History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

Videos – C6 Corvettes

Vette Videos: Hot Lap Action With the 2012 Indy 500 ZR1 Corvette Pace Car

Dateline: 5.25.12

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

Vette Videos: Chevrolet Embraces Corvette Racing

Dateline: 2.13.12

It’s too bad Chevy didn’t do this 50 years ago!

To see the BIG version of this very cool Zr1 Corvette ad, just click the above image.

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

Vette Videos: Corvette Grand Sport Vs Porsche 911! – Head 2 Head Episode 1

Dateline: 2.9.12

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

Vette Videos: How Hi-Tech Z06 & ZR1 Aluminum Frames Are Made

Dateline: 10.17.11

What was once considered pie-in-the-sky and experimental, is now regular production!

To see the much larger version of the Z06/ZR1 chassis, just click the above image

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.

The B-pillar roof section of the car looks like a Corvette, but not much else.

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

Vette Videos – Vette Polls: C6 ZR1 Corvette vs All-Wheel-Drive Lamborghini LP670-4 SV

Dateline: 10.6.11
Another look at AWD, does it really matter? 

To visit the official ZR1 website, click the above image.

(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.

 

Mamma mia! That's'a SPICY meatball! And she's nice too!

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

Vette Videos: Ron Fellows Flogs the C6 Grand Sport & Show His New Driving School

Dateline: 9.28.11
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

Vette Videos: Jeremy Clarkson Gushes All Over the C6 Z06 at Willow Springs Raceway

Dateline: 9.20.11
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

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