Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter said at the Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash in April that they would be looking to make a trip to the famous 12.9 mile Nordschleife for final validation of the supercharged C6 ZR1. We just didn’t realize it would be so soon! Judging from the new official video from Chevrolet showing test driver Jim Mero piloting the 638-hp Corvette to a time of 7:19.63, an 6 second improvement over the famous high speed run in July 2008, I would have to say that final validation was most definitely a success.
GM / Factory News
General Motor released their monthly sales figures for May and Corvette sales continue to encourage us. In May 2011, 1,304 Corvettes were delivered to new buyers. Although the sales figures are down 8.7% over May 2010′s 1,428 Corvettes, it does rank as the second best month of sales since last May. For the calendar year, 5,597 have been sold which is pacing 13.1% over the 4,950 Corvettes sold the same time in 2010. Like I said, Corvette sales for 2011 are very encouraging.
The new 4LT interior was on display for the first time at last weekend’s CorvetteForum Cruise-In at the National Corvette Museum. On hand was Tom Hill – Corvette Plant Engineer who said these seats were put in the car the day before the event began which makes this the first 2012 Corvette to have the 4LT interior installed.
XP-122, better known as the 1953 Corvette concept that was part of GM’s historic ’53 Motorama, returned to the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria hotel last Saturday to take part in a presentation with GM Global Vice President of Design Ed Welburn. Welburn spoke to the company’s international sales executives as General Motors looks to expand its sales efforts outside the USA.
GM North American President Mark Reuss brought some very good news to state and local community leaders in Bowling Green as well as for the 500 employees of the Corvette Assembly Plant and Corvette lovers everywhere. General Motors will be investing $131 million in the plant for upgrading tooling and machinery and will create as many as 250 new jobs in advance of producing the up-coming C7 Corvette.
At the Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash, we talked with Corvette Assembly Plant Manager Dave Tatman. Dave came to Bowling Green last August and calls his assignment a “dream job”. We spoke about the shortage of the metallic paint pigment Xirallic and if that will effect production of the Centennial’s Carbon Flash paint, the investment in the plant by GM (being announced today btw), and the people who build the greatest sports car in the world.
Great news from General Motors today regarding the sales of America’s favorite sports car. In April 2011, sales of the Corvette shot up to 1,454 – the highest reported sales figure in the last 19 months! Deliveries last month were 33.5% higher than April 2010′s 1,089 and for Calendar Year to Date, General Motors has sold 4,293 to lead 2010′s 3,522 figure by 21.9%. Sales of Corvettes haven’t been this high since September of 2009 when 1,585 Corvettes were sold.
** The PDF version of the 2012 Corvette slide show has been added.
One of the major highlights of the Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash is the Corvette Team walking us through the changes and new updates for the upcoming model year. On Saturday morning of the Bash, it was standing room only in the Chevrolet Theater as Corvette Team members Harlan Charles, Tadge Juechter, Craig Sass and Kirk Bennion participated in the “What’s New for 2012″ slide show. Each member of the team took their turn on the microphone to go over their specific area of concentration.
The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires found on the upcoming 2012 Corvette Z06 and ZR1′s represent the pinnacle of performance for tires on a Corvette and they are another example of the technology transfer from the racing team to the production sports car. This video from GM was part of the 2012 Corvette data dump which came out last Thursday while we were in route to the Corvette Museum. As an added twist to the introduction of the new tire for Corvette, team members at the C5/C6 Bash stated that another run of the Nurburgring may be in order.