The head of Corvette engineering sets the record straight.
The Chevrolet Corvette is going through a rough patch. Some current Corvette engines are dying alarmingly young deaths, and GM is actually being sued by owners of previous-gen Vettes for engine failure. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Corvette Z06 used by Motor Trend during its annual “Best Driver’s Car” feature got a DNF, as in a did not finish. Many were wondering what the hell went wrong, and now thanks to Tadge Juechter, head of Corvette engineering, we have the answer.
According to Juechter, the car Motor Trend used was the same one loaned to Car and Driver a few weeks earlier to run a Lightning Lap at the Virginia International Raceway. During the lap the Z06 went off the track and hit a wall of tires. The car was eventually back at it, setting the second-fastest Lightning Lap time ever. Juechter, writing on CorvetteForum, says “any time there is an incident like that, we have to tear the car down, replace broken parts and make it like-new again.” Why couldn’t Chevy just bust out a new car? Apparently press Corvettes are hard to come buy as they directly impact the pool of available vehicles for sale. In their haste to turn repair the Vette for Motor Trend Juechter’s team missed two things.
The first was that the brake pads weren’t replaced. The second issue had to do with the intercooler unit. The technician in charge of bleeding the intercooler made a mistake when plugging in the electrical connector for the pump. “Without the pump running there is no coolant flow, no intake charge cooling and the engine pulls spark to protect itself. That is what Motor Trend experienced at random times during their testing.” That sounds like a dumb mistake indeed and Juechter certainly isn’t trying to hide that. "Bottom line is that like any team we have good days and we have bad days. We engineers and technicians on the team are even more disappointed than any in the Corvette community.”