2002 Chevrolet Corvette Long Term Road Test


2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Virtual Insanity

September 29, 2010

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Nice burnout graffiti, eh? Track time has been hard to come by for me lately. To combat these doldrums, I've taken to racing in the virtual world via Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. Over the weekend, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr and I turned a few laps online, and that got me thinking. I wonder how well the game simulates cars we drive in the real world.

I managed to sneak out last night with the Corvette keys and paid special attention to the sound and feel of the car. When I got home, I started up the home theater and popped in the game. The first thing I noticed was the lack of bass in the exhaust note. Our 2002 Z06 has a booming and raspy scream when the throttle is matted. The game has the rasp, but no boom.

Handling-wise, the game is pretty faithful. There's a ton of grip from the super wide tires and the suspension tends to bottom-out in the corkscrew (I ran laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). In order to get the tail to whip around, I had to deliberately lift, turn and stomp - just like our real Z06.

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I spent an hour chasing my best time, which came in at a disappointing 1:37.968. That's a "clean" lap, no pulling a Zanardi at the corkscrew and no other off-pavement excursions. It's also without traction and stability control or any other in-game aids besides ABS. I'm pretty sure Niebuhr can beat this, probably in the 2-second range. But this leads me to ask, "I wonder how fast I can turn a lap in our Z06 in the real world?"

At the very least, I think I can break the 1:40 mark.

I also tried the Camaro SS last night. It was quite a bit slower, but what really impressed me was the fact that the game designers faithfully recreated the cockpit - thick A-pillar and all. Just like in real life, I had a hard time looking through turns. I think I'll organize a shootout in the game using only our past and present long-term cars. My money's on the GT-R.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 52,510 miles

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