About our tour guide:
Corvette program engineering director Josh Holder oversees the integration of various subsystems to meet overall requirements. He had a hand in the two previous Corvettes (and owns five). He took contributor Marc Noordeloos through the choices that went into the C7’s chassis.
a. “Corvettes don’t need to be front-engined. But to this point, this layout is still best for what the car needs to be.”
b. “We considered non-run-flat tires but found that, at our tire size and with the advances in run-flat technology, we wouldn’t save much mass. And a GM-approved tire-fill system — we can’t just throw in a can of Fix-A-Flat — would take up trunk space and sacrifice grand-touring capability.”
c. “Third-generation magnetorheological dampers respond up to 40 percent faster and have a wider range of settings than in the old car. We look at the active-damper-equipped Z51 as a no-compromises car — ultimate track performance without a harsh ride.”
d. “The [Z51’s] electronic limited-slip differential can go from nearly open to locked, according to yaw rate changes, to maintain control in transitions.”
e. “Electric power steering offers fuel economy and horsepower benefits, as the engine’s not turning a power-steering pump. Our biggest concern was losing steering feel. But the supply base and technology has expanded from even five years ago. Our ZF system doesn’t compromise sensitivity. We also stiffened the components of the steering system — the C7 is five times stiffer than the C6 in this area.”
f. “We call it a transverse composite spring [others would say leaf spring]. It serves us very well, reducing body roll without giant antisway bars.”