Bring on the hardcore, road-going track-star!
Last week, Chevrolet grabbed my attention when they unveiled their new 2016 Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition. It was a pretty nice tribute to their impressive Corvette racing program that has been dominant over the past years. While going down the spec list however, I couldn’t help but wonder why the limited-edition high-performance model wasn’t taken even further.
For years, foreign automakers like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Nissan, and numerous others have been creating lightweight, high-performance versions of their high-performance sports- and super cars. But where’s the stripped-down, track-oriented, ultra-high-performance version of the Corvette?
There is the supercharged Z06 and the optional Z07 package that helps cut the weight as an add-on package. The C6 Corvette ZR-1 even dove into the realm of otherworldly power. It’s the poster boy of American sports cars and has a very successful racing team to back it up. So where’s that track-day variant?
The new C7-generation of the Chevrolet Corvette is something special. No longer is it the brunt of “GM quality” jokes with interior pieces rattling and falling about. It’s impossible to deny its performance and capabilities, even with the base model. And to top it off, it’s relatively affordable compared to its competition. That’s what makes it America’s sports car; it’s a vehicle that the everyday person can save up and attain.
But what the Corvette really needs to firmly plant its foot at the top of the super car podium and extend its middle-finger outwards towards the competition is a true, road-going, track-day superstar.
Cars like the Porsche 911 GT3/GT3 RS, McLaren 675LT, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse, Nissan GT-R NISMO, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series, Audi R8 GT, and many others over the past few years assert themselves as the pinnacle of performance for that model line. They’re the athletes that have been training for years to compete on the track. They all showcase the latest technology and performance capabilities of the brand.
And that’s exactly why Chevrolet needs to continue their momentum with the success of the C7-generation Corvette with a special high-performance track variant. The aforementioned cars from foreign automakers are the cars that we all lust after. We need a Corvette that can take them down with ease on the track and wave its Corvette skull logo with pride. It’s pride that built this car and continues to make it such an icon. Show them what happens when you push the C7 to the limits, GM, and take full advantage of this sports car.
The highly-successful Corvette Racing team and its engineers can work with the Corvette team to create the monster. Throw on wider fenders, bigger wheels with stickier tires. Larger carbon ceramic brakes, adjustable carbon fiber aerodynamics, and a tuned suspension will help it to slice and dice corners. An interior that’s stripped down of all the unnecessary luxuries with two carbon fiber racing seats, a roll cage, fire extinguisher, and performance recording electronics with Corvette Racing Easter Eggs hidden throughout creates a perfect atmosphere. Keep that supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine as well if you want, just give it a power boost. Make the manual transmission the only unit available. And if you have the money to burn, throw a version of the 5.5-liter, naturally-aspirated V-8 used in the C7.R racers that can handle everyday driving.
I understand that the bean-counters at GM would instantly shoot an idea like this down, even if it was a limited-edition run with big six-figure price tag. But, this Corvette would grab headlines, steal magazine covers, and be the star of videos akin to other track-special exotics that we all lust after. It would bring the brand presence, power, and that confidence that shows it’s a power player in the super car game.
Please, Chevrolet, make a road-going track-version of the Corvette that I can put next to the picture of that Porsche 911 GT3 and pass it on the track with ease.