Randy Pobst’s test of the Eighth Generation Corvette at Virginia International Raceway is the gift that keeps giving this December! The original article was released last week and the C8 showed some real promise. When compared to a C7 Grand Sport, which Randy anointed the “best-handling of all C7 variations,” the new mid-engine Stingray was shaving 2-3 seconds (an eternity on a track) off of the C7 GS’ lap times. It also proved to have less fall-off and better grip during a long track run, BUT… that same worrying word popped up once again. Even with Corvette engineers on-site and a special Track Alignment in place, Randy complained about midcorner understeer in MotorTrend’s Car of the Year.
Well, Randy is back this morning with his professional suggestion for a fix to the C8’s most glaring issue. Here are our cliff notes to his new piece, How to Make the C8 Corvette Handle Even Better.
Randy begins by explaining what the engineers did at VIR to try to mitigate the understeer that MT and their peers have noted in early tests of the newest Corvette: “they alter the wheel alignment with a small tweak to the front caster, and large increases in negative camber, front and rear. This is where the tops of the tires lean in, to compensate for the cornering loads and body roll of high g-force cornering. The only other modification was to decrease cold tire pressures…” He does concede that it is a “vast improvement on the nervous brute that is the C7.”
After repeatedly calling the new LT2 an “LS V8,” he gets into the dynamic quirks that need attention and his proposal(s) for a remedy. He starts by saying that, unlike the C7 and its penchant for snap oversteer, the C8 rear could come unglued when off power. Randy advises that “Mike Petrucci and his engineering team use the terrific limited-slip e-diff… A limited-slip is a very strong tuning device when on or off throttle, as opposed to steady-state cornering. Tighten it up, and the car will want to go straighter and will be more predictable.”
One of the most interesting parts of the write-up comes immediately after that when Petrucci retorts that he “has never heard our drivers mention off-throttle oversteer.” To which Randy reminds readers that these Chevy testers have been driving the twitchy C7 for years, and that colors their impressions (which strikes us as funny after Randy tipped us off on his preference for 911s in the prior paragraph).
Randy gave a quick tip on driving the C8 as it is currently configured too, saying, “power immediately stabilizes this chassis, to its credit. Finish braking and go right to power, and the issue mostly disappears (and is covered up by stability control)”
He wraps up by hammering home his desire for some further tuning to the E-Diff, “The capabilities of an electronically controlled limited-slip differential may be the magic bullet for squeezing the very best from the Corvette C8 at the track. It’s a fine machine, and these suggestions could put an even finer point on it, leaving no negatives at all on which to focus.”
We appreciate Randy’s expertise on this subject and agree with his quote earlier in the article about learning what a car wants, “But in a perfect car, it’s a natural thing, no adaptation needed. And isn’t perfect the goal?” and believe that perfect SHOULD be the Corvette team’s goal, especially considering the huge investment that was made to finally move the engine behind the cockpit for 2020. Here is hoping that they have something up their sleeves for the Zs!
[VIDEO] Tadge Juechter Talks About Road Noise and Z-Mode During MotorTrend C8 Corvette Drive
Randy Pobst Drives the C7 and C8 Corvettes at VIR for MotorTrend
The C8 Corvette Stingray is Named MotorTrend’s Car of the Year