2016 Corvette Z06 C7.R Special Addition: Z06 With a Side of RICE

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We all knew a special edition C7.R Z06 was coming, and now GM has gone and made the new model official. It’s limited to just 500 units and comes built on the Z06 3LZ with the Z07 options package.

And it pisses me off.

Related: What Corvette Forum thinks Chevy should have improved/upgraded for 2016 model. >>

Where other manufacturers like Ferrari or Porsche give enthusiasts stripped-out, hardcore racing versions, Chevrolet decided fans needed a big heaping pile of Race-Inspired Cosmetic Enhancements. The exterior features C7.R-matching yellow paint, a graphics package, yellow calipers, black wheels with yellow accents, Corvette Racing center caps, and a few extra bits in exposed—rather than painted—carbon. Inside, you get yellow contrast stitching, a special build plate and a few carbon accents.

“The idea of a C7.R-inspired car is great—especially if the execution resulted in something like a street-legal Z06X Concept. But this ‘Special Edition’ would have been better served if the cooling was addressed, there was more power, and all the fancy visual bullshit was left on the drawing board. ”

In a car produced in such limited numbers—and to celebrate Corvette Racing—there’s not one single performance modification. Not. One.

The car still uses the same LT4 engine, making the same 650 horsepower, and it comes mated to the same choice of seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

And it comes in a convertible. You know, like the race car does.

The idea of a C7.R-inspired car is great—especially if the execution resulted in something like a street-legal Z06X Concept. But the C7.R Special Edition would’ve been better served if the cooling was addressed, there was more power, and all the fancy visual bullshit was left on the drawing board.

For the record, I know the race car is actually less powerful than the street car. But that hasn’t made the competition hold back. So make a statement here, Chevy—you only have to make 500 of them!

Strip it. Add a cage like a 911 GT3 RS. Add more power like the Ferrari 458 Speciale. Or make it a legitimate street-legal racer like the various GT3 cars from Aston, Audi or Mercedes. Give the team, and the proud heritage of Corvette Racing, its due.

Don’t just slap some yellow paint on a “Special Edition”, give it a few extra stickers, and call it a day. That’s downright insulting to Corvette fans, and it’s insulting to the spirit of American ingenuity.

The C7 Corvette is the greatest Corvette ever made in looks, performance and engineering. The brand needs to move on from pandering to the armies of fans who’d rather wax and polish than brake and corner. If Chevy wants to really compete with the big names in the supercar world, it needs to look beyond badging.

The Z06 is an amazing machine. But come on, Chevy, hold the RICE.

Tell Chevy to hold the RICE on the forum. >>

Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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