Corvette ZR1 and Stile Bertone Mantide: Showdown at "The Ring"

Scott Benjamin

The Stile Bertone Mantide (Stile Bertone)

Do you remember just a couple of months ago when I posted about the Stile Bertone Mantide? You know, the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 that's all dressed-up and now sporting a $2 million price tag? Well, apparently the first Mantide has been sold and its new owner, Dan Watkins, is already throwing down the gauntlet.

Chris Rosamond, Editor of PistonHeads, is reporting that "British-born financier and 'gentleman racer' Dan Watkins is getting quite excited about the prospect of pitting his new machine against 'the green hell'." (The green hell is what they call the infamous Nürburgring racetrack in Germany.) In other words, he wants to take a run at the Corvette ZR1's Nürburgring lap record of 7 minutes, 26.4 seconds. That's the current record for a stock, street-legal, series production automobile, by the way, and Watkins plans to personally finance the entire effort!

So, what would that include? Well, according to Noah Joseph at Autoblog, "Watkins is mulling renting out the 'Ring for three days, hiring an expert Nordschleife driver, and of course, donating the use of his $2 million supercar. All in pursuit of the ultimate bragging rights." So clearly this is going to be an expensive endeavor.

This brings up an obvious question: How can a $2 million Mantide qualify for a stock, street-legal, series production automobile record against a $100,000 Corvette ZR1? That hardly seems equal right? Well, remember the Mantide is Corvette ZR1-based, so I'm guessing that as long as it's running an unmodified engine on pump gas (not racing fuel), has the same chassis alignment and factory spec vehicle height as the Corvette and is using the Corvette's stock Michelin Pilot Sport 2s tires, this keeps them in the same class...? I don't know. It sure seems like there should at least be an asterisk next to this one -- that is, if the ZR1 record does indeed fall to the Mantide.

But does the Mantide really have a shot at the one-lap record? Joseph thinks so. He says "as delicate and fragile as it may look, the Mantide arguably stands the best chance of besting the supercharged Vette's time - mostly because it's based on the ZR1. Only it's 80kg (176 pounds) lighter and 30 percent more aerodynamic."

Sounds like we've got a race! Well, a race against the clock, anyway.

More related stuff: How the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Works How Superchargers Work How Aerodynamics Work How Clocks Work Consumer Guide Automotive - 2009 Chevrolet Corvette