The Clarkson review: Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (2015)

By Jeremy Clarkson Published 11 May 2015
The Sunday Times


Hold the high fives, Hank, till someone figures out how to drive it, and I must admit it’s been rather enjoyable. Talking to an American about stuff is like talking to a child who’s going to the zoo. There’s no irony, no self-deprecation and none of the barely fathomable subtlety you get when talking to a Britisher. It’s a non-stop rollercoaster of primary-coloured enthusiasm.

We see exactly the same sort of thing in the online blurb Chevrolet has created for its new Corvette Z06. It’s billed as a “world-class supercar” and a “triumph of design and engineering”. There’s even a quote from Tadge Juechter, the chief engineer who worked on the car: “Its aerodynamic downforce performance is massive and unlike anything we’ve ever tested in any street car.”

Here in Europe we scoff at this sort of thing. We read it and think, “Yeah, well, you would say that. You designed it, so you’re hardly likely to say it’s a bit crap.” Whereas an American would read the quote and think, “Wow. The new Z06’s aerodynamic downforce performance is massive and unlike anything Chevrolet has ever tested in any street car.”

There’s more. Chevrolet tells us the Z06 sits “at the intersection of Le Mans and the autobahn”, which to me means it sits in the French village of Bar-sur-Seine, just to the southeast of Troyes. But it wasn’t sitting there at all. It was sitting in the pits at the Thruxton racing circuit, in Hampshire, on a very windy and extremely cold May day last week.

There is nothing on God’s green earth that is quite as depressing as a second- division British racing circuit: the metal window frames on the mildewy portable buildings, the boarded-up burger vans, the cock-eyed signs saying, “Marshal camping”. And there in the middle of it all was what appeared to be a child’s toy, an egg-yellow Corvette. It cheered the place up in the way a pair of bright curtains can make a squat feel like home.

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