Imagine Target trumping Saks Fifth Avenue. Timex outshining Rolex. Chevy beating Lamborghini.
Actually, that last one should come as no surprise. The Chevrolet Corvette has added to its status as the world’s most affordable supercar as it emerged the king of the 2015 Car and Driver Lightning Lap competition at Virginia International Raceway. It outran such thoroughbreds as the $353,115 McLaren 650S Spider, $274,120 Lamborghini Huracan and $163,000 Porsche 911 GT3.
So quick was the $100,245 Z06 — Corvette’s 650-horsepower performance model — that in the nine-year history of the famed Lightning Lap only one car has ever recorded a faster time: the 2014 Porsche 918 hybrid, a carbon-fiber cyborg from the future that costs nearly nine times as much the Corvette. The $875,175 Porsche was faster by a mere 1.5 seconds. That’s over $250,000 per half second.
The Corvette’s performance left Car and Driver Editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman in awe.
“It’s incredible how much performance they pack into that $100,000 price point,” Alterman said. “One of the interesting things about the Z06 is it proves the car with the highest top speed is not necessarily the fastest car around a race track. The McLaren (top speed: 204 mph), for example, was faster on the straights, but the Z06 with more down-force and grip just dominated on the more technical parts of the track.”
Ann Arbor-based Car and Driver is perhaps the country’s most revered auto enthusiast magazine, and VIR is one America’s most revered tracks. “We go there because it’s the closest thing to an American Nurburgring,” Alterman said in comparing the 4.1-mile, 24-turn roller-coaster outside Danville, Virginia, to the legendary, 13-mile German circuit.
The resulting Lightning Lap test is an independent benchmark of whether today’s best performance cars are as quick on the track as their numbers suggest on paper. For three days, four top driver/journalists analyzed 18 of the industry’s state-of-the-art grouped by price.