For Release: Jan. 1, 2004, 12:01 a.m.
Under the Skin: Beneath Corvette C6s Shapely Curves Lies State-of-the-Art Performance Technology
Corvette C6 is the result of lessons learned from C5-Rs successes on the track combined with fresh thinking about what a 21st century sports car should be. As the next logical step in the evolution of GMs Performance Cars Architecture, it takes its robust and real-world-validated backbone structure and enhances it with completely new suspension components.
The key features of the backbone structure – low weight, high strength via hydroformed steel frame rails, cored composite floors, enclosed center tunnel, rear-mounted transmission and aluminum cockpit structure – enable C6s top speed, world-class handling, quiet ride and fuel efficiency.
Where the structure has been shortened, it has been strengthened to enhance its crashworthiness. Optimization in key areas – front rails, front bumpers, and hood-hinges – resulted in a design that is more robust yet shorter and lighter than its predecessor.
Enhanced structure, all-new
Smoother ride, better handling
The result is a Corvette that is more poised at higher limits of handling.
Its a much more pleasing ride, says Mike Neal, ride and handling development engineer for the 2005 Corvette. Its less touchy, its less tuggy, its better isolated, its quieter for road noise. Its all of those things and still a better handling car. Handling is our first priority in the Corvette.
The Standard suspension is tuned for a balance of ride comfort and precise handling. The optional F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension adds to the Standard suspension magneto-rheological dampers that are able to detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride and body control.
The optional Z51 Performance Package is a competition-ready system for the true performance enthusiast. It offers more aggressive dampers and springs, larger stabilizer bars, Goodyear Supercar tires with an asymmetrical tread pattern, and larger, cross-drilled brake rotors for outstanding handling performance that is still comfortable for daily driving. Beyond the suspension bits, the Z51 is a total system that takes the regular C6 to near-exotic levels of performance. It features gear ratios borrowed from the previous Corvette Z06 for maximum acceleration performance, and includes coolers added for the transmission and power steering systems for aggressive, track-oriented use. The result is a car that very nearly equals the Z06 in track performance – representing a tremendous value.
Next-generation Extended Mobility
Goodyear is supplying two different tires, depending on the suspension package. For the Standard and F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspensions, a standard directional-tread tire is offered for a balance between handling and ride. The Z51 Performance Package – the choice for the serious enthusiast – features an asymmetrical-tread tire that offers maximum handling performance. The wheel and tire sizes are the same for the Z51 option, which will deliver handling abilities similar to the 2004 Z06, despite the slightly narrower width of the new tires.
More robust brakes
The C6 brake system focuses its improvements chiefly on heat dissipation and durability requisite of the cars upgraded overall performance capability. For the Standard and F55 Magnetic Ride configurations, the brake rotors remain the same diameter as the C5, at 12.8 inches in front and 12.0 inches in the rear. However, the rotors themselves have been thoroughly redesigned. The front rotors weigh 2 pounds more than the C5, aiding durability. They also generate less heat against the brake pads, which improves wear and reduces fade. In all brake applications, the front calipers utilize dual pistons and the rears use single pistons.
The Z51 Performance Package extends the Corvettes braking capability with larger diameter rotors (13.4 inches in front and 13.0 inches in rear) that are cross-drilled.
Dynamic chassis control systems
Our philosophy for Active Handling is that it should allow drivers to experience the higher handling limits of C6 without interfering with their enjoyment of the car, explains Dave Hill chief engineer of the Corvette and vehicle line executive for GM Performance Cars. Our commitment to continuous improvement has resulted in the industrys most sporting stability system available.
The anti-lock braking system detects and intervenes to prevent wheel lockup during braking and features four channels plus a steering sensor. ABS is tied into the Active Handling stability system and shares sensors for steering angle, wheel speed, and acceleration and deceleration in all directions. Traction control initiates individual wheel braking and/or engine torque reduction after sensing excessive wheelspin. Active Handling stability control influences the attitude of the car by applying braking to individual wheels. The optional Magnetic Selective Ride system integrates with these systems to enhance handling and body control by optimizing damping rates based on input from changing road surfaces.
In keeping with Corvettes performance heritage, and unlike more intrusive systems of some competitors, the Corvette Team developed a calibration philosophy based on how Corvette drivers actually drive their cars.
We felt it was better to calibrate the system around our knowledge of what our customers are going to do, rather than a system that intervenes heavily and slows them down, explains Hill. Our intent was to encourage Corvette drivers to keep the system on. We wanted our Active Handling System to work with the drivers in their spirited driving, rather than against them.
In all, the C6s dynamic chassis control systems are smarter, less intrusive, and more adept at making the total driving experience precisely what Corvette owners have come to expect from their car.