By 8:45 am, when the police helicopters showed up and hovered over us, we were about ready to wrap up. Of course, there were the two screaming, frothing-at-the-mouth bystanders with their equally barky poodles urging us to stop as well, in between their calls to 911.
Stop what? Trying to drift a Corvette Z06—in a large and securely closed parking lot off of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. I had invited my drifter friend Justin Shreeve, who has experience in competitive Formula Drift in his rearview mirror, has worked with GoPro and Red Bull, and has an engine-bay of talent going sideways neatly packed into his right foot.
Let’s just say it: Drifting isn’t a sport for the cautious. It’s high-decibel, raucous, tire-shredding fun that some cheer—and others jeer.
Allow me to put it in reverse for a second. Chevrolet was nice enough to deliver me a $101,000 Laguna blue convertible Z06. With the nearest track hours away and too much horsepower to fully unleash on public roads, I figured the best way to wring out the car’s capabilities was to go in a different direction: sideways.
I asked Justin to give me some pointers. We hopped in, started up the swagger-happy V8 and off Justin took, squashing the accelerator pedal like a pesky mosquito. Immediately he threw the wheel in one direction, causing the car’s rear end to come around. Squeal, scream, screech—all very good. Then, as a drifter does, he threw the wheel into near opposite lock, trying to abruptly steer in the opposite direction that the rear tires were traveling in.
And so we learned a valuable, hands-on Z06 lesson: The car’s electronic systems were quicker than any human, including Justin. So no matter how hard or fast he tried to counter-steer and cause this blue devil to zig in one direction and zag in the other, the electronic differential controlling his inputs consistently forced the car to shoot straight ahead instead.
But what fun trying—and so we did, first Justin, then me. Over and over, until the (closed!) lot we were in was awash in black tire swirls that are likely to be there for a long time to come. Hey, most parking areas would be proud to be tire-tattooed by a Z06.
Finally, we headed to higher ground—literally, up in the highlands of the Pacific Palisades, where we found a traffic-free, quiet stretch. And there Justin and I perfected the one bad-boy maneuver the Z06 can do for days, since it requires only that the nose be pointed straight: The time-honored burnout.
Sure, Chevy’s latest flagship sports car stands proud next to most any other high-performer available today. But if you could add one more noun to the baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chrevolet mantra, surely burnout would be next. And I’m sure most popular.
Base price: $79,400
Price as tested: $101,050
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 650 hp
Torque: 650 lb. ft. @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission: 7 speed with active rev-matching
0 to 60: 2.95 sec
Fuel efficiency: 13 mpg city/23 mpg highway