Imagine, if you will, that you are behind the wheel of a powerful and poised C6 Z06 Corvette on one of the premiere road courses in the nation. The 8-cylinder concerto coming from the LS7 swells as you put the pedal to the floor, and the harder you push the car, the more it gives you. You’ve got all the confidence you need to push the ragged edge of the car’s limits . As you top a small hill you can see your next turn come into view ahead; a hard left hander. You position the car on the right side of the tarmac, and prepare for the braking zone.
That is not what you want to see coming up in your windshield at 160 MPH...
When it’s time to brake, to hit the middle pedal and expect the Z06’s massive 6-piston front calipers to bite hard on the 14” cross drilled rotors, and help you shed all the speed you need to rip through the corner safely. Instead, you get nothing. The brakes don’t respond, and by now it’s too late. The car is going too fast, and starts to slide out of control. The car darts straight for the wall, and you clench your teeth and brace for the impact. In an instant, the nose of the car whiffs within mere inches of the wall and you slide back across the surface, and hard into the sand. You and your Z06 live to race another day.
Luckily for Hendricks, the nose of the Vette misses the wall, and the car slides safely into the gravel pit.
Jeff Hendricks, doesn’t have to imagine this scenario – he’s already lived it. Hendricks was competing in a recent NASA event at Road Atlanta, when he experienced brake failure in his Z06 as the car was about to enter turn 10A, and thanks to the video above we get to ride along during this hair-raising moment. The car slides within inches of the wall at over 160 MPH, and hits the sand pit hard. Beyond the obvious luck of not hitting the wall, it’s fortunate that the brakes let go on a section of the track where a sand pit was there to catch the Corvette, instead of another concrete wall.
You can see that the long straight immediately before turn 10A gives plenty of space to build some serious steam before entering the hard left-hander.