Car and Driver just held their 10th annual Lightning Lap competition at VIR with 18 cars grouped into similar classes based on price. Think of this as the North American answer to the Nurburgring. Over the last 10 years, 201 cars have had the pants driven off of them on the 4.1 mile Grand West Course at VIR and this year, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was included in the LL3 class which also consisted of the 2016 Dodge Hellcat SRT, a 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 and the 2016 Lexis GS F.
The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was tested with the seven-speed manual transmission along with the Z07 Performance Package and level 2 aerodynamics. Car and Driver called the 2017 Grand Sport “weaponized fiberglass” like the Z06 but “with a little less fissile material”.
Just a quick “Corvette” recap, both the C7 Stingray and Z06 have participated in previous Lightning Laps. The 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 ran a 2:53.8 while the 2015 Corvette Z06’s time was 2:44.6.
So how well did the Grand Sport do on the Grand West Course? When it was all said and done, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport ran a 2:47.1 at the Lightning Lap. That time totally obliterates the competition both in the LL3 class ($65,000–$124,999) and most of the LL4 class ($125,000–$244,999) too.
Yes, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport outperformed several higher-priced competitors like the 2016 McLaren 570 S, the 2017 Acura NSX, the 2016 BMW M4 GTS and the 2016 Audi R8 V-10 Plus. The 2016 Porsche 911 GT3RS was only 0.1 seconds faster while the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR clocked an impressive 2:44.2!
Here is the video of the Lightning Lap and make sure you stick around to the end as we love the driver’s reaction when he crosses the finish line!
Here are how each of the cars finished in the 2016 Car and Driver Lightning Lap Competition. In addition to the regular classes, Car and Driver also includes a few oddballs which this year included an electric car from Tesla.
LL5 ($245,000 and above)
2016 Ferrari 488GTB – 2:45.1
2016 Dodge Viper ACR – 2:44.2
2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS – 2:47.0
2016 McLaren 570S – 2:47.4
2017 Acura NSX – 2:50.2
2016 BMW M4 GTS – 2:52.9
2017 Audi R8 V-10 Plus – 2:56.1
206 Jaguar F-type Project 7 – 3:02.2
2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – 2:47.1
2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 – 2:54.0
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 3:03.5
2016 Lexus GS F – 3:05.9
2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R – 2:51.8
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE – 2:54.8
2016 BMW M2 – 3:01.9
2016 Ford Focus RS – 3:03.9
2016 Audi TTS – 3:07.7
2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept – 2:43.2
Copeland Motorsports Mazda MX-5 Miata Cup Car – 3:06.4
2015 Tesla Model S P85D – 3:17.4
A couple of last observations on the Lightning Lap competition. Car and Driver provides a page of historical results as well as some other interesting data about the cars it has tested over the years. One thing we found was that the Corvette Z06 and the Grand Sport were 1-2 out of all the cars ever tested as having the highest grip in Turn 1 (The Horse Shoe). The Z06 was 1.20g while the Grand Sport recorded 1.19g in the Horse Shoe. Z07 for the win!
The Corvette’s little brother, the 2016 Camaro 1LE was also tested and it ran a very quick 2:54.8. It was second in its class to the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R at 2:51.8. That Mustang time does beat the 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 time at 2:53.8 so look out Stingray owners next time you see a GT350R on the track.
The Charger Hellcat SRT placed last in the LL3 class but it was also the heaviest car at 4564 lbs to ever run the lightning Lap. A diet and some better rubber would probably shave some time from the big boy.