2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test


2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: First Track Session

April 30, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

With brake rotor cooling rings installed, track pads on, front license plate removed and tires set to 26 psi cold (per Chevy's instructions), it was finally time to take our 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray out onto Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for its first track session at this combo car/motorcycle event.

First impression: The Vette sounds absolutely glorious barreling full-throttle down (or actually up) Laguna's front straight. Correction, it sounds glorious on any straight. And fast. Man is this thing fast.

But questions remained. Like would the car's optional dual-mode exhaust pop Laguna's 92-decibel sound meter? And while we swapped on track pads, special brake fluid and the rotor cooling rings, would this be enough to ward off brake fade? After all, when Josh Jacquot first tested the C7 Vette at Chevy's proving grounds, he was getting pedal fade after one hard lap...

The obvious first: This car is a blast to drive around a track, even with our nearly-worn-out Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. It was so fun to finally have a truly fast car at a track day. The shifter works great, nice and precise, and the steering is decent although there was considerably more understeer through most corners than I was expecting, I'm guessing largely due to the worn tires.

Things were going well, passing lots of cars. The Advanced car run group allows unlimited passing (still no racing, of course), so as long as you make it safe and don't put another car in jeopardy, have at it as far they're concerned.

But about three-quarters of the way through the 20-minute session, I started to get brake pedal fade. Argh! Bothersome, especially after the precautions we had taken to make sure this didn't happen.

On the bright side, apparently the Vette's exhaust was quiet enough, which surprised me because I had a sneaking suspicion that, even though it's from-the-factory, it would prove too loud.

I should've kept my mouth shut. With maybe one lap to go in the session, I got the black and orange meatball flag (appropriate if you know me), which means "pit immediately and go see the starter."

So I did. He informed me the Vette had just registered 96 decibels at the sound booth located between Turn 5 and Turn 6. His response: "Why don't you go see if you can make that thing quieter next session." Luckily it's a three-strike policy at Laguna.

On the one hand, a bit surprising that a production car with a street-legal exhaust can't pass Laguna's sound. On the other hand, some 600cc sportbikes with stock exhausts pop the sound meter, too.

How would I "make it quieter?" My thought was to upshift early from third gear to fourth exiting Turn 5, while staying out of full throttle until Turn 6. Not the end of the world, going into this track day I was pretty sure this was going to be an issue. Plus, short-shifting and half-throttle in the Vette should still be faster than some cars that were out there.     

The other problem with getting black-flagged for sound was that I had to head into the pits early, without a proper cool-down lap for the brakes. So when I got back to the garage after talking to the starter-dude, the brakes were smoking badly and there was even some fluid coming out of the bleed screw. That's never good. So I immediately headed out onto an access road to cool things off. 

So, the first session could have gone better.

On the other hand, my old sportbike worked perfectly when I took it out for its session. 

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 17,300 miles

Comments

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    A stock vehicle with the factory exhaust is too loud? Then the limit is too low. As for the brakes, it sounds like what Chevy REALLY wants is for you to buy the upcoming Z06.

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    That NSX still looks good after all of these years.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Sorry for the double post, but as for the understeer...maybe you needed to get a little more air into the tires - ? Regardless of what Chevy recommends, 26 psi is pretty low.

  • donszr1_ donszr1_ Posts:

    The neighbors at Laguna Seca are jerks, but they are rich and influential jerks. They built homes next to a racetrack, then complained about the noise. [non-permissible content removed]wipes!

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    that sound ordinance is really lame its probably some peoples republic of california legislation but its really extreme when its a completely stock exhaust, no wonder so many car makers stock exhaust sounds lame these days.

  • It's a shame that the state where, essentially, hot rodding started is such a bastion of those who seem to hate cars and everything related to them.

  • The take away from this is that the upgraded brakes are not up to snuff. Which means the stock z51 brakes are really not up to snuff if taken to a track day. A Porsche Cayman is about the same $ as a Vette. Sure it is slower, but does it cook its brakes in this fashion? I'm just wondering if you get better hardware over less power for the same outlay.

  • ayao ayao Posts:

    Looks like Essex's analysis of the Z51 brakes (previous Vette post comments section) was spot on...

  • dashpot dashpot Posts:

    I will opine that you picked the wrong pads. Carbotech's, more than any other pad, need a dedicated set of rotors. You probably burned off 60% of your pads in one day. In addition you will now be treated to a lumpy pedal if you swap back to stock street pads. A more hard core carbon/metallic pad (like old favorite PFC-01) can be swapped in & bedded quickly with the benefit of not fouling your rotors for your swap back to street pads.

  • s1gins s1gins Posts:

    I am disappointed to hear the brakes are so poor on the new Corvette. The GTR weighs more and can be taken to the track on its OEM pads and rotors and will last not only a full 30 minute session but a full day two event of just cars (usually more track time then a mixed event.)

  • The 1% living in those $3,000,000 to $5,000,000 homes surrounding the track pay lawyers and lawmakers to do their bidding. Track days and racing, unless done in Italy during holiday, are for the great unwashed masses don't you know...

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