I tend to avoid the “in this issue” approach to column-writing, chiefly because it doesn’t impart any information that can’t be obtained by simply reading the rest of the magazine. (Also, it’s lazy.) So if this edition marks a minor departure from that policy, please don’t take it as a sign that I’ve run out of ideas or enthusiasm.
Quite the opposite, in fact. As you’ll discover on the pages that lie ahead, the weeks leading up to the production of this issue were positively chockablock with Corvette-related news, not to mention a pair of opportunities to experience the latest iteration of Chevy’s sports car in all-new driving environments.
But before I go on, I’d like to offer a tip of the editorial hat to our colleagues at Motor Trend, who were good enough to share with us the information and photography upon which this month’s C7 Z06 preview (p. 62) is based. By virtue of its size and reach, MT is often afforded exclusive early access to upcoming car and truck models, and that was precisely the case with the new Z. Thanks to the cooperative spirit of that magazine’s editorial staff, we were able to assemble a detailed analysis of this extraordinary car well ahead of its official launch.
Speaking of the Z06, it forms one tine of a three-pronged Corvette assault intended to keep interest in the seventh-generation model aboil throughout 2014 and beyond. The strategy is much the same as it was with the C6, which saw the release of both a higher-performance and a pure racing variant take place within a year of the base car’s late-2004 debut. Both vehicles are back in C7-derived form for ’14 (as the aforementioned C7 Z06 and the C7.R, respectively), but this time around they’re joined by a completely new article of high-tech hardware: the Performance Drive Recorder, or PDR.
As we learned at the Stingray Convertible launch (p. 24) in December, the PDR is a combination 720p camera/microphone/data recorder that will be available as an option on all ’15 Corvette models. (No word yet on whether it can be retrofitted to last year’s model.) Designed in conjunction with British racing-development firm Cosworth, it uses both GPS data and information taken from the car’s onboard computers to offer a multiplicity of different playback options for the driver.
For example, say you were trying to determine the fastest line around the track during a high-performance driving event. Using the PDR, you could create a visual record of each lap, combining point-of-view footage with real-time readouts of rpm, vehicle speed, g-forces, and other variables.
Not an HPDE habitué? The system is designed to accommodate more casual use as well. Imagine recording an impromptu blast down your favorite stretch of back-country road, without having to suction-cup a camera precariously to the door beforehand. With its pushbutton operation and fully integrated design, the PDR makes it easy to star in your very own Getaway in Stockholm sequel (though preferably minus the flagrant flouting of traffic laws). Look for these C7 mini-movies to hit YouTube by the hundreds in the very near future.
Getting back to the car itself, I think you’ll find the results of our base-coupe test (pg. 22) to be both pleasantly surprising and slightly perplexing. It is only by subjecting cars to instrumented testing under extreme conditions that we’re able to expose their unique talents and idiosyncrasies, something to keep in mind the next time you read a so-called “review” built on rote praise and subjective performance analysis.
But enough about that. You have a magazine to read, after all, and I have plenty more C7 news to write about.