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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Going Commando

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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We live in a time of previously unrivaled technological advancements.

Cars driving themselves really aren't that far off, and likely, neither is the death of the internal combustion engine.

It's certainly a huge departure from the height of the Golden Age of Muscle Cars.

We are seeing power numbers that people in the '60s could only dream of.

The Corvette Z51, the base Stingray model with the optional performance package, is producing numbers that virtually nothing outside of a 427 Cobra could match, and then only in very specific areas, because, quite frankly, other than the very best acceleration numbers on record, the Corvette has it beat — bad.

I'm not a big fan of all the electronic controls — traction control, stability control, ABS, etc — but I recognize those elements are the reason we are seeing unrivaled performance today: the average driver — and by average, I mean everyone from Nana to weekend racers — isn't capable of wrangling cars with this much performance capability. Yes, drivers with the reflexes of professional athletes and years of training can handily out drive these controls, but it is an elite few who have the ability to excel when doing the automotive equivalent of going commando. In the world of driving, we are talking about the 1%-ers here.

The truth is, that the true performance capabilities of any car, regardless of the potential performance level, have always been outside the grasp of the average driver (and, yes, that still includes weekend racers), but these controls are allowing those drivers to enjoy much more of a vehicle's performance, and allowing them to drive them without scaring the bejesus out of themselves — or worse, wrapping the car around a telephone pole and going home in an urn.

I'll still take my cars sans performance-limiting gizmos, but I'm glad this level of performance is readily available now — especially when all I have to do is flip some switches to go commando.


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