It's That Fast

2020 Chevrolet Corvette is as quick as a Ferrari 488 GTB

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette has been shown in its Stingray trim and first reviews indicate it's an impressive entry from the Detroit automaker.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A lot of people's ears perked up and jaws dropped (even just a little) when Chevrolet announced that its new mid-engine Corvette would start under $60,000. Now there's another reason to be impressed.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the base model, is as quick as a Ferrari 488 GTB when equipped with the Z51 package. That setup gets the car from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Without the package, the base model gets to 60 mph in three seconds flat.

The base model is faster at the quarter mile though they're equally as quick (11.2 seconds). The Stingray gets to 123 mph while the Z51 package-equipped Corvette hits just 121 mph.

This is significantly faster than the previous generation Corvette. The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray base model gets from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

"The performance of the 2020 Stingray has far exceeded our expectations," said Alex MacDonald, Chevrolet vehicle performance manager. "Moving more weight over the rear wheels helps us get off the line quicker, but it's the integration between the powertrain and chassis that really takes the performance to new levels."

2020 Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is powered by a naturally-aspirated small-block V8.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Corvette is powered by a naturally-aspirated small-block V8 that gets 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the performance exhaust. It is the most powerful entry level Corvette ever.

Its engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The 2020 Corvette is equipped with paddle shifters, which operate three different ways:
  • Double paddle declutch – pull both paddles simultaneously to simulate pressing a clutch pedal.
  • Temporary manual – simply use either paddle while in Drive, and the vehicle will temporarily switch to manual mode.
  • Lowest available gear – hold the downshift paddle and the transmission will shift to the lowest available gear for a quick burst of torque.

The model comes with three drive modes:

  • Tour: Moves to the background to provide quiet, smooth shifts for optimal ride comfort.
  • Sport: Gives drivers altered up and downshifts for more spirited driving.
  • Track: Maximizes vehicle performance with aggressive gear selection expected to keep the engine in a peak performance window.
Dealerships are currently taking orders for the 2020 Corvette, which starts at $59,995 without any taxes and fees factored in.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 488 GT Modificata is the newest addition to the Ferrari lineup.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The new, limited edition Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its technology from the 288 GT3 and 488 GTE, the pushes to achieve its full athletic potential. That potential is exclusively for use during track days and at Ferrari Club Competizioni GT events.

The Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its name from the Ferrari jargon meaning better performance. It takes its prowess from the genes of the 488 GT3 and the 488 GTE. It also has new technologies, mainly linked to the powertrain, that are no longer limited by the FIA Balance of Performance.

Ferrari 488 GT Modificata

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The 488 GTE competes in the World Endurance Championship. Ferrari calls the 488 GT3 the "queen of GT racing". The 488 GT3 has delivered 350 wins and 630 podiums at national and international races as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles. The 488 GTE has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. Ferrari tuned the new model at the Nordschleife.

It's powered by a twin-turbo V8 that delivers 690 horsepower. Ferrari says that it does all that by utilizing new high-performance mapping that doesn't compromise the car's predicted reliability. The car's gearbox is available with different transmission ratios. The clutch is made of carbon fiber.

Ferrari has given the car unique high-downforce aerodynamics that shift the position of the car forward. This positioning generates higher downforce without increasing drag, allowing the model to be more efficient than its racing counterparts. The car has downforce of over 2,204 pounds at 142 mph.

The car's body is made almost entirely of carbon fiber. It has an aluminum roof and uprights.

Ferrari has given the 488 GT Modificata the 488 GTW's suspension. The braking system was developed in partnership with Brembo and features low residual torque calipers that are fitted to world championship cars. Its antilock brake system comes from the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with specific settings.

Each model comes standard with a V-Boz acquisition system, which combines with Bosch's telemetry data acquisition system and allows data to be downloaded directly onto a USB stick.

A high-resolution rearview camera is also standard.

Customers will be able to nearly fully customize their 488 GT Modificata. It will initially only be for drivers who, in recent years, have participated in Competizioni GT with Ferrari or Club Competizioni GT.

The 488 GT Modificata will be admitted to Club Competizioni GT events. In 2021, customers will have the chance to participate in five events at tracks including Virginia International Raceway, Monza, Watkins Glen, Suzuka, Nurburgring, and Finali Mondiali.

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The Chevrolet Suburban is just one of the models caught up in the recall.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

No automaker wants to have to recall its vehicles. But, they do so willingly (most of the time) in order to prevent a larger problem from presenting itself. Sometimes the repairs are immediately needed, like when there's an imminent fire risk, while other times they seem like they can be put off a bit, like when a sticker needs to be replaced on a door jamb. No matter the recall, buyers should act as soon as they receive notice of a recall on their vehicle.

Today, it was announced that approximately 7 million SUVs and trucks would be part of a recall regarding Takata airbag inflators. GM has been fighting the recall for four years.

In a statement, General Motors said:

"The safety and trust of those who drive our vehicles is at the forefront of everything we do at General Motors. Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA's position. However, we will abide by NHTSA's decision and begin taking the necessary steps."

The recall is part of a larger Takata airbag recall that has affected over 60 million Takata air bag inflators in tens of millions of vehicles in the United States alone.

To date, 18 people have been killed by rupturing Takata inflators in the U.S. The inflators have also caused hundreds of injuries, including lacerations and other serious injuries to occupants' face, neck, and chest areas.

The Takata airbag recall was initiated in 2015 when the company entered into a Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizing there was an issue with inflators installed in vehicles across 12 different automakers. A Coordinated Remedy was initiated that prioritized and phased the Takata recalls by vehicles most at risk to least at risk.

The automaker has been fighting the recall since shortly after the defect information report (DIR) was submitted, in May 2016. At that time, GM asked that the NHTSA defer its decision on the inconsequentiality of the inflators used by the company until GM was able to complete its testing and engineering analysis in August 2017. That request was granted due to the extraordinary circumstances of the recall.

GM and the NHTSA went back and forth with testing results and clarifications through 2018. A second DIR was filed by Takata in 2017, which triggered another filing by GM, this time a petition for exemption. The process repeated in 2018 and 2019, with GM looking to exempt all but a few of their models from the recall.

Those vehicles are "GMT900" models that contain "SPI YP" and "PSPI-L YD" inflator variants. The GMT900 is a General Motors-specific platform that underpins a number of light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and SUVs including: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500, GMC Sierra 2500/3500, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Avalanche, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, and Cadillac Escalade EXT. The petition involves approximately 5.9 million model year 2007–2014 vehicles.

GM undertook a number of weathering, aging, and safety tests as part of its research into the recall. Those results were then submitted to the NHTSA.

According to the filing released this week regarding the petitions, a manufacturer does not have a "statutory obligation to conduct a recall for a defect unless and until it 'learns the vehicle or equipment contains a defect and decides in good faith that the defect is related to motor vehicle safety,' or NHTSA orders a recall by making a 'final decision that a motor vehicle or replacement equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety.'"

It is because of this, that the NHTSA says that, "a manufacturer bears a heavy burden in petitioning NHTSA to determine that a defect related to motor vehicle safety (which necessarily involves an unreasonable risk of an accident, or death or injury in an accident) is nevertheless inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. In accordance with the plain meaning of 'inconsequential,' the manufacturer must show that a risk posed by a defect is not important or capable of being ignored."

GM was up against a steep hill to begin with. Of the three known occasions in which the NHTSA has previously considered petitions contending that a defect is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, the Agency has granted only one of the petitions. That action occurred nearly three decades ago, in what the Agency refers to as "a vastly different set of circumstances".

GM submitted thousands of pages of research and context to the NHTSA in support of their case as well as supporting testimony from an engineer who is an expert in airbag construction and safety.

Despite the efforts, the NHTSA determined that GM has not demonstrated that the defect is inconsequential to safety in the GMT900 vehicles. A number of reasons were given for the determination including that GM was unable to identify how the unique construction of the inflators in their vehicles made them less prone to rupture, how solar-insulating glass in the large cabin of the vehicles was decreasing the environmental impact on the inflators, and the small sample size of the inflators tested (just 0.07 percent of the total GMT900 population). GM also argued that replacing the inflators exposed owners to risk due to the possibility of improper dealership installation of the replacement inflator.

In its final decision, the NHTA said,

"The defect here poses an unsafe condition caused by the degradation of an important component of a safety device that is designed to protect vehicle occupants in crashes. Instead of protecting occupants, this propellant degradation can lead to an uncontrolled explosion of the inflator and propel sharp metal fragments toward occupants in a manner that can cause serious injury, including lacerations to the face, neck and chest, and even death. This unsafe condition—hidden in an air bag module—is not discernible even by a diligent vehicle owner, let alone an average owner.

"Moreover, nineteen manufacturers (including GM for other populations of their vehicles) have conducted similar recalls of other non-desiccated PSAN inflators. NHTSA has been offered no persuasive reason to think that without a recall, even if current owners are aware of the defect and instant petition, subsequent owners of vehicles equipped with GMT900 air bag inflators would be made aware of the issue.226 This is not the type of defect for which notice alone enables an owner to avoid the safety risk. A remedy is required."

Within 30 days of the date of this decision (November 20, 2020), GM shall submit to NHTSA a proposed schedule for the notification of GMT900 vehicle owners and the launch of a remedy required to fulfill those obligations.

To find out if your vehicle is part of a recall, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

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