High Performance Driving Tips for Corvettes

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With its powerful, front-mounted V-8 and responsive suspension, the Chevrolet Corvette is a fast, fun to drive sports car. The newer models also offer world-class performance at a cheaper price than many European and Japanese competitors. Getting the most out of a Corvette is like any other sports car. There are a few fundamentals to keep in mind when driving one aggressively.

Relax and Drive Smoothly

  • A tense, jerky driver is not a fast driver. Be smooth with the shifter, steering wheel and pedals. Do not grip the steering wheel with a death grip. Position your hands just above the spokes of the wheel on either side and use just enough force to control the steering. Likewise, do not jam the gear lever into gear quickly and suddenly. Instead, pause for a second between the gears when shifting.

Accelerating

  • Because of the generous torque that the Corvette's V-8 motor produces, try not to ride the clutch and then dump it when taking off from a stop. Not only will a smooth takeoff minimize wheel spin during aggressive driving, but there will be less wear on the drivetrain, and ultimately, the car will last longer with fewer repairs. If you are driving on a track, do not start accelerating until you are coming out of the turn. If you start accelerating before you have begun to straighten the wheel, the car will under-steer (the front will push to the outside of the turn) and slow you down.

Braking

  • Corvette brakes are very good, particularly on a Z06 or a ZR1. The ZR1 has incredible carbon ceramic brakes usually found on much more exotic cars from Europe. It is important to apply brake pressure smoothly as you slow for a corner. Braking smoothly will prevent the chassis from shifting excessively under braking, which makes it harder to control the car as you enter a corner. Try to get all of your braking and downshifting done before you turn into a corner. If you brake, turn and downshift at the same time. To make downshifting more smooth during braking, practice heel and toeing. In this technique, the driver rotates the foot that is applying brake pressure onto the gas pedal in order to blip the throttle and bring the revs up to match the lower gear that is being selected. This is best practiced at a race track.

Cornering

  • The Corvette has a front-engine chassis but still handles as well as many mid-engine sports cars. When you turn into a corner, try not to be braking. Keep your hands in the same position on the wheel during the whole turn, only removing your right hand if you need to shift. During cornering, look ahead to where you are going, not where you are at. During aggressive cornering, be ready for any over-steer (where the rear end steps out) so that you can counter it by counter steering a little into the corner. When exiting corners, don't hit the gas suddenly, as this may cause over steering, which can be difficult to control. Make sure you have enough traction before aggressively speeding up.

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