One of the world’s foremost authorities on Automotive Journalism recently got their hands on a trio of Corvettes just for fun. But what unfolded was on the verge of hilarity, if not for their self-proclaimed journalistic superiority over us “punk kids with lots of servers and a desire to get free test drives.”
And that’s why it stings, in case you missed the backhanded TTAC insults in the link above. So let’s start with the Video reviews: I am no Jack Baruth, but I see numerous problems with their driving. For one, Edmunds Chris Walton is caught–on camera–with his hand on the bottom of the tiller. (2:00 in the Grand Sport video) Anyone who’s taken a weekend driving school knows that 9-and-3 hand positions are the only way to fly. After a brief reality check with Baruth, the other glaring deficiency comes to light: rarely, if ever, did Edmunds come close to hitting a racing line.
While power-on oversteering burnouts and gratuitous audio of LS-X mills are most welcome, Edmunds needs to hit apexs, take advantage of the entire track, and generally drive to the expectations of their most savvy readers. To that effect, the commentator “1krider1” has it right: “Get some track instruction and learn to drive.” And consider the source, he’s probably be NASA racer/LeMons winner and Speed:Sport:Life contributor Rob Krider. I’m no Tiff Nidel, but the rest of Edmund’s puff piece leaves much to be desired.
After just one launch with our Quicksilver Metallic 2002 Z06, it was obvious that the trick to getting the most out of the veteran Vette would be traction management. While Team Corvette has just announced major improvements are in store for its preferred Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, nothing could be done for these vintage examples because they were toast.
Don’t take my word for it, the comments section is filled with complaints that Edmund’s didn’t spring for a new set of tires when putting a C5 Corvette against a pair of hand plucked, PR-approved C6s from GM’s stable. With very little doubt, the C5 Z06’s track numbers on fresh rubber would easily match or (probably) beat the 2010 Grand Sport.
Again, it’s those tires. Surely the skid pad would reveal how little ultimate grip remained in the weary run-flats, and we were right. At 0.92g of lateral acceleration, the result shows some decline from the 1.0g a car like this could post in 2002
Apparently Edmunds isn’t big on doing their homework, since the C5 Z06 never came with run-flat tires. And if they installed a set, shame on them for stacking the cards in the C6’s favor.
As our test driver said after finishing this portion of the track test and anticipating the next day’s adventure on a road circuit, “I know I should be looking forward to driving three Corvettes on a racetrack tomorrow, but after today, I’m not so sure about this car. I’ll give it my 98 percent effort and reserve 2 percent just in case.”
Let’s blame the old car, not the people using worn rubber in a comparison test. Stay classy, Edmunds.
The Grand Sport now proves communicative, and we could confidently explore its limits thanks to its quick turn into each cone and the ability to throttle-steer the rear of the car. Did we just say that about a Corvette?
If you’ve spent enough time around C5 and (especially) C6 vettes, you’d know that they all behave this well once you ditch the run-flat tires for normal rubber. Or, for maximum butt kicking, installing the barely-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cups used on top dollar Porkers.
We finally managed a run of 71.3 mph with the stability control on while sawing madly at the disinclined steering wheel.
Let’s hope you weren’t “sawing” from the bottom of the steering wheel. Not that you should saw at the wheel. Ever. Especially when mad.
(We tried to verify with GM if these discrepancies could be explained by the Carbon’s active suspension or any other differences in hardware, but the Corvette engineers reported that the steering racks of the two cars are identical and further insisted that our impressions of the two cars should be reversed. Hmmm, sounds to us like prototype engineering might be the culprit.)
Not exactly. We might answer this question if we knew the Carbon’s active handling status: 100% on, 100% off and if the Traction Control was disabled or in “Competitive Driving” mode. Edmunds needs to get off of the usual excuses for prototype vehicles and fess up to which mode was used while “sawing madly” at the wheel. I am not the only C5/C6 handling nanny-savvy reader on the planet, so let’s just finish this train wreck.
We have no qualms declaring the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition the best Corvette money can buy. You might suggest that the ZR1 represents a better deal since you get 133 hp more for just $5,495 more. But here’s the deal. The Porsche 911 GT2 is more powerful and both quicker and faster on a drag strip (and more expensive) than a Porsche 911 GT3, yet we still prefer the immediacy of the GT3’s naturally aspirated engine, its linear power delivery and the overall cohesive personality of the chassis. The same goes for the Corvette Z06 Carbon.
Wrong. Unlike the small displacement, turbo laggy Porsche GT2, there’s no lack of immediacy with a twin screw supercharger on a 6.2 liter V8. Go ahead and ask me how I know. I know GM didn’t provide you a ZR1 for testing, but how could Edmunds get this so wrong? Oh wait, the lure of free press cars. And the promise of more free press cars. Press cars!
Benefit of the doubt: perhaps Edmund’s believes the ZR1 isn’t as track worthy because of the issues with heat soak in forced induction applications. But will the intercooled “Z” lose 133 horses in 100+ degree weather on an asphalt track? Not bloody likely.
If Edmunds has the nerve to pull this stunt again, they better stop “sawing madly” at the wheel. And call out the Carbon Z06 as a fashion-statement fraud, because the Z06 + Z07 package is the real deal. Then they better put new tires on the C5 Z06. Have we journalists learned nothing from the Firestone tire debacle? If Edmunds doesn’t learn from their mistakes, they might face the wrath of more commentators like “1krider1” when he said:
“You guys are an embarrassment to real auto journalists.”