We’re just a couple of weeks away from the reveal of the all-new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, but the outgoing C7 generation Corvette will seemingly forever be haunted by its legacy of never getting an official Nürburgring lap time. So what gives?
Road & Track caught up with Jim Mero, who just retired from a lifetime career at General Motors, for the July issue of the magazine. Jim’s the guy who set the Nürburgring lap times for the old C6 Corvette Z06 and ZR1, and he was the guy GM eventually picked to do it again for the then-new C7.
Only, GM never released a lap time for the C7 because, as a now-retired Jim tells Road & Track, their multiple attempts from 2013 to 2018 were perpetually cursed:
Nürburgring lap times are a gold standard among car enthusiasts, a data point that demonstrates a car’s ability and approachability more than any other metric. To set a quick Ring time, you need a great car and a great driver, but neither matter without luck. Mero and the C7 didn’t have any.
“Just because we never came up with anything, [the C7] is getting a bad rap, and it doesn’t deserve it,” he says. “It’s personal. Not because I want any kind of recognition, but because I want to show the world—or at least the C7 customer—that this car rocks.
“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. Call it a series of unfortunate events, man. You couldn’t make this stuff up.”
I won’t spoil the details for you here, but time and time again, there was either a mechanical issue, bad weather, camera failures, calibration errors, and even a crash in 2016. It was always something, and even when they would set a lap time Jim thought they could be proud of, GM wouldn’t publish it because the marketing teams deemed it wasn’t fast enough.
The ultimate goals for the Nürburgring lap times were to get the Corvette to beat Porsche, and later to try and get a sub-7-minute time with the ZR1. Did they ever pull it off?
Well, obviously not. You would have heard about it. But if you want to know how heartbreakingly close Jim and the team at GM got, pick up an issue of Road & Track this month or head over to the website to read the story right now.