have that “special Corvette moment.” You know, that moment that defined and marked our passion for Corvettes. The moment that before it happened, Corvettes were NOT a part of our awareness. And afterwards, everything was different. For me, it was tagging along with my big brother in 1966 to a local Chevy dealer where I saw a ‘66 Coupe sitting on the showroom floor and a salesman gave me a brochure. It’s different for each of us, but I’d venture to say that if you think back, there was a definite “moment.”
The “Jump’n Jack Flash” commercial for the then-new C6 Corvette does an excellent job of capturing “that moment” for a young lad. While I didn’t have such a vivid day dream and Suzy Holcomb didn’t “wink” at me in HER Corvette as we passed by one another flying through the air in our respective Vettes, the spirit of “the moment” is spot on and so is the closing line, “The all-new Corvette! The official car of your dreams!” This commercial ROCKS!
The second commercial positions the new Chevy Cobalt as the younger family sibling that doesn’t know when to leave its “older counterpart” alone. Like a big cat, the C6 Vette grumbles after a few taps then ROARS, BURNS RUBBER, DOES A 180, and Continue reading
STEP RIGHT UP and see the AMAZING Z06 engine assemble itself in virtual reality!!! AND see the Monster-Motor LS9 built in just 2-minutes and 13-seconds!!!
If you’ve been following us here at CorvetteReport.com you will have noticed that WE LIKE ENGINES here. Being a muscle car, sports car, and drag racing historian, I’m well versed on the great engines of the past. It took a long time for aluminum to work its way into American performance engines. All the way back in 1957 Zora Arkus-Duntov was proposing an all-aluminum engine for the Corvette. It just seemed like an excruciatingly slow process. We got aluminum intake manifolds, water pumps, bell housings, and transmission cases by the early ‘60s, aluminum heads from ‘67 to ‘69, and one minimal attempt at an all-aluminum big-block in ‘69 with the 427 ZL-1. While the ZL-1 was available as a separate purchase for a long time, we had to wait until ‘97 for the arrival of the all-aluminum LS1. Since then, we have been treated to the LS6, LS2, LS7, LS3, and the 638-HP monster LS9.
Machined steel is cool, but there’s something unique about machined aluminum. The LS7 animation is quirky-cool. Not only does the engine float in a blue sky, the crankshaft and entire assembly is animated as the parts come together on their own, the entire engine horizontally rotates. It’s very cool.
The second video is a speeded up assembly of a real LS9 engine at the GM Performance Build Center, in Wixom, Michigan. The new Corvette Engine Build Experience option lets ZR1 and Z06 buyers watch and help build their own engine. How cool is that?! The video is kind of an “over the shoulder” view of the experience – but, REALLY FAST! Continue reading
Dateline: 8.28.11 (Our 150th post!)
All you’ll need is a knockwurst with mustard on a bun and a tall, frosty root beer!
Perhaps you are simply too far away from southeastern Pennsylvania to attend. Fret not, we’ll bring the show to you. Unless you have been holed up in your Corvette or in your man-cave, you may have missed the news that a hurricane zipped up the East Coast. Hurricane Irene made a mess here and there. While the southeastern part of Pennsylvania only caught the western edges of Irene, Saturday was a yucky day and Sunday was only better in that it was not raining like it was Saturday night. While Irene didn’t deliver a washout, it didn’t help.
I can only describe the Corvettes at Carlisle experience as a “happening.” Pardon the 60s expression, but I AM a baby boomer. There’s so much to see, look at, oggle, take in, sounds, smells, talking, laughing, smiling. Plus, the Corvettes! (12 more videos below) Continue reading
Mr. “I DON’T LIKE Corvettes” goes GAGA over the new ZR1!!!
Watching Jeremy Clarkson reminds me of Dr. Greg House from the last TV series I watched, “House.” He’s blunt, brutal, but honest! In the past, he’s been brutally brutal on Corvettes, once describing the C6 he test drove as a “heaven and hell experience.” Then he closed out his report by saying, “It’s a funny car. I mean, it’s a Corvette, so obviously it’s rubbish. But, you can’t work out why.” Then he whispers, “I actually like it.”
THEN… He met the Z6 ZR1! You could say, “He got the Corvette religion!” Except that he keeps calling the car a “Zed-L-One.” (STOP THAT!) I think it was the 638-HP that converted him. Continue reading
Former Corvette Quarterly Editor and Campbell-Ewald Associate Creative Director Jerry Burton Chats with Bentley Publishing about Corvettes
Yesterday we shared with you the Facebook page for Zora Arkus-Duntov.I don’t know if GM still has this policy, but back in Duntov’s day, GM had a manditory retirement age of 65. So on January 13, 1975 Zora had his official GM Retirement Dinner. Aside from a few minor consulting projects, Duntov has was out of the Corvette picture. It’s almost hard to believe that he’s been out for over 36 years now. In retrospect, he was only involved with the Corvette for 22 years but obviously made a tremendous and lasting impact. In part 1, Jerry talks about his involvement with Chevrolet and the Corvette team.
In part 2, Jerry talks about possible technologies that might be used in the Corvette as a means of complying with the ever increasing fuel efficiency standards that all new cars will be required to meet. While numbers such as 35-to-40 mpg migh sound intimidating, Jerry tells of a C6 Corvette that he tested that got 30.5-mpg! Continue reading