Let's get a potentially delicate bit of information out of the way right up front: We drove a Chevy Volt to the Holley LS Fest. For the record, piloting a lozenge-shaped gas/electric hybrid deep into Corvette country to attend one of the nation's premier high-performance driving events was not our original intention. Rather, we'd hoped to follow the same basic approach taken in our 2011 Fest trip, smashingly surmounted from behind the wheel of a then-new Grand Sport convertible ("Paddling Faster," Feb. '12). But when GM's regional press fleet proved depressingly Corvette-free in the days leading up to our most recent multistate jaunt, adjustments, as they say, had to be made.
On a positive note, our little bimodal brougham completed the approximately 1,700-mile round trip without incident, its battery pack evincing zero inclination to recreate a Hindenburgian conflagration along the way. The car also achieved a respectable combined fuel-economy average of 33 mpg, this despite not once being recharged during its time in our care.
But enough about that. Considerably more electrifying than our batteryassisted conveyance were the goings-on at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, site of the Fest since its inception in 2010. The wider economy may still be drifting along in the doldrums, but based on the number and quality of the cars we saw in BG, the market for Gen III and IV engine hardware continues to charge full speed ahead.
In addition to the typical drag-racing and autocross events, this year's Fest featured a "3S Challenge" in place of the previous Speed Stop competition. In 3S—whose name reflects an emphasis on "speed, stopping, and steering"—competitors accelerated flat out across a large parking lot, negotiated a 180-degree hairpin, and charged back in the opposite direction before coming to a halt in a short "stopping box" delineated by cones. Overshoot the box, and your run is DQ'd.
While our Volt's lack of an LS engine naturally rendered it ineligible for 3S and the rest of the Fest-ivities, we were content to enjoy the on-track action vicariously and from a safe remove, while documenting it for inclusion here. Corvette representation was once again strong, and with C7 production now in full swing, performance-tuned examples of Chevy's flagshiptwo-seater should prove top contenders at the next Fest, to take place later this year.
Note to GM: This time, we're got dibs on a Stingray. LT Fest, anyone?
VETTE Magazine "Fastest Corvette" Award Winners
|Quarter-Mile||Mark Carlyle||Hilliard, OH|
|Autocross||Danny Popp||Cincinnati, OH|
|3S Challenge||Danny Popp||Cincinnati, OH|
For more information on Holley LS Fest '14, visit www.holley.com/lsfest.