On Feb 8th, an article running on AutoWeek.com gives us the non-story of how Chevrolet won’t confirm the existence of development of a Corvette with more HP than the 505-hp Z06 and quotes Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper saying “We’d love to have it”. On Feb 12th, Automotive News reports the following: Chevrolet is looking at adding a Corvette model with more horsepower than the 505-hp Z06, says Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “We look at what Z06 has done in the marketplace, and we can’t keep them in stock,” Peper said at the Chicago Auto Show. Now, there are no quotes around the statement “Chevrolet is looking at adding a Corvette model” in the news post, but it is attributed to Chevyâ€™s Ed Peper. What makes this terse statement exciting is the part that says “adding a Corvette Model”, not extending the horsepower of an existing model. This could just be the first official word from Chevrolet that they may be adding a Blue Devil/SS type model to the Corvette lineup in the future. Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Vettes in the News
Corvette Magazine sat down with Dave Hill and new Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace for an insightful question and answer session for their April 2006 issue. While no new news really broke from the conversation, we do get a sense of the responsibility that has been handed over to Tom and the huge shoes he will be filling. When asked what his biggest challenge is as the new CE, Tom joked that several people have already told him “Don’t screw it up!”. Both Hill and Wallace talk about the refinements being made on both the C6 and Z06 including improvement of the Z06′s 6-speed transmission for gear rattle and synchronizer engagement. Both agree that most refinements currently being made are more customer-comfort than performance items. The conversation covers competitors to Corvette both on the street and the on the track. Tom is a racer himself and mentions that he is building an SCCA GT1 Corvette. Corvette Magazine doesn’t archive their online content so the link will only be available for a short time. Credit: Corvette-Mag.com
GM is bringing a hands-on driving experience to Las Vegas in what the automaker is calling “The Drive”. Tourists will be able to get behind the wheel of a Corvette, Hummer or Cadillacs and take drive them around an 11-acre tract at the North end of the Strip behind the Sahara Hotel and Casino. The driving attraction features two courses: A high-performance paced loop and an off-road adventure trail with a tunnel, hill climb and obstacles. Of course, a GM professional driver will be riding shotgun to “enhance” the experience. Admission to both tracks of “The Drive” will be $10 to $15 a person. The attraction is open to visitors 18 and up who have a valid driver’s license and can prove they’re sober, which means taking a Breathalyzer test. “The Drive” is scheduled to open in March or April and will last for six months although it could become a permanent feature in the future. GM paid an estimated $6 million for the promotion and part of deal allows for GM to become an advertising partner of the Las Vegas Monorail system.
Rick at CorvetteConti.com had another Corvette Wheel update for us last week. I had heard that after the 2nd bankruptcy of Amcast, GM went back to several other suppliers who had submitted losing bids on the original contract. Because they already had the C6 molds, GM awarded them temporary contracts to keep the wheel supply flowing. The letter from GM that CorvetteConti.com posted seems to lend credence to this story:
From: Chevrolet Marketing
Date: January 21, 2006 Subject: Corvette Production Update Administrative message dated 12/15/2005 advised you of potential actions that might be necessary to manage wheel supply issues for Corvette and Z06. We are pleased to inform you that with the dedicated efforts of several GM teams we have not and likely will not in the future need to change wheel options on any 2006MY Corvette orders. Although still constrained, we expect to be able to offer the full selection of painted and polished wheel options. The much anticipated Chrome wheel option, however, must continue postponement until later this model year. (QX3) Order Guides, GM AutoBook and Order Workbench will therefore remain unchanged relative to wheel options. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and confusion that this situation may have caused you or your customer(s) but are obviously pleased with the positive resolutions to the issues outlined in the previous communication.” Source: CorvetteConti.com
GM has released a software update package for upgrading the 2005 Corvette’s Navigation system. The package consists of two CD’s and can be performed at your Chevrolet dealership or you can order the CD’s and install the upgrade yourself.
The software updates performs the following upgrades:
1. Modifies the signal interface with the ARS Module to correct poor reception.
2. Adds an onscreen message to remind you that a destination is required before a route can be planned.
3. Adds MP3 CD functionality. As the system is still under warranty, there is no charge for the service call but there is a nominal charge for the CD’s if you decide to upgrade the system yourself. The ability to upgrade the system via software is great for Chevy’s customers. How many times have you purchased an item when it was initially released, only to have the manufacturer make it better in subsequent years. While you expect companies to make enhancements to their products, it’s rare they are made available to previous customers.
The Daytona 500 Z06 Pace Car. These images were released today from GM. Click the image to view larger photo.
A specially outfitted 2006 Corvette Z06 will serve as the official pace car of the 48th running of the Daytona 500, on Feb. 19. “Tonight Show” host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno will drive the pace car. The Daytona 500 is NASCARâ€™s premier race and traditionally kicks off the Nextel Cup racing season. Selection of the Z06 model marks the second consecutive year that a Corvette has been selected as the Daytona 500 pace car. The Corvette Z06 that will serve as the Daytona 500 pace car is mechanically identical to those available at Chevrolet dealerships. It is the fastest vehicle ever offered by Chevrolet and General Motors. With 505 horsepower (377 kw) and 470 lb.-ft. of torque (637 Nm) from its 7.0L all-aluminum, racing-inspired engine, the Corvette Z06 leaps from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph. It also differs from other production Corvette models with extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon-fiber front fenders and a chassis comprised of aluminum and magnesium. A racing-ready suspension and large, 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels help keep it glued to the tarmac, so it requires no drivetrain modifications to satisfy its role in front of the racing pack. In its official capacity, however, the pace car is outfitted with a variety of safety equipment and highly visible strobe lights. Interestingly, the Corvette Z06â€™s 505-horsepower (377 kw) output is actually more than the power produced by the race cars that will compete in the Daytona 500 â€“ a first for a pace car. This is because of the unique “restrictor plate” rule established for the Daytona and Talladega , Ala. racetracks. On these 2.5-mile-long super speedways, the restrictor plate reduces airflow into the engine to limit horsepower and keep race car speeds below 200 mph. With a restrictor plate, racing engine power is reduced from about 750 horsepower to about 450 horsepower. Race cars can still average more than 190 mph on Daytonaâ€™s long straights. The Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 wears a unique paint scheme, inspired by the hot-to-cool color transition of a space capsule entering Earthâ€™s atmosphere at a high rate of speed. The paint scheme is carried out with an elaborate, interlocking scallops design â€“ a twist on hot rod-style flames â€“ that blends “hot” Lemon Drop yellow at the nose of the Corvette with Lemon Glow, Amber Ecstasy, Blazing Copper and Hot Poppy. The colors culminate with a cool Sapphire Trance blue color at the rear of the vehicle. DuPont, the sponsor of Jeff Gordonâ€™s No. 24 Monte Carlo, supplied the colors, which are from the companyâ€™s “Hot Hues” line of automotive paint. “As if the Corvette Z06 needed help in looking fast, the intricate paintwork of the pace car gives it the appearance of tremendous speed,” said Peper. “It is one of the most elaborate and stunning vehicle designs weâ€™ve created.” Leno behind the wheel Jay Leno, host of the “Tonight Show” and an unabashed auto enthusiast, will drive the Corvette Z06 during opening ceremonies and the pace laps that start the race. Leno, who has a large collection of vintage automobiles and motorcycles, has previous experience as a pace car driver.Chevrolet returns to the Daytona 500 with 18 victories â€“ the most of any manufacturer â€“ including last yearâ€™s champion Jeff Gordon. Chevrolet also returns as the defending manufacturerâ€™s cup champion, an award that has been bestowed 29 times. Also, defending Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart drives the No. 20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Joe Gibbs Racing. “The Corvette Z06 already is a performance legend and the fans will enjoy seeing it lead their favorite drivers around Daytonaâ€™s famous tri-oval,” said Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway. “It promises to be a great race, and kicking it off with a Corvette at the head of the pack is the best way to start.” The Daytona 500 is one of the largest events in motorsports, drawing more than 168,000 fans to the track and attracting nearly 11 million American television viewers. It also is broadcast around the world. Credit: National Corvette Museum
You either loved or hated the Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic exterior paint that was on 2005 and 2006 Corvettes. CorvetteConti.com has reported on his site that GM will be replacing the Daytona Sunset with Atomic Orange (Code 83U).
While never being a real big fan of Orange Corvettes (or brown for that matter) the change is one that I guess we will have to wait and see if it is indeed an improvement over the Daytona Sunset. According to Rick Conti, the new color will be available for all models.
The colors for 2007 Corvettes:
10U – Artic White
19U – LeMans Blue
41U – Black
45U – Velocity Yellow
67U – Machine Silver
74U – Victory Red
80U – Monterey Red
83U – Atomic Orange Credits: CorvetteConti.com
GM has alerted dealers that production of its wheel supply has experienced significant disruptions. This is probably due to the bankruptcy filing in early December of Amcast Industrial Corp, which is one of the largest suppliers of wheels for the Corvette. Court documents from the bankruptcy filing show that while Amcast is still shipping Corvette wheels to GM, the automaker is looking to end the relationship. Here is the letter that was sent to a GM dealer as it was posted on DigitalCorvettes.com:
To: All Corvette DealersCredits: CovetteConti.com, DigitalCorvettes.com
Date: December 15, 2005 Subject: Corvette Production Disruptions Coupe & Convertible Production
The wheel supply for Corvette has experienced significant disruption. Unfortunately, this situation has caused GM to make several adjustments affecting wheel options, production volumes and production schedules. Many orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. Since timing is critical, and current wheel supply is uncertain, Order Fulfillment / Distribution is unable to follow the normal process of returning orders to dealers for necessary changes. Regrettably, polished wheels will not be available from our new supplier. This will force us to change all orders scheduled to be built after 1/3/06 to Silver Painted wheels. The much anticipated Chrome wheel option will be postponed until late spring production. Any substitution of a lower cost wheel will be reflected in a reduced MSRP and invoice. Additionally, overall wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Z06 Production
The impact to Z06 production is still undetermined as is the future availability of the polished wheel option. Some orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. As is the case with Coupe & Convertible, wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Dealers will be advised of their future Z06 allocation outlook as soon as production schedules can be solidified. Summary
As orders are changed, Order Fulfillment will notify affected dealers via GM Messenger. Order Guides, GM AutoBook and Order Workbench will be changed as soon as practical to reflect the change in wheel options. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and disappointments this situation may cause you and your customer(s).
A specially prepared Corvette Z06 will serve as the Official Pace Car of the 48th annual Daytona 500, on February 19th. It wears a unique paint scheme, including Daytona 500 logos, as well as mandated safety equipment and strobe lights. No mechanical modifications or enhancements were needed to prepare the Corvette Z06 for its on-track duty. The car will make its debut at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in January before heading to Florida for the race.