2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Tire Dilemma
June 23, 2010
You've perhaps read our recent Corvette comparison test where we pitted the 2010 Gran Sport against a prototype 2011 Z06 and our long-term warhorse, the 2002 Z06. In that test we found the Z06 had plenty of grunt left (zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds) but was definitely in need of some fresher tires. Some readers cried foul in that we didn't give the long-termer a fair shake because of its tires. So here's our response.
First, would the long-term Z06 have done better with fresh tires? Yes. But as the story's author, Chris Walton, replied via a comment today, the state of the Z06's tires did not become apparent until we performed that comparison test. This test was the car's first foray into any kind of instrumented testing on our part. Previous to this it had just been driven on the street. Chris' comment recap from the comparison: "Old car had what appeared to be sufficient tires; Found out during this very test that they were past their race-track-ready best; We're looking for new tires (possibly an alternative to the OE run-flats) so we can retest the car."
I'll also clarify one other thing: the 2002 Z06 did not come with run-flat tires. Our car's Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercars are regular tires. There's a tire inflation kit in the trunk to prove it. But they are now certainly worn down to the wearbars.
As Chris also noted, we're investigating whether the updated Eagle F1 Supercar "G:2" tire (as seen on the 2011 Corvette Z06 and 2011 Ford Mustang GT500) will be offered in fitments for other cars. My personal guess on this is "maybe" but not likely in time for us needing new tires. I also did a casual check on Tire Rack this morning. There's not much else out there that will match up to the Z06's 265/40R17 (front) and 295/35R18 (rear) sizing. A set of replacement F1 Supercars runs $1,476.
Put a fork in 'er Darrel, she's done.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor