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Covert Corvette

Old 02-01-2007, 10:13 PM
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Published on 02/01/2007

Covert Corvette

By Alex McCall

Corvette Stingray — or is it a Corvette SS?Rumors of a new, ultra-powerful Chevrolet Corvette have been circulating for the last two years, and while Chevrolet hasn't confirmed anything yet, industry watchers and gossipers agree that this ultimate 'Vette will feature a 650-hp supercharged 7.0-liter V8 derived from the current Corvette Z06 engine and a price well over $100,000.

"I thought I would have mine delivered last summer," said Tim Greenshields, SCCA National Competition Driver, software company executive and high-performance sports car enthusiast. He is among a small contingent of Corvette fanatics that are said to have already put down a deposit on this yet-to-be-announced new variant.

Greenshields had inside information on the mystery 'Vette as a result of being friends with Corvette engineers (a claim we could not confirm with Chevrolet). He said that a full carbon-fiber body and increased aluminum in the suspension make this new Corvette 50 percent lighter than the current top Corvette model, the Z06. “This will be one lightning-fast car," he said. Industry insiders anticipate that the car’s body will, as Greenshields said, include more carbon fiber and polycarbonates to make it lighter and faster.

Chevrolet officials wouldn’t confirm any information on the new Corvette model. “At this point, it’s all rumor and hearsay,” said Alex Nelsen, amateur racer of his 2004 Corvette Z06 and managing partner of Rocky Mountain Corvette, an enthusiast club.

Consensus among various sources indicates that the new Corvette will likely be available in 2009. Depending on whom you ask, it will be called the Blue Devil, Blue Ray, Mako Shark, Stingray or SS. "It won't be called the Blue Devil,” Greenshields said. “That was just what they called the test mule that [Formula One race car driver] Jan Magnussen drove on the Nürburgring.” The Nürburgring is a famous and challenging race circuit in Germany that many car manufacturers use as a proving ground while developing their vehicles.

2007 Chevrolet Corvette+ enlarge image | view gallery >The 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is currently the most powerful Corvette on the market and is already exceedingly fast. Its 7.0-liter V8 puts out 505 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, which enables it to sprint to 60 mph in less than four seconds. As car manufacturers race to one-up each other with evermore powerful engines, the question emerges as to what their ultimate goal is and whether producing thinly veiled race cars for the street is even safe.

"Between GM's financial problems and the potential for substantial liability when any yahoo with $100,000 can get behind the wheel of a car with that much power, I wouldn't be surprised if it stays a concept," Nelsen said in reference to the rumored Corvette.

Roc Linkov, events manager for the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., and Corvette high-speed racing instructor, shares Nelsen's safety concerns. "If a stock Corvette with 650 hp is produced, GM should consider requiring owners to obtain a special license or training," he said. "Someone stepping on the gas of their new car and hitting 100 mph in seconds may not know how to handle that kind of power."

Rae Tyson, representative for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that as long as cars have existed, there have been concerns about their speed and safety. “From a safety standpoint it isn’t a matter of horsepower; it’s a matter of driver responsibility,” he said

Nelsen, Linkov and Greenshields all agree that anyone interested in buying a Corvette, or any other such race car in disguise, should invest in high-speed driving instruction. "An inexperienced driver and a high-performance car is a deadly combination,” Greenshields said. “Driver instruction sh
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