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Corvette C6 Grand Sport, Z06, ZR1 in the comparison test: US trio leaves Europe's sports car elite behind

Rossen Gargolov
Corvette C6 Grand Sport, Z06, ZR1 in comparison test
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D he big smile of the gentlemen Harley Earl and Ed Cole are on our behalf. For the spiritual fathers of the first Corvette generation from 1953, today would have been a public holiday, as if Independence Day, Super Bowl and Christmas had coincided with one day. Similar to the beginning of the fifties, the stars of the 2012 Corvette year rush onto the stage with the aim of scare the European sports car heroes: Welcome Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1.

Male, honest, Corvette

The day is breaking, 24 cylinders, 19,335 cubic centimeters and 1,596 hp are coming. None of the three from the C6 generation are really new. For the 2012 model year, the small-block fighters are supposed to benefit from small, but subtle modifications in terms of lateral dynamics. Mannheim industrial port instead of Munich's noble quarter, real guys instead of decals - masculine, honest, Corvette. Disapproval or smartphone snapshots - the brawny US athletes still meet different opinions in this country. The earlier Corvette image as a Luden slingshot is no longer justified. Gone are the days when the US boxes could be steered as easily as a 40-ton truck and the chassis qualities of a sagging mattress. Therefore, the focus is no longer on the show, but on the racetrack freestyle. One last rubber autograph at dawn on the Mannheim asphalt - Hockenheim calls.

Price-performance hit Corvette Grand Sport

Only the name of the smallest in today's PS triumvirate is reminiscent of earlier ones Corvette times. As a reminder of the 1963 Cobra shock, the current Corvette Grand Sport the name of the racing legend of that time above the three side ventilation gills in the front fenders. A removable Targa roof, wider wheel arches, the Z06 front splitter and the Z06 air scoop in the bonnet visually distinguish the Grand Sport from the C6 base.

Nevertheless, the Grand Sport relies on the LS3 vacuum cleaner from the C6 basic version, but here with the Z52 option, the dry sump lubrication from the Z06 /ZR1. Basis means at Corvette still a triple whopper menu compared to starter offers from other sports car manufacturers. Where can you find more coolness and sports car genes at the price-performance hit of 81,634 euros? Porsche doesn't even offer a basic 911 Carrera for this (base price 88,037 euros).

Hearty V8 boiling

6.2 liters displacement, 437 hp and 575 Newton meters - the Corvette Grand Sport trots out of the pit lane onto the small course at Hockenheim with spontaneous response. Pleasurable bubbling in the partial load range swells to a hearty V8 boiling. A gnarled Tremec six-speed gearbox with crisp, short gearshift travel, which sometimes hackles with fast gear changes, accompanies the performance. You don't want anything else here - the Corvette Grand Sport is also available with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the manual gearbox is a must for sports fans.

The Corvette Grand Sport comes with a Z16 performance package including one as standard firmer spring-damper coordination as well as larger stabilizers and wider track width at the start. The brake system corresponds to the Z06 basic brake system with six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers on the rear axle. Slightly understeering, but overall with a high level of grip, the Corvette Grand Sport, soled with Goodyear Eagle F1 supercar tires of the second generation, gets going. With willing steering behavior, the GS follows the ideal line and lubricates out of the corners with an easily manageable power oversteer. Malicious load change reactions with counter swings are not part of the curve dance.

Corvette ZR06 with seven liters of displacement

With 1.11.9 minutes, the Coupé not only undercuts the Hockenheim lap time of the Corvette Grand Sport Cabriolet with automatic by 1.2 seconds in the 2010 test, but waving around the course at Corvette Z06 level from the 2007 Supertest (1.11.7 min). That sits! 427 feels gripped by the honor. If the number means nothing, here is a little tutoring. 427 stands for 427 cubic inches, i.e. seven liters of displacement. Displacement heroes such as Shelby Cobra, Ford GT or the Stingray C3 generation from 1967 once carried the large-volume 427 hearts.

Into the new seats of the Corvette Z06, which promise more lateral guidance in the brochure, but still offer the support of a TV chair. Anyway, we're not complaining again about plastic and leather quality. Press the start button and the ignition sequence 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3 burns out. ESP off and out. With the seven-liter LS7, the Corvette Z06 thunders low on the small course. The 90-degree V8, galloping up to 7,000 revolutions, is a source of driving pleasure and an acoustic arsonist at the same time with its jagged throttle response. Rarely has an engine fired its excess residual gases so emotionally.

Black, elegantLacquer dress

Visually, the Corvette Z06 is as casual as Snoop Dog. To mark the company's 100th anniversary, Chevrolet is offering the 2012 Centennial Edition package for all Corvette models. The Corvette then only wears black paintwork in carbon flash metallic and black cast aluminum wheels and red brake calipers. With black-tinted front and side windows, the Batmobile appearance would be perfect. On the drive side, despite the rustic bumper concept with forged aluminum pistons, connecting rods and inlet valves made of titanium, dry sump lubrication and four oil coolers for the engine, gearbox, final drive and steering, nothing to be desired.

Thanks to the aluminum frame with reinforcements made of carbon fiber mats as well as the With CFRP fenders weighing 1,400 grams, the Corvette Z06 presented itself as a well-trained competitive athlete even before the 2012 model year. On the body side, the roof skin and a carbon fiber bonnet are now optionally available for the first time. In the 2012 model year, the Z07-Ultimate Performance Package spices up the 1,480-pound Ami even more. In addition to the Brembo carbon ceramic brakes from the Corvette ZR1, the 9,189 euro package also includes Michelin Pilot Sport PS Cup tires and the adaptive chassis Magnetic Selective Ride Control with the Tour and Sport modes.

Corvette Z06 with 1.08, 7 minutes in Hockenheim

On the racetrack, the result of the modifications leads to the question: Do I have slicks on it? The Performance Pack transforms the Corvette Z06 into a street legal racer. For the traction, the feedback from the steering and the steering behavior as well as the brake with deceleration values ​​of up to 13.6 m /s², there is a school grade of 1. In words: Absolutely neutral and safely manageable. Sure, given the 512 hp, the accelerator shouldn't play a cleaver, otherwise the rear, which is slightly pushing under load, will overdo it with its lunge steps. After the second flying lap, the test editor of this story didn't believe his eyes when a lap time of 1.08.7 minutes flared up on the 2D measuring device.

One man's joy is another man's pain - they are in Woking at McLaren Signs of gasping. The Corvette Z06 has set the lap time of the McLaren MP4-12C with 600 hp. Is that enough? 'Yes, we still have to give the ZR1 a little air,' says Patrick Hermann from Chevrolet Europe, who is accompanying the sport auto comparison test.
The 647 hp top model is shaking. Does the Z06 with Performance Package outperform its larger sister version? The seven-liter bomber clearly outperformed the Corvette ZR1 Supertest lap time with Michelin Pilot Sport ZP tires of 1.09.7 minutes.

The Corvette ZR1 weighs 1,526 kilograms

A PDE -ZR1 called High Performance Package (surcharge 1,375 euros) should now make the Corvette ZR1 even faster. In addition to lighter cup rims, the upgrade also includesAlso Michelin Pilot Sport PS cup tires and a shorter gear ratio.

Despite the standard lightweight components such as fenders, roof, bonnet, front and rear spoilers made of CFRP, the Corvette ZR1 weighs exactly 46 kilograms when fully fueled than the Corvette Z06 . The LS9 supercharged engine is mainly responsible for the extra pounds, which, including all ancillary units, weighs 251 kilograms (Z06-LS7: approx. 208 kilograms). The Corvette ZR1 weighs a total of 795 kilos on the front axle, while the Corvette Z06 only has to whip around the corner at 750 kilos. The small weight deficit is then noticeable on the small course at Hockenheim with its tight corners due to minimal understeer and a slight tendency to push over the front axle when braking. But complaining about this tiny disadvantage is as if a sheik were complaining about a slight drop in his oil pipeline.

Corvette ZR1 with record lap time

The Corvette ZR1 surpasses the lateral dynamics High Performance Pack, the trimmed Z06, provided the driver is able to dose 647 hp on the rear axle. With a Hockenheim lap time of 1.08.3 minutes, the Corvette ZR1 is the second fastest athlete measured by sport auto over the past three years on the small circuit in Hockenheim. The wires should also glow in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and Sant'Agata Bolognese (Porsche 911 GT2 RS: 1.08.4 min, Lamborghini Aventador: 1.08.6 min) - the Hockenheim lap times of all test candidates.

Sounds not all of this too perfect? Doesn't a muscle sports car from America sometimes have to buck with the rear, like at the rodeo in Texas? The strengthened Z06 and ZR1 brothers with Performance Pack do not cheat sneakily, but sometimes ask for real men off the racetrack. The Vetten, which is optimized for the racetrack, hit the road when it comes to fast motorway bends over 260 km /h, as if there were plus points for every rutted lane with great thirst

Oh yes, before I forget: ZR1 drivers should also have a good connection to the US Air Force. At an exaggerated 369 km /h according to the head-up display, but GPS-measured speed 331, the Corvette ZR1 swallows 74 liters of Super Plus per 100 kilometers according to the current consumption display. You have to think about a possible refueling from the air.

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