Saturday, December 29, 2007

Who needs race cars...

Racing improves the breed... Sometimes it to the point of irony. Ever since GM decided to take the fifth-gen Corvette racing, fans have been treated to a stunning series of victories. Most notably, the Corvette C5R and C6R won in class at Le Mans five times in six years. A stunning success by any measure.
So, if racing truly does better the breed, then one might be expecting some significant results by now. Well the results are in and it appears that something is working right with the Corvette engineering team. Whether it's the racing effort, the market demand, or just a little rivalry with the Dodge's Viper, something has inspired the engineers to let loose with a high performance Corvette variant that puts the C6R race car in it's place. You read that right. The new Corvette ZR1 actually boasts higher power output than it's racing sibling. Chevrolet Racing claims the C6R produces approximately 590 HP when they take it racing in ALMS. The new ZR1 promises "at least 620 HP" thanks to a new 6.2 liter supercharged V8. How can it be that the race car is out powered by the street-going little brother? We can thank regulations in ALMS and other race series which specify the maximum inlet diameter on each car's engine. The C6R is forced to breath through two inlets that are each about the size of a half dollar. The ZR1 on the other hand can use whatever size inlets the engineers specify. And of course there's that supercharger. As one would expect, engine is just part of the story. The ZR1 has more go-fast, stop-fast, and turn-right-freakin-now equipment than you can shake a stick at. All of this is allegedly going to cost about $100,000 - or about 2/5 the price of a Ferrari 599 GTB.
So there you have it. The question of the day is this: If 590 HP is enough to win Le Mans, what are all those Corvette driver's with 620 HP going to do?

No comments: