2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Bogus Basin
September 08, 2010
Well, there was no chance of driving our 2002 Corvette Z06 all the way to Idaho for a hill climb over the Labor Day weekend, but I spent plenty of time there looking at one anyway.
It's actually a C5 with a 7.0-liter V8 under the hood and a big wing on the back, and my friend Bill Cooper was running it on sticky Hoosier slicks (and proceeded to peel one off during his first run because he was running such low tire pressures).
Hill climbs are the grassiest of grassroots racing, so this event on a road above the Bogus Basin ski resort just outside Boise, Idaho, did not exactly seem like the sport of kings.
As my friend (and photographer) Jim Shane comments, "The cars were driven by the adrenaline junkies who were on the mountain looking for a chance to cut loose and get a little wild in their commuter car. They had no trailers or support vehicles. If they bent their cars, they would have to walk back down the hill while thinking about who they could call to give them a ride to work on Monday."
Cooper's car was the nicest by far, although he was beaten by one of those typical specialist cars you see in autocross or hill climbs -- a kind of winged lawn chair powered by three snowmobile engines.
For all that, Cooper (a former chief instructor at the Bondurant driving school), said his Corvette C5 made a great race car at this hill climb for pretty much the same reason it's a great car everywhere. That is, it's very low, there's hardly a bit of body roll, and there's wide rubber at every corner of the chassis. When you're driving a Porsche, he says, you need a lot of driving technique to make up for the funny business built into the car. With the Corvette, everything has been done correctly right from the start, so all you have to do is drive.
Asked Cooper about the big wing. He said that if he went off the road, he might try to paraglide the car all the way to the bottom. Shane said that this was a reminder of hill climbing's basic philosophy, which is, if you get into the kind of trouble that will take you off the road, pick the side without a view.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com