The first time I drove the C8 at the track, I was blown away not so much by how fast it is, but even more so about how easy it is to drive. Three years later, the regular C8 with Z51 package is no longer the new shiny, it's the even more fearsome Z06 with its LT6 V8, 5.5L and 670 naturally aspirated horsepower at 8400rpm. But that takes away nothing from just how good the regular C8 and its LT2 V8, 6.2L and 495hp is, let alone how easy it is to drive on the track.
All that praise aside... this second trip to the National Corvette Museum's Corvette Experience at their on-site, 3.2 mile, 23 numbered corners (23-ish turns? 24?) felt a bit rougher than the first time. Not sure how much was skills degrading, or old age, or maybe the cars being a little more worn, or just the track and/or the weather being different, but the first two sessions definitely felt like a lot more time remembering how to drive fast on the track again. Listening to the instructors and their advice, listening and feeling the car's behaviour when driven hard, and three-year-old memories of the track all interplaying?
23 turns and 3.2 miles is quite a bit of track to learn, the instructors said seven (7) full track days is usually a good number before you start getting a decent feel for the track. From what I can tell they're not wrong. Stringing together the last six turns-- turns 18/19/20/21/22/23-- came together fairly often for me, and as promised, sets you up well for the front straight when done right. When not done right, well, don't stress, and try again next lap.
Did okay with turns 1A/1B/2 but overcooked it once early on and took til the 3rd session to recover, also I suspect the other customer I was sharing my instructor-- while quite a good driver, probably faster than me-- didn't seem quite as confident coming out out of turn 3 into turn 4, turn 5, or turn 6. Turn 10 is the slowest on the track, the slow-in-fast-out adage absolutely holds true. And by session three I had figured out some of my braking points, sadly I think they called us in a lap early. ;_;
Other tidbits: the building at Motorsports Park had apparently been hit by a tornado, so they're expanding and rebuilding facilities. Temporary pavillion is up and is pretty comfortable, although this meant track-side viewing was almost non-existent. Instructors are still driving C7's, customers drive C8's. There is also a new Z06 four-lap experience available, but as that is way less track time than the Corvette Experience, I opted to pass. The National Corvette Museum itself had a few changes, notably the Z06 and LT6 engine on display and a C8 engineering mule "Black Jack" that was cool to see. The second most fun bit at the museum was seeing some customers get their Z06's delivered-- not just inside, but outside as well in the parking lot.
Mission BBQ for lunch was so-so. Fatty brisket had potential but was maybe a bit too much fat (like 1/4th the meat?), and the pork ribs were pretty dry. Meh. Six kinds of BBQ sauces was fun tho, and the regular sausage was pretty decent. Then a quick drive down the road to Dueling Grounds Distillery to restock on their delicious Apple Pie white lightning. More-apple-ly and less vanilla than the last one I got (from Neely FamilY Distillery), friends back home definitely liked this one better.
After the workday ended, found Burmese food for dinner at Chinstar Asian Cuisine. It was extremely affordable (tea leaf salad for $6.50) and as far as I can tell pretty tasty, with a simple but effectively done kyi oo, traditional Burmese soup with pork liver and pork stomach, bok choy, quail egg, tofu, and thin noodles. Unfortunately not a lot of experience with Burmese food so can't really say just how good this was, but they were clearly very happy to have a dine-in customer!