With the new Corvette Stingray Z51, Chevrolet is not only giving you a world-class sports car for the open road, but a car that has been designed and engineered for the track as well.
While conventional wisdom is that manufacturers don’t want you to race your cars, and may even void your warranty if evidence suggests that you were racing your car at a track event, Chevrolet has taken a different approach by providing an official guide for preparing your Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package for track events.
Last month we spoke with Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles about the Corvette Stingray Track Preparation Guide and he told us that following these guidelines will not only help you get the near out of your Z51 Corvette Stingray, it will also help you keep the warranty intact.
“We want people to enjoy driving their car and if you’re making a car with this level of performance, to be honest, the best way to enjoy it is on the track.” said Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles. He then added “We made the guide so if you keep the car in un-modified condition and then make our recommendations to that, then you’re in good shape [in regards to your car’s warranty]”.
Harlan tells us that although the previous generation’s owners manual had some recommendations for track driving, this is the first time that they’ve come out with a separate guide for owners who want to track their Corvettes.
The Track Preparation Guide is divided into five parts with part six being about returning your Corvette to street use once the event is over. It’s important to note that this guide is only for Corvette Stingray’s equipped with the Z51 Performance Package and that non-Z51 Corvettes should not undergo these procedures.
The five parts are:
- Attain the Right Mileage (Break-in Period)
- Season the Brakes
- Adjust the Four Corners
- Check the Fluid Levels
- Turn Up the Precision
- After the Track
Attain the Right Mileage (Break-in Period)
While you are probably familiar with the prerequisite 500 mile break in procedure, the Corvette Stingray has a set of recommendations up to the first 1,500 miles. That break-in period includes no track events, sport driving schools or the like until the car has surpassed 1,500 miles. The digital tachometer even shows when its safe to get into the upper revs if the car is under 500 miles or the engine is cold.
Season the Brakes
When you purchase the Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Package, Chevrolet includes a set of brake rotor cooling rings. Harlan says if you’re doing some hard track events, “these will help to keep the brake rotors cool and and it will prolong the life of the brake rotors as well”.
The other part of seasoning the brakes is the burnish procedure which involves repeatedly applying the brakes from 60 mph to 15 mph while decelerating at 0.8 g and to repeat the process until the brake pedal travel starts to increase. After the procedure, its important to let them cool and then they are good go.
Here’s picture showing the brake rotor cooling rings on the Z51 Corvette Stingray:
Adjust the Four Corners
This step makes sure that the tires are properly inflated. The guide recommends a tire inflation of 26 psi with one driver and no cargo. There is also a recommendation for making some camber adjustments to the alignment for the track event. Harlan tells us that the alignment changes come from their driving engineer Jim Mero and it’s really for those very serious drivers while the first timer or non-professional driver can usually stick with the normal street alignment.
Harlan also reminds us that if you’re in a state which requires the front license plant, make sure the aero plate holder is removed so that the engine can receive the maximum amount of air during the event.
Check the Fluid Levels
For track events, Chevrolet wants you to use Mobil 1’s 15W50 motor oil and DOT 4 brake fluid. Fluids should be changed before the event and then checked at regular intervals during the event. There is also a recommendation for changing the rear axle fluid as well.
Turn Up the Performance
Utilizing the Drive Mode Selector on the center console, turn the knob until Track mode is displayed. For Corvette Stingray Z51’s that have the Magnetic Selective Ride Control, you will have the Performance Track Management (PTM) that integrates the traction control, Stabilitrack and Selective Ride Control systems. PTM provides five different selections based on track conditions and your level of driving and that you should experiment to find what works best in the conditions and track that you’re on.
What to Check at the Track
Harlen says that during the events, especially between sessions, make sure to check the brake pads and tire pressures. You’ll want to check all the fluids again and make sure that the brake and oil levels are topped off.
After the Track
Once the event is over, the Track Preparation Guide recommends removing the brake rotor cooling rings, returning the tire pressure to factory specs, return the wheel alignment if changed and reattach the front license plate (if required in your state). You will also want to replace the oil and change the brake fluid to DOT3 and replace the rear axle fluid.
We know that there a lot of non-Z51 Corvettes out there and so we asked Harlan about applying the guide to the base (non-Z51) Stingrays. Harlan tells us the fluids and tire pressures are pretty standard but that the non-Z51 is not recommended for doing anything other than the occasional novice type of event:
“The Z51 is what we call our track capable package so for any type of serious track use we definitely recommend that you have the Z51 package because it has the extra cooling, the dry sump system… Without the Z51 package, you might run into warnings that would come on for temperatures and things like that if you did a sustained track use, deepening on your skill level. So we definitely recommend if your going to do a lot of tracks other than just the occasional novice type of event, we recommend the Z51.”
Click here to download the 2014 Corvette Stingray Track Preparation Guide.
A special thanks to Harlan for answering our questions on setting the Corvette Stingray for the track.
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