Join Tad Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, for a first official look at the 2012 Corvette. Continual performance improvement meant a focus on handling this year and new tires have brought impressive gains. In addition to the Chevrolet Centennial Edition model which debuts this weekend at the C5/C6 Bash in Bowling Green, Kentucky, interior and technology changes have been announced.

As part of the Z07 package, which is available on the ZR1 and Z06 models, the new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup ZP is provided. This is a competition-oriented tire that is optimized to increase cornering and handling capability in warm, dry conditions.

Coupled with the car’s Performance Traction Management feature, the combination is expected to establish new levels of capability in braking and lateral acceleration performance. New wheels, which are said to be five pounds lighter than previously, also contribute to the improvement.

All 2012 models inherit new seat and steering wheel designs. Larger seat bolsters and optional microfiber suede inserts provide additional support in high performance usage. A new Bose audio system will be available with nine speakers and next generation bass performance. As well, color selection for the Corvette brake calipers is now available. Choices include red, yellow, silver and gray.

Other changes for 2012 include an optional carbon fiber hood for Z06 models and taller gearing for the ZR1’s 6-speed gearbox.