By Greg Barbera
In the world of transportation, the four-lane 20-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (yes, a bridge and a tunnel) is known as one of the seven engineering marvels of the world. Crossing over and under open waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean—and linking Southeastern Virginia with Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Eastern Shore counties in Maryland and Virginia)—it cuts 95 miles from the journey between Virginia Beach and points north of Wilmington, Delaware.
Another engineering marvel is the 2014 Corvette Stingray. From its aluminum, lightweight frame and jet-inspired exterior to the five customizable driver modes and affordable price tag, the latest Stingray sets a new standard for what to expect from a high-performance vehicle. And like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, it’s also two things in one. Its racetrack capabilities are combined with daily commuter comfort, making it one of the most iconic cars to hit the market, a modern marvel of automotive engineering and design.
At the heart of both is design. Essential to the strong performance of the new Corvette Stingray is its aluminum frame, which is 57% stiffer and 100 lbs. lighter than the previous-generation frame. And like the trestle of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, it’s equally balanced, meaning that the front end is not heavier than the back end (or vice versa).
Key to both the bridge and the car is suspension engineered for stability and responsiveness. The Bridge-Tunnel is a composite of low-level trestles, bridge and tunnel segments, and manmade islands that allow it to overcome environmental challenges, and contribute to its unique design. The Stingray uses its customizable driver modes to achieve a similar effect, employing such available features as Electronic Limited-Slip Differential, Magnetic Ride and Performance Traction Management to keep the driver in control.
Driving over, across and under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is an experience. Now just imagine driving your Corvette on it. Low, lightweight and lean, the Stingray minimizes drag. A hood air extractor controls airflow, reduces front-end lift and increases down force, which improves handling at high speeds. Available brake cooling optimizes stopping performance and available powertrain cooling keeps the Corvette from overheating during autocross and hot lapping.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel now offers two MP3 driving tours (northbound and southbound) that you can download onto your iPod and listen to in your Corvette’s cockpit, where innovative digital features—such as the 8-inch high-definition screen, the touch-screen center console and available Head-Up Display—are setting new standards for the automotive industry. At the same time, the Stingray’s Grand Touring seats, with available Grade A Napa leather and suede-microfiber inserts, offer optimal comfort.
The Corvette isn’t just a car; it represents a lifestyle. It’s made for the driver who wants not only the best, but also a vehicle that’s customizable to his or her ever-changing attitude toward the road—from the excitement of high performance to the comfort of a quiet commute.
Like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the Corvette is all-purpose, all day, all the time.
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Greg Barbera of DadCentric is a dad blogger, beer magazine editor and the singer/bass player for the punk band Chest Pains. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @gregeboy, Tumblr, Facebook and Blogger.