[VIDEO] C7 Corvette Z06 Does a 360-Degree Spin in the Rain


[VIDEO] C7 Corvette Z06 Does a 360-Degree Spin in the Rain

Years ago, one of my sons summed up his fall down the stairs by describing it as a “cool ride, dude.”

That might be the way he would also sum up this educational video posted on Corvette Forum that shows a C7 Z06 doing a wild 360 spin as he enters the interstate in heavy rain.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in either incident, but we can always learn something from events like these. For instance, in my son’s case, don’t run downstairs without holding onto the rail.

The lessons learned from the Corvette’s spin are a little more in-depth, and we appreciate “Nelno” being willing to share his experience with others. Of course, now that we know everyone is safe and sound, that video showing the view from his PDR is one cool ride, dude! We’ve already watched it five times and threw our hands up in the air like we were on a roller coaster each time; fortunately, no one was in the office at the time to witness our childish shenanigans!

On a more serious note, though, Nelno says he posted the video because he believes in trying to learn from his mistakes. “As such, I’ve watched the video dozens of times,” he says, “and imported it into Cosworth Toolbox to analyze what I could (not that the GM version of Cosworth was much help).”

He wants to share his takeaways with other enthusiasts and begins his assessment by noting that it’s smart never to underestimate or dismiss road conditions. “What is behind you doesn’t necessarily reflect what is ahead,” he warns. “I made some assumptions that were wrong this day, when in every other case I can recall, I have checked the weather beforehand and skipped driving if there was even a small chance of rain.”

Doing 80 mph in such conditions was likewise too fast, he admits, and probably contributed to the spin. He says he was just trying to go fast enough that he could merge onto the interstate behind a pickup and in front of an SUV.

“Had I been going slower, I might not have hydroplaned,” he says. “But if I had still hydroplaned, I would likely have been closer to the SUV and hit it, or been hit by it. After this event, I felt the car hydroplaning on the highway at 60 mph before I was able to pull off onto the frontage road.”

With cars behind him in the rightmost lane, slowing down to 60 or less wasn’t a good option, he believes, “so I’m not sure what to take away from this.”

“I feel partially vindicated in that when I did spin, there was nothing right next to me,” he says, “but not spinning at all would have been best. 60-ish mph (normal speed limit is 70 or 75 on this part of highway) would have been better, despite the speed of traffic on the highway. Slower speed would have also allowed for more time to recognize the water on the road ahead.”

Nelno says he didn’t have the car in Weather mode and believes it might have helped “somewhat.” “It was probably just bad luck that I applied the accelerator to maintain speed right at that point,” he says. ‘I certainly wouldn’t have applied the accelerator if I realized I was about to hit standing water.”

He also warns others to keep a close watch on the tread of your tires, pointing out the tire that lost traction first was the lowest, just barely above the tread wear marker.

He summarizes his suggestions by saying:

Check the weather beforehand for any chance of rain. If you do get caught in the rain, don’t assume it’s a light rain. Remember to check the tread on your tires because they’re not going to channel water as well the more worn they get. Slow down, even if everyone else is going 70 or 80. IMMEDIATELY change to Weather mode if it starts raining.

While Nelno says it was bad luck to accelerate just as he hit the water, he does admit he was lucky in many other ways: lucky the SUV driver didn’t overreact and stayed in his lane and slowed down, lucky he didn’t swerve and roll, and lucky he got some traction back right before entering the service lane.

In short, he admits, “it just worked out.”

We’re glad that Nelno and his Z06 are safe and sound, along with everyone else in this educational video, and appreciate the words of wisdom shared by someone who has already been there and done that.


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  1. Surprised this driver didn’t see the standing water ahead on the ramp since it is quite visible in this video. You WILL hydroplane on standing water like in the ruts if you are exceeding 60 mph, guaranteed, so don’t turn wheel, touch brakes or touch accelerator and be prepared for a breakaway. Wide, low profile “performance tires” demand even more awareness of conditions.

  2. This was all a tire related incident. The Z06 summer-only tires are simply not designed to handle any amount of rain. Nobody can reliably handle that car, on those tires, in a downpour.

  3. Hello- State Farm- yes, the car is fine but someone spilled chocolate pudding on my seat, it ruined my jeans and underwear also.

  4. But seriously, 2 weekends ago I came into a brief downpour. Brand new All Seasons, in Weather Mode, Probably 55ish mph. Started to hydroplane, kept cool, aim for the dry spot and I came out with a BP of 150/100. Now rewind back to my third day of ownership and cross country trip in ‘17 I was driving through Indianapolis on the freeway, in heavy rain, at night, stuck between Semi’s on Cup 2’s at 70 mph and niave enough to not remember that there is a Weather Mode! What saved me was keeping my tires in the dry path of the Semi’s. As Harlan Charles said: “The most important safety feature on any Corvette is what’s between your ears.”

  5. —-Nelno says he didn’t have the car in Weather mode and believes it might have helped “somewhat.”—-

    Some what?? Really? That and not braking would have helped a lot. My guess is he never even tried weather mode at any point.

  6. I got all shook up one time in the rain when I was only running about 45 mph in my old 95 Corvette with worn out Firestone Firehawk tires. I hydroplaned and did a 180 and just barely missed slamming sideways into the middle guardrail on a major city street. I was suddenly facing the wrong direction with cars coming at me head on. I was able to safely get the car turned around without getting hit. The only thing that saved me was that this happened about 5:30 in the morning in light traffic.

  7. I agree with comments below, but look at the throttle response in the top right corner, it tells the story besides tires and the rain.

    Watch, he doesnt keep steady throttle, keeps coming on and off on and off 2 bars of throttle 0n and off again , each time is shifting weight from back to front, unbalancing the car each time, then suddenly he hits it at 21/2 bars and that starts the spin. To unbalance the car In rain is a terrible driving error. Then 2 1/2 bars of throttle in those conditions with 650 ft lb torque is crazy.
    Recommend attending a driving school, because this beast is a race car just waiting to bite you unless you understand driving and car dynamics.
    The difference between 2 bars of throttle and 2 1/2 when you are constantly unbalancing the car is A LOT OF TORQUE!!!
    Take it from a long time HPDE instructor.

  8. In 1970, I was smart enough to know that a wet highway during the winter, with ambient temperature well below freezing, will freeze at some point in time – but had never thought about it. That was until I got tired of following a convoy of country folk (of which I was one) in about 8 cars on a two-lane highway in good condition and straight. I down-shifted my 400hp 1969 Corvette into 3rd gear and started passing them. About 3/4 of the way past the slow cars, my engine revved freely and I instantly knew I was on ice. There were no cars coming toward me, so I lifted just enough to let the rear tires match my speed, then gently accelerated just enough to finish the pass, then I slowed and pretty much joined the group as their leader. I give my guardian angel all the credit for my escape.

  9. Those tires are actually amazing in the rain, the problem here is that he has it in “sport” instead of “weather” mode. I made the same mistake in mine a few years ago but wasn’t quite as lucky (damage was minimal, I just slid off into some brush on the side of the road).

  10. This is my video. I’m “Nelno”. I expect the criticisms, and I knew I’d get them when I posted it, but if it reminds anyone else they’re just a few confluences and a mental lapse away from something that could turn out a whole lot worse, then it’s worth the criticisms and, in rare cases, insults.

    I encourage those of you who are analyzing this to go read the corvetteforum post and see some of the PDR analysis.

    I’ll address a few of the criticisms of me personally:
    – This was not on Sport Cup 2 tires. This was on Michelin Sport A/S 3+ tires with maybe 15,000 miles on them and about 1/8 inch of tread above the wear mark. I have no doubt if I had the Sport Cup 2 tires on I would have stayed on the frontage road, or possibly just pulled over at the gas station I had just passed and waited for a bit. In a sense, these tires gave me a false confidence due to their new performance in the rain compared to the Cup 2 tires. I checked the tread level on them before I went out, by the way, which may have also given me a false confidence. I suspect a lower tread depth has significant implications to how well a tire channels water.
    – Yes, I’ve put the car in Weather mode before. This is the only time I recall not doing that. It had just rained for a short time right before this and stopped. It’s was not raining on the frontage road when I entered the highway. Not switching to weather mode was mental lapse #1.
    – Brake application was not a factor. All of the PDR data indicates all four tires had lost all traction (i.e. were hydroplaning) before the brakes were ever applied. At no point before brakes were applied did the 10 degrees of counter-steer affect the car’s increasing spin to the left. The traction control, having also activated and (very likely) been applying braking force to the wheel that lost traction, also was not able to adjust the cars trajectory in the first 0.3 to 0.5 seconds before (gentle, I might add) braking force was applied. So… eye roll. I’m sure your god-like powers of vehicle control paired with your infallible memory that would not allow you to forget something like turning on Weather mode in the first 2 minutes after an unexpected rain, would have saved you the trouble. Though I suspect if you had such trouble, you’d just keep it to yourself and hope no one noticed.
    – I think I saw the water on the road as I was entering the highway, and that is why I let off of the throttle the first time, because I didn’t want to be on the throttle in a puddle. Why I went on the throttle at that last point, well probably just too focused on maintaining distance during the merge. Mental lapse #2.
    – The throttle unequivocally does NOT hit 2 1/2 bars just before the spin. It never hits 2 1/2 bars in the video. It goes barely above 2 bars in the initial acceleration on the to ramp. It is just below two bars before the spin starts. The max throttle in the PDR data is 36.0%. If you’re going to accuse me of something, please be accurate.
    – I can’t confirm this, but I don’t believe the throttle response is linear, meaning 36% throttle is not 36% power, or anywhere near that.
    – The rate of throttle application is a large factor in whether or not the wheels spin, because torque is the rate of change in angular momentum. Just before the slide, the throttle went to 36.0% over 1.2 seconds. I think if you were to look at other PDR data, you will find that 36% throttle over 1.2 seconds is a relatively gentle throttle application. In this situation, traction control came on at 34.97% throttle, just a tiny fraction before the max applied throttle. Maybe some of your are routinely capable of modulating your throttles within 1% of perfection, but for those that aren’t, I made a video for you.
    – All of the throttle adjustments in the video were done for two reasons: to avoid accelerating through the puddles, and to try to maintain a speed that was “safe” for merging (I realize that’s an oxymoron at this point). I don’t normally drive on and off the accelerator, and I don’t normally apply the accelerator just as I’m going through a puddle. In this case, I think I missed (or dismissed) that last puddle after going through a couple of similar looking spots that didn’t seem to actually have much water, despite a somewhat glassy appearance.

    Mistakes were made, but it’s not because I don’t understand “driving and car dynamics” (I’ve written physics engines and driving simulations that have probably run on your PC at some point, and driven in every kind of weather in North America for 30+ years). Given the totality of the situation, I made a couple poor decisions. Change any one of them and this probably would not have happened.

    But the reminder should be that the car is a beast and there is very little margin for error under certain conditions. The best thing I could have done is put more distance between myself and that margin of error by:
    – not trying to match the speed of that traffic (preferably just staying on the frontage road)
    – going into weather mode immediately
    – not having confidence in tires near the tread wear indicator

  11. Also, not sure if I ever exactly said I thought that Weather mode would have helped “somewhat”. I think I was pretty clear in the corvetteforum posts that I think Weather mode would have probably made the entire difference, if just for the fact that it damps the throttle response compared to Sport mode, and the whole rotation was induced by the throttle

  12. Also, not sure if I ever exactly said I thought that Weather mode would have helped “somewhat”. I think I was pretty clear in the corvetteforum posts that I think Weather mode would have probably made the entire difference, if just for the fact that it damps the throttle response compared to Sport mode, and the whole rotation was induced by the throttle

  13. Nieno,
    I read your reply and looked at the throttle and I was wrong- you did not hit 2 1/2 bars. You seen to be a guy who dors understand cars and dynamics and can dobyourbown analysis. After all you were the one there not us.
    All i can say is Thank God you are ok and One of the Corvette lovers pack.
    Be safe my frienf!

  14. Nelno- I have literally brand new A/S and was recently caught in a quick rain shower. I was in weather mode, around 55 mph. The tires will hydroplane upon crossing standing water regardless of tread depth. They are a wide tire and lift easily as best I can describe not being a physical engineer. Weather mode only helps dull your throttle response IMO (also I’m not a Corvette software engineer.) Once you hydroplane there is not much I can fathom doing besides riding it out, i.e. aim for a dry spot. I would dare say 99% of us have been in a similar situation, the 1% are folks who don’t drive their Corvette in the rain or don’t drive their Corvette period (but that’s another rant.)

  15. Sorry Nelno, but I say the whole problem is entering a rainy highway @ 81 miles per hour. I believe that is far too fast for any car to be going in the rain!

  16. I have to totally agree with Robert Arthur. I would never drive either of my Corvettes or any vehicle that fast anywhere in the rain. Under those conditions a Corvette can get away from you quick.

  17. The width of the tires on a z06 dont help either they are huge which give a large contact patch which makes the corvette very prone to hydroplaning. Like a flat bottom boat. If it hits standing water no mater what mode your in you’re spinning.

  18. I raced for years. About 37% of my races were wins, 40% second place, and maybe 10% third place, and about 10% lower finishes with car problems. So I “THINK” I’m a pretty good driver, and been a car guy for 60 years. I’ve also had 11 Corvettes. I USED TO RACE IN THE RAIN, AND DID WELL, BUT ONE DAY IT JUST DAWNED ON ME THAT’S NOT RACING…….IT’S JUST WHO CAN AVOID GOING OFF. So, I stopped racing in the rain and would only race on dry or drying tracks. The point here is that it does take some driving knowledge to drive a powerful street machine, but too many people think just because they can buy a Corvette, they can adequately “drive” a Corvette “competitively…..much too often on the street. That’s why so many of these things end up crashed. But, all the training in the world won’t fix stupid, and we’ve all been on highways at 80 mph and yes, with wide 7, 8 , 9, 10 inch tires. That’s the stupidity of the average “car guy” of which I’m the President, and this wreck could have just as easily happened to any of us. I wasn’t there, so not sure I could have avoided the accident, but we’ve all been guilty of exactly what this guy did. Just glad he lived to tell about it, and didn’t hurt anyone. This won’t be the last one of these we read about.

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