The fall is here again, which means that automotive magazines are undergoing their evaluations of the year’s best cars. Road and Track has been slowly giving us some content from their 2020 Performance Car of the Year testing, which included lapping the famous Thunderhill Raceway’s west course. Without a doubt this year’s most anticipated contender is the C8 Corvette Stingray, and now we have a new video of it tearing up Thunderhill.
Road and Track Editor-in-Chief Travis Okulski was behind the wheel of the C8 Corvette equipped with the Z51 performance package for the lap in question. While Okulski isn’t a pro driver, the licensed club racer handles to road course nicely considering it was his first day at the track. The mid-engined Corvette pulls off an impressive run of 1:22.82, likely in part due to the track-focused goodies that come with the Z51 package.
Pony up the additional $5,000 for the Z51 option, and you’ll receive a litany of mechanical, aerodynamic, cooling and other performance minded upgrades to ensure your mid-engined C8 is ready for track duty. These upgrades include things like sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP summer tires, which replace the standard car’s Michelin ultra-high-performance all-season tires in search of more grip. The front lip is fitted with a splitter and the rear gets a multiplane decklid spoiler, which Chevrolet says combine to add 400 pounds of downforce for added high speed stability. For just $1,895 more, Chevrolet will throw in a set of magnetorheological adaptive dampers and their trick Performance Traction Management (PTM) system.
Power is slightly up over the standard car too, with the C8 Corvette Z51 pumping out 495 horsepower and 470 Lb-Ft of torque. While these gains are minimal over the non-Z51 equipped Corvette, it comes together with the other changes to make this mid-engine sports car a solid performer on track. If the entry level C8 Corvette is this capable, we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.