The Mid-Engine Corvette entered Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Car of the Year competition to do battle with ten of the year’s hottest cars including the new 992 generation Porsche 911, Lamborghini Huracan EVO, McLaren 600LT Spider, Nissan GT-R Nismo, BMW M2 Competition, and “A90” Toyota Supra.
Corvette fans had high hopes after the 2019 ZR1 took home the title last year but when the dust settled and all was said and done this year, the car wearing R&T’s prized championship belt was…
The Hyundai Veloster N!
Now that we have that shocking revelation out of the way (you’ll have to head over to their site to read the reasons why they gave the crown to a front-wheel-drive Korean hatchback whose engine “has all the character of an ink-jet printer”), we want to concentrate on all of the specific data and quotes that are pertinent to us and our readership here at CorvetteBlogger.
Where the ‘Vette Shines
Let’s start with the good stuff! First and foremost, the C8 continued in the Corvette tradition of being impressively fast and punching well above its weight.
Around Thunderhill West the Stingray turned in a best time of 1:22.83, more than six seconds faster than the Supra, nearly a full second ahead of the track-focused, 600 HP, AWD Nismo, and, most importantly, .75 of a second ahead of its closest rival, the 911! The ‘Vette’s time was only bested by the Huracan (1:20.00) and the McLaren (1:20.42) which, along with 100+ horsepower advantages, carry stratospheric price tags.
After the track test, as part of their process, Road & Track cut the field of eleven competitors down to six finalists. Unlike the Supra, M2, GT-R, and even the mighty Lambo, the new Stingray Z51 did make the grade to move on after being piled high with praise. Some of our favorite quotes are as follows:
“The Corvette, [like the McLaren], had a way of vanishing in your hands. Few vehicles have felt so uniquely crafted to flip our switches.”
“The Chevrolet turned us into children, pointing and crawling over it even as it was backed from the hauler.”
“The Corvette has been nipping at supercar heels for years, and it finally seems poised to take a proper bite.”
And our favorite, “The C8 is a brilliant car… Porsche-besting performance with a Silverado price tag. Viewed through that lens, as a Lamborghini for Lubbock, it is pure success.”
The C8’s Stumbles
One thing you have to remember when you hear anything negative about the C8 is that publications have only been able to sample pre-production cars. R&T even states in this massive article that they usually don’t do this but they had to make an exception for “the most significant sports car in recent memory.”
The quibbles they mention mostly came up when comparing the C8 to its sublime predecessor. They noted that the cabin felt cramped when compared to the outgoing C7’s and, interestingly, one of the other small nicks in the C8’s armor is that it feels a lot like the old one, “minus a bit of balance” which seems to fly directly in the face of the entire reason for the switch to a mid-engine layout.
What really kept the C8 from a repeat win at PCOTY was, unfortunately, the new dual-clutch transmission. Of the new gearbox, they said “manual mode is a half-step behind the competition, denying downshifts or letting the engine bash the limiter, unsure of how much intervention to provide.” And that “every judge wanted an honest manual in place of the dual-clutch, in part because the manual C7 in similar trim was more joyous and alive… If you must take our clutch pedals, at least swap them for a transmission that wants to play.” Again, take all of this with a grain of salt as the Corvette team could have the finished product’s dual-clutch up to their PDK-benchmarked standards!
After reading, we can’t help ourselves from catching feelings. We look at the final picture of the victorious Veloster and confusion about the choice continues to sink in while a sense of wonder about how things might have been different accompanies our thoughts of missing of every previous edition of PCOTY’s author, Jack Baruth, but mostly, we get excited by the prospect of impending hard-core versions of the C8 that should leave any minor nitpicks, and the entire supercar world, in its wake!
The C8 Corvette’s Hotlap of Thunderhill West
We featured this clip earlier last week but wanted to include it again as the Stingray really shines against some much more expensive sports cars in the PCOTY competition.
Head over now to Road and Track to check out the full article, performance evaluations, and of course, some gorgeous photography featuring the contenders for the 2020 Performance Car of the Year.
Road and Track
2020 Corvette Stingray In Contention for the Road and Track Performance Car of the Year Award
[VIDEO] Watch as the 2020 Corvette Stingray Competes for Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year
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