Just the other day, the internet was awash with a story of a 2015 C7 Z06 and a 2015 Viper TA street racing in Houston, with the Viper coming out on top. While Viper fans earned a moment that they could be proud of and Corvette fans citing that the Z driver couldn’t drive and/or the car was suffering from heat soak – we literally avoided reporting it entirely. Why? Because we saw it as nothing more than a one-time occurrence and an unreliable source of information.
I mean let’s be honest, just because one particular driver in one particular Viper, beat that particular driver in that particular Z06 doesn’t necessarily mean that all new Viper TAs are faster than all C7Zs across the country. Sorry kids, but it doesn’t. It sort of reminded your author of a time where I found myself in a similar situation with my then stock ’02 WS6 and a then brand new ’03 Cobra. Believe it or not, the F-body came out on top.
Naturally, Cobra fanboys called BS – even on F-body forums – citing that in no way, shape or form an OHV, single-camshaft, pushrod, naturally-aspirated 325 hp LS1 beat a DOHC, 4V, supercharged 390 hp “Terminator.” But it happened. My car is an automatic, to boot, and that just added more fuel to the fire. Did I think my WS6 was faster than all Terminators as a result? Nope. I had never even claimed as such, either.
But that’s the internet for you. It’s clearly a place to take in the old adage of believing none of what you hear and half of what you see. However, this uproar over the Viper vs. Z06 debate had eventually reached the GM brass – citing that although the Z06 driver’s skills are questionable, and the rumor of heat soak was the culprit, in all reality, they claim it’s nothing more than a case of the Z06’s conservative ECU tuning.
Apparently, the writers at AutoEvolution reached out to General Motors to get to the bottom of this, and the above was their reasoning. The 6.2L LT4, like virtually every other GM powerplant, is limited to conservative ECU tuning as a result to ensure emissions targets are met as well as the preservation of the powertrain over the life of the vehicle. You also have to take into account of GM’s 5-year/100,000-mile warranty as well. These ‘Vettes are subject to obvious abuse, and we can’t blame GM for dialing back a $25k engine for longevity.
Per GM, “We are confident that the vast majority of customers are going to be more than satisfied with the performance the Z06 offers in stock form,” a GM spokesman said in a statement. “For those that want more power, they can visit an aftermarket tuner—who are not held to the same [emissions and warranty] standards as an OEM.”
Let’s face it, a handful of these cars are going to end up in the comfort and safety in the garages of the Geritol crowd, but many others will be setting records, kicking ass, and taking names. They already are, thanks to shops like LMR, Vengeance Racing and Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. So don’t take every YouTube video you see as the gospel.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.