Does it get any more American than that? Sure, we could include the cliché baseball and apple pie, but it’s the Corvette that might best define what it means to be an American.
Like many Americans, the Corvette tries really hard to be good looking, could probably stand to lose a few pounds, and can’t quite keep up with its fancy European peers.
The new Corvette ZR1, however, might finally be the car to outshine its European counterparts.
Well, maybe not all of them.
Sports cars and supercars, especially those of European heritage, are traditionally graded by the time it takes for them to get around the Green Hell. That, of course, is the nickname for Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife, the track that serves as a proving ground for the world’s greatest cars.
The current speed record for getting around that 12.9-mile track is a blistering 06:47.3, recently set by the new $300,000 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which just might be the fastest (and sexiest) street car ever built. The Wall Street Journal‘s Dan Neil experienced the car first-hand and wrote,
0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, officially (feels a bit quicker than that to me); quarter-mile time of 10.5 seconds (ditto). The top speed is given as an entirely adequate 211 mph. Thanks mostly to a rear wing the size of a coroner’s table and a jutting aero-elastic splitter up front, the GT2 RS generates hundreds of pounds of downforce, which I must say feels pretty reassuring when you’re sweeping through the Algarve International Circuit’s hammer-throw T15 at a buck-twenty and +1 g cornering loads. Damn, this thing is fast, I must have muttered a thousand times.
And no, the Corvette ZR1 is not expected to take the ‘Ring crown from Porsche. But it might come close.
Currently, the only two cars to record times under 7 minutes are the aforementioned Porsche and the Lamborghini Huracán Performante. If the ZR1 performs as Chevy engineers expect, we can add the Corvette to that exclusive club at a price of less than half the 911 GT2 RS’s.
The Corvette has come a long way in recent years and is now a bona fide supercar, at least in the ZR1 trim, with performance numbers within spitting distance of Porsche’s top dog.
Has the Corvette improved enough for you to take one home instead of a Porsche 911?
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