Performance-Tested Versus Corvette Z06 - 2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test
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2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Dodge Viper GT: Performance-Tested Versus Corvette Z06

by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on October 28, 2015

The Viper-versus-Corvette argument has raged since Dodge introduced the Viper in 1992. Back then, the Viper made a measly 400 horsepower from its 8.0-liter V10. The best-performing Corvette of the day, the ZR-1, only managed 375 horsepower from its Lotus-designed V8 (bumped to 405 hp in 1993).

Performance bragging rights have swayed over the years. Each new model tries to outrun and outgun the other in every single metric. Our long-term 2015 Dodge Viper and the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 are still within five horsepower of each other. Nearly every other category comes down to tenths or hundredths.

While the cars are faster and more powerful than ever before, the basic formulas haven't changed. Both are rear-wheel drive coupes with a shift-for-yourself transmission. The Viper still has a big V10 under the hood while the Corvette remains V8-powered, though that's now accompanied by a supercharger.

Numbers alone won't do these two machines justice, though they do provide fodder for bench racers.

 

2015 Dodge Viper GT

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

0-60 (sec)

3.6

3.8

0-60 w/rollout (sec)

3.4

3.5

1/4-mile (sec @ mph)

11.41 @ 128.75

11.49 @ 123.75

60-0 Braking (feet)

103

90

Skidpad (g)

1.03

1.16

Weight  (lbs)

3,367

3,513

Horsepower

645

650

Price

$103,785

$98,360

2015 Dodge Viper GT

Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Viper GT
Odometer: 8,030
Date: 7/28/2015
Driver: Carlos Lago
Price: $103,785

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: V10
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 8,390/512
Redline (rpm): 6250 
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 645 @ 6200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 600 @ 5,000
Brake Type (front): Two-piece vented and slotted disc with four-piston fixed calipers 
Brake Type (rear): Two-piece vented and slotted disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Cast-aluminum unequal-length upper and lower "A" arms, coil springs, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Cast-aluminum unequal-length upper and lower "A" arms, toe-control links, coil springs, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar

Tire Size (front): P295/30ZR18 94Y
Tire Size (rear): P355/30ZR19 99Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: PZero
Tire Type:  Summer
As-tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,367

Test Results
Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.8 (w/ TC on 2.2)
0-45 (sec): 2.7 (w/ TC on 3.1) 
0-60 (sec): 3.6 (w/TC on 4.1) 
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.4 (w/TC on 3.8) 
0-75 (sec): 5.0 (w/TC on 5.3) 
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.41 @ 128.75 (w/TC on 11.74 @ 128.02)

Braking: 
30-0 (ft): 25 
60-0 (ft): 103

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 69.2 (68.9 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 1.03 (1.01 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1550

Comments
Acceleration: "The Viper produces immense acceleration even in key-up settings. Traction control helps minimize wheel spin, but doesn't go overboard and engage too aggressively. It smoothly lets up once the tires find grip. Launch control is less impressive. I followed the on-screen instructions (quickly apply gas and quickly release clutch), and it simply did a burnout. The resulting acceleration was slower than the key-up run."

"Best acceleration was achieved with electronic aids off and a clutch release at around 1,500 rpm. First gear can do 60 mph, but catching it without hitting the rev limiter is difficult. Gearing is otherwise spaced nicely for the quarter-mile. You run out of fourth right after the finish line. I love this shifter and clutch pedal. Shift lever has excellent, positive throws. You can rush it really fast and never fear missing a shift, unlike the Corvette. This really helps you tighten up shift times.

Viper exhibited lots of wheel hop on aggressive launches, which it really did not seem to like. I tried minimizing it by extending the clutch take up, but it didn't seem to improve anything."                              

Braking: "Braking distance improved by three feet from the first to second run, indicating that the system and/or tires want some heat in them. The brake pedal has good bite at normal speeds, but requires extremely high effort to exert maximum stopping force. It has good, predictable feel, but you really have to dig into it. Five stops produced no fade or odor, and stops remained consistent around 103 feet. While braking repeatability was satisfactory, we were surprised this couldn't break the 100-foot barrier. We've seen Corvette Z51 pack cars do that, including our old long-term test car."                             

Handling:                               
Slalom: "The Viper confidently approaches the slalom at 70 mph. It's stable and controlled, provided you plan and get the steering inputs right. It'll do exactly what you ask of it, even if what you ask it is to spin. Track ESC settings allow a lot of freedom and offer a safety net you can lean into. The high-grip, high-g, high-effort experience can be tiring."

Skidpad: "Good neutral balance. It transitions smoothly from understeer when you're going too fast to oversteer when you lift the throttle, which helps the driver control the nature of the car around a corner. The front has a ton of bite and precision. And you can provoke little slides to keep the speed up. But don't let those slides get too big! Once the Viper exceeds a certain slip angle, it's gone."

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Vehicle: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with Z07 Performance Package
Odometer: 705
Date: 9/29/2015
Driver: Carlos Lago
Price: $98,360

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed manual
Engine Type: Supercharged V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,162/375
Redline (rpm): 6,600 
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 650 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 650 @ 3,600
Brake Type (front): Vented and drilled carbon-ceramic rotors with six-piston fixed calipers 
Brake Type (rear): Vented and drilled carbon-ceramic rotors with four-piston fixed calipers 
Suspension Type (front): Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber
Suspension Type (rear): Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber

Tire Size (front): P285/30ZR19 94Y
Tire Size (rear): P335/25ZR20 99y
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport Cup 2
Tire Type:  Summer
As-tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,513

Test Results
Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.8 (w/ TC on 2.1)
0-45 (sec): 2.6 (w/ TC on 3.0) 
0-60 (sec): 3.8 (w/TC on 3.9) 
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.5 (w/TC on 3.6) 
0-75 (sec): 4.9 (w/TC on 5.3) 
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.49 @ 123.75 (w/TC on 11.75 @ 122.65)

Braking: 
30-0 (ft): 22 
60-0 (ft): 90

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 73.2 (68.1 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 1.16 (1.15 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1,400

Comments
Acceleration: "We removed the adjustable portion of the Gurney flap before acceleration testing. The drag from the flap adversely affects acceleration, so it makes sense to take it off before doing a run up a drag strip. Undoing the four screws takes a minute or two. A key-up 11.75-second quarter-mile pass shows the traction control system's effectiveness. It does a fantastic job of keeping the car stable and reducing wheelspin without significantly hurting acceleration.

The Performance Traction Management sub settings are easy to find once you get familiar with them, and Launch Control is simple to activate. Once PTM is engaged, hold the throttle and release the clutch. LC holds a rather high engine speed (around 4,000 rpm), but excellently manages acceleration. It's easy and consistent, perfect for bracket racing or for situations where there are no do-overs.

Launching with no assists is faster, but much more difficult. Lots of grip and low end torque makes the clutch hand off tricky. My best launch was at around 1,500 rpm and a quick clutch release — not a side step. There's a fine line of a few hundred rpm between getting it right and wrong. Throttle management is critical. Even the slightest tire chatter can transform into too much spin once the motor gets into its powerband.

Once it's hooked, it's simply a matter of hitting your shifts. No-lift shift makes this simple. You can keep your foot planted on the throttle during a shift, which allows for faster acceleration as there's no throttle interruption. The shifter is easy to move quickly. I only missed the 2-3 shift once.

The Z06 will do 60 mph in first gear, which cuts a few tenths off the 0-60 mph time. I forgot this while testing and shifted before 60 mph, which is why the 0-60 time here is slower than the previous manual Z06 we tested. Even though we removed part of the Gurney flap, the other aero pieces still produce enough drag to hurt the trap speed of the Z07-package car."                                                                                    

Braking: "Simply awesome braking performance. The first stop, on cold tires, was 93.8 feet, which is already ahead of the majority of sports and super cars. As the tires starting heating up, the distances kept improving. The best stop was 89.51 feet, which is the shortest stop I have ever recorded from a production car. This performance was consistent; five of the seven stops were under 90 feet.

Despite the short stopping length, there isn't much drama. No ABS noise or shudder. Not even tire squeal. There's just so much tire. The performance improved as the tires got warm, but the cold performance isn't bad either. It's not like an on/off switch. The pedal doesn't require a lot of effort. The brakes didn't produce any odor or fade. This system feels like it can be used hard all day."                                                                                   
Handling:                               
Skidpad: It's like driving a Tilt-A-Whirl. Average 1.16 g on a small, 200-ft skidpad is an insane amount of mechanical grip, and there's little if any aero influence at this speed. Just tire. And lots of it. The cornering forces push you hard into the sides of the seat. It's incredible how hard this thing can turn. The balance feels nice and neutral, too.

The Z06 settles on its max lateral g happily and doesn't need much correction. I netted the fastest result running the car with PTM set to the most aggressive setting (Race), which  is how I'd approach a race track that I wasn't intimately familiar with. The stability control system does a fantastic job of allowing the amount of slip that keeps you going fast, but pulls the car back in when the slip starts slowing you down. It's an amazing learning tool. The Z07 package brings a 0.07-g average increase. That's huge when you're above 1.0 g.

Slalom: High-g and high-effort car. It bounces back between 1-g extremes over and over, which is tiring. Fortunately the controls are light, which helps maneuver this wide car though the cones.                                                                           

Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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