I had a chance at this weekends IRL/ALMS race to take a ride around the Mid-Ohio Race Course. The car of my picking was the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. They were also running a Porsche GT3 and an Audi R8. I've had rides in those cars but had never...
I had a chance at this weekends IRL/ALMS race to take a ride around the Mid-Ohio Race Course. The car of my picking was the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. They were also running a Porsche GT3 and an Audi R8. I've had rides in those cars but had never been in this version of the Corvette.
My driver was Scott Hughs, a very experienced driver who has "raced everything and everywhere".
We crossed the Start/Finish line flat out and braked quickly for Turn 1. The front straight is quite short as straightaways go. We crossed under the Turn 1 bridge hugging tightly to the inside pit lane divider strip. From Turn 1 to Turn 2, the "Keyhole", is a long straight where I first felt the grunt of the Corvette's 505 hp, 7 liter V8 engine. I have never felt so much acceleration is a street legal car before! We were well over 100 mph when we approached the "Keyhole". Scott slammed on the brakes and this 3130 lbs. beast nosed down into a long sweeping, late apex righthander. The "Keyhole" goes on forever and Scott explained that the faster you take it, the faster your speed onto the back straightaway, which is the longest straight of the track. A lot of time can be cut in this crucial section.
The back straight has a right hand kink (Turn 3) in the center of it which is taken flat-out. There is a slight downhill drop on the approach to Turn 4 which only increases your speed. This is the fastest section of the track. Without a helmet and with the windows open, the sound of going over 130 mph was deafening. It's like having your hair blown dry by a jet engine. The Covette's top speed is 198 mph, which we were 2/3 of the way to when we reached the end of the back straight. We broke extremely hard for the entrance to the "Esses". This undulating right hand/left hand sweeper is awesome. The drivers have nicknamed this section "Madness". Mad it is. Your body is thrust first left, then right, then down and then up! If you have never been through this section before, you don't know exactly where you going. I now know where the nickname comes from. At the exit of "Madness", the pavement drops away and the nose of the car falls, exposing the skidmarks of those who failed to get this section right. All the grass on both sides of the track has been ripped away and there is gravel scattered all over the place. I even noticed some small auto body parts in the grass to the left.
Turn 6 is a tight right hander which leads under the "Acura" bridge onto a uphill, undulating course with a blind rise and downhill braking to a tight right hand Turn 9. I began to realize the amount of elevation changes at this track. Turn 9 leads to "Thunder Valley", a curving straightway with a dramactic braking zone that is so close to the wall I could reach out and light a match on it. You have to nail this braking area just right because there's little room for error. From Turn 11 there is a quick burst of speed and the entrance to the famous "Carousel". This is where I was amazed at the grip from the Corvette's Goodyear F1 street tires. The "Carousel" has a late apex and like the "Keyhole", goes on forever. We were at the point of "drifting" through the entire turn. There's a quick dip and rise and we were back onto the front straight and the Finish line.
Mid-Ohio has the best of both worlds. It has long straightaways where power and acceleration is necessary and extreme corners where handling is essential. The straights are fantastic and connected and from the "Esses" to the Finish line is an absolute rollercoaster ride!
It's a good track for the Corvette Z06. Lots of torque and acceleration for the straightways and lots of balance and rubber for turns. Now I'm ready for Mosport!