By Paul Rachwal
Thursday, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:08 pm
 

Anyone with a Sony PlayStation 3, a copy of Gran Turismo 5 and an Internet connection can now virtually test drive the development mule of Chevrolet's upcoming C7 Corvette. They can download and drive a camouflaged version of the car, officially dubbed Corvette C7 Test Prototype.

"Through this unique collaboration with Gran Turismo, Chevrolet is able, for the first time, to give performance car enthusiasts access to such an exclusive driving experience," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Global Marketing.

The real-life production car will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show on January 13, 2013. While the Gran Turismo franchise is well known to be a simulator, the C7 Prototype won't drive exactly as the production car, but rather reflect the handling characteristics of the development mule instead.

All six previous generations of the Corvette are featured in Gran Turismo 5 as well, and it's more than likely that the production version of the C7 will also be digitized and offered as Downloadable Content in the future, after the actual car's debut.

Naturally, we couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon and moseyed on over to the virtual store for our own taste. First impressions include a distinctly non-V8 burble upon fire-up, while the rated horsepower of the virtual car is 441 at 6,000RPM and 452lb-ft at 4,500RPM, before an oil change. Other specs revealed in the game include a 3,307lbs weight and 521 Performance Points. Whether the power and weight numbers translate over to the production car remains to be seen, though the power numbers roughly match up to those already revealed for the recently unveiled 6.2-liter small-block LT1.

A drive reveals the game developers programmed in a virtual cockpit as well, though the gauges are blacked out and there is camouflage covering the dashboard. The virtual engine has a 6,500RPM redline and doesn't make typical, muscle car noises. We managed to hit a top speed of 190mph on Daytona during our brief "wheel time," though more was left over. Whether the standard production C7 can do the same remains to be seen, but isn't likely.

The exterior camouflage hides what appears to be a hood vent or window, like on the current ZR1, along with projector headlamps, a stepped rear deck, and the double bubble roof.