2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Racing Seat?
August 27, 2010
So my racer friend Bill Cooper is trying to con me into going all the way to Montana for the Pioneer Mountains Hill Climb on 11-12 September, where he's going to be running his semi-race Corvette C5.
So I'm asking him about the way his C5 is prepared (gosh, the engine appears to be making a lot of noise for a stock V8, Mr. Cooper), and naturally this leads us to talking about the driver seat, which our guys here complain bitterly about.
Cooper allows that he thought about putting a racing seat in his car, but he came to his senses pretty quickly. First of all, he says that it wouldn't be much fun sitting in a hard shell of a seat during the long rally-type events that he's run. And second, a seat with tall thigh bolsters would be just about impossible to get into, as the car's wide, wide door sill plus the seat bolsters would be an impossible barrier.
It's easy to criticize this car for its La-Z-boy seat, but we forget that the Corvette's primary structure lies in its wide door sills, the design feature that lets the car sit so close to the ground. And as much as we criticize this car's seat for its lack of support in the corners, its recliner-style shape and padding are crucial to our ability to drive this car every day without facing a gymnastics challenge every time we get behind the wheel.
Would love to drive our Z06 all the way to Polaris, Montana, for Cooper's hillclimb (could even run it in the event, he says), but the travel distance seems like a lot for 12 miles of racing. At least it's a reminder of the kind of thing you're supposed to do if you own a Corvette, especially a Z06.
Finally I ask Cooper what he's going to do with his stock seat, which he has fit with a six-point racing harness. "Pretty much what you do in any race car," he says. "Just cinch down the belts tight and hang on."
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 50,564 miles.