“I don’t see any cones … ” observes sports-car racing champion, Cadillac factory driver and Autoweek road-test ringer Andy Pilgrim, eying the Road Atlanta circuit as the SUV carrying us toward the paddock crests an access road. “This will be interesting.”
No cones mean no chicanes installed temporarily at the blistering 2.54-mile road course that rises and falls into a terrorizing bevy of quick, blind corners. “Interesting” is Pilgrim-speak, translated loosely, for, “Don’t be stupid when you get out there. Slow your hands down, and don’t get over your head. You don’t want to be that guy.”
At least, that’s what we hear as a realization manifests: The Corvette team is about to turn us loose, relatively unchecked, around this place in its new 2015 Z06.
A brief recap: The quickest series-production Corvette in history goes on sale in December with a new LT4 6.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 650 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 650-lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600. Chevrolet says the base version reaches 195 mph, and 186 mph when equipped with full aerodynamics (keep reading). Our own testing of a seven-speed manual gearbox model yielded 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, and the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at 123.8 mph; Corvette engineers say an 8L90 eight-speed-automatic equipped car does 2.95 and 10.95, respectively.
Built on the same aluminum frame as the C7 Corvette Stingray, the 2015 Z06 is 20-percent stiffer than the C6 Z06, according to Chevy. This allows the coupe to come standard with a removable roof; a true convertible arrives in early 2015 and neither require additional chassis reinforcements to handle their increased performance beyond the Stingray.