The C7 uses electric power steering. Juechter says the industry has switched over to this technology so completely that Chevy could no longer source a hydraulic unit for the Stingray, so it really didn’t have a choice in the matter. However, the Corvette team did want to do the most it could to preserve steering feel, something that electric systems usually lack. “We were super worried about it,” says Juechter of the desire to keep the driving experience as tactile as possible. To that end, Chevy engineers went about creating an incredibly rigid steering system. They increased steering-column stiffness by 150 percent and intermediate shaft torsional stiffness by 600 percent. Overall, the steering system is five times stiffer than the previous hydraulic setup.
According to Juechter, the C7 benefits from being somewhat late to the electric-steering party, as the latest systems are now much improved compared to earlier generations. The Stingray’s advanced unit offers variable ratios and variable effort, both of which can be tailored via the Driver Mode Selector control located in the center console. Capitalizing on the system’s increased speed and directness, the diameter of the steering wheel has been reduced to a diminutive 14.1 inches. Juechter says customers are going to find the Stingray’s steering a revelation in terms of precision, adding that his team rendered the steering feel problem a “non-issue.”
Wheels and Tires
In standard trim, the C7 rolls on 8.5 × 18-inch front and 10 × 19-inch rear cast-alloy wheels; Z51 cars get larger-diameter 8.5 × 19 front and 10 × 20-inch rear forged aluminum wheels. While these wheel sizes are unchanged compared to the C6, the choice of rubber is new. Having beat Goodyear in a shoot-out, Michelin is now the Corvette’s sole tire supplier. It will deliver Pilot Super Sport run-flats (245/40ZR18 front, 285/35ZR19 rear), with Z51 cars getting a higher-performing version (245/35ZR19 front, 285/30ZR20 rear) good for 1 g of lateral acceleration—a figure that bests that of the C6 Grand Sport, a model that features significantly wider wheels and tires.
With input from Corvette Racing, the 2014 Stingray features new Brembo braking systems with fixed front and rear calipers. The base car gets 12.6-inch front rotors and 13.3-inch rear rotors, which add up to a 35-percent increase in swept area. With curved slots just like those found on the C6.R racer, Z51 rotors measure 13.6 inches in front and 13.3 inches in the rear—a 6-percent increase in swept area compared to a C6 Grand Sport. In addition, the Z51 package includes brake-cooling ducts, with the fronts being fed from the grille and the rears from beneath the car.