Tadge Juechter Offers Up Explanation For 2016 C7 Corvette Z06 DNF In Best Driver’s Car11
The 2016 C7 Corvette Z06, or Big Nasty, didn’t have the best showing at Motor Trend’s annual Best Driver’s Car competition. Big things were expected from the C7 Z06 at Laguna Seca but, at the end of the day, MT had no choice but to mark a DNF for the car.
Initially, the Corvette team blamed the bogged down power on a mix of 91 octane in California, but there was no getting around the fact the 2016 C7 Z06 showed up with worn brake pads. During the most recent Ask Tadge thread on CorvetteForum, Chief Corvette Engineer Tadge Juechter himself offered up the real explanation of the unfortunate happenings.
Foremost, the C7 Z06 delivered to MT went off the track during Car and Driver’s Lightning Lap competition. The Corvette team worked diligently to ensure the car was track ready, polished up and fixed in time for its next quest.
Unfortunately, in the process, the team overlooked the brake pads, and Juechter assured fans the inspection process has already been revamped so something like that never happens again.
“In the few days we had to prep the car for Motor Trend, we did a tremendous amount of work to make sure the car was safe, capable and pretty. In our haste, two things were missed. We always replace brake pads before delivering a car, but this was missed. I can’t remember this ever happening before, but it did. We have since changed our pre-test check procedure so this can never happen again.”
As to why the 2016 Z06 was down on power and behaved like a lazy dog on the track, Juechter and the team identified a bad electrical connection on the intercooler pump for the supercharger. Basically, the supercharger was working on and off the entire time.
Juechter explained it further stating, “One of our pre-loan checks is to bleed the intercooler circuit to make sure there is no air in it. Some customer complaints about overheating Z06s have been traced to improperly bled intercoolers. The technician doing the work plugged in the electrical connector for the intercooler pump and it seemed to seat and ‘click’ into position, but the secondary latching mechanism did not fully lock into position leading to intermittent operation.”
He also revealed MT will feature the C7 Z06 in another upcoming comparison for a chance to redeem itself from “Big Disappointment,” back to “Big Nasty.”
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As a fan of Chevrolet and the mighty Corvette, I have to say to Tadge: Quit offering explanations and excuses and just fix the darned things so this never happens again. Anything going wrong like this in what is supposed to be considered a world class sports car is absolutely unacceptable. Blown motors, heat soak, wire connections, brakes, etc., how many chances are the journalists who want to love the Corvette Stingray or Z06 going to give it before they just give up and tell readers and buyers to look elsewhere. To have such public and published problems with America’s halo sports car is a tarnish that may not be able to be polished if it keeps happening.
I appreciate him being honest here but it is embarrassing to say the least.
My questions is why could they not get another car there ASAP. There was no excuse not to pull a car from somewhere and put in on track. It may have been a risk with a untried new car but the odds were better than the broken car.
They should have been able to repair this car tool. Pads do not take long to replace and if it had the ceramic rotors they did not need replaced. Also the electrical issue should have been found with a competent tech.
I would agree that this is an embarrassment. Luckily, they figured out the problem. But, the problem should have been discovered before the fact. I also wonder why they didn’t provide another car to Motor Trend than the one that Car and Driver already beat on.
GM is learning and genuinely trying to improve itself, but it still pulls a boneheaded move every once in a while.
I will be fair and chalk this one up just to a big mistake. All MFG make em but most are not as public as this.
Porsche had many engine failures in the GT3 if I recall to the point they told the owners not to drive them. Ferrari used the wrong glue and many 458 models caught fire and burned. So no one is infallible.
Tadge and his crew are sharp and I am sure this will never be repeated again.
Look for a follow up story where the magazine will retest this car and they will post the numbers. I have seen it done before and I expect they will do the same here. That is if they want to save GM advertising dollars.
I remember receiving that issue and cracking it open immediately to see how the vette finished.
What a disappointment. Espcially when MT made it clear that they saw the vette as the presumptive winner.
Tadge Juechter’s explanation is logical; but it sort of demonstrates that there are still guys (including Juechter) at General Motors who still think the same way which lead to the ignition issue as there should have been another car because no one needs bad publicity like this.
This goes out to the Car n Driver crew!
I think you mean Ceramic Brake Pads, not Rotors scott3
Scott doesn’t know the difference. He lives in his mother’s basement, and she does all the maintenance on their shared 1997 Geo Metro.
Or maybe the MT guys had trouble with the Z06 because the motor is so prone to failure. There’s another article on here discussing the Z06 class-action lawsuit. Ironically, this is the engine that Jay Leno joked was so sturdy you could fix it with a hammer. Seems like the Z06 really doesn’t deserve to be a best driver’s car. For the same cash as a C7, the Cayman is looking like a more fun and reliable car for the everyday driver. Also, you can drive it in snow and not crash.
Also, shame on the Corvette team for letting this slip by! Johan is so focused and motivated that he sent a 2nd ATS-V so that MT could test the automatic, and have a backup. The Corvette team should send a manual and auto each time as well – backup, and to showcase the auto.