It’s happened again.
Motor Trend was provided with a Corvette Z06 to test and compare for the magazine’s annual Best Driver’s Car feature and once again the Corvette that Chevrolet provided for the test was not up to par. So much so that in the magazine article, Motor Trend ranked the car dead last with a DNF (did not finish).
Now there is video showing MT’s test driver Randy Pobst driving the Corvette Z06 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca Raceway as part of the review and you can see his reaction as the Corvette goes from world class sports car to dog in less than one lap.
In the November 2015 issue which details the Best Driver’s Car test, Motor Trend says the following of the Corvette Z06:
“It didn’t work. The damn Z06 retarded spark by 8 degrees, and the 1.7-liter TVS supercharger refused to make boost. Chevrolet came up with a ‘bad gas’ theory, but Big Nasty got filled at the same Chevron stations as everyone else, and even swallowed 8 gallons of 101 octane to wake the supercharger. No luck. What we have here is a failure to compete. What a pity.”
This is separate issue than the Z06’s known tendency to overheat at the track and it’s a different kind of problem than the last time Motor Trend tested the Corvette Z06 against the Nissan GT-R where Chevy provided a car with the rear suspension that was severely misaligned.
Chevrolet did have a technician there at the track with the car and the ‘bad gas’ theory comes from the combination of having the Corvette Z06 tank filled with California’s 91 octane that was mixed with 93 octane gas from a prior stop in Arizona. According to the article, the car also got several gallons of 101 octane gas there at the track. MT’s Jonny Lieberman calls the ‘bad gas’ theory “bogus”:
“…Not only is California the Z06?s largest market and our ‘premium’ fuel a known quantity, but you’re going to tell me this is what will happen to skinflint owners who try to save a buck or two by filling their Z06es with midgrade fuel? That, and this entire ordeal, is unacceptable.”
In response to the bad gas explanation, Motor Trend also says all the cars got the same gas and one of the cars competiting is the Cadillac CTS-V which is running essentially the same engine and that car ran without problems.
Adding insult to injury is that Chevy provided a Corvette Z06 with brake pads that were said to be very worn. Whose even prepping these cars for the magazines?
At the beginning of the test video, the Corvette looks to be making a strong start by crossing the starting line at 112 mph and he hits 126 mph before going into the tight left-hander in turn 1.
Pobst makes several positive comments about how good the car grips the the corners and brakes. But then he senses that the car “really isn’t running right at all” and says “nobody’s home” and calls the car a “sick puppy” when the Z06 should be running triple digits on straight between turns 4 and 5. When finished with his lap, Randy says that it “was an exercise in frustration” and even compared the car to 1962 Ford Falcon.
Here is the video of the Motor Trend’s Corvette Z06 test at Laguna Seca:
Despite the record sales numbers, the Corvette Team appears to have some serious problems with its flagship Corvette Z06 when tracking the car. The Corvette Z06 was billed as the most track-capable Corvette ever. And our fear is that after all these failures with its press cars and magazine tests that its now too late to stop the perception that the Z06 isn’t up to the task. Now is the time for Chevy to fix these issues that appear to afflict the Corvette Z06 when tracking the car.
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