2020 Chevrolet Corvette gets a documentary and a 'Ring lap time

Jonathon Ramsey

Chevrolet has more stories to tell about the 2020 Corvette, which the automaker will do in a two-part documentary called "Revolution: The Mid-Engined Corvette Story." Release dates are fuzzy, all we have for now is a trailer and confirmation that the full monty will air over the coming months on the dedicated Corvette page on Chevy's web site. The most interesting tidbit to come out of the documentary trailer is that Corvette Racing driver Oliver Gavin drove a development prototype equipped with the Z51 Performance Package around the Nürburgring in 7:29.9. The production team wrote the time on the 'Ring tarmac at the 0:52 mark in the video as if it were graffiti. An automaker spokesperson confirmed the time to Roadshow.

The lap time sandwiches the coming Stingray between the 2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1 that ran in 7:29.6 and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT clocked in 7:30. The Corvette ran barely two seconds adrift of Sport Auto's 7:27.48 time set in a Ferrari 812 Superfast, and barely one second behind BMW's official 7:27.8 lap with the $135,000 M4 GTS.

Compared to other Corvettes, the outlook for gobsmacking times from faster C8 variants is outstanding. We'll start with the C6 Corvette because it offers the most complete data. In 2005, Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen set a time of 7:59 in the base C6 Corvette with the Z51 Performance Package. That same year, Magnussen set a time of 7:42.9 in the C6 Corvette Z06. In June 2011, Mero took the wheel of a 2012 Corvette Z06 and set a 7:22.68, and drove the 2012 Corvette ZR1 around the 'Ring in 7:19.63. As for the C7, last summer GM driver Jim Mero explained that weather conditions and mechanical issues prevented the automaker from setting a time in the C7 Corvette. However, Sport Auto managed to hustle a C7 Z06 around the 'Ring in 7:13.90 in April 2017.

Looking at the time deltas between C6 versions, and figuring Chevy won't let the coming Z06 be slower than the retired Z06, a time around 7:10 seems conservative for a Corvette Z06 refocused on lightweight, track-ready speed. If Chevy can take just five seconds off the C7 Z06, the C8 Z06 will be within two tenths of the McLaren 600LT and Nissan GT-R Nismo. And after that, there will be at least two hybrid Corvette variants to reckon with, one of them expected to be the ZR1 with something like 900 or 1,000 horsepower. Are we looking at a Corvette ready to dip into the sixes?

While we wait to find out, we'll be on the lookout for the documentary to learn what other secrets the new coupe holds.

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