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Lightning Lap 2024: How Did The E-Ray Fare Versus 2023’s Record-Setting Z06?

Last year, the C8 Z06 ripped a new record around the Virginia International Raceway; how close did the E-Ray get?

The E-Ray flies around VIR/Photo Credit: Michael Simari, Marc Urbano, C&D

Since 2006, Car and Driver has brought the year’s hottest cars to what is dubbed as one of the country’s most challenging racetracks, Virginia International Raceway. In the process, their Lightning Lap has become one of the benchmarks of performance testing for manufacturers. Case in point, the E-Ray was no stranger to VIR, and Car and Driver remarked that “during its gestation, the C8 development engineers thrashed it at America’s Nürburgring on several occasions. In the process, they learned how to extract the quickest lap time from it, and we were glad they were on-site to share their knowledge.” VIR offers a mix of ultra-high-speed straights and tight hairpin corners, and the 4.1 miles and 24 turns of the Grand Course are the closest one will get to the Nurburgring without a passport and plane ticket.

The stage was set for this year’s race with the hot-off-the-press 2024 E-Ray, with hopes this iconic racetrack can finally settle the track prowess debate. Can the 2024 E-Ray hold its own around a racetrack, and is it competitive with the current King of VIR, the 2023 Z06?

Just how fast was the Z06 around the 4.1 miles?

How does 2:38.6 sound? Let’s put that time in context before we move on to the E-Ray’s first official run around VIR. Over the 17-year history of the Lightning Lap, the Z06 is firmly planted at number 5, only to be supplanted by exotic names like the McLaren (twice), AMG GT Black Series, and 911 GT2RS. The Z ascended through the infamous Climbing Esses at an average speed of 133.4 and hit g-forces of 1.22 in turn one. As that remarkable LT6 screamed around the track, living near its 8500 rpm redline, the oil temperature never exceeded 200 degrees (well done GM engineers!).

Well, how fast was the E-Ray around this iconic racetrack?!?


Key Takeaways and Car & Driver Observations:

  • The E-Ray placed 4th among production vehicles, after the Lucid Air Sapphire (2:44.3), the Porsche 911 GT3 Manthey Racing (2:39.8), and the Porsche 911 GT3 RS (2:37.2).
  • The E-Ray’s small 1.1-kWh battery lacks enough capacity to provide full boost for the entire 4.1-mile lap.
  • The power supplied by the 160-hp electric motor driving the front wheels tails off beyond 120 mph.
  • These Hybrid characteristics require the driver to parse out the electrical energy by strategically utilizing the car’s Charge+ mode, which allows the battery to deploy some of its juice while holding some in reserve.
  • The E-Ray is “impressive,” and its track performance confirms the E-Ray’s “middle-sibling position” in the C8 lineup: The 2:45.9 lap time lands between the Stingray Z51’s 2:49.0 and the Z06’s 2:38.6.
  • Pushed to its limits, the nearly two-ton E-Ray felt slightly larger and less precise than the 282-pound-lighter Stingray, but it’s still well balanced, with virtually no high-speed understeer.
  • The E-Ray’s carbon-ceramic stoppers felt like they could arrest a runaway train, but the propulsion system’s limitations showed on the Front Straight, where the car topped out at 147.3 mph compared to the less powerful Stingray at 149.7 (the Z06 touches 159.5 mph there).
  • Full Car & Driver article here
  • CorvSport’s 2023 Lightning Lap Coverage here

Recap of the 2024 E-Ray Specs

So, do you think 7.3 seconds is a big deal? If you were torn between a Z06 and E-Ray (and considering doing a few track days) would this time difference sway your decision? If you want to keep up to date with all the fresh Corvette news and maintain a pulse on the lifestyle and culture of this exciting, iconic brand, CorvSport has the fastest-growing Corvette community on our Facebook page, with over 173,000 followers (54,000 since January 2023!). Come join other hardcore enthusiasts and say hello, Douglas B.

Full 2024 Lightning Lap Video

[The E-Ray action starts at 14:37]