With the proper equipment on board, a 2017 Corvette can scream down the track. The Stingray Z51 (a model/trim level that’s just above the base-Stingray) coupe can do a 0-60 mph run in just 4.1 seconds with the seven-speed manual transmission. With an eight-speed automatic, that time is reduced to 4 seconds flat. When the Z06 supercar is decked-out, it can scream from 0-60 mph at 2.95 seconds; the official test track 0-60 time from Chevy. With its bare-bones kit, the Z06 runs 0-60 mph in 3.5-seconds, still impressive.
But, what if I told you both of those times were returned by the same solitary engine?
Solitary Engine Option
The single engine that powers all the Corvette’s models is a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine. It produces 455 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque on the base Stingray model, with the option of bumping horsepower up to 460 if a performance exhaust is tagged on. On the Z51 and Grand Sport models, that performance exhaust is standard and the Grand Sport gets a bump in torque as well, up to 465 lb.-ft.
On the Grand Sport, and Z06, you’ll also find a dry-sump oil system, able to deliver oil flow even through the most extreme cornering. For those of you who don’t know, a dry-sump oil system has a reputation for being the ultimate oil system for internal combustion engines.
So, how does the same engine that gets 460 horsepower/465 lb.-ft. of torque allow the Z06 to hit 0-60 mph in 2.95-seconds? Through the power of supercharging. One of the best ways to get increased power is to throw a turbocharger on, and if you’re looking for a massive increase in power, then a supercharger. With the supercharger bolted on to the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine, the Z06 bellows down the track with 650 horsepower/650 lb.-ft. of torque coming from underneath the hood.
True performance-car fans know that a big engine with vast amounts of horsepower and torque isn’t the only way to win a race. Especially in this day and age, where supercars like the Z06 and race cars like the C7.R are chock full of newfangled technology to help with performance. Want to calibrate your vehicle’s performance? Forget tune-ups like the old days; now, you need to learn how to do it all on a computer chip.
Magnetic Ride Control
Perhaps the best example of this technology is magnetic ride control, which is found on the suspension. The more you’re focused on maintaining control of the vehicle on the track, the slower you’ll go. With magnetic ride control, that stability is automatically taken care of.
How? This revolutionary type of ride control is going to read the road a thousand times-per-second, and closely pay attention to the condition of the road or track. If the system detects you need a stiffer suspension for better control, magnetic particles in the fluid will align and form a rigidity based on the stiffness your suspension needs. If you need less stiffness, the particles won’t align as much.
This ensures a seamless and easy transition between a stiffer and softer suspension.
If you pay attention to any type of professional racing, you already know the term heel-toe shifting. But for those who don’t, let me explain briefly.
Heel-toe shifting is a type of technique used by race car drivers when monitoring the clutch. If done right, it allows them to grab gears quicker and smoother, which helps shave time off on the track that would otherwise be lost shifting “the normal way.”
Since it’s a technique that needs to be practiced for many months to master, it’s easier said than done. But, Chevy took care of that for you. The seven-speed manual transmission has Active-Rev matching, which simulates this professional shifting technique. All the work is done for you, and your normal shifting is automatically converted to pro shifting. Neat, right?
The design of the 2017 Chevy Corvette is timeless. It’s retained the same basic design all throughout its years, only getting sleeker and more aerodynamic with age. It’s one of the few vehicles today where both your average consumer and supercar-fan alike could look at it without badging and immediately say, “Oh yeah, that’s a Corvette.” The front is perhaps the most recognizable part of the vehicle with its wide, sweeping, and carved-out hood. It creates a valley between the headlights and front-shoulders of the vehicle, where the hood scoop sits. The back is recognizable as well, and is just as wide and muscular as the older models.
Speaking of the hood scoop, that’s one of many design features that helps boost performance. It’s actually called a hood air extractor, and it has precisely angled blades that provide optimal cooling airflow. Thanks to those angled blades, the result is reduced lift and increased downforce, which might not seem like a big deal at lower speeds, but improves handling by quite a bit at higher speeds.
That air extractor might help with downforce, but the true enemy of speed is the weight of the vehicle. Not only does the Corvette Stingray have an aluminum (one-third the weight of steel), stiff space frame that’s 100 pounds lighter than the previous model, but it’s also been optimized for 50-50 weight distribution. This provides it with a powerful power-to-weight ratio, and is the primary reason the Corvette is able to go as fast as it does.