When driver enthusiasts dream of the ultimate track to test their skills they think of the infamous Nurburgring track. Designed to push cars and drivers to their limits, car manufacturers have used the Nurburgring track to prove their engineer advancements and gain bragging rights over competing manufacturers for years. Those on the Top 100 Nurburgring lap time list are usually proud of where they stand, but all are eager to return and improve.
Spots #13 and #15 are held by Corvettes and the rumor is Corvette is itching to get back on the Nurburgring and fight for higher spots.
Corvette ZR1 vs. Nurburgring
At spot #13 sits the 2012 Corvette ZR1. Surprisingly the ZR1 driven was one with no special racing modifications. It was completely stock, sporting nothing but what was available to any Corvette buyer. In fact, the only changes made were for safety purposes and actually increased the weight of the Corvette. This added weight is said to have slowed it more than the ZR1’s available to the public. Whether or not it was really slowed by the extra weight, it was hard to tell. The ZR1 reached speeds up to 180 MPH and finished with an official Nurburgring lap time of 7:19:63. The 2012 ZR1 was completely driver optimized with aero package improvements along with Pilot Sport Tires. The track driver was Corvette’s very own lead chassis development engineer, a typical move by Corvette. Corvette believes that having one of their own engineers drive the car will allow them to more easily translate notes from track performance into the changes on the manufacturing floor.
Corvette Z06 vs. Nurburgring
At spot #15 is the 2011 Corvette Z06. Taken to the Nurburgring track to test its substantial performance upgrade, the Z06 did not disappoint. New to this model was the ZR1 performance traction management system. Available for the first time to Z06s, this system allowed for custom tuned vehicle behavior for each driver. The Z06 also had the help of its new braking system, allowing a 60–0 stop to happen in just 100ft. The chassis development engineer drove yet again, reaching speeds of 170MPH and finishing with a strong Nurburgring lap time of 7:22:68.
What’s Next for Corvettes on the Nurburgring Track?
So why are newer corvettes not on the list? Unfortunately for all manufacturers, including Corvette, in early 2015 there was a fatal accident during a Nurburgring race that killed an audience member. Following the accident the Nurburgring implemented speed limits on certain parts of the track and disallowed the sharing of lap times. The 2015 Corvette Z06 still took to the track despite these new limitations, but unfortunately crashed. For the laps it did complete there are rumors of very impressive speed improvements but due to the strict “no share rule” we will never know the truth.
2016 brings excitement and hope again as the Nurburgring speed limits have been lifted and lap times are shareable once again. The question now is will Corvette return and fight for a spot higher on the list? While there is no way to be certain one thing we know for sure is Corvette has created a track beast that is hard to contain, making the Nurburgring even harder to resist.