2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Test - Shop Talk

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Turn, Baby, Turn!
All right, bear with me as I share a little bit of excitement. Last month I showed our latest in-house project vehicle: an '02 Z06, and wanted your opinion on whether or not to modify it. Just a week after finishing my editorial, we had our first test session, where we scrutinized the Z through the skidpad, 60-to-0 braking, and the 420-foot slalom. I have to say, having the Vette pushed to the limit was very exciting, but then again, I'm such a newbie to this a self-powered wagon might have impressed me.

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All kidding aside, the results were phenomenal-much better than anything I anticipated. Editor Nick Licata from our sister book Camaro Performers handled the driving, but he was nice enough to let me shoe all the cars through the quarter-mile. The guy is a driver and was the most qualified person to get the job done, accurately and consistently. For what it's worth, I did get to show him how to extrapolate the best e.t. on the straight end, but that's a funny story for another day. Right Nick?

Now that we have the baseline numbers, I'm already planning to get back at it within the next few weeks, only this time on a fresh set of Nitto NT05s. The Nittos are slightly softer, featuring a 200 treadwear rating and, unlike the factory rubber, they aren't Run Flats. While the Run Flats are definitely handy on longer road trips, the softer sidewall should offer a smoother ride, but I'll have to confirm that after the testing.

As much as I would like to disclose the current numbers, you're going to have to wait until the story goes to print in the next couple of months. I will say the baseline numbers are flat-out incredible and even I'm questioning how they'll compare. Let's face it, unlike some of the older muscle cars that show a tremendous improvement with basic upgrades, we're dealing with a car that's very up to date in the modern performance world.

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Don't get me wrong, I know we'll see a gain in performance, but at this point I have to believe the gains will show smaller increments. I think the biggest challenge is properly matching the components, which goes without saying for any given project. I still have a lot of research to do; however, the current testing has given me a greater idea of what these evaluation numbers mean. We definitely have digits to shoot for, with any number of projects from here on out in the immediate and not-so-immediate future.

The good news is, having access to our new test facility at the former El Toro Marine Base is really going to open up the doors for us. Believe me, the fun is just beginning, and we're taking testing to a whole new level in Chevy High Performance.

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