VM: By running an unmodified Corvette, do you feel you proved something to the other competitors?
ES: I think we proved that even a stock Corvette is a formidable weapon and nothing to dismiss. It was designed and performs as a superior sports car. It's fast, it handles awesome, it's versatile, it's reliable, it gets great gas mileage in a rally, it has great range, it's comfortable, and it looks damn sexy. Everyone should know that a Corvette is an exceptional piece of machinery, right out of the box.
SM: The Vette proved that a stock Chevy can outperform some of the best and more expensive cars in the world while getting incredible gas mileage, sometimes topless.
VM: If you could compete in the Bullrun reality TV show again, would you use the same Corvette, or would you think about using a Z06 or a ZR1?
ES: I also have a '90 Corvette, which was my daily driver before the '01, so you'd be whistling Dixie if you thought I wouldn't love to be driving a newer or more powerful Corvette. I had the mind-blowing pleasure recently of testdriving an '09 ZR1; it was off-the-hook incredible, like a rocket booster between my legs. However, I can't say that if a Z06 or ZR1 were at my disposal I would have surpassed my performance in my own stock LS1. While speed and power are vital-and we all love them-in the competitions, precision driving and your ability to handle your car might be more critical.
SM: In a rally, mileage is key. But if you're offering yours, sure.
VM: How did the Corvette handle acceleration, cornering, and other Bullrun challenges, such as road runs and eliminations?
ES: What can I say? The Corvette is impressive. Half the battle in Bullrun is the car, while the other half is the driver. One can have the best car in the world, but if you can't drive it well, you're never going to win. Now, I feel I'm a somewhat competent driver, and being able to drive a car built for speed and handling in these challenges is an incredible feeling. But you'll have to tune in and judge for yourself how well the TeamStrange Corvette performs.
SM: Like a leisurely Sunday drive through the scenic route to hell. The Vette was amazing. It was built for Bullrun.
VM: Tell us about some of the fun you had on the show.
ES: My teammate and I aren't cut from the same cloth as most everyone else. We were out there to compete, but we insist on having fun as well. While most teams were caught up in the strategies, stress, gameplay, and trying to keep their cars running, we were trying to have fun, start trouble, make people laugh, and instigate situations. While some teams may have liked us, our presence can be intimidating, and we could easily make others uncomfortable. This, we most definitely enjoyed.
SM: We had a good old time messing with the other teams, playing pranks, teasing them, and, let's not forget, freaking out the lovely people of rural America. Maybe the best part of it all was getting to push the Vette hard and see what it's made of. Driving with Elvis is like being on a rollercoaster with a jet engine. It was pretty damn exciting.
VM: In your opinion, is the Corvette a good choice for Bullrun? If so, why?
ES: Oh, a Corvette is a great choice. It's an awesome machine, and its versatility gives you a distinct advantage in most aspects of the game. It's powerful, fast, and reliable. It handles so tight. It was comfortable driving long distances. Most teams are threatened by gas mileage and range since fewer fill-ups [and shorter] stopping times are an advantage in the driving legs. Now, I may not get the best gas mileage the way I normally drive-maybe 16-18 mpg-but we were getting more than 30 mpg on the driving legs. For long-distance driving, cruise control and overdrive worked their charm. With an 18.5-gallon tank, we had an almost 600-mile range. This was critical information to suppress from the competition, as they all underestimated the Corvette's abilities.
SM: I was skeptical of how well the Vette would do at first, but by the end I couldn't think of a better car for the rally. It performed amazingly in the back roads and highways as well as in the competitions, and nobody guessed we had one of the best fuel ranges in the rally. On top of that, it was comfortable. When you're spending as many hours in a car a day for as many days as we did, comfort really matters. In Bullrun, fuel economy, ergonomics, and relia-bility are as important as power and handling. If I had to do this again, I would definitely choose a Corvette with Lambo doors. I really think the doors gave us the edge and intimidated the other teams.