Welcome to another exciting edition of Quick Shifts! Quick Shifts is a content feature here at CorvetteBlogger featuring links to Corvette and automotive-related stories of interest, including Lightning Lap, the long-awaited arrival of the Blackwing, a new twist for the dream three-car-garage game, and more!
Well, amigos, I had an outstanding week! First, Car and Driver surprised us all with my favorite content-drop of the year, Lightning Lap! When October and November passed without a word, I feared that the pandemic had claimed LL, just as it took March Madness from all of us in 2020, but, alas, C&D pulled it off! Around here, LL 14 brought extra significance as it was the first time that a Corvette with its engine behind the driver was featured. We already reported on how well the C8 performed and would like to echo commenter Terry’s sentiment that Chevrolet needs to offer the C7 GS’ Sport Cup 2 rubber on the C8 Stingray’s Z51 package. That small upgrade would certainly help the C8 mix it up with the gaggle of high-performance 911s, McLarens, and the manual transmission Camaro ZL1 1LE in the low-20s of the All-Time Results list!
If, for some reason, you are interested in how any of the other cars in attendance performed, here is the full catalog of competitors and times from the 14th running of Lightning Lap.
Finally, C&D added a fun wrinkle to this year’s festivities. It is called Would You Rather?, and it strategically pairs off the 18 contestants and lets readers decide which car they would choose out of the two. Be sure to get out there and vote; the C8 doesn’t really need you as it is currently enjoying 60% of the vote in its head to head with the Shelby GT500, but we promise that fun will be had by all who click away and make that gap even bigger!
First gear was the surprise that made my week, but as anyone who regularly follows this column knows, I already had Monday circled in red on my calendar. The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing was finally unveiled, and it is fantastic! In a bitter-sweet announcement where Cadillac admitted that this will be their last foray into the land of internal combustion performance sedans, it was revealed that the big Blackwing will be motivated by a beefed-up LT4 (now producing 668 HP and 659 lb-ft of twist), comes standard with a clutch pedal, and offers carbon-ceramic brakes. Along with GM’s usual bevy of go-fast hardware, including Mag-Ride, an eLSD, PTM, a carbon fiber aero package that reduces lift by 75%, and a bespoke set of Michelin Pilot 4Ss (that have more R-compound rubber than the original formula, making them a bridge between the standard 4S and the previously mentioned Pilot Sport Cup 2), this thing is going to be one serious piece of kit at next year’s Lightning Lap. The time to beat for sedan supremacy is the $200k Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Matic’s strangely close-to-C8-time of 2:49.3. We like its chances as it rides on the best chassis in the business, and it will be carrying as much as 500 fewer pounds.
Unlike last week’s reported leak, all-wheel-drive won’t be offered, which is music to my ears as a hopeful second owner who will be looking for RWD models and need the pool to be as big as possible to give me a shot! Unfortunately, the 5-V Blackwing team didn’t follow the C8’s lead in releasing the online configurator on the same day as the launch.
Car and Driver, who were obviously on fire this week, posted an interesting historical look at how we got to the outstanding Blackwings (by the way, an ATS-V successor was revealed at the same event, but as they chose to stick with twin-turbo V6 power instead of sending it out with an LT2 bang, it doesn’t interest us much) from the less-than-stellar Catera that features a lot of Corvette-lingo, check it out!
Truck gear! As we alluded to last week, Cadillac wasn’t the only Detroit automaker pulling the covers off of a performance special this week. Wednesday, The Blue Oval showed off the third-generation of their cash cow F150 Raptor. Motor Trend got to spend some time with the new truck and was nice enough to shoot a first-look video for our enjoyment. Like the top-of-the-line CT4, the dino-themed F-150 is sticking with a boosted six under the hood, but the real-deal TRX-fighting V8 version that we referenced last week is coming at a later date.
Small-truck fans also got a treat this week from Nissan, in the form of a new Frontier. If the old version was a person, it would be a sophomore in High School, so needless to say; it has earned its retirement! The new one, and its spec sheet, look promising and it will pair nicely with the upcoming 400Z to rejuvenate Nissan showrooms.
On the opposite end of the pick-up spectrum, you have to see this Silverado vs. Ram vs. F-250 HD Diesel pull-off! That is right; this unique test pits three $80,000 trucks against each other in a tractor-pull. Which of the three leviathans of torque can successfully tow “the Pioneer” all the way to “the kitchen?” Click on the link to find out!
My favorite overseas car writer, Richard Meaden, has devised a new set of parameters that make one of our favorite pastimes, the Ultimate Three-Car Garage Game, even more challenging. Here are the rules to apply to each of your car choices:
- The first car has to have been on sale the year that you were born.
- Car number two is supposed to hail from the year you got your driver’s license.
- Finally, you have to pick a car that is on the market right now.
Here is Meaden’s list (with some additional rules that can make the game harder or modify it for die-hard race fans). The base rules are entertaining because the available options change greatly from person to person. I’ve been pondering my own list since I caught the EVO piece on Wednesday, and after quite a few flip-flops, I think that I’ve settled on my finalists.
- I’ve been around the sun 31 times, so my first vehicle has to have been available in 1989. I nearly made an all-Corvette list (another tantalizing take on this game!) and pulled the trigger on a first-year Corvette ZR-1, but with unlimited funds, I can’t pass on taking a Ferrari F40 with my first-round draft pick.
- I passed my driving test in 2005 and was, once again tempted by the Crossed Flags. An inaugural model-year C6 Z06 in LeMans Blue would be right at home next to my Rosso Corsa F40, but I’m leaning towards practicality with my middle choice, and that tractor-pull article got me into a diesel kind of mood. The 2006 model-year “LBZ” Duramax is considered by many to be a high-watermark… forget it, I’ll take a Ford GT.
- For my 2021 choice, I’m going to reach up into second gear and actually add a splash of practicality to my collection by ordering a CT5-V Blackwing. If the C8 Z06 can hustle its way to dealers by December, I’ll certainly swap one of those into this place and have a three-car dream garage that highlights the evolution of the mid-engine supercar in 15-year increments.
Good stuff, right? You are probably already hard at work on your own list in your head; if you feel compelled, feel free to share your choices in the comment section below!
Depending on what year you had to choose your first car from above, my favorite American columnist might have some advice for you in the latest Avoidable Contact. The whole thing is about how car enthusiasts are often guilty of “pulling up the ladder” behind them and/or guarding the gates to the car kingdom. The basis of the whole thing is that both of these behaviors are hugely detrimental to the future of our hobby and that both are very easy traps to fall into, especially “gating,” in my own experience.
If you are interested in some introspective food for thought, you’ll be happy that you gave it a look.
It is time to conclude our forward gears with a random grab-bag of noteworthy stories:
It is Super Bowl week in the home of CorvetteBlogger, Tampa, FL (Go, Bucs!). Here are all of the vehicular advertisements that will run during the big game.
Update: that incredible LS9 Maloo that we talked about a few weeks ago just hammered for $804,000 at auction!
Speaking of wild prices, an Alanté just pulled $42k on Bring a Trailer (and it wasn’t even the one Stalone’s example from Tango and Cash or the one driven by Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 3!).
The Detroit News put together a nice tribute to our guy, Doug Fehan. Corvette Racing owes him a tremendous debt, and we wish him well in retirement (You’ll need to be a subscriber to read this, but we figured that most Corvette owners could spring for a three-month subscription at the eye-popping rate of $1).
Lastly, we have this quick piece from Hagerty that reads like a fantasy. No spoilers, check out the ’54 that “keeps on giving” for yourself!
I love it when our blast from the past can tie-in to a current story. It is especially exciting when it bookends the link that was shared in first gear, and that’s exactly what is happening here! Lightning Lap started all the way back in 2006, but it is the 2007 edition that we want to point you in the direction of today. The inaugural running of LL featured two C6 Corvettes, a Z51, and a Z06, but it was the latter that was the recipient of some revisions that allowed it to conquer all in its sophomore campaign, making it the first of many Corvettes to clock the best time in a given LL competition, and the first car to ever break the mystical 3-minute barrier. We can’t wait to see what the 7.0L Corvette’s flat-plane grandkid is capable of on tracks around the world. One thing’s for sure, the exotics at the top of the Lightning Lap Leaderboard should be very nervous!
Previous Quick Shifts:
C8 Corvette Rated, Caddy’s Blackwings, BMW M5 CS, Wagon Wars, SSC Tuatara’s Top Speed Run, and More
Base C8 Evaluation, Cheap Fast Cars, New 992 Porsche 911, Cadillac Flying Car, and More!
C8 Corvette vs 911, GM vs Tesla, GM Rebranded, Blackwings, the Hoff’s Personal KITT, and More!