It caused quite an uproar for Corvette loyalists when Motor Trend named the Nissan GT-R Nismo the victor of a passed Head to Head matchup. The comparo saw a Velocity Yellow Corvette Z06 do its best to dethrone Nissan’s Godzilla. At the end of the day, MT saw the GT-R as the better of the two, though.
But, they brought the car back for another go around. It’s not often a car gets a second chance, but the guys and gals at MT felt the 2015 Corvette Z06 was deserving of it. Especially because they felt the Z06 was seriously underperforming.
They were right.
An obscure problem was plaguing the Z06 during its last go-around. Specifically, Randy Pobst called it out, saying the rear was having issues putting, and keeping, the power down. This left a sour taste in Pobst’s mouth on the Z06. After some investigation, it turns out the test car Chevrolet sent MT had a rear suspension out of alignment. The publication reports the car should have been running zero degrees of rear caster, when in fact, the car was running at positive two degrees caster, making the rear dampers less effective at controlling the rear suspension.
It’s normally impossible to even adjust rear canter on a road-going vehicle, but Chevrolet incorporated this into the Z06 to be better aligned for track duty. Somehow, it became out of whack.
With the problem fixed, it was off to Spring Mountain Motor Resort in Nevada to see what the Z06 could really do. Previously, the Z06 clocked a 1:27.10 with the jumbled rear suspension. This time, it did 2.1-seconds better, checking in at 1:25.00 even, a very notable improvement, and seven tenths of a second faster than the Nismo.
But the rear suspension wasn’t the only thing changed. Chevrolet also listened to buyer feedback, with consumers, and Pobst, noting an extremely rough ride during track times. The Corvette team had done most of their testing at newer, smoother, raceways, not on rougher circuits. The addition is a Rough Track mode for the Z06, which is planned for the GM Performance catalog as a software update should buyers like to add the feature.
It was enough to garner some much needed praise from Pobst as he exited his first few laps with the following comments:
Way better than it was last time! This was so much nicer to drive. Oh my gosh. The butterflies are gone. The fear is gone. There was a lot of fear in the car before. Just the handling, I trusted it way more. I still don’t experience a push anywhere. All the way around the Turn 2 carousel, it feels like I have very little steering in the car. Really balanced. Even the tail, the tail may be coming, but in a no-fear kind of way, like, wow, this thing’s really balanced!
So the issues were solved, and everyone went home all smiles, right? Maybe not for the Z06. Despite the car’s improvements with the new track mode, and fixing the minor quirk in the rear, MT called their initial test a “mistrial.” Fairly so. Without putting both cars back-to-back again, they found it impossible to declare a true winner.
Do we smell a rematch? We think we smell a rematch.