C7 Sets Fastest Time for Corvettes on the Cannonball Run
Arriving in Los Angeles in 29 hours, 48 minutes, two lunatics demonstrate why the C7 Corvette is the best car for the job.
The sun over the C7 era of the Corvette is quickly setting into the horizon for the last time, a new dawn to come in July with the public unveiling of the C8 era of America’s Supercar. The last C7 is already set to hit the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast Auction in Connecticut, and we’re sure one of the first C8s will head down the auction house’s red carpet in the future, too.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some history left to be made with the C7. Case in point: the Cannonball Run. VINwiki invited Troy Schneider to talk about what he and his co-pilot, Steven Groh, did with their ‘Vette to send out the era with a bang.
“The Corvette’s an American icon,” said Schneider. “It’s America’s sports car. It’s been important to our automotive culture. In the last two decades, especially, it’s really become a top performer in the performance world, especially for the price.”
Schneider adds that he’s always dreamed of seeing an American car take the Cannonball run record, as the sea-to-shining-sea affair “is America’s greatest race.” Thus, it was only fitting that an American brand get the title.
“In the end, I chose the Corvette because when I think ‘Cannonball,’ I think of sports cars running across the country,” said Schneider, “and not on a plush couch with a big engine in front of it. I also have this theory that when a foreign or exotic car flies by somebody on the highway, they get an uneasy feeling. There’s more of an angry feeling. Not so much with Corvette.”
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For Schneider, since the Corvette is so ingrained into everything America, driving by others “at double the speed limit” on America’s highways won’t trigger those feelings of hostility, but a feeling of red, white and blue flying into the heavens on the cry of a bald eagle.
Schneider chose a black 2016 C7 with the Z51 package and a seven-speed manual, mainly for the bigger brakes, brake ducting, dry-sump oil system, and transmission and rear diff cooling systems the Z51 offers. From there, he and Groh added the necessary electronics to defend and attack any obstacles that would get in the pair’s way, followed by a pair of 16-gallon fuel cells in the cargo bay linked into the fuel pump to provide fuel into the stock fuel tank.
“On the run, the car performed extremely well,” said Schneider. “One of the big issues I had was that maybe the weight of the fuel would affect the car in a negative, and that wasn’t the case. I think the extra weight actually helped us with traction. Braking and handling were over the top, and the performance of the engine was what you’d expect from a Corvette, and the car is just tough.”
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How tough was the Corvette? Schneider hit a deer carcass on a random highway somewhere in the Midwest at 110 mph, “and the car didn’t even flinch.” He also managed 36 mpg at the peak of his run in Denver, though the overall run averaged 15 mpg over Schneider’s hoped-for 20 mpg.
“In the end, the Corvette’s on top,” said Schneider. “It holds its place as the fastest American car to ever compete in the Cannonball, and it also holds its place as the second car ever to break the 30-hour mark.”
He adds that he’s excited for the C8, and sees having one in his garage. Schneider also hopes that the engineers left some room for an additional fuel cell for a cross-country run. He may need to hold onto that hope, as Muscle Cars and Trucks reports the C8’s ECU is locked down over issues of cybersecurity and ownership of digital rights.