We always think of Burt Reynolds whenever Cannonball Run is mentioned.
Now we’ll be thinking of the C7 Corvette, too.
The Cannonball Run, of course, was the subject of a Reynolds movie in 1981 but was actually an unofficial, unsanctioned automobile race run five times in the 1970s from New York City and Darien, Conn., on the east coast to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Since then, other people have completed the course on their own, with the current record being 28 hours, 50 minutes established in 2013 by three men.
In October 2018, the team of Troy Schneider and Steven Groh drove their C7 Corvette to the second-best time ever.
Schneider recently shared the experience with VINwiki, saying that the C7 Corvette proved to be more than up to the challenge.
The duo considered several vehicles, including Cadillac CTS-V and even a high-powered diesel pickup, but in the end they wound up with a black 2016 Corvette Z51, fitted with a seven-speed manual and two 16-gallon fuel cells in the cargo bay to provide extra fuel.
“In the end, I chose the Corvette because when I think ‘Cannonball,’ I think of sports cars running across the country,” said Schneider, “and not on a plush couch with a big engine in front of it. I also have this theory that when a foreign or exotic car flies by somebody on the highway, they get an uneasy feeling. There’s more of an angry feeling. Not so much with Corvette.”
“The Corvette’s an American icon,” Schneider added. “It’s America’s sports car. It’s been important to our automotive culture. In the last two decades, especially, it’s really become a top performer in the performance world, especially for the price.”
Schneider says the Corvette didn’t even flinch when he hit a deer carcass somewhere in the Midwest at 110 mph, which proved to be representative of the entire trip.
“On the run, the car performed extremely well,” said Schneider. “One of the big issues I had was that maybe the weight of the fuel would affect the car in a negative, and that wasn’t the case. I think the extra weight actually helped us with traction. Braking and handling were over the top, and the performance of the engine was what you’d expect from a Corvette, and the car is just tough.”
In the end, Schneider says, “the Corvette’s on top.”
He says it is the fastest American car ever to compete in the Cannonball, and his C7 became only the second car to break the 30-hour mark with a time of 29 hours, 48 minutes.
Now that the C7 is nearing the end of its production, Schneider says he is excited about the soon-to-be-unveiled C8 and could see one of them in his garage in the future. He’s just hoping Tadge Juechter and his team left some room somewhere for additional fuel cells!
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