Watching Nick Licata fling the car through the slalom, I thought it looked quite promising. No fuss, no twitch, plenty of compliance, just enough body roll to allow the suspension to work ... I couldn't wait. As this car was one of the last to be tested, I had plenty of practice under my butt. Giving this one the best trips possible was high priority. So when I was presented with "That Car," I eagerly opened the door and was faced with a huge dilemma-I wasn't going to fit! The seat wasn't adjustable and neither was I. We were at an impasse but I was going to give it the good old college try.
I folded myself in the drivers' seat, looped a leg over the pedal assembly where my feet met these very cool pedals that were raised about six inches from the floor. I ended up scrunched recumbent with my knees pressed against the bottom of a very small diameter steering wheel. I was worried. Here I am behind the wheel of "That Car," given the driving opportunity of a lifetime, and I look like a pretzel and I can't even move. Crap!
I fired the engine and got this tingly sensation replete with grins, depressed the clutch and selected first gear, and headed to the start line. Taking a deep breath, I thought "It doesn't get any cooler than this. I wonder how long it'll take for The Roadster Shop guys to figure out I'm not coming back ..." and just went for it. Got into second gear, rounded the left-hander and thought the car was doing really, really well with only a fraction of accelerator pedal. Hit the offset slalom element and realized some serious WOW was taking place. The Corvette drove like a slot car. It went where it was pointed, and it didn't get excited under quick directional changes. We hit the crossover and turned down to the end sweeper where I found the brakes good, but slightly touchy at the end of full pedal depression. The Corvette got around the end sweeper very well and it was easy to hit the apexes under power. Coming back, I finally managed WOT at the finish and have never been behind the wheel of a car that had that kind of power. It was that smooth and transient. And what a huge power band.
My overall impression of The Roadster Shop's Corvette is excellent. The car gives great feedback and I never approached any limit where the car was out of sorts. Transitions were fluid and as mentioned before, the Corvette has that "slot car" type of traction and change of direction. If you get your braking done early, power transfer is awesome. My observations of Nick were right on as compliance was the key. Without it, a car will never be able to respond to driver input. This Corvette has it in spades.
As for the drawbacks, the driver's compartment was just plain uncomfortable and I never found a "home." Definitely recommend that the controls (steering wheel and seats) be made somewhat adjustable. I'm positive there was tons of time left on the course due to me not being able to move a bit behind the wheel. The pedal assembly was also placed higher than what I'm used to causing my knees to continuously hit the steering wheel. Fix this and "That Car" will be perfect.
Driver's Impression-On the Street
I've driven some expensive cars in the past, everything from Ferraris and Lamborghinis to Top Flight Corvettes and a Saleen S7 Twin Turbo, but that stuff was all low rent compared to this machine. This piece would cost over a half a million bucks to duplicate. Cha-ching!
I found the layout and design of the interior to be at the head of this pack of cars. My only complaint was the opposite of Mary's-I found the pedals to be too far forward for me. But it was designed with my bod in mind so what can you do? Once I got used to the floor mounted pedals, I discovered they and the shifter worked flawlessly. The steering was exceptional, linear and responsive with no dead spots. It communicated everything that was going on with the tires. Power from the LS7 was like getting kicked in the back by God.