If 2019 is indeed the last of the front-engine Corvettes, then America’s Sports Car is going out with a bang.
Each year, the magazine says it sets out “to simply let you know which vehicles left us breathless, and why.”
The contenders are subjected to several days of driving, on track and off. This year, the magazine drove the vehicles on the Streets of Willow road course at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park about an hour north of LA. “Along with a challenging new road route near the facility,” Automobile says, “we put this year’s 24 contenders through one of the most rigorous events in Automobile history.”
We are revealing our 2019 Automobile All-Stars this weekend! Our winners will be revealed on Saturday, March 9 at 11:00 am Eastern at the The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Check out a preview of what's to come right here ? https://t.co/KCn7I1kujY #noboringcars #amallstars19 pic.twitter.com/HTNOdz27hB— Automobile Magazine (@automobilemag) March 7, 2019
Depending on which test driver you listen to, the ZR1 is great … or not so perfect.
“I loved it,” senior editor Aaron Gold said. “It’s everything the Ferrari isn’t. As long as you’re not at the edge of traction, it feels like you can poke and prod it and it refuses to do anything even remotely dangerous. I made mistakes that it just seemed to swallow up and make disappear.” Contributor Ronald Ahrens agreed. “Avid, hugely capable, direct, snug, awe-inspiring—like a rocket in 1920 from Flint to the Rouge Works,” he said. “I thought it was easy to drive on track and knew just what to expect from it.”
Then there were those who liked the ZR1, but…
“I never felt entirely comfortable—especially through the quick back-straight kink,” editor-at-large Arthur St. Antoine said of the car’s personality on Willows. “Might not have been so conspicuous an issue, except that the Europeans on hand managed their laps with real poise.”
Another contributor, Jethro Bovingdon, loved the sound the ZR1 creates, along with its 7-speed gearbox, ceramic Brembo brakes and the huge lateral grip of the tires.
“But on track the thing really struggles for traction, and it feels so intimidating,” Bovingdon says. “Try going for a clean lap, and the lines of communication just aren’t there. Have a bit of fun and slide it around, and things improve, but it’s still a fine line between wrestling the ZR1 to submission and it spinning you into the middle of next week. On the road the theater of it makes it more enjoyable, but you’re enjoying the noise and the ridiculous view rather than actually being involved and encouraged to drive quickly.”
Of course, even if the ZR1 isn’t ultimately one of the final seven vehicles chosen as an All-Star, it’s just an honor to be included among the contenders. As Automobile writes:
“Throughout each year, we’re constantly evaluating the best in breed. Everything from mainstream models to the world’s most mindblowing supercars can get the nod to join the All-Stars fray, and just being asked to be a part of the field is an accomplishment. This isn’t an all-inclusive group, but it’s a wildly diverse one, meant to represent the most aspirational, attainable, and otherwise exceptional offerings of the past calendar year.”
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