You may have noticed that General Motors has never published an official Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time for any C7 Corvette variant. This seems a bit odd when you consider that the C6 Corvette ZR1’s Nurburgring lap record of 7:26.4 helped generate massive interest in the car, but there are reasons why the C7 never turned in a time at the German track.
In a recent interview with Road & Track, former Corvette ride and handling engineer and long-time GM hotshoe Jim Mero told the backstories of the C7 Corvette’s various Nurburgring lap attempts.
Mero said GM first went to the ‘Ring with the C7 Stingray Z51 in 2013 and had eight attempts at a lap, with every one of them getting rained or fogged out. A last-minute cancellation left Mero with one final attempt at the lap, but he made a couple of mistakes and failed to beat the 991 Porsche Carrera S lap time of 7:37.9, so GM never published the lap or onboard video. The C7 Z51, for what it’s worth, set a 7:39 lap with Mero’s two mistakes.
In the fall of 2014, Mero and the Corvette team went back to the Nurburgring with the 650 horsepower C7 Corvette Z06, but a crash derailed that attempt. “I overlaid the data of the lap before [the crash] on top of that of the next lap, and I didn’t do anything different,” he told Road & Track. “All we could surmise was something got spilled on the track between the two laps.”
They returned to the track in the Spring when conditions at the 12.9-mile circuit had improved, Mero explained, and ran a 7:10 lap with a 100 octane tune on the Corvette Z06. GM decided not to publish that lap either, though, because the 100 octane calibration for the 6.2-liter LT4 V8 engine wasn’t yet available. A third trip to the ‘Ring for the Z06 in 2016 (when the car received its revised supercharger with improved cooling) ended with yet another crash after the car switched its traction control back on unexpectedly.
Then Mero tells the story of the ZR1 lap record attempt, in which Chevrolet tried to get the car to break the seven-minute barrier. The track wasn’t allowing warm up laps that day, however, so the Corvette’s tires weren’t properly warmed. “I’ll say it’s one of the ballsiest laps I’ve ever driven, because I knew I had shit balance, shit grip, everything, and I still went for it,” Mero said. “Officially, we did a 7:05, but I take 1.2 seconds off for the (bus stop chicane at the start), so call it a 7:04.”
He also put in a fast lap of 7:27 in a C7 Corvette Grand Sport, but the onboard camera switched off unexpectedly, so the lap was never recorded. The car’s built-in Performance Data Recorded also had a couple of skips in the video, so GM didn’t want to publish that version of the onboard video, either.
So why did Mero come clean about the C7 Corvette’s string of bad luck at the Nurburgring? “It’s personal,” he told Road & Track. “Not because I want any kind of recognition, but because I want to show the world—or at least the C7 customer—that this car rocks.”
Be sure to read the entire interview at this link.
Source: Road & Track