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Ode to the Burnout

Save your letters. we know better.

Thanks to the curiosities of a liberal-arts education, I found myself with a 21-credit workload in my last semester of senior year, one that included a seminar on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Published in 1667, the epic, 10-volume poem wraps itself around the biblical fall of man, painting a picture of humanity’s temptation from Satan’s view. Our professor argued that, deep down, Milton saw temptation as a kind of litmus test for the soul.

This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Road & Track.

If that’s true, Performance Car of the Year might well be the bar exam for moral fortitude. Spend a week in the world’s most spectacular cars. Visit a beckoning track and some of the country’s best roads. Don’t go weak in the knees at the soprano trill of a 600-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter McLaren V-8. Try not to think too hard about being one of the first people on the planet to get your hands around the neck of the mid-engine Corvette. Be a good boy. But as John Henry opined, a man ain’t nothing but a man. We were somewhere outside Tahoe when that wide lake of asphalt and six days of sleep deprivation finally got to me. I’d spent the better part of a week pretending to be a professional. But when I found myself alone, in the first mid-engine Corvette, with acres of empty ski-park pavement ahead, no amount of restraint or discipline could stand up to desire. I had found my garden, and the serpent was waiting.

I’m more of a middle-path kind of guy, anyhow.

Burnouts and donuts, juvenile as they may be, are as pure a celebration of the automobile as you’ll find. Sports cars are wrapped up in the quandaries of personal freedom more than any other vehicle on four wheels, in pushing the bounds of legally and socially acceptable behavior. We do the math every time we choose to take the convertible to work instead of the family crossover, when we push a brake zone a little deeper, when we lean on the accelerator while chasing shadows up a mountain. Or when we turn the rear tires to billowing clouds. Modern life is increasingly a series of confined boxes, and a sports car fits in none of them.

A good burnout isn’t entirely frivolous. If you listen, it will tell you a thing or two about the people who put the car together. In this age of eager litigation, some automakers simply deny you your inalienable right to light tires on fire. Doesn’t matter how many systems you shut off, a digital overlord will step in and pull power until you get back to acting like an adult. On a certain level, it makes sense. If you sat down and designed a sports car by bullet point, listing necessary functions on a spreadsheet, a burnout would be last on the list. Apart from drag racing, the act serves no logical function. But it’s such a fundamental question: Who’s in control of this vehicle? You or some attorney in Michigan?

This next-generation Corvette has moved the badge further from its roots than any Vette before. And from the moment I saw it sulking in the California sun, I needed to know if the thing remembered how to be America’s sweetheart. So I switched off everything and leaned into mechanical masochism. Somewhere, Satan smiled. The car performed a perfect pirouette, that pushrod small-block screaming at the sky while the tires went to vapor. A devotional to free will. Automotive enthusiasm’s shit-eating grin.

If God really wanted us to be good all the time, he wouldn’t have planted that apple tree. Or given us rear-wheel drive.

Original Source: Road&Track


C7 Corvette Z06 Coupe and Convertible Win Awards from Germany’s Sport Auto Magazine

Even though these models are no longer offered for sale in Europe, readers of the German automotive magazine Sport Auto are still showing the love for the C7 Corvette Z06!

For the 27th year in a row, Sport Auto turns over voting to its readers in 18 different production car categories and 10 tuning categories to come up with the fan favorites of the year, and the Corvette Z06 came out on top in each of its respective categories. A total of 12,352 Sport Auto readers took part in the poll.

For the “Convertibles/Roadsters Under 150,000 Euros”, the C7 Corvette Z06 Convertible won 52.2% of the vote. The second choice was the Jaguar F-Type SVR with 29% of the vote and the Maserati GranCabrio’s 15.3% came in third place. For the “Coupes under 150,000 Euros”, the C7 Corvette Z06 won the category with 38.7% of the vote, again beating out the Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe at 21.9% with the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye receiving 15.5% of the vote.

“We are proud and delighted to receive two prestigious Sport Auto Awards. They show the readers’ continuous appreciation of this exceptional sports car and are a fantastic send-off for the current Corvette generation that will soon make way for its new mid-engined successor,” said René Kreis, head of public relations at Cadillac and Chevrolet Performance Cars Europe, who accepted the awards alongside Patrick Herrmann, product experience manager at Cadillac and Chevrolet Performance Cars Europe.

Original Source : Keith Cornett Chevrolet Europe


The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is Here! And the BEST C8 Content is at MotorTrend

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most anticipated vehicle reveals of the century so far–are you as excited as we are? For the first time, the production-spec Corvette will be a mid-engine car, opening possibilities to a much higher level of performance than we’ve ever seen from the ‘Vette. But you know all that. You’re here for world-class, comprehensive 2020 Corvette coverage and photos you can only find at MotorTrend.

So be sure to check back frequently, as we’ll be adding Corvette content after the C8’s reveal. Enjoy!

Motor Trend links:

CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE

OMG NEW CORVETTE

C8 ENGINE AND TECH

FUN STUFF

Original source: Motor Trend


2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible in Shadow Gray on Display at GM’s Detroit Headquarters

Photo Credit: Kevlar Bike- Corvette Forum

Inside General Motors’ headquarters known as the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit is a large turntable that is currently featuring all eight generations of the Chevrolet Corvette. The new eighth-generation iteration of America’s Favorite Sports Car is a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible painted in Shadow Gray Metallic.

A Youtuber named portcarlingboats captured a minute of video as the new C8 Convertible spins by him on the turntable.

The visible cues on this Corvette show that it’s a non-Z51 model but it’s loaded with some great looking options that include the two-tone Natural and Black seats, Spectra Gray Trident Wheels and red brake calipers. We also prefer the bright Corvette emblems to the the darker versions on this exterior.

From portcarlingboats via YouTube:

Corvette C8 convertible on display at the GM Headquarters in Detroit Michigan on Sat Nov 23 2019; part of 8 generations of corvette convertibles on a rotating display from 1953 to today; C8 supercar, exotic car, european sports car; this is the car that will change the automotive for years to come; can’t wait for the all electric version to come- No sound

On his original post on the Corvette Forum, Kevlar Bike tells us he is Canadian and that the C8 Corvette on display inside the GM’s HQ is the closest C8 Corvette on display so he made the trip to check it out.

Shadow Gray is one of those colors that change drasticly when viewed in the direct sunlight and the lightings inside the RenCen does nothing to show-off the varying hues within. As a comparision, here is a quick walkaround of a Shadow Gray Metallic C8 at the NCM earlier this year from CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn:

Source:YouTube via MidEngineCorvetteForum.com


Most Expensive 2020 Chevy Corvette Convertible Costs $113,955

Configurator with pricing info is up, so we’ve decided to max it out.

We’ve been periodically checking Chevy’s website for the Corvette C8 Convertible configurator ever since it went up at the beginning of October to see if there’s pricing available. You can finally know how much the desired spec is going to set you back as the configurator now has all the pricing details included. Much like we did with the coupe a few weeks ago, we’ve decided to max out the online builder in an attempt to find out how much a fully loaded Stingray Convertible costs.

We’re not going to go through each and every option as we did in the previous post because most of them are identical. It’s worth pointing out the convertible commands a $7,500 premium over the coupe and it starts at $67,495 for the entry-level 1LT. Go for the better-equipped 3LT and the price jumps to $78,945, and then you can add this $995 Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat paint and a dual racing stripe also priced at $995.

The most expensive options available for the C8 Convertible are the $5,000 Z51 Performance Package and the $4,850 Grounds Effect Kit, but on top of these, you can also add the $2,095 grille insert and $1,145 side mirror caps both finished in visible carbon fiber. Another pricey option is the $2,695 wheel set measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, with a five-spoke design and a Performance Pewter-painted finish.

If you truly want to go all out with the configurator, Chevy will be more than happy to provide you with a two-piece leather travel bag set for $1,450 as well as indoor and outdoor car covers each priced at $460. Inside, a carbon fiber trim adds $1,500 to the final bill, while the Competition Sport bucket seats are an additional $500.

With all the boxes ticked, you’re going to end up with a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible that costs $113,955, plus an additional $110 worth of dealer-installed

As you’re probably aware by now, production of the C8 has been delayed until February 2020, so it’s going to be a long wait to park the new Corvette in your garage.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Original source: Adrian Padeanu; Motor1


C8 Corvette ZR1 to Get Hybrid Twin-Turbo DOHC V-8 With 900 HP!

Halo model will also be the first-ever AWD Corvette

MotorTrend’s rendering of what a C8 Corvette Z06 could look like

Back in August, we exclusively reported the upcoming mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Z06 would feature a twin-turbo flat-plane-crank dual-overhead-cam V-8 based on the C8.R race car’s engine. Now, we can report from an even higher-placed source that the range-topping C8 Corvette ZR1 will add a performance hybrid system to boost it to 900 hp.

Rumors of a hybridized C8 have been flowing for quite some time, but now we have exclusive confirmation from a senior official at GM. The ZR1 will build on the Z06’s all-new engine with a performance- (not fuel economy-) oriented hybrid system to fill in torque gaps and increase total output to an even 900 hp.

Our source wouldn’t elaborate on the engineering details, so we’re still unclear whether street cars will share the C8.R’s 5.5-liter displacement, which is unusually large for a flat-plane engine and would likely vibrate too much for customers’ liking. Past rumors have suggested displacement ranging from 4.2 liters to 5.5 liters.

At a minimum, a hybrid system would sandwich an electric motor between the engine and transmission to bolster output. We’ve heard previously, though, the somewhat small frunk in the base C8 Stingray is protecting space for a pair of front-mounted electric motors which can both increase performance and, more critically, perform active torque vectoring to complement the rear axle’s electronically controlled limited-slip differential. This first-of-a-kind all-wheel-drive ZR1 could see major benefits in handling and the ability to put down power while exiting corners. This is a strategy that’s been employed to great effect on other hybrid supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Naturally, electric motors, a battery pack, inverters, and wiring will add substantial weight to the car, which is why it all needs to add enough power to balance things out. The big question is where Chevrolet will place the battery, which it will want to mount as low as possible to keep a low center of gravity. Other mid-engine hybrids mount it in the firewall between the engine and the seats. It’s also possible it could be mounted in the bottom of the frunk or trunk, depending on how large it is. We expect it will be fairly small as it just needs to hold enough juice to boost the engine under hard acceleration. While some mid-engine hybrids have the ability to drive under pure electric power for short distances to meet emissions regulations in some countries and cities, we doubt this was a major concern for the Corvette team. Like the Ferrari LaFerrari, we think the ZR1 will be entirely concerned with performance, not efficiency.

Separately, our source corrected our previous speculation that the Z06, C8.R, and ZR1’s DOHC engine would share design and engineering with the Cadillac 4.2-liter Blackwing V-8. Despite declarations from top GM and Cadillac brass the Blackwing is exclusive to Cadillac, we figured there would be some shared engineering resources to save money. That’s not the case, our source says. Years ago, under a previous product plan that’s since been whittled down, Cadillac was promised an exclusive engine and got it, so GM gave Cadillac and Chevrolet separate pots of money to design two different DOHC V-8s simultaneously.

Original Source: Scott Evans for MotorTrend


C8 Corvette ZR1 Will Get 900-HP, Twin-Turbo, Hybrid V8 Engine: Report

This is the first time that we’ve heard concrete news about a hybrid version of the C8, and their source has confirmed that it is indeed coming very soon. The supposed ZR1 will utilize the engine found in the Z06, a dual-overhead-cam V8 that happens to be flat-plane-crank and twin-turbo; similar to the one found in the C8.R race car. The hybrid system will be completely performance oriented, and will place an electric motor between the engine and transmission to increase output considerably to 900 horsepower. That’s not all, apparently, the C8 Stingray has some space in the front trunk that’s reserved for a pair of front-mounted electric motors that are said to increase performance and apply torque vectoring to aid the rear axle and its electronically controlled limited-slip diff, essentially meaning that the ZR1 will be all-wheel drive. 

More Tiny C8 Details:

 2020 Corvette Stingray Almost Had A Split Rear Window: Report

Furthermore, their source indicates that the rumor of the 4.2-liter Blackwing V8 engine from Cadillac being shared with Corvette models is false; GM gave Cadillac and Chevrolet the resources to design and develop two different V8s at the same time. The hybrid system also has the consequence of added weight and proper placement to retain performance and a low center of gravity, so your guess is as good as ours as to where Chevrolet plans to mount the entire system.


Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter is No. 4 on MotorTrend’s Power List for 2020

If you ever doubted the significance of the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, take a look at MotorTrend’s Power List for 2020, a compilation of the 50 most important names in the auto industry.

On the strength of leading the design of MotorTrend’s 2020 Car of the Year, the 2020 Corvette Stingray, Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, unranked on the 2019 list, zoomed to the No. 4 spot in the 2020 ranking – ahead of two of his bosses, General Motors President Mark Reuss, who came in at No. 28, and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, who ranked No. 6.

Said MotorTrend of Juechter:

“Juechter was able to squeeze the final dollops of power out of the C7 Corvette and then create a whole new beast: the long-awaited C8 with a mid-engine to increase power and performance. Despite all the tech, he engineered an affordable everyman’s supercar: 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds for $60,000.”

Reuss, who moved up from No. 32 in 2019, earned the following praise from MT:

“Reuss is managing the day-to-day for an automaker as focused on the Corvette and Silverado as the goal to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road annually while developing autonomous vehicles and still making a profit. It means overseeing a leaner company going forward to fund the expensive tech.”

Barra, meanwhile, tumbled from the No. 1 spot in 2019 but still earned serious kudos from the magazine:

“Barra continues to be the tough, shrewd, and strategic leader that GM needs to remain profitable while investing heavily in electric and autonomous vehicles. Her decisive, no-nonsense approach has led to unpopular decisions to discontinue models, stop production, and cut jobs to meet long-term financial goals.”

Another GM leader, Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevera, was unranked in 2019 but made it to No. 23 for 2020.

MotorTrend says of her:

“In charge of GM’s finance department since 2018, Suryadevara is pivotal in achieving annual cost reductions of $4.5 billion through 2020—ensuring the automaker has the resources for ambitious EV and autonomous vehicle plans while keeping things running during a protracted labor strike.”

At the top of the 2020 list is MotorTrend’s Person of the Year, someone you may never have heard of, Peter Schreyer, President, Head of Design Management, for Hyundai Motor Group.

Writes MotorTrend of its No. 1 pick:
“Schreyer once said he wishes he could be a painter. The MotorTrend 2020 Person of the Year has taken a Korean canvas and created a masterpiece.”

Original source: Mitch Talley, CorvetteBlogger


How the C8 Corvette’s Dual-Clutch Has Changed Since We Drove the Car

The new Corvette has an eight-speed Tremec DCT. We weren’t crazy about it in the pre-production C8 we drove, but engineers tell us the final version will be better.

For the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet abandoned the traditional manual and torque-converter automatic for a new, eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch. And in our Performance Car of the Year testing, the gearbox was the weakest component in the pre-production C8 Stingray we had on hand. It’s part of why the Corvette didn’t win.

In automatic mode, the DCT dolled out nice, snappy shifts, but when using the paddles, it could be clumsy. Too often we found ourselves running into the rev limiter, or having downshifts denied after a paddle pull. But, the C8 we drove wasn’t a finished product. There’s been development work since we drove the car, and that work will continue for the foreseeable future. At a powertrain engineering seminar held by Chevy last week, we asked Glen Hoeflinn, controls program manager for the DCT, what will change from the car we drove.

“Maybe you get some humpy-bumpy shifts here, you get a little bit of that there. That all gets refined out,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s in final refinement, and then it’s in final checks and looking what we’re doing and making sure that it’s behaving exactly [how] we want.”

“That’s what we’ve done since the car that you had. Doing all that refinement and making sure it’s ready to go for everybody across the all the cars.”

A dual-clutch presents unique challenges, no matter what sort of car it’s in. “There’s a lot of pre-selection interaction that goes on in the background,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s the same choreography” between the engine and transmission, he added, but without the “luxury” of a torque converter, there’s a lot more programming work involved.

As you’d expect, the transmission has different automatic shift strategies for the various drive modes, which adapt in real time. The more aggressive, the more spirited you drive, the more aggressive the car’s going to respond,” Hoeflinn said. “As you start to relax, the car’s going to start to relax.”

The DCT uses latitudinal and longitudinal accelerometers, and looks at information like throttle position and steering angle to gauge how the car is being driven, and react accordingly. For example, in Track mode with the transmission set to automatic, the car will downshift aggressively when the driver is braking hard into a corner, and hold upshifts until corner exit.

The C8 has two manual modes. If you pull a paddle while in Drive, you get a temporary manual mode, which automatically times out, or can be exited sooner by holding the upshift paddle. In this mode, the car will automatically upshift at redline. If you press the M button in the center console, you get full manual mode. There’s no time out, and the car won’t upshift at redline.

There are two other neat tricks available for drivers to exploit. First, if you hold the downshift paddle, the DCT will serve up the lowest possible gear. Do that while braking, and the transmission will keep downshifting as engine speed allows. And second, pulling both paddles at the same time is equivalent to pushing in the clutch pedal on a manual car, which allows you to rev the C8’s new V-8 as much as you want.

In the C8, the paddles are directly wired to the transmission control module (TCM) for quicker response times. “In other applications, from the paddle, the wire will go to the body control module and then from the body control module back over to the transmission. You have obvious latency there,” Hoeflinn said.

“It could be 25, 30, 40 milliseconds from the time you pull, to the time that transmission actually got the message. When you wire them directly from the paddle straight to the TCM, we’re getting the message instantaneously.” This doesn’t mean the paddles will give you a downshift that over-revs the engine—the TCM prevents that—it just helps reduce delay.

One of the headline figures of the C8 Corvette is its incredible acceleration. We timed a pre-production Z51 Stingray as hitting 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. With the C8’s Performance Launch mode, the car will actually use the inertia of the engine coming down between revs to propel the car forward. Chevy calls these “Boosted Shifts,” and they’re only used with a Performance Launch. In any other mode, they make the car feel unsettled.

From a mechanical standpoint, this new Tremec transaxle isn’t a radical departure from other DCTs. There are concentric clutches and input shafts for the odd and even gears. The even gears and reverse live near the front of the transmission, while the odds are at the back. A limited slip-differential is integrated within the unit. Base Stingrays get a mechanical diff with a 4.89:1 final drive ratio while Z51-pack cars get an electronic LSD with a 5.17:1 ratio. The overall gear ratio spread of 8.8:1 is the same regardless of differential.

The packaging of the transaxle is such that there’s a common oil sump—filled with 11 liters of Pentosin FFL-4 fluid—for all components. A cooler mounted to the top of the transaxle assembly means there’s no need for additional hydraulic lines, while two filters keep things clean. An externally mounted pressure-side filter requires replacement every 20,000 miles, while the internal suction filter mounted to the sump is a lifetime part.

We asked about why the C8 team didn’t try to do a manual. Hoeflinn and the other engineers present gave us a similar answer to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, when we interviewed him before the car debuted. They’d need to develop a new manual just for the C8, and considering the stick-shift market is shrinking, it would be an expensive endeavor seemingly without much reward. There are packaging constraints with the Corvette’s central backbone tunnel, too, which would require a hole to accommodate the shifter and gear linkage, hurting structural rigidity. Juechter also said the pedalbox would be cramped with a clutch.

Our first experience with this DCT was less than positive, but this is a gearbox that shows a lot of promise. We look forward to driving the finished product.

Originally written by Chris Perkins; Road&Track