CORVETTE TESTING DESIGNED TO RETAIN "AMERICA'S FAVORITE SPORTS CAR" ICON STATUS
WARREN, Mich. - Chevrolet Corvette has been called "America's favorite sports car" for its ability to deliver proven power and performance in a production model. At Chevrolet, we take great pride in Corvette's status and work diligently to ensure it will remain a source of automotive awe and inspiration for years to come. That is why Corvette is subjected to the same general durability testing as all other General Motors vehicles. Then, it's tested even further, with three additional tests - 250 miles of autocross, 24 hours on the racetrack and top speed at wide-open throttle - to ensure that America's sports car is ready for high-performance use.
24 Hours on the Racetrack
"It's really the equivalent of 24 individual sprint races, each lasting one hour," explains Mike Neal, Corvette ride and handling chassis development. "It takes about an hour at track speed to consume a tank of fuel. The car then comes in; we check and top off fluids, replace brakes and tires, download our instrumentation and send the car out again. We do this until the car has completed 24 hours on the track."
The 2.2-mile road course used to validate the ‘02 Z06 consists of a 120-mph straightaway, 90-mph sweeping curves and 40-mph hairpins. The drivers make 12 shifts per lap and brake 10 times per lap. "Compared to the 2001 Z06, the 2002 model is half a second faster around our test track," adds Neal.
Throughout the testing, equipment monitors and records 30 channels of thermal information from critical components and fluids. In addition to the temperature readings, other pertinent data is collected and analyzed, including, oil pressure, engine rpm, vehicle speed, lateral acceleration, as well as fore and aft acceleration.
"For the Corvette, this additional testing is essential in validating the robustness of the vehicle for racing application," explains Neal. "In the case of the 2002 Z06, the track-testing phase was key in helping us determine that a new clutch design was needed."
The clutch of the 2001 Z06 had already been enhanced to deal with the increased power of the LS6 (over the LS1); with the additional power of the 2002 LS6, a new clutch design was developed to ensure long life and good performance.
"Our 24 hours of at racing speeds is an invaluable complement to our normal durability testing," says Dave Hill, Performance Cars vehicle line executive and Corvette chief engineer. "It's one test that is severe enough to give Corvette the robustness our owners expect. It's what makes Corvette stand out among the competition."
Top Speed Wide-Open Throttle