If you've been under a rock, then maybe you haven't heard, but the new Corvette has moved the engine behind the driver. Something that has been rumored for decades but has never happened. There are a number of other changes as well, like a brake-by-wire system and no available manual gearbox. That's right, this Corvette can only come with a dual clutch transmission.
As part of our 2020 Performance Car of the Year testing, we lapped the contenders at Thunderhill Raceway's west course to get a baseline of what they could do. I'm the one driving these laps, and there are a few things I should make clear before you view the video and then start commenting on Reddit about the lap:
- I'm not a pro, but am a licensed club racer.
- This is the first day I've ever spent at Thunderhill West, so the laps aren't perfect.
- The idea isn't to run an all-out record, but instead to make sure we get a representative time for the car.
The Corvette ran a 1:22.80, very quick. But that doesn't tell the whole story.
The first thing you notice is just how quickly the thing turns in. While the ratio for the steering is nearly the same as the C7, you're sitting further forward, so everything feels more immediate. The steering is either overly light or overly heavy, and doesn't say too much in the way of feedback. But it's accurate. My first reaction was that it somehow still felt like a Corvette, a crazy thing to say about a car that has had a fundamental change in layout and construction.
More time spent then made you realize quirks. It enters understeer readily, and needs a big swing at the gas or a huge lift to upset it and induce oversteer. It has massive grip on corner exit, the whole intent of this change was to make sure it could hook up. Of course, the old Stingray also hooked up just fine, but when there's an extra 100 or 200 horsepower out back, it'll be bananas how it'll get out of a corner.
This car is laying groundwork for something spectacular. Something with a hybrid front axle, perhaps. Something with a flat-plane crank V-8. Something that will ruin a McLaren at a third of the price. Right now, it's incredibly capable, but makes us want more.
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