How did you manage to keep the 50/50 weight balance?


The new engine is a little longer, with the variable-valve-timing hardware at the front, which is why the wheelbase is an inch longer. These cars have always been considered by chassis guys to be front/mid-engine cars and now the engine is fully behind the front axle. Moving the coolers and the battery to the back helps.


We’re actually better than 50/50, we’re a little rear-biased, getting closer to the race car’s 48/52 front-rear balance.

What’s new with the brakes?


We’ve got two distinct brake systems for two distinct cars. The base C7 has 35 percent more swept area than the base C6. The C7 Z51 has 6 percent more swept area than the current Z06. They’re some pretty awesome brakes. The guys who’ve run mules at VIR are getting lap times competitive with today’s Z06. This is a dual-cast rotor. It’s got an inner [aluminum] web and an outer [cast-iron] rotor and the beauty of this is you can allow for the thermal expansion of the rotor without affecting the hub geometry, so you can make them out of two different materials. We’ve gone away from holes that go through the rotor, because there have been instances of breakage there. New surface slots give you some initial bite that the development engineers say they feel, plus, at speed, they evacuate gasses off the pad.

THEM’S THE BRAKES: Larger rotors and fixed calipers promise eye-bleeding stops; Z51’s dual-cast rotor (shown). Other Z51 markers: rear spoiler and 19-inch front, 20-inch rear wheels, bigger MSRP (not shown).

What’s with your devotion to the transverse leaf springs?


We try not to say leaf. It makes people think of pickup trucks, and it’s not like that at all. It’s an engineered composite spring. It’s got a low CG [center of gravity], it’s light, it provides some anti-roll contribution, and it packages well, enabling a low hoodline. We know there are a lot of aftermarket suppliers for coil-overs for our car, but there’s a difference between that and an actual, true production car when it runs through a validation process.

The magnetorheological shocks are still an option?


There are three shocks: Standard is this 35-mm [1.4-inch] Bilstein monotube. The Z51 uses a 45-mm [1.8-inch] Bilstein, and Magnetic Ride Control is optional on Z51.

Electric-assist power steering? Really?


Yes, electric assist. We reengineered every single part from the wheel where your fingers touch through the tilt mechanism, through the steering shaft, through the solid-mounted steering rack, and after we reengineered that stuff we measured the system and it’s five times stiffer than today’s. Five times! I didn’t believe it; I asked for proof. You get exactly proportional response when you turn the wheel. We’ve got a smaller-diameter 360-mm [14.2-inch] steering wheel. We started C5 at 386 [15.2 inches], then we did a 380 [15.0 inches] and a 376 [14.8 inches], and now we’re down to 360, very close to a true racing size. The trick with the small wheel is getting a good view of the cluster, and everyone expects buttons and control modes located there. And you’ve gotta shrink the airbag and meet driver safety requirements, so there are two big engineering challenges.

ALLOY THERE: Stiffer than today’s steel hydroformed rails, C7’s frame joins aluminum extrusions (A) engineered to absorb crash energy; castings (B) for firm, precise suspension and steering mounts; and hydroformed tubes (C) for weight savings.

Variable effort for the steering is something the driver selects?


It’s one of up to 12 variables, so we decided to integrate these controls with the Driver Mode Selector on the console. You choose the mode: weather for snow or rain, eco that will maximize use of AFM, sport for fast road driving, and a setup for track use.

So why is it a Stingray?


We didn’t know for sure if we were going to rechristen the car the Stingray. [Vice president of global design] Ed Welburn was extremely strong on this point. He said, “I’m not going to sign off to call it a Stingray until we see how it turns out.” He meant that Stingray is a hallowed name in automotive history, representing a combination of striking styling along with a certain type of design language that kind of evokes a stingray, along with commensurate technology. One of the last decisions we made on the car was whether or not to call it a Stingray, and when we’re all said and done, we went through the technology, the design, and the new interior, and there was no question.

View Photos

View Photos

About The Author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.