General Motors CFO Dan Ammann takes the Corvette Z06 to the test track

Article by Christian A., on July 22, 2012

General Motors CFO Dan Ammann wants to be known as a true car guy and will be demonstrating just how dynamic he is by taking a gray-metallic Corvette Z06 and proving that it can reach 150 miles per hour on a three-mile test track. With this move, Ammann can never be mistaken as one of those finance people who nearly devastated the U.S. brand.

He said that he went to the track to get a view of how the company makes cars in order to “make a difference.” For many years, GM has been struggling under a corporate culture that was bureaucratic. Other factors that hurt it were persistent losses in Europe, the sluggish industry demand in China, and GM's $134 billion in pension obligations at the end of last year.

Several industry officials think that the issues are so deep-rooted that the most probable outcome is that GM will never be able to resolve its underlying problems. Steve Rattner, the former head of the U.S. auto task force, said that GM hasn’t been able to solve its management challenges yet.

He acknowledges that GM is raking in a lot of money but it’s not making as much as Ford in terms of percentage since it has several inefficiencies that have to be eliminated. Even when GM made a record profit of $7.6 billion in 2011, GM's operating margin of 3.8% still fell behind its competitors like Hyundai with 10.4%, Volkswagen with 7.1% and Ford with 5.4%.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06's drivetrain and powertrain systems are paired to the LS7's performance capacity. The light, 4:1 headers pave way for new, tightly-coupled catalytic converters via new "bi-modal" mufflers. Each muffler showcases a vacuum-actuated outlet valve that controls noise of the exhaust on light load function but opens for max power.

At the back of the LS7 engine, a light, max-capacity clutch channels torque to the back transaxle, a single-unit flywheel. The 6-speed manual transmission model has been toughened to withstand the LS7's upgraded torque load. The transmission has a pump that puts out transmission fluid to the radiator at the front to allow it to cool. When it goes back, the fluid eliminates extra heat from the differential lube prior to going back to the transmission. The six-speed transmission links to an exclusive-slip differential, with bigger ring and pinion gears. More powerful axle half-shafts with stronger flexible joints provide power to the back wheels.

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has a totally different aluminum exterior for enhanced stiffness and is surprisingly light for its fixed-roof body. Perimeter rails are just single unit hydroformed aluminum that feature cast suspension nodes, and control welded steel elements on other models of the Corvette. Other stampings, castings and extrusions are blended to the modern structure with world-class manufacturing innovations.

Modern structural elements showcasing carbon fiber are incorporated to the aluminum surface. The broader front wheelbases, for instance, are carbon composites and the compartment floors at the passenger side blend carbon-fiber trims with an extremely lightweight core made of balsa wood.

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