One of the highlights for the writers at Motor Trend is the annual competition that pits 12 of the world’s best sports cars to see which is the Best Driver’s Car of the year.
Motor Trend says that to earn the title of Best Driver’s Car, the vehicle must deliver a balance of usable performance, intuitive handling, and driver-friendly design. It should be the vehicle that “delights and rewards the enthusiast driver on any road at any time, regardless of weather or traffic conditions.” The cars undergo testing on public roads and at the track.
For the 2017 Best Driver’s Competition, the group of 12 cars included the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport and the new 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE. To say the competition is stout is an understatement. We’re talking a combined net worth of $1.9 million in sports cars that the two Chevys competed against. Here’s the complete list:
- Ferrari 488 GTB
- Porsche 911 Turbo S
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
- Porsche 718 Cayman S
- Lexus LC 500
- Mercedes-AMG GT R
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
- Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
- Aston Martin DB11
- Nissan GT-R NISMO
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- McLaren 570GT
While the Corvette Z06 would more aptly be suited for a major competition of these proportions, Motor Trend chose to test the mid-range Corvette Grand Sport as it’s the latest C7 in the lineup. The Z06 had its shot a couple years ago and bombed spectacularly with a DNF. For this year’s test, the Corvette Grand Sport Coupe was armed with both the Stingray’s 460 horsepower LT1 V8 along with the Z06’s Z07 Performance Package which offers suspension, braking and tire upgrades. The car tested also included a 7-speed manual transmission.
Motor Trend offers a page for each of the cars in the competition. Click here to read more about the Corvette Grand Sport’s testing and analysis by Motor Trend’s auto writers.
One of the highlights of the Best Driver’s Car competition is the hot lap by professional racer Randy Probst at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Here is the video with Randy behind the wheel of the Admiral Blue Corvette Grand Sport Coupe:
As for the final verdict, the Corvette Grand Sport placed 7th out of the 12 cars, just exactly where a mid-range sports car should probably end up. Not bad considering the competition! Here is what Motor Trend says about the Grand Sport:
It seems that the Chevrolet Corvette is always this close to perfection, and that remains the folly of the seventh-place Corvette Grand Sport Z07. First the good: Its 6.2-liter V-8 is fantastic. It’s got a big, meaty powerband, and although it could probably benefit from an extra 100 horsepower, it’s tremendously rewarding to drive. The Corvette’s biggest issue is its transmission—its gearbox doesn’t like to be rushed, and its gear ratios are ultimately too tall and too widely spaced for performance driving.
As far as the Camaro ZL1 1LE goes, it placed 4th on the list but that finish was considered controversial among the writers who argue that while the Camaro is very fast on the track, the ride quality and daily driving abilities are questionable. Here is what Motor Trend says about the Camaro:
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE’s fourth-place finish was a contentious one. We could agree on power and grip. The fact that all 650 of the Camaro’s horsepower is usable without instantly vaporizing the rear rubber is an engineering feat. But some of us maintained that a car couldn’t win Best Driver’s Car if you didn’t want to drive it every day. “I’ve probably lost all my fillings, and my kidneys are bruised,” Derek lamented, to which Jonny retorted: “Some judges thought the ride was too harsh on their way to Pilates class, but who cares? Finishing fourth is a failure of democracy.”
With a ton of photos and videos from the week-long test, there is a lot here to digest. Make sure you visit Motor Trend to read all about the 2017 Best Driver’s Car competition.
[VIDEO] Corvette Z06 Wins Motor Trend’s Greatest Drag Race 5
[VIDEO] Corvette Z06 Breaks During Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car Test
[VIDEO] Motor Trend’s Epic Comparison of the Corvette Stingray, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the Ferrari F12