When the C8 Corvette arrived last year, expectations for the sports car changed across the globe. No longer holding onto the traditional front-engine rear-drive layout, it was clear this car was designed to be a step on from Corvettes of the past. Shortly after its global debut, the C8 proved that it was indeed a new breed of sports car by taking home MotorTrend’s coveted 2020 Car of The Year award. As 2020 comes to a close however, the C8 Corvette Stingray Z51 found itself battling for yet another MotorTrend award: Best Driver’s Car.
The folks over at MotorTrend have uploaded video clips of each of the contests hot laps around the legendary Leguna Seca. As is normal for the publication, professional hot-shoe Randy Pobst was tasked with putting each of the cars through their paces. When it came time for the C8 to make its run, Pobst had quite a few nice things to say about the car. Most notably, Pobst found the new 2020 Corvette Z51 to represent a massive step forward for the brand. The racing driver noted that the Corvette Stingray features world class handling for the first time in its run, and even likened the new DCT to the industry-favorite PDK gearbox from Stuttgart. The Corvette and the Porsche 911 Turbo S were the only cars at the competition that didn’t arrive with R-compound rubber, but that didn’t stop Randy from getting a seriously quick time out of the C8. His fastest lap around Laguna Seca ended up being a 1:37.83.
For comparison, Randy Pobst previously ran a 1:38.28 in a C7 Corvette Stingray Z51, the prior equivalent to this car in the hierarchy. While a few tenths of a second may not seem like a massive step on, Pobst made his preference for the C8 Corvette known. That said, the C8’s time doesn’t look as impressive when stacked up against the 760 horsepower Mustang GT500, which was able to run a 1:33.84. It just goes to show you what a few hundred horsepower are worth down the long straight.
Despite the C8 Corvette earning high praise during its campaign, it wasn’t quite enough to take home the prize. That honor was bestowed upon the Lamborghini Huracán Evo, which carries a base price of $208,571. That said, this C8 Z51 is just the first of the new line of Corvettes. With the high-performance Z06 just around the corner, General Motors may just come back with a vengeance.