No. 4 Corvette Team Earns Rolex 24 GTLM Pole with Motul Pole Award 100 Win; Auberlen, Foley Take Top Spot in GT Daytona
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Corvette Racing has shown it can win shorter IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Daytona International Speedway. It remains to be seen if the GT Le Mans (GTLM) stalwart can end a drought in the iconic 24-hour race.
Alexander Sims and Nick Tandy – both new to the team in 2021 – drove to the class victory Sunday in the Motul Pole Award 100, the qualifying race that sets the starting grid for the world-famous Rolex 24 At Daytona that starts Saturday, Jan. 30 on the same DIS road course. Sims and Tandy guided the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to a 12-second win over their teammates, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, in the No. 3 Corvette.
It marked the second straight win for Corvette at Daytona, going back to July’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 when Taylor and Antonio Garcia won in the No. 3. However, a Corvette hasn’t won the big race, the Rolex 24, since 2016.
“It was fun, actually,” Tandy said of Sunday’s race that climaxed the Roar Before the Rolex 24 that in the past consisted only of WeatherTech Championship test sessions. “I think it was good for the Roar. It enables you to get some different testing in, but obviously it’s meaningful.”
Starting third on a wet track from a pre-race shower, Sims jumped the two BMW Team RLL M8s in front of him and took the class lead on the opening lap. From there, it was a battle of strategy as the track began to dry. Sims handed over the car to Tandy on the first pit stop under a full-course caution with just more than an hour remaining in the 100-minute race. The No. 4 also took on slick, dry-condition Michelin tires at the time.
“It was an interesting first taste of the conditions for me in the car,” said Sims, who most recently was a BMW GTLM endurance driver. “But very quickly I was given a lot of confidence from the car as to how to push. I was able to get around the BMWs on the first lap and then just sort of find my feet, lap by lap. … It was nice to just get some experience in the wet and get a feeling for how the car was working.”
The main competition from that point was the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, attempting to stretch its fuel to the finish. But with the race staying green for the final hour, Kevin Estre was forced to stop with 17 minutes remaining and surrendered the lead back to Tandy. Estre and co-driver Cooper MacNeil finished an impressive third in the privateer Porsche.
“I think their plan was to stay out and hope for a lot of yellow and kind of roll the dice that way,” Tandy, the former Porsche GTLM driver, said. “We went with the slick tire in the stop, where a couple of the cars and one of the BMWs stopped and kept the wet (tires). It proved to be a good strategic call from Corvette Racing which got us a 1-2 in the end.”
“Everyone wants to start the Rolex 24 from the pole position. We get to do this (qualifying race) in sort of a pressure situation and run through all the procedures. … It’s obviously a great start for both me and Alexander to kick off our time with Corvette Racing.”
As important as the victory was, it also earned the No. 4 a valuable 35 points toward the GTLM championship under the WeatherTech Championship’s new scoring format.
With the starting grid settled, all cars are idle now until Rolex 24 At Daytona practice begins Thursday. The 59th Rolex 24 takes the green flag at 3:40 p.m. ET Saturday. Live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on NBC. Complete IMSA Radio coverage is also available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Auberlen Earns Another First, Winning an IMSA Qualifying Race
Bill Auberlen has the most race wins in IMSA history, so he’s quite familiar with victories. Taking first place in a qualifying race, however, was something new for the Turner Motorsport driver.
Auberlen and teammate Robby Foley were the GT Daytona (GTD) class winners in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100, crossing the finish line in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 4.424 seconds ahead of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R.
The result gives Auberlen and Foley another Motul Pole Award for the ledger, and the 52-year-old will take whatever accolades come with the 35 points he and Foley earned toward the season championship.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a qualifying race,” Auberlen admitted afterward. “It’s cool to win something new. I like it! To qualify on the pole for the Daytona 24-hour race is amazing. That is really great because that’s just the crown jewel of IMSA, is Daytona.”
The No. 96 BMW followed a similar path to the GTD win as the No. 4 Corvette did in GTLM. Foley started seventh in class and was among a throng of GTD cars to pit at the first opportunity once his 30-mimute minimum drive time was achieved. Auberlen hopped in with fresh slick tires.
The wily veteran stopped again with 50 minutes remaining and stalked the leaders from there, waiting until the No. 111 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 needed to make late pit stops. Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti finished third in the No. 111 Lamborghini.
“The race today, we just tried to execute,” Foley said. “We ran through the driver change, a couple pit stops, so the guys did a nice job in the pits. It was just nice to get back in the swing of things.”
“For sure, it’s the best place to start,” he added of the pole-clinching effort. “I think you can control your own destiny a bit better.”
Photo Credits: Jeremy Welborn
We got some more good news regarding Corvette production over the weekend as we’ve learned that the 2021 Corvettes are now shipping. Not only have they started shipping but some dealers have already announced their arrivals!
Why this is great news is that these first 2021 orders are supposed to go to those who had an order for a 2020 Corvette but unfortunately didn’t make the cut due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We were hearing that the cars were subject to a quality control hold so it’s great news that some of these “bumped” customers will actually get to enjoy their 2021s this year.
Yesterday we read on the Corvette Action Center that MacMulkin has five 2021 Corvette picked up by Jack Cooper Transport and are currently inbound. Earlier today, Mike Furman confirmed on his facebook page that his first 2021s are on a truck as well.
Our friend Rick ‘Corvette’ Conti announced today that he had two 2021 Corvettes dropped off first thing this morning. His two cars are both Torch Red Convertibles and their VIN sequence numbers are #85 and #437.
The Corvette Assembly Plant is normally scheduled to be off this week but instead, they are running both shifts through Wednesday before breaking for the holidays. Those three days should add close to an additional 500-600 Corvettes to the 2021 total. Again, great news!
Following the holiday break, the Corvette Plant will pick up where they left off on January 4th.
Thanks again to all those involved from the Corvette Team to the assembly plant employees, as well as those at Jack Cooper Transportation for all the great work you do in making Corvette Dreams come true!
Corvette Blogger Keith Cornett
When Corvettes are shipped to a Chevrolet dealership, they have to go through a pre-delivery inspection known as PDI. Service technicians take the cars fresh off the truck into the service bays where they run through a checklist of things to do that include installing any parts and accessories as well as checking and topping off the fluids.
We’ve talked about the PDI process previously, and have even shared some of the processes like the installation of a High Wing. Now here’s a chance to watch a 2020 Corvette going through PDI with a time-lapse video that condenses the hour-and-a-half process into just under 5 minutes. While we don’t really learn anything new from the video, we are treated to a scene that most of us will never see.
The video was posted to YouTube by a user named “I Sell Corvettes“:
The long version time-lapse of the C8 pre-delivery inspection. This C8 is a fairly basic, non-Z51 so the PDI is pretty quick and easy, less than an hour and a half.
And there’s still more in the tank.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 has been hailed as a performance bargain since it first arrived on the scene, but if you’re saving money on the cost of a car, that just means you have more money left over to make it even faster and better. For some, that can even include altering its appearance for a more exotic look. But while some prefer technical circuit racing, where the C8 excels too, the most popular form of motorsport in America is arguably drag racing. We know that a standard C8 with 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque can clock a 10-second quarter-mile, but now someone has made it into the nines.
Extreme Turbo Systems, a company famous for mind-blowingly powerful Nissan GTRs, has just set a new record for the C8, achieving a time of 9.95 seconds at 144 mph. Naturally, this required some extensive modifications, with the ETS C8 receiving new Mahle pistons Ferrea and valves, Mickey Thompson drag radial tires, a bespoke intercooler with an ice box, and direct port methanol injection. As imperative as these mods are, it’s the addition of Precision turbochargers with 46 millimeter wastegates that truly elevates the ETS C8 to a new level.
With 13 psi of boost, this Stingray produces 872 hp. 18 psi generates 980 horses, and then 20 psi gets the team into quadruple digits with an astonishing 1,021 hp. That’s more than double what the car comes with in stock form.
But as any racing enthusiast will tell you, a dyno run does not prove that your car is fast. Thus, ETS headed to Woodburn Dragstrip to lay down some rubber, and despite battling some launch control and transmission issues, achieved some incredible figures. At 11 psi, a time of 10.49 seconds was achieved at 141 mph. Turned up to 13.5 psi, the C8 managed 10.05 at 145 mph. Being that close to the single digits with no breakages, it only makes sense to turn it up again. Interestingly, although the team achieved 9.95 at 144 mph, this was done with just 15 psi, meaning less than 980 hp. Assuming that transmission and launch issues can be resolved and more power put down, this car may achieve mid-nine-second passes very soon.
Fifth win for GTLM leaders, sixth for first-year Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2020) – Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor’s charmed season continued Saturday as they claimed another victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a victory in their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Garcia passed John Edwards for the lead with 21 minutes left and held on despite a late-race caution on a tricky and treacherous night at the Roval – the first time for Corvette Racing at the venue. The duo extended their GTLM Drivers’ Championship lead to 24 points over their Corvette Racing teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, who finished fourth in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Chevrolet also saw its lead grow in the Manufacturers standings to 14 points.
Garcia and Taylor have now won five of eight races this year and four of the last five in the first year of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R. Taylor began on pole position Saturday for the second consecutive race, but conditions were much different at the green flag with a steady rain having pelted the track since mid-afternoon. The first 16 minutes featured two full-course cautions, and both Corvettes came in at 20 minutes running for fuel, tires and driver changes – Taylor to Garcia and Gavin to Milner.
On the restart, Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette ran second while Milner made a big move on the inside of the first corner to move from fourth to third. He fell back a few laps later before the track began to dry somewhat, and the Corvettes grew stronger during a long-green flag run. It culminated with Garcia moving in front with a move on Edwards to the inside of Turn 8 just before the infield section rejoined the banked oval part of the track.
Garcia pulled away quickly and led by as much as five seconds a handful of laps later. Milner, too, was making a charge back to podium position before part of the No. 4 Corvette’s right-rear suspension broke with 11 minutes remaining. Milner went hard into the outside wall but got out of the car under his own power and later was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
The race began again with five minutes to go, and Garcia pulled out to a one-second lead with a lap to go and rain falling again. He crossed the finish line with a 1.474-second margin of victory.
Corvette Racing heads back to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for next week’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans on Oct. 15-17.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“It was super, super stressful. Even if it felt like I was just following the 24, I was really hanging on. I probably crashed four or five times, just like everyone else. Jordan gave me some very good indications before he jumped out and before we went green to give me confidence in following the BMW. They were really strong right away, but I didn’t really give up. As soon as I felt like we stabilized on lap times, I kept pressuring him and using traffic to close up. They were very strong as you saw with their sister car. As soon as I saw they were struggling a little bit with tires – especially the 24 – I stayed patient even when the 25 was coming. I saw my opportunity and went for it. I don’t know if it was risky move or not, but at that point I didn’t think about the championship. I wanted to win the race. As soon as I got past, I put my head down, tried to open a gap and it worked. I’m very happy for Corvette Racing and Team Chevy. I’m glad Tommy is OK. We have a very fast car but also a very safe car. That’s a magnificent combination of car here. It’s great to be driving for the best team out there and keep winning races. We need to keep this mentality and go all the way to the end.”
DID THE TRACK IMPROVE FROM THE START? “The first two laps was close to how we finish. It was very difficult at the beginning. There was a massive river going across at Turn Three, and I almost lost it two or three times there. The conditions definitely improved, but lap by lap you know where to place your car, and following someone opens the water a little bit for you. Once we got into a rhythm, the track improved for sure but it started to rain at the end. Being in the wet in the dark also makes it difficult to spot standing water.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“At the beginning of the race, there obviously was a lot of water on the track, and with the lighting it was hard to see where the standing water was. Considering our championship position, it was kind of damage control for me, trying to stay on the track and handing off the car in one piece. It was easy to get caught up in battling with people at that point of the race, but there was really no point. You weren’t going to win the race in the first 20 or 30 minutes. I was glad to get through that phase and hand over the car to Antonio and let him go for it. He did a great job of keeping the car out of the wall for those first few laps and putting the pressure on the BMW. We would have been happy leaving here with a podium given the championship position with three races to go. But he kept the pressure on, never put a wheel wrong and was able to get by. It’s really awesome to maximize the points when we didn’t expect it. We can go into the last three races and race for the win, as well. It’s another great day for Corvette Racing. It’s good to see that Tommy walked away from that big hit at the end. It says a lot about Chevrolet and Corvette Racing and how safe they build the race cars and how strong they are. It give us a lot of confidence when we strap in that we’re going to be safe.”
ROLE OF THE CHEVROLET SIMULATOR IN RACE PREP: “If it wasn’t for the simulator, we probably wouldn’t have been able to put it on the pole and been able to stay out of trouble like that. So the simulator was a big tool for us. I’m glad this all worked out.”
LOOKING TO PETIT LE MANS: “We’re already thinking about it. It’s at the top of Antonio’s list of races to win. The focus has already shifted. The guys are driving to Atlanta tomorrow to prep the cars, but unfortunately they’ll have a lot to prep on the 4 car. We did a test day there last week where Nicky (Catsburg) and Marcel (Fassler) were able to get some laps. At the Six-Hour, we struggled with a few things and I think we found a few things at the test for some long runs and working on the different compounds of tires. This weekend was good to get in some mixed conditions. We haven’t had a lot of rain and mixed conditions in a race setting other than Road America. It was good to get a bit of everything. Now no matter what we see at Petit Le Mans, we feel pretty well prepared.”
DID THE ADDITIONAL INFIELD LIGHTING HELP? “Yes, we tested here about a month ago and the lighting was pretty difficult to see where you were going. They’ve definitely made some nice improvements. If it had been a dry race, the visibility would have been great. When you add in the water with the type of surface they have here, it’s very reflective when there’s a lot of water on it. It’s hard to distinguish what’s a damp section and what’s a deep section. It’s hard to pick out what’s what at night. It took some getting used to, but it probably made a good show on TV. It looked pretty spectacular when I got out and watched all the headlights reflecting off everything. This was definitely a cool event, and I’m glad we were able to win the first one back here.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“This whole weekend has been a massive challenge. The format of this race and the way it has happened made for some quite difficult sessions. Then you add in the extra element of the weather conditions, it just seemed like it was culminating in somewhat of a bit of a perfect storm for us. The start of the race for me was crazy. There were massive amounts of standing weather everywhere. I was just hanging on, just driving the car around and trying not to crash. I had multiple moments every single lap thinking well I could finish the race by doing something daft, so I just got myself into a position where I could sort of survive. Others were spinning off and crashing, and we ended up in third when we came in for the pit stop and hand it over for Tommy to drive. It was looking okay for a while and Tommy had pretty good pace. Then we had the issue at the right-rear. We still are trying to figure out what exactly happened. It just seems if something can go wrong, it will go wrong for us unfortunately. But I am very happy Tommy was able to walk away. It was a pretty high-speed accident so that’s a great testament to the guys at Chevrolet and Corvette for how well they’ve engineering the road car and the race car. That was a really big hit and Tommy was able to walk away on his own. And of course, I’m happy for Jordan and Antonio in picking up another win. It’s another positive outcome for the team.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“I didn’t have any indication at any point that there was something going wrong. Everything felt totally normal up until it wasn’t. I had almost finished on the banking, which is more G-loading than Daytona. It doesn’t really explain the problem, it seems like. At first I thought I lost a tire, like it just overheated or something like that for how quickly it went around. The first indications were that wasn’t the case. The track had some pretty gnarly weeps in the seams of the race track that would get you a little bit loose sometimes, but it was never really a huge deal. Upon further inspection, it looks like once the car got back to the trucks, we did have something at the right-rear and the wheel came off. Fortunately, this is a really strong and safe Corvette that we have and it held up really well. Selfishly I’m glad it is nothing I did wrong, but that doesn’t change the outcome. There is still a lot of work for the guys to get the car fixed and get ready to go to Petit Le Mans in less than a week. I feel bad for the guys for the amount of work they have to do. Obviously, the first thing we do as a team is to figure out what the failure is, how it happened and make the necessary changes to prevent that from happening again. The guys will go through that in the next couple of days and come up with a good plan.
“In the last part there, I don’t know if it was the BMW kind of fading or us getting better. I got a little bit unlucky at the start of my stint with traffic. I got balked pretty bad there going into Turn One and had a little moment and the No. 25 got around me. We knew that was going to be a big deal here. It seemed like the car was getting better toward the end. Once Antonio got around the No. 24, he was able to pull away with a little bit of a gap. I was just trying to put a little pressure on the two cars in front of me and see if we could make them make a mistake again to get around. Passing is very difficult here, but it never quite got to that point unfortunately for us. It just wasn’t our day today. I felt like we had a pretty good car. We were fast in practice and it looked like we were making decent progress at the end, but we never got there.”
Corvette Racing is loving the new Corvette C8.R. The team had already taken four wins in its new-for-2020 mid-engine race cars heading into this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio and managed to make it five after the No. 3 car of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia dominated the race from flag to flag.
Taylor put the No. 3 Corvette C8.R on pole position for Sunday’s race, but lost the lead to the No. 4 C8.R sister car of Oliver Gavin shortly after the green flag came out. The American eventually worked his way past his British teammate, however, with the No. 3 Corvette C8.R then remaining in the top position in GTLM for the rest of the two hour and 40-minute race.
“The 3 car has been particularly strong all weekend,” Taylor said post-race. “We led all four sessions. I think we just had a little bit of speed on them all weekend. The balance of the car was just really strong from the get-go. It says a lot for the team, coming here for the first time with the Corvette C8.R, with no testing, just simulator time and rolling off the truck so strong. I think it’s hard to complain about anything at this point.”
“Jordan did a fantastic job all day long, getting on pole and then getting a solid lead even if there were a ton of yellows,” added Garcia. “When you are in that position, you are in control of the race. The C8.R worked perfectly again today. Not only on a quick lap but the consistency through the stint was the main thing. The C7 was good as we proved over the years, but this is definitely a step forward.”
While the 1-2 result for Corvette Racing was a welcome result for the American team, it was somewhat diminished by the fact that the GTLM field only had four cars in it Sunday. Porsche pulled its factory drivers from all events this past weekend after four members of its 24 Hours of Le Mans program tested positive for COVID-19, leaving only the two Corvette Racing entries and a pair of BMW M8s in the GTLM field.
Click here to view complete results from the 2020 Acura Sports Car Challenge from Mid-Ohio.
As close to perfection as it gets for the price
The $59,995 2020 Chevrolet Corvette exists. Chevy sent Zac Palmer from AutoBlog the Accelerate Yellow 3LT model which came to $86,860. Yet, after a week in the tight bucket seat, he’s still convinced it’s a bargain.
Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Pick three, because combining all four of these elements in a sports car or supercar is like trying to find Waldo when he’s been torn out of the page. Chevy is turning this conundrum upside down with the new Corvette. Equipped properly, the C8 checks all four of the boxes emphatically.
Performance is a no-doubter. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in this Z51 pack car, rocketing it to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds via an excellent launch control system. The magnetic dampers make for a sophisticated ride and handling balance. It can go from forgiving and plush to racetrack stiff at the twist of a dial. The interior is more luxurious and tech heavy than anything else GM makes, save for a loaded-up Cadillac. And then there’s the price. How Chevy priced this car below $100,000 still baffles me. Almost nothing is missing, but let’s dive in a bit deeper, starting from the best place to be: the driver’s seat.
Reaching beyond the highly-bolstered suede, leather and mesh Competition GT3 seats in this C8, everything I touch feels of quality. Yellow accents are splashed about the interior in thoughtful locations. Even the removable roof has yellow stitching woven in. Before I even get on the road, this attention to detail and level of customization reminds me of Porsche — the Chevy options are just cheaper. The spectacular view forward over a low nose keeps the Porsche theme on track, but it trails off when I begin to take in the interior design language around me.
No car takes the jet fighter cockpit theme as seriously as the Corvette does. I’m cocooned in my own bubble, completely walled-off from the passenger, and the passenger from me. Wide, swooping armrests are swathed in suede and placed at perfect elbow-resting height. The square-shaped suede-covered ($595) steering wheel isn’t weird to use, but spokes at 9 and 3 would be preferable over their current 8:30 and 3:30 positions. My passengers kept accidentally adjusting my seat and temperature controls on the vertical climate control stack (driver on top, passenger on bottom), but I became accustomed to the design quickly. It beats putting the climate controls in a touchscreen.
The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.
The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.
The drive mode dial has proper heft, and the digital instrument cluster quickly animates through layouts with each new mode. Ergonomically, the interior is brilliant. My seating position is spot on with the seat set to its lowest point. Being able to see out the back with a standard mirror would be nice, but the digital rearview camera mirror on this car is a revelation for a mid-engine layout. You can see everything, and glare from taller cars’ headlights in the dark is a non-issue — even the driver-side mirror is auto-dimming. All this, and my butt and back are cool via the ventilated seats.
Setting out in Tour (comfort) mode, GM’s Small Block LT2 clacks away quietly behind my ear, sounding every bit like a Camaro or the previous Corvette. A thick piece of glass separates the cabin from the engine bay, allowing driver and passenger to look back at the pretty V8. It’s far more sedate and normal to cruise around in than you might imagine. The steering wheel flies left or right with ease at low speeds, the brakes are comfortable but not touchy, and those magnetic dampers are damping out the bumps. The big engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox never fully fade into the background when casually driving around, but there’s no drama at low speeds. Ferraris or Lamborghinis never stop telling you what they are when cruising through town. If it weren’t for the incessant staring and pointing, I could’ve forgotten I was driving the hottest, most-anticipated car of the last several years. Credit to Chevy for making this beast so livable on a day-to-day basis.
Not to say the Corvette is quiet inside (it’s not), but that level of refinement in the cabin in casual driving isn’t always conducive to noise and personality when the right pedal is flat. Even with the supplemental exhaust noise being pumped into the cabin via the speakers, the Corvette isn’t as loud inside as I imagined it would’ve been with the performance exhaust. It’s opposite what’s going on out back, too. This Corvette sounds like NASCAR thunder from the roadside as it pounds through the forest, barking and snapping at each quick gear change. Problem is, the driver is only getting a fraction of this in their eardrums. I have a certain expectation for theater and aural wonder from a mid-engine car. The Corvette could use a tinge more of both.
Now, enough with the nit-picking. Power (so much of it) is simply here. It’s like a light switch. The speed at which this updated V8 revs — get the full download in our First Drive — is one pivotal aspect that stands out. Whether you’re banging through first and second or free revving for a demanding onlooker, it goes from idle to 6,500 rpm (redline) in a flash. The steady increase in shove keeps coming all the way to the top despite peak torque hitting at 5,150 rpm.
There isn’t much fuss in the power band. Everything is business as usual if you’re accustomed to GM’s Small Block V8. It’s glorious in its simplicity, and brings a sense of normalcy to the gob smacking acceleration. I’m not wanting for any more forward thrust — there is zero letup at legal speeds — but I’m already looking forward to the shriek of the flat-plane crank Corvette headed our way soon. This engine is an ode to the traditionalists, but the flat-plane crank ‘Vette will be an ode to people like me who love high-revving, exotic engines.
Once I make it out to some proper driving roads, the brilliance of this chassis comes into plain view. It doesn’t feel like a company’s first go at a mid-engine supercar. No, it’s well-tuned and strikes a wonderful ride and handling balance the likes of which Porsche has been perfecting for years with the 911. The magnetic dampers on this car deserve many thank you notes. Turn-in is crisp and quick. The nose is happy to be pointed in a different direction at a moment’s notice, and there’s zero uneasiness coming from the rear end. As the Gs build, the Corvette remains a wonderfully balanced rock. I’m waiting for the rear end to step out on me as I apply more and more throttle coming out of turns, but it wriggles, then sticks with the weight of the engine keeping it planted. This car will happily go sideways if you intentionally goose it, but it’s incredibly well-behaved when speed is the priority.
The steering weight is just about perfect in Sport mode, but turns a smidge too heavy in Track mode. Bumps and bigger undulations in corners are shrugged off. I can feel what’s going on at the wheels through the seat and steering wheel, but the Corvette reassuringly trucks on without skipping a beat. Lesser chassis will bound around and send the car skipping on my testing roads, but the Corvette handles them like a champ. The $1,895 you spend on these dampers will be the best $1,895 you ever spend.
A manual transmission is the only item missing. My tester car may be supercar-quick, but it’s not too much of a handful that a manual would ruin the experience. Take the three-pedal version of the 911 Carrera S as an example. It may be slower to 60 mph than the PDK, but the car is still plenty drivable and doesn’t turn into some hot mess with too much horsepower. I think there’s room for a manual to work the same way in the Corvette. This is no condemnation of the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Vette today, though. It’s as quick to respond as the best of them. If Porsche held any advantage here it would be in smoothness, as the Corvette is less refined in manual mode when you’re not pushing. I’d move the paddles up by about an inch, too, since they’re just out of reach at my preferable 9 and 3 hand position.
It’s staggering what Chevy put together here — nothing less than a generational milestone. The last no compromise supercar that truly shook the segment up was the 1991 Acura NSX, but even the NSX was pricey. Chevy’s new Corvette is just as important, but in a different way. McLaren and Ferrari buyers will keep buying McLarens and Ferraris. Lamborghini isn’t going to make a budget model. This car won’t force the old guard to change what they did the way Honda did in the 1990s. No, what the new Corvette does is bring that exotic level of performance to a price bracket that’s never had this opportunity before. It’s a supercar for the people, assuming the people have over $60,000 for a toy. But don’t worry; in three years depreciation will have them down in the $40,000 range.
Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Somehow, all four deliverables are present and accounted for. At $59,995, nothing can beat it. At $86,860, nothing can beat it. The Small Block isn’t holding this car back from greatness — it’s already great with it. But this chassis, and the car as a whole, begs for more. More character, more revs and an exotic yowl that matches the chassis’ greatness. When Chevy adds such an engine, the Corvette can transcend beyond the performance bargain moniker to being one of the greatest of all time. It’s nearly there already.
Related Source: AutoBlog
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor hold on for Corvette Racing’s fourth straight win…
Corvette Racing has scored its fourth consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class victory following late-race drama for Porsche in Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Bill Auberlen, meanwhile, became the winningest driver in IMSA history with a long-awaited victory in GT Daytona.
Antonio Garcia limped the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to the win in the two-hour and 40-minute GT-only contest despite a loose floor on his mid-engined machine.
Garcia took over the lead when the pole-sitting No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Nick Tandy was forced into the pits due to a left-rear tire issue with 18 minutes to go.
Co-driver Fred Makowkecki had rebounded from an early left-rear puncture to take over the lead thanks to a fuel-only stop during the race’s second full course caution.
A pit lane miscue with tightening the right-rear wheel saw Jordan Taylor lose time during the same round of stops but benefitted from misfortunes from both CORE autosport-run Porsches.
The No. 912 car of Earl Bamber battled a loose diffuser, caused by contact with the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi, relegating the defending GTLM champions to a fifth place class finish after multiple stops for repairs.
Tandy and Makowiecki ended up finishing third, despite the Englishman nearly getting around the No. 25 BMW of Bruno Spengler on the final lap.
Up front, it marked Garcia and Taylor’s third win in the last four races and has extended their championship lead.
The No. 4 Corvette of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, who had an off-course excursion with 1 hour and 32 minutes to go, came home fourth in a race that saw nearly every GTLM car hit trouble.
It included the No. 24 BMW, which lost nearly 20 laps in the opening hour due to a mechanical issue.
Auberlen Makes History With 61st IMSA Win
Turner Motorsport claimed top class honors in GT Daytona, with Auberlen and Robby Foley winning for the first time in nearly a year.
Foley led from the early stages of the race before handing over the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 to Auberlen with one hour to go.
While coming under attack from the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher, a mistake by the German under braking into Turn 1 initially dropped him to fourth.
Farnbacher managed to charge his way back to second, getting by the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Bryan Sellers on the final lap through traffic.
Auberlen, meanwhile, became the most successful driver in IMSA competition, with his 61st win.
It marked Turner’s first class win since Motul Petit Le Mans last year when Auberlen tied Scott Pruett with all-time wins at 60.
Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow completed the GTD podium in third, ahead of the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach, who was in the fight for second in the closing laps.
The No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz completed the top-five in class.
RESULTS: Michelin GT Challenge
We’ve been expecting to hear this news and finally today it has been confirmed by Chevrolet that the new 2020 Corvette Stingray will be the official Pace Car of the 104th Indianapolis 500. This marks the 17th race that Corvette has served as the official Pace Car, and the 31st Chevrolet to lead the field.
This year’s running of the Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, August 23 with the race being shown live on NBC.
With no fans allowed in attendance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the official pace car driver will be GM President Mark Reuss.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be behind the wheel of the mid-engine Corvette Pace Car at such a historic race as the Indy 500,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The 2020 Corvette Stingray is the result of a close collaboration between the Corvette Racing and production engineering teams, setting a new benchmark for supercars around the world.”
The 2020 Corvette Stingray Pace Car is Torch Red and features the high Wing Spoiler and ground effects package. The Z51 Coupe will also wear the 104th Indy 500 livery on the doors. The new 2020 Stingray is capable of accelerating from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 194 mph, so it should have no trouble in setting the pace for the IndyCar racers.
“This is a continuation of our outstanding partnership with Chevrolet,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We’re so grateful for all that Chevrolet has contributed to the success of our events. The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray is a world-class machine rich with speed, performance and excitement, perfectly suited to pace the ‘500′ field.”
Chevrolet has been linked to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with both entities founded in 1911. Company founder and namesake Louis Chevrolet and his brothers Arthur and Gaston raced in the early 500-mile races with Gaston winning the race in 1920. Today, Louis Chevrolet rests in peace in a local Indianapolis cemetery just 15 minutes away from the track.
This afternoon we came across this Facebook post from Corvette Exterior Design Manager Kirk Bennion sharing these words from fellow GM designer Adam Barry who led the project. The 2020 Corvette Pace Car features a number of items from Genuine Corvette Accessories as discussed:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
By Corvette Racing -Aug 2, 2020
Garcia, Taylor take second GTLM win of season; Gavin, Milner finish as runners-up
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 2, 2020) – Corvette Racing took its second consecutive 1-2 finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM class) following a chaotic finish Sunday at Road America. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor won for the second time in their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R following a late-race pass in torrential rain.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner placed second in the sister No. 4 Corvette C8.R. It was the eighth victory at Road America for Corvette Racing, and the team’s first there since 2016. Garcia and Taylor both won for the first time in their IMSA career at Road America and extended their points lead to 10 in the class. Gavin and Milner unofficially moved to third in the standings.
Chevrolet also grew its lead in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship to eight points. Corvette Racing has now won three consecutive races in the category.
Things weren’t looking positive for the first half of the race. Taylor, who qualified second, led early but the expected tire degradation reduced the pace for the GTLM cars. Adding to the problems for the team were electronics issues on the No. 4 Corvette that left both Gavin and Milner without traction control.
The predicted rain for the race came with just under an hour to go. Garcia, who took over with two hours left in the race, was the first GTLM runner to pit for rain tires and stopped from sixth place. Two other GTLM cars followed suit but three others stayed out, including the then-leading Porsche which skidded off-track during a downpour at Turn One.
Milner remained on slick tires during the first deluge as officials halted the race with 43 minutes left. The rain let up initially before cars returned to the track with about 25 minutes to go once the red flag was lifted. Following the final pit stops for wet tires, racing resumed with seven minutes left and Garcia in second place.
An even more intense rain began to fall with just minutes left in the two-hour, 40-minute race. Garcia was locked in a back-and-forth duel with Porsche’s Nick Tandy just before the GTLM leader and the third-place Porsche went off-track late in the lap. Both Garcia and Milner, who did a masterful job on a wet track with no traction control, were able to get through the chaos and took the checkered flag under a race-ending, full-course caution period.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the GT-only Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 22.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER:
“It was super tough. Because of the wave-by, we were at the back of all the GTD cars. So the spray we had back there was amazing. It was impossible to see anything. The first thing was to go by a couple of LMP2 cars while fighting (Nick) Tandy to catch up to the 24 BMW. It was a very intense three laps. I knew from Sebring practice that the Corvette C8.R was really good in the wet, even if today was beyond wet! I had Nick all over me, and we had many times when we were together… almost just sailing together instead of racing together. I knew the Carousel and the Kink were going to be really bad, and the line I took on the previous lap seemed to work. Luckily enough for me it was the same and I was one of the few cars to make it through. It’s another 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing, which is amazing. It’s finally my first victory at Road America, so it’s been a very good weekend.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE OF THE BMW AHEAD OF YOU? DID HE SPIN ON HIS OWN? “The Carousel and the Kink were almost impossible to go through that part of the track. There is really nothing you can do there. It depends on the depth of the water. The Corvette C8.R survived it better than the rest. I don’t know if it was due to the race line I took. I was following the car behind me and saw the BMW lose control. The race still wasn’t done because I had to do another lap through there. It’s a credit to how good the C8.R is in the wet. Thanks to everyone at Team Chevy because this car seems to be working in all conditions.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WIN TO EXTEND YOUR POINTS LEAD? “We didn’t know starting the season how the C8.R would be. With the fourth at Daytona, we saw the potential of the car. Our team did a great job during the shutdown with fixing things that needed to be corrected. We’ve had a chance to win the last three races, and we’ve converted those. We need to keep putting pressure on everyone and make the rest of the field make mistakes. On our own, we need to be their in the end and maximize our points opportunities. The next one is VIR, where we have tested with the new Corvette. We will do what we can to keep this momentum and carrying on winning.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER:
“It was a wild day…very unexpected. The race started off strong for us. We took a different strategy to go with three stops from the beginning. Thankfully it worked out well with the timing the rain and track position. Antonio never gave up. It was a tough fight in tough conditions, but he did a great job of surviving for our second win of the year and third of the year for Corvette Racing.”
THIS RACE WAS ON THE NATIONAL NBC NETWORK. WAS THIS THE KIND OF EXCITEMENT THAT WAS GOOD FOR NETWORK TV? “It had a bit of everything. The start for me was exciting, and the battles were all good. I could see on the big screen across the frontstretch that the prototype battle was often exciting and had a little bit of everything with the strategies. The weather was a bit different for those who probably turn into NBC for NASCAR where they wouldn’t run in the rain. There were probably too many crashes for everyone’s liking, but the show was very exciting with the battle for the win at the end. You like to see that between the manufacturers.”
TALK ABOUT WINNING ON THE SAME DAY AS YOUR BROTHER (RICKY TAYLOR): “It’s definitely cool. I think this is the first time we’ve won on the same weekend. I know we’ve gotten a pole on the same weekend, but in all the years a win has never gone both our ways. It was cool to watch their battle at the end with the 10 car. I know my dad’s team hasn’t won here either, and we tried hard for many years.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“I take my hat off to the team every time for never giving up. It didn’t look like we were going to be finishing that high up in the dry. But as we all know, there was a chance of rain all around. In this part of the world when the rain comes, it comes big. You just have to take you chances and make the right calls at the right time. We got a little lucky with a few things, and ultimately the No. 3 Corvette made the right choice on the right tires at the right time. We didn’t quite get that break or make that decision at that time. But then as all the pit stops cycled through for that last restart, we knew we just had to flat-out race. Our car was compromised a little as we didn’t have any traction control as part of an electrical issue throughout the entire race that we couldn’t really get on top of it. I fought it all during my stints. I honestly don’t know how Tommy kept the car on the track when he driving around on slick tires behind the safety car. I mean… water that was three or four inches deep on slick tires with no TC was amazing. For us to come away, even with all the stuff that happened, with a one-two finish is pretty spectacular. Hats off to the team and the crew and also to the C8.R. It seems like it is a car that can live through some crazy circumstances and conditions on track and deals with it. It’s a very fine car.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“That was absolutely wild. We had kind of a tough day to start with, but it came back pretty well for us there at the end. Credit to the guys with their never-give-up attitude that Corvette Racing is famous for definitely paid off today. The conditions were unbelievably difficult. The call to stay out there on slicks just before the full-course yellow was just as much mine as it was the engineers. I thought it was the right thing to do to run one more lap to see how bad the rain was going to be. And it ended up being almost biblical in the amount of rain that came. In all the races I’ve done, this has been the most rain I’ve ever seen come down at one time. It was hard enough just keeping it on the track under yellow with slicks, and it was bad enough when it was still green just trying to survive. Then it went red flag so we had the opportunity to come in and change it to rain tires. That in itself was difficult. For me I knew I just needed to get to pitlane and survive. That was the name of the game there and see what happened at the end. Once we went green, it was the most difficult conditions I have ever driven in my life with the amount of spray and with traffic and having so many cars around. At times it felt like I was driving blind. I could have closed my eyes and would have had the same amount of visibility at that point. I just tried to use very bit of muscle memory and track knowledge I could as to where the track goes at certain points. In the end, luckily we just survived with a first and second for the team. The day didn’t start out well, but it ended as well as it could.”
(Not having traction control) “Because I didn’t have it from the time I got in the car, I had to manage it from the start. In the dry, it’s definitely difficult because you are trying to not use the rear tires too much. I felt like I did a decent job in that first run but driving in the wet without it makes it that much more difficult. To be honest, the Corvette felt really good in the wet. Even though we don’t have a lot of time in the wet, the guys made the right call with tire pressure. When the Michelin wet tires are new, they’re really good. That gave me the confidence early on to really push, get through traffic, and trust in the car and tire to find the fastest way around.”
Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are optimistic that a C8.R can score the new car’s third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win at Road America this weekend, but they expect a stronger challenge from BMW following the latest Balance of Performance changes.
For this fourth round of the championship, all GT Le Mans-class cars have had their fuel capacity increased – the BMW M8s by 12 liters, the Corvettes by five liters and the Porsche 911 RSRs by three liters – but the BMWs, run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan, have also had their minimum weight cut by 22lbs [10kg] and their power increased by 14hp.
This could throw a high hurdle in the way of Corvette Racing’s hopes to score three IMSA wins on the bounce for the first time since the spring of 2017. Garcia and Taylor won the second round of this season, the Daytona 240, while they finished just behind their victorious teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin two weeks ago in the Cadillac Grand Prix at Sebring.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s 2hr40min race around the undulating 4.014-mile course at Elkhart Lake, WI, Garcia said: “Tire degradation is always a key thing at Road America. This new Corvette should be a little bit better on that compared to the[2014-’19 predecessor] C7.R.
“Porsche was strong last year and they obviously are going to be strong again. At Sebring, they showed really good pace behind us. With BMW getting a break, it will be difficult to fight them.
“That will create different speeds at different parts of the track where each car will be strong. We will see where everything lines up, but for sure that should be interesting.”
Added Taylor: “Road America is definitely a power track, so I think [BMW’s BoP break] will be pretty major when we go there. We saw at the Rolex [24 Hours] that they had a pretty big power advantage where they were able to drive around most competitors.
“I’m not sure where their loss of performance was at the Daytona and Sebring sprint races compared to the Rolex but going to Road America that change should benefit them.”
The former IMSA Prototype champion concurred with his co-driver regarding tire life, pointing out, “Road America often has a big tire degradation part to it, so for us that could be a big part of the race strategy-wise.”
Explaining Corvette’s ‘hot streak’ with the new-for-2020 mid-engined C8.R since the restart of the IMSA season, Garcia stated: “At the Rolex 24 [in January] we were good but that was hidden by little mistakes and issues we had toward the finish. We had been competitive for the first 20 hours but had a few little things going on with the car because it was very new. The pace was there but we weren’t able to fight for the win at the end.
“Each month, there is a ton of development and we continue to show that. Even when we weren’t on the track, we continued to develop the C8.R.”
Taylor added: “It’s amazing that we’ve come out so strong after the quarantine period… It shows a lot for what Corvette Racing is about and the preparation it does behind the scenes. Even though no one could go to the race shop, the engineers were working from home and made huge strides on the C8.R. We went back to Daytona and obviously had a good race there with the win and then went back to Sebring where we were able to do a two-day test there before the quarantine and one simulator test when that period opened back up.
“For us it was an unknown for us because it was the first non-Daytona track where we were competing against all the other teams. Daytona is so unique in that you can stack up well at that track and have that not be relevant anywhere else. So it was promising that we were able to get the pole. The car was amazing all race weekend, and I think we’ve shown we can be competitive on all different kinds of tracks. I’m really looking for this one at Road America.”
The Gulf livery’s iconic colors make an appearance.
We’re quickly approaching the first anniversary of Chevy’s introduction of the 2020 Corvette C8, which happened on July 18. Now, less than two weeks ahead of that date, the Chevy Corvette’s official Facebook page shared a short, 14-second teaser video that hints at something new for the Corvette for the 2021 model year.
The post says, “It’s time to earn some new racing stripes,” while the quick-hitting teaser hints at what Chevy is “Adding to the [Corvette’s] legacy.” However, we have no idea what that means exactly. The teaser shows off some stylized Corvette footage with colored stripes crisscrossing the video. There are also four overhead shots of striped Corvettes that flash on the screen. Two are black, one with a pair of red stripes while the other has yellow ones. There’s a blue-on-white one, and another that mimics the iconic blue-and-orange Gulf livery.
For as much fanfare as the 2020 Corvette created, the Stingray model the automaker introduced was just the beginning. We expect Chevy to add more high-performance models to the Corvette lineup, like the Z06. But we don’t think Chevy is ready to reveal that top-tier model just yet. Instead, we’d bet that Chevy is planning to introduce a new appearance package, or packages, that help enhance the car’s appearance. It could be similar to the Competition Sport package Chevy introduced for the 2009 Corvette C6.
We know for sure that Chevy still has a ton of Corvette excitement to reveal going forward. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next Z06, and the numerous spy photos and videos don’t help. We know it should pack a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 that’ll leapfrog the Stingray in power, performance, and price. We don’t expect that model to arrive until the 2022 model year, so until then, we can look forward to Chevy’s latest, which the automaker should reveal soon.
Source: Chevrolet Corvette / Facebook
The mid-engine C8 Corvette’s clean-sheet redesign resulted in just a couple of parts carried over from the C7 generation, but there is enough “baseball and apple pie” in the sports car to keep it in the Top 10 of the 2020 American Made Index as compiled by Cars.com.
Chevrolet landed two vehicles on the 2020 List with the Corvette coming in at a very appropriate 8th place and it was joined by the Colorado that landed in 10th place. They were the only two GM vehicles to make the list.
The American Made Index, or AMI, “is an independent annual list that ranks the new vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy based on criteria ranging from U.S. factory jobs and manufacturing plants to parts sourcing.” Manufacturers are required by law to annually report the percentage of US and Canadian parts and that information appears on the window sticker of all new vehicles sold in the USA.
The AMI studied 91 vehicles and the ranking looks at four key factors:
- Origins of the engine and transmission
- Origin of parts in the car (as reported by the American Automobile Labeling Act)
- Final assembly location
- U.S. manufacturing workforce relative to production footprint
The were some new additions to the list for 2020 with the Ford Ranger leap-frogging the Jeep Cherokee to #1 while Tesla landed three vehicles on the list.
Cars.com says that 70% of shoppers consider a car’s impact on the US economy a significant or deciding factor in their vehicle choice and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the desire of Americans to “buy local.” The survey found that nearly 40% of consumers report they are more likely to buy an American-made car due to the current health and economic crisis, while just 4% said they were less likely. A whopping 26% said it was “unpatriotic” to buy a non-American-made car, compared to just 18% in 2019.
“This marks the 15th year we have released the American-Made Index, and for the first time, we are ranking a full, comprehensive list of qualifying American-made cars available in the U.S. Of some 350 cars on the market for 2020, 91 models qualified for our index,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com’s senior consumer affairs and vehicle evaluations editor. “The auto industry is highly globalized, but these 91 models bring jobs to America and investments to our local communities — a growing concern for Americans in the current climate.”
Its’s not a fair race to begin with, but at least they’re both painted white.
It’s no secret that Hennessey Performance is working on the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 by giving it a twin-turbo conversion. We’ve heard it roar in its initial stage before, plus it has hit the dyno in a previous video as well, but we have yet to see it in action again. We’re guessing that Hennessey is still wrapping up its development.
What we see from the Texas-based tuner, however, is its slightly tuned mid-engine ‘Vette. Fitted with stainless steel exhaust, lightweight wheels, and Hoosier race tires, we’ve seen the white C8 drag race several cars before, including a Huracan and a Mustang Shelby GT500.
Gallery: C8 Corvette Dyno At Hennessey
Now, Hennessey pits the altered C8 versus a bone-stock Corvette C7. We’re not really sure what the purpose of this head-to-head comparison is because it has already been decided right before it even started. Plus, the C8 has performance upgrades, albeit not much, on its employ but still, we wouldn’t say that this is an apple-to-apple comparison.
But then again, a stock C8 and C7 comparison isn’t fair either. On paper alone, the C8 has the major advantage in terms of total output, with the latest model producing 490 horsepower (365 kilowatts) – a quite massive update from the former’s 455 hp (339 kW). The C8 also gets a better 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Jacob Oliva for Motor1
Will the C9 even have a gas engine?
The 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 debuted almost a year ago to tremendous fanfare. Production ramped up in early February after a delay, and many customers now have the new car in their driveways. Chevrolet moved the engine from the front to the back for the first time after decades of false starts, teases, and rumors. It’s too early to tell if customers warm to the new layout, and far too early to speculate about the C9, but what if Chevy flipped the design again, moving the engine back to the front – what would it look like? New renderings from Pedro Ruperto Mallosto on Behance.net provide a glimpse.
While the Corvette’s return to a front-engine layout for the next generation is unlikely, it doesn’t make imagining the possibilities any less exciting. The renderings show yet another evolution of the car’s angular design that the automaker introduced with the C7. Here, it’s much more refined than that, and looks much more like the classic Corvette millions have known for over half a century. The greenhouse is iconic, especially as it tapers in the bumper, reminiscent of the C6.
Imagining the next generation of a new model isn’t easy. We don’t know when the C9 will arrive. Chevy has a ton of C8 variants to deliver first, and by the time we reach the next-gen Corvette, the automotive landscape could be radically different. General Motors has said it’s all-in on fully electric vehicles, and that includes the Corvette. A next-gen, front-engine Corvette sounds exciting, but what would an all-electric Corvette look like if the design never had to accommodate a gasoline engine?
With the latest news from the UAW and the State of Kentucky regarding the coronavirus shutdown, it looks like we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And for Corvette fans, that means the resumption of the 2020 Corvette production could be here as early as May 18th.
The Big 3 domestic automakers have been negotiating with the United Auto Workers on when manufacturing can restart at the various facilities across North America. There’s a lot of moving parts to get manufacturing up and running as it’s not just the factory that needs to restart, but all the vendors and suppliers also need to be back to work as well. With the states having their own individual shelter in place orders, that could be dicey for the next month or so.
Michigan’s stay at home order for non-essential workers was extended through May 15th. Yesterday, Kentucky’s Governor Beshear issued guidance for when various businesses could reopen and set May 11th as the date for when manufacturing and automotive dealerships can resume operations. Reopening plans for the state of New York where the C8 Corvette’s LT2 V8 engines are assembled at the Tonawanda Powertrain facility are also still in the works. The good news there is that upstate New York wasn’t as hard hit as New York City and indications are that New York’s reopening plan could be rolled out regionally with manufacturing slated as one of the first sectors to be reopened.
A recent memo from GM to workers indicated that restarting the plants would take some time and that a team of salaried workers and managers would come in early as paid volunteers to prepare operations before the restart occurs. There may also be some discussions about plant workers going through retraining exercises to get back up to speed as the plant has been closed for over a month.
When workers return to manufacturing at the Corvette Assembly Plant, there will be new protocols set up to keep everyone as safe as possible. GM has said that the safety protocols for workers will include:
- Health and temperature screening
- Heavy workplace cleaning
- Social distancing strategies
- Following top medical and scientific data including guidance from the CDC
When it comes to recalling workers, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said, “UAW President Rory Gamble has said the single focus should be on the health and safety of members and the litmus test should be whether your own family member would be safe going into that plant.”
The Corvette Assembly Plant shut down at the end of March 20th with approximately 2700 new Corvettes assembled to date. The production of the 2020 model year is expected to run through the end of August.
Many gearheads have a strange affinity to Hot Wheels. Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the company, but never asked.
Toy cars can be divided into two categories: Hot Wheels and everybody else. For over 50 years, Mattel has dominated with what is now recognized as the best-selling toy in the world. It’s impossible to count how many car buffs, from mechanics to real race stars to TV personalities, grew up playing with these cars. Whether it was just a few models or massive collections, Hot Wheels has been part of car culture for decades and is never going to stop. Whether it’s a simple model or some fancy licensed vehicle, Hot Wheels simply enthralls.
Yet it’s incredible how some people are unaware of the facts of the company and its history. From its unique origins to how these cars are put together, the story behind Hot Wheels is fascinating. There are also touches from how some of these cars are more expensive than real ones to some unique touches on the culture. Here are 20 amazing facts about Hot Wheels to prove they’re more than just “kids toys.”‘
20/20 Real-Life Hot Wheels Jump Was A World Record
Growing up a massive Hot Wheels fan, racer Tanner Foust decided to honor them in a fun way. At the 2011 Indy 500, Foust talked the management into seeing up a massive orange ramp and raced down it in a rally car.
After 90 feet of track, Foust sailed 332 feet, the longest record for such a move. He topped it by driving through a 66-foot loop in 2012 to live out the dreams of every kid.
19 Technology In Car Building Is Amazing…
Making toys has become a very high-tech business today. Just like real car companies, Hot Wheels has adapted to the 21st century nicely. Computers and 3-D technology are utilized to make sure the designs are perfected before the building begins.
It also helps them keep on top of the latest car trends to ensure that today’s Hot Wheels are sleeker and more natural than the ones of the past.
18 But They’re Still Diecast
There are many toy car lines out there, but Hot Wheels is still the king of the bunch. The key reason is that, for all the advances in technology, every car is still diecast and built mostly by hand.
Even when cheaper materials are available, Mattel knows the diecast is what the fans want. It’s also helped in making customized cars at home for popular models. After 50 years, Mattel doesn’t want to mess with success and do away with diecast.
17 They’ve Worked With NASA
Hot Wheels have done a few astronaut-themed toys over the years. But that’s not the only connection they have with NASA. In 1998, they were able to work with the agency to create an exact replica of the Mars Rover, which landed on the Red Planet that very year.
They also worked with them in 2012 for scale models of the Curiosity rover. It’s amazing how the company got access to top-secret plans to make these toys.
16 Collectors Take It Seriously
Some may dismiss Hot Wheels as “just for kids.” But collectors take it more seriously than real automobiles. The 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb (only 16 prototypes were made) is known to go for at least $15,000.
Some rare models can go for a hundred grand, and collectors are always on the lookout for unique mint models. Entire museums are devoted to various cars as some Hot Wheels collections put legit car collectors to shame.
15 Scaling Down The Cars Was Tricky
A key to the company’s success is that they work with scores of real car companies to get looks at plans for their toy models. Yet it’s not so simple as just “make a smaller version.” The biggest challenge is to achieve the proper scale for the toys in a diecast model yet retain the details of the actual car.
That can be complex with some fancy vehicles. That every model has to be sized to fit the same tracks just adds to why it takes as long developing a toy car as a real one.
14 NASCAR Star Has The Record For The Longest Track
Ever since the Hot Wheels tracks were created, fans have been trying to top themselves making the most extended and most complex. A few have achieved great ones, but it’s fitting a NASCAR star holds the record for the longest.
In 2019, Joey Logano unveiled a 1,941-foot long track stretched across his garage. It weaves through his car collection with 1222 boosters before ending in Logano’s own 2018 HW Ford Mustang. Add yet another title to Logano’s list of accolades.
13 They Made A Car Coated In Diamonds
In 2008, Mattel made a big deal of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Hot Wheels line. As a special reward, Mattel had Jasons of Beverly Hills craft the most expensive Hot Wheels car on the planet.
Cast in 18-karat gold, it’s covered with 2700 diamonds and gems totaling nearly $150,000 today. It’s become a rotating exhibit at toy museums for the glitziest Hot Wheels you could see.
12 The Darth Car Is A Speed Machine
While they do stick to toys, the company has been busy creating some real-sized cars for collectors. One of the most notable is based on Darth Vader, with the hood looking like his fearsome helmet and in jet black.
This isn’t just for show as it’s based on a C5 Corvette with a GM LS3 V-8 engine capable of 526 hp and 150 mph. The Dark Lord of the Sith would be proud of this powerful craft.
11 Every Car Is Tested To Make Sure It Can Run A Track
Almost from the beginning, Hot Wheels car fans had to have a track with the cars. They’ve gone from straight lines to elaborate roller-coaster-like loop systems to leave kids entertained for hours.
What few realize is that the track determines if a car makes it as Mattel prides itself on “every car can fit every track.” More than once, a prototype has to be altered when it won’t fit as the track decides a car’s final form.
10 There Are More Hot Wheels Cars Than Real Cars
While it’s tricky to figure out for sure, most sources agree there are at least one billion cars on the planet (give or take a few hundred thousand in auto graveyards). In contrast, since 1968, six billion Hot Wheels cars have been created.
True, many have been trashed and/or recycled, and it’s impossible to count how many have been lost in backyards. But given how 16 cars are produced every second, it’s no shock the toys outnumber the real deals.
9 Several Creators Are Legit Car Designers
The one constant of Hot Wheels is that the cars look just as good as the real deal. There’s an excellent reason for that as scores of the manufacturers are legitimate car designers. Larry Wood was a veteran of Ford before becoming one of the first Hot Wheels designers.
He’s not alone as Jack Ryan was a rocket designer who crafted the bearings that made the cars so great. Scores of the car designers were in real automobiles first, so it’s no wonder the vehicles look so good.
8 The Original Camaro Is Worth A Fortune
Mint conditions of the Original 16 Hot Wheels releases are all pretty collectible items. But one dominates from the pack. While versions of a Camaro were produced, a few had white enamel paint.
They had been meant to discover flaws in a prototype but accidentally released. A mint version of one went for a hundred thousand dollars and made this one of the most expensive toys on the planet
7 They Released A Custom Corvette Before GM Did
An early standout for the company at a custom Corvette in 1968. What made it notable was that the toy was released before GM had their actual Corvette in car dealerships.
The fact designer Harry Bradley had worked at GM indicates he may have “borrowed” the designs before he left to allow Mattel to beat GM to releasing a Corvette to the masses.
6 The Red Stripes Are Expensive
If you find what looks like an old Hot Wheels car, take a good look at the wheels. If they have red stripes, then you’ve just found a fantastic collector’s item. From 1968 to 1977, designers hand-painted red lines onto the wheels to make the cars look distinctive.
As a cost-cutting measure, they switched to all-black wheels in 1978. Some mint condition red-striped vehicles have been known to go for thousands online.
5 One Of The Original Cars Was Based On A Car With No Doors
The first wave of Hot Wheels was just 16 cars, and any of them can be valuable today. One is notable, the 1965 Dodge Deora. This car boasted no doors but rather a hatch for folks to crawl into.
It was based on a fun design used by Mike and Larry Alexander but in an irony, no real Dodge Deoras were built, to make this a truly unique model
4 A Tie-In Cartoon Got Pulled By The FCC
Today, cartoons based on toy lines are commonplace. But in 1969, Hot Wheels got in trouble when they put out a cartoon series about some teenage car drivers. Despite good messages, the show was hit by complaints about being a “half-hour commercial.”
The FCC agreed, and it was yanked off the air. The company was just ahead of their time with a cartoon tie-in for a hit toy line.
3 There’s A Fight On Where The Name Came From
Much of Hot Wheels is shrouded in myth, and that includes just where the name comes from. The familiar story is that when Eliot Handler saw the first models from designer Fred Adickes, he remarked: “those are some hot wheels you’ve got there.”
Another version is that Handler just blurted the name out in a meeting with a designer. Regardless, it just stuck to become one of the most popular toys on the planet.
2 They’re Number One…Because They Remain So Cheap
In the ranks of the most popular toys on the planet, Hot Wheels dominates. They’re not just the biggest toy vehicle sellers but also the number one selling toy in the entire world. The reason is that in many markets, the cars can still go for only a dollar each.
True, they can be put out in packs, and some nations charging a few bucks more. But many stores do sell the cars for less than a bottle of water, which is the reason they are so dominant.
1 Its Creator Was Married To Barbie’s Creator
Elliott and Ruth Handler were the First Couple of the toy world. The two had founded Mattel as a picture frame company in 1945. While making a dollhouse, Ruth decided to craft a series of dolls she named Barbie.
It was an instant hit to make Mattel a success. Elliott then realized how a toy car line could be great for boys to craft what would become Hot Wheels. The two remained together until Ruth’s death in 2002 (Elliott passed on nine years later) to be icons of their industry.
Sources: Mentalfloss.com, hotwheels.com, hotwheelsmedia.com, thrillist.com
Both cars retail for about $81,000, but one is a lot more accessible.
SPEED PHENOM ON YOUTUBE
If you’ve got $80,000 to spend and want an American high-performance car, now’s a pretty good time to be in the market. In addition to tire-shredding stalwarts like the Camaro ZL1 and Challenger Hellcat, Ford and Chevy have recently launched high-profile, track-ready sports cars. And thanks to a new video by Speed Phenom, we now know how they directly compare on track.
Naturally, we wanted to do this comparison ourselves. But the GT500 wasn’t ready during our Performance Car of the Year competition when we had an early C8 to test. And now that both cars are on sale, stay-at-home orders and track closures mean we’ll have to wait for an opportunity to do a full R&T comparison.
In the meantime, Speed Phenom does a good job of breaking down how they perform. With the caveat that he’s got a base model GT500 without the optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, he notes that the car struggles for grip more often than the similarly-tired Corvette. It’s also less composed through mid-corner bumps, with slower cornering all around. Thanks to its massive horsepower advantage, though, it jets through straightaways.
The C8, meanwhile, benefits from serious mechanical grip. The better-balanced midship car fires through corners and has no problem putting its power down. That makes it more approachable, not surprising given that it’s the tamest version of the C8 while the GT500 is stretching the limits of the S550 platform. We’re sure to see more track-ready Corvettes soon, but for now the Stingray is a surprisingly capable start.
Mack Hogan- Road&Track
Even off the pavement, the new ‘Vette is a rocket ship.
The 2020 C8 Chevy Corvette is a fast car. In base form, it can hit a staggering 194 mph flat-out. Even with the drag-inducing Z51 performance package, the car can still do 184. Hennessey Performance took theirs to 182 mph with ease before they turbocharged it to oblivion. Now, there’s another C8 top-speed run on the internet, and this time, it takes place on a dry lake bed.
Popular YouTube TheStradman took his new Z51-equipped Corvette to a dry lake bed in Utah to test out the top speed of the car. He managed to hit an impressive 173 mph before slowing down—not bad considering the uneven and bumpy surface. It helps that there’s absolutely nothing for miles in either direction. In fact, from inside the cabin, it looks a bit uneventful. Here’s a perspective from outside the car to give you a sense of how fast 173 mph is:
If the base Corvette is this quick right out of the box, we’re curious to see how the upcoming Z06 stacks up. Considering the last-gen car could hit 200 mph, we’re expecting big things.
Source: Brian Silvestro; for RoadandTrack
The Goldilocks zone of Corvette C8 interiors?
By now, you should know that Chevrolet has started deliveries of the mid-engine 2020 Corvette. Lucky owners of the ‘Vette C8 are starting to receive their newest toy and most likely you’ve already seen one on the streets – that’s if the state you’re in is not affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
If you’re among those who are planning to purchase the new Corvette but are undecided with the trim level to choose, this video might be able to help you – especially if you’re particular with a car’s interior.
The Corvette C8 comes with three trim levels: 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The differences lie mainly in the features offered on each trim level, which defines that the cabin will look and feel like. That’s pretty important, considering that we spend so much time inside the car rather than staring at our investment from a distance. So, here’s a little guide.
The base 1LT trim isn’t really basic. With the entry-level trim, you already get the GT1 seats wrapped in mulan leather, a customizable 12-inch gauge cluster, push-button ignition and keyless entry, and an 8-inch Chevy MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and 10-speaker Bose sound system. The Corvette 1LT trim is available in three color options: black, gray, or red.
Going up the 2LT trim gives you more interior color options plus features like a rearview camera mirror, a colored head-up display, heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, advanced blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic warning. The infotainment gets upgraded as well with a wireless charger and a 14-speaker Boss audio system.
Finally, the 3LT trim dials up the ante by adding a premium Nappa leather with suede microfiber accents – all in combination with the GT2 seats that have more bolsters. These seem not a lot but the range-topping trim adds luxury to the sports coupe.
If you’re still undecided, watch the 2LT interior review on top of this page to check whether you need to take it down a notch to 1LT or go all out on the top-level 3LT.
Source: HorsePower Obsessed
The etiquette of doing something you do regularly while staying safe and clean.
- We might need new gas-pumping etiquette rules for the 21st century, both for selfish and altruistic reasons.
- We’ve known since 2011 that gas pump handles can be filthy—they’re worse than ATMs or escalators, even—but there’s no reason to worry if you take the right precautions.
- You can lower your risk by using gloves or paper towels to gas up, using touch-free pay options, and staying as physically separate from others as possible as you refuel.
You may have heard this one before: the best way to avoid catching some sort of communicable disease is to wash your hands well, and often. This advice isn’t exactly new, which hints at how reasonable and responsible it is.
Washing your hands to stay clean was the takeaway lesson from a 2011 study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, which found gas pump handles were “the filthiest surface that Americans encounter on the way to work,” according to Reuters. The Los Angeles Times reported back then that the study found 71 percent of gas pump handles the Kimberly-Clark researched tested were considered “‘highly contaminated’ with the kinds of germs most associated with a high risk of illness.” Compare that to only 41 percent of ATM buttons and 43 percent of escalator rails.
The Kimberly-Clark Professional tests were done in big cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia) almost a decade ago, but when something like the coronavirus impacts pretty much every corner of the world, it’s a good reminder to take care when gassing up. When it comes to the COVID-19 coronavirus specifically, the National Institutes of Health has issued information that explains that coronavirus can be stable for 24 hours on some surfaces like cardboard and “up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”
If you’re not already carrying disinfecting wipes in the car with you, this is a good time to start, assuming you have some available, and wipe off the pump handle and touchscreen, or any other surfaces you plan to touch, before your hands make contact. Even better, it might be a good idea to search out a station that accepts contactless payment at the pump, so you won’t need to come into physical contact with the touchscreen or anything else other than the pump handle. Two easy solutions to this issue are to either wear gloves or to use the paper towels commonly provided for window cleaning as a guard between your hands and the screen, buttons, and pump handle. Keeping gloves in the car is a good idea, but they shouldn’t be the disposable sterile gloves that hospitals can use when there’s a need for them there. If you don’t have gloves, keep some hand sanitizer in the car to use on your hands after filling up.
As for social distancing, it’s convenient that gas pumps are relatively far apart from one another, contagion-wise, but even so, choosing to fill up your tank at an off-peak time can be safer. If there are other people getting gas at the same time, keeping at least six feet between you and them is a good idea for everyone involved. And it should go without saying that you shouldn’t go into the store unless there’s a reasonable need to do so if there’s still a rapidly spreading disease going around.
The actual chance that you will catch a transmittable viruses at the gas station is low. As the Illinois TV station ABC-20 reported based on answers from a medical expert, the sequence of events that have to happen to get the virus from someone who has it (someone coughing onto the pump handle or touching the touchscreen with virus on their hands, and then you touching it and then your face) can be interrupted in any number of ways. Even so, there’s no harm in being extra careful in these potentially dangerous times.
Sebastian Blanco- Car and Driver
It took 30 hours for Hennessey Performance Engineering to tear apart a new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, install twin-turbo setup, and put it back together.
It’s no surprise, then, that the twin-turbo C8 Corvette isn’t ready to be sold to customers. The engine lacks intercoolers and Hennessey hasn’t cracked the code of GM’s new electrical architecture to reprogram the ECU.
“This is just the beginning, our own car, doing R&D,” company founder and CEO John Hennessey told Motor Authority.
On Monday, the engine made 643 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque at the wheels on a Dynojet dyno while running just 5 psi of boost. That compares to baseline testing HPE performed on the stock car which revealed 466 hp and 451 lb-ft of torque. HPE plans to offer a 1,200-hp version of the C8, which Hennessey said could make 18-20 psi of boost.
Hennessey took delivery of an orange C8 Corvette in Detroit on March 13. He and his daughter, Emma, drove back to the performance outfitter’s Texas headquarters and performed baseline testing before the Hennessey team tore apart the car.
The orange C8 fired back to life on Friday with twin 62-mm Precision Turbos and twin blow-off valves connected to the throttle body mounted behind the catalytic converters. Both turbos are oil-cooled with twin scavenge pumps that feed back into the motor.
The system is not intercooled. Instead, there’s a methanol injection setup to keep things from getting too hot. HPE is considering where to put intercoolers. The current packaging has limited space for intercoolers without cutting into trunk space, which Hennessey does not want to do. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
Hennessey told Motor Authority his team currently can’t tune the factory ECU, but it is looking at aftermarket solutions for the engine management system. He noted it took a year for solutions to come to market for the C7 and added, “hopefully, it won’t take a year.”
Hennessey said when the turbocharged C8 was first started it didn’t throw any codes, errors, or a check engine light. “The computer seems happy with the turbos,” Hennessey noted. A check engine light did appear when the front wheel speed sensors were disconnected to put the car on the dyno, Hennessey said.
The orange C8 will used for R&D of upcoming modifications. Hennessey said he doesn’t expect to deliver modified customer C8s for at least six months, and all will have intercoolers and full plumbing.
Joel Feder for Motor Authority
Did you see the two race on YouTube? We’ve tested them, too; here’s why the results were no surprise.
- We have tested both the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette (11.2 seconds at 122 mph) and the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (11.4 seconds at 132 mph) in the quarter-mile.
- A video on YouTube, however, shows flipped results: 11.5 seconds at 120 mph for the Corvette and 10.8 seconds at 132 mph for the GT500.
- As always, the driver and track conditions are critical, and our two-run average is far more repeatable than any one-off run at a drag strip.
When we tested Ford’s new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 against the top-dog 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Mustang came out on top on the drag strip. But how does the front-engine Shelby stack up against the other, now mid-engine, threat from Chevy?
Greg PajoCar and Driver
During our testing, the GT500 hurtled through the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 132 mph. But that was on a regular street-like surface, not a sticky, prepped drag strip. We struggled mightily with traction at launch, and our best run was with the launch control set to the lowest rpm allowed (1200 rpm) to prevent igniting a rear-tire fire. However, no surprise: with more traction far, better numbers are possible, and we’ve seen numbers below 11 seconds at drag strips, including this kid, who ran a 10.665 shortly after he acquired the car.’Murica Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?This Kid Ran a 10.66 Quarter Mile In His GT500
On the other hand, the 2020 Corvette has far fewer launch struggles, as it benefits from its newly acquired mid-engine layout and rear weight bias. Moving the weight distribution rearward improves launch traction, helping it jump off the line much quicker. During our testing, and despite far less horsepower, the mid-engine Vette outaccelerated the GT500 through the quarter-mile by two tenths of a second, reaching it in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
We’re starting to see other people’s numbers from both of these cars, though, as customers are starting to take deliveries of their C8 Corvettes and GT500s. Contrary to our test results, there’s a video circulating on YouTube that shows the new GT500 beating the C8 Corvette through the quarter-mile by seven-tenths of a second. It raced to the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds while the Corvette reached it in 11.5 seconds.
Keep in mind that the driver and conditions are huge factors in quarter-mile and acceleration results. We suspect that here, the Corvette likely got bogged down on the high-grip surface, as the launch control isn’t optimized for those conditions, and the 760-hp Mustang benefited from the extra traction on the track.
Connor Hoffman for CarandDriver
William Walker: Photographer Manufacturer Photographer Mar 11, 2020
It’s weird to say, but immediately after my first test drive in the new mid-engine, eighth-generation 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette, I was angry. Angry not because the car didn’t do what it should, but precisely because it did everything I asked of it, and did it beautifully—and I’d been led to believe it was a hot, understeering mess by the reviews I’d read elsewhere. How could they all have been so wildly off base?
There are many possible explanations, of course—differing driver skill levels, evaluation methods, and conditions. But two variables stand out among the rest: the C8 Corvette’s option for track or street alignments, and the length of exposure to the car. Addressing the latter issue first, we were lucky enough to spend the better part of week with the new C8, a rare chance given the limited availability of test cars so early in the Corvette’s production (All-Stars testing took place in early December 2019). That greater exposure to the car allowed us more time to get a feel for its behavior in a wide array of situations, both on the road and on the Streets of Willow Springs racetrack.
Perhaps even more importantly, however, was the choice of track and street suspension alignments. You see, the 2020 C8 Corvette has two official specifications for its alignment settings; the street alignment sets the camber at 0 degrees, while the track alignment sets the camber to 3 degrees negative. The result is the difference between a (somewhat) understeer-biased street setup and a balanced, ready-to-rotate super sports car. The former is intended to help Corvette owners new to the world of low polar-moment mid-engine cars make the transition without ending up backward in a guardrail their first time out. We spent our week with the Corvette in track-alignment mode, whether hammering out laps or zooming around the mountains near Lake Hughes.
But wait, isn’t that cheating, you ask? It might seem like it at first—track settings are meant for the track, not the street, right?–but Chevrolet itself recommends owners who use the track setting for track go ahead and leave the car setup that way all the time. No, it won’t cause excessive or premature tire wear, at least according to Chevy’s engineers. For the record, we did visually notice more wear to the front tires’ inside shoulders than we’d expect with the more conventional setup, so we’d be curious to see the state of the rubber after 5,000 or so miles with this alignment. It’s certainly something for owners to be aware of and to keep an eye on, at the very least.
Regardless, and not for nothing, the two alignment settings might better be named “beginner” and “advanced”. If you’re a moderately accomplished driver who’s comfortable with a car that’s willing to rotate, don’t leave the lot with your new Corvette until you’ve had the car set to its more aggressive alignment.
With that out of the way, holy cow, is this thing good! The nearly instant-on torque from the 6.2-liter V-8 means you’re never left wanting for thrust, the quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch transmission bangs out upshifts with authority, and the steering feel, while not telepathic, is still abundantly communicative. Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa did note, however, that several of our evaluators found “the steering in its own separate Track mode is too heavy without doing anything for feel,” and resident professional race driver Andy Pilgrim pointed out, “The gearbox is very good on the street, but did not always give me the lower gear I wanted on the track.” If those are the worst things we could think to say after back-to-back runs in hardware as exotic as the $474,000-plus Ferrari F8 Tributo and the nearly as pricey McLaren GT, it’s pretty apparent the mid-engine Corvette is something special.
Braking is remarkably stable for a mid-engine car, as is power application, the latter thanks at least in part to the car’s Performance Traction Management system. Chevy’s PTM is one of the key technology transfers from the factory Corvette Racing program, and it shows its racing roots when put to the test. But of course even the best traction-control programs can’t work when the tires aren’t in contact with the road; that’s where the Corvette’s excellent suspension tune comes in.
“Glides over broken mountain roads like a hovercraft—but still sticks like crazy,” wrote contributor Arthur St. Antoine in his evaluation notes. Pilgrim agreed, noting the C8 Corvette “has more suspension travel than the Porsche 992, and feels more compliant, allowing more roll in transition; none of which is a bad thing for everyday driving comfort.”
In fact, far from a rabid, on-the-edge supercar, it’s clear the Chevy engineers behind the new C8 Corvette put a great deal of time and effort into the car’s daily driving demeanor, or, as features editor Rory Jurnecka noted, “It should make a nice road car with good interior space. Feels pretty easy to live with.” Not only is there a rear trunk that’ll fit two golf bags (or several carry-on bags or backpacks), there’s a front trunk (or frunk) that’ll hold some more. But the new C8 Corvette’s interior is what truly stands out in terms of daily comfort, especially in comparison to previous Corvettes.
“When I took the C8 on the road trip between the hotel and the winners’ shoot location, I was blown away at how good of a GT car it is,” social media editor Billy Rehbock said. “I put on the cooled seats, played music over the crystal-clear sound system, and rolled in complete comfort. My only complaint was that it was actually a bit quiet, even when being driven hard, but subsequent performance versions will fix that, no doubt.”
Beyond even the excellent interior feature set (though the verdict is still out on the extra-long button strip in the center console), the most notable and immediately noticeable upgrade to the C8 Corvette’s interior is the massive improvement of materials and build quality over previous generations. Our test car’s 3LT interior trim specification included Chevy’s upgraded infotainment system, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, and a head-up display. And in addition to the upgraded materials, it featured extended leather surface treatments, and GT2 bucket seats—though ours swapped the GT2 seats for “competition sport bucket” seats for an extra $500); the 3LT spec added $11,950 to the car’s $59,995 base price. Tack that cash onto the additional list of optional extras like the Z51 performance package ($5,000), magnetic ride control suspension system ($1,895), front lift system ($1,495), upgraded 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels and tires ($1,495), and engine appearance package ($995), among others. Total price, as configured: a surprisingly reasonable $83,825.
Admittedly, this was a pre-production car, but it was also one of just a handful of streetable C8 Corvettes available at the time, meaning it had already lived a rather hard life before our testing even began. Sitting in the C8 back-to-back with the Ferrari F8, the Italian doesn’t come off as insanely luxurious or refined—and the F8’s interior is already perfectly lovely.
It’s no revelation that the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is a great performance value; the Corvette has been that way for decades. But for Chevy to have done such an impressive job on its first go with the engine behind the driver, and to have included so many improvements to the luxury and quality of the C8, all for a price that’s a fraction of the cars with which it competes, it’s easy to see why I was so angry after experiencing the car for myself—and it’s hard not to agree with Jurnecka when he says, “So glad this car is what I’d hoped for. Worth the wait.”
Nelson Ireson for Automobile