SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com
Ranging from pure performance monsters to cool and unique designs, here are some of the coolest forms the Corvette has taken over the years.
Long live America’s sports car – first shown to the world at GM’s Motorama in 1953, the Corvette is nearing its 70th anniversary as the premier American sports car, and one that has come to represent the American performance game. With its signature V8 power, and price that makes it a great value for the performance, the Corvette has stuck around in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, even through its darkest years during the Oil Crisis.
Along the way through, the Corvette has also been defined by a multitude of special editions. Ranging from pure performance monsters to awesome looking aesthetic changes, the special edition Corvettes have been some of the coolest forms the car has taken over its long life. These 10 though, are among the sickest special edition Corvettes to ever hit the street.
The greatest of all classic Corvettes, the L88 is an absolutely wicked, special, and rare ‘Vette that now commands millions of dollars at auction.
Unleashed onto the world in 1967, the L88’s development was carried out under command of Zora Arkus-Duntov himself. Packing plenty of racing-oriented modifications, the L88 was intended to help further the Corvette’s status as a motorsports icon. But, what was truly special about the L88, was its engine. Thoroughly modified, the legendary 427 V8 inside the ‘Vette was brought up to a truly wild number of around 580 hp.
Stripped of most comfort based options and features, GM tried to scare people away from buying the monstrous car. Down-rating it, and claiming the engine had 435 hp, intentions were for people to be scared off by the lack of “civilized” features, and opt for another performance package that included them while having similar power. Mostly ending up used as race cars (to GM’s relief), only 20 L88 Corvettes were made in 1967, making them one of the most powerful, and rare special editions in the Corvette’s history.
A familiar name in the modern Corvette’s legacy, the ZR1 began life as a successor to the earth-shattering L88, and still stands for the ultimate performance edition a Corvette can have.
Sold under a Regular Production Order (RPO) from 1970 until 1972, the ZR1 was similar to the L88 in that ordering it meant you had to sacrifice many comfort-based options such as air conditioning, the radio, and power steering. What you got in return though, were specialized performance parts like beefy suspension, a performance transmission, and big brakes. More importantly, though, the ZR1 gave you the special LT1 small-block V8 laying down 370 hp, turning the C3 Corvette into a monster. Yet, only 25 ZR1s were sold in 1970, making it among the rarest special edition Corvettes.
With the Corvette losing most of its performance and overall greatness during the tail end of the C3 generation, and the first years of the C4, the 1990 ZR1 came about to reclaim the nameplate’s glory as a performance monster.
Named “King of the Hill” during its development, this revival of the ZR1 would live up to that name in spades. Forgoing the standard V8 that had been powering the C4, a special 5.7 L LT5 V8 making 380 hp was mounted inside – developing over 400 hp by the end of its run. Not just powerful though, at the time GM owned Lotus and brought them on to make the ZR1 handle as well as it accelerated. An instant success, the 1990 ZR1 was one of the fastest cars of the early ’90s, helping rekindle the Corvette’s flame, and remaining on sale until 1995.
1966 Grand Sport
While somewhat overshadowed by the 1990-95 ZR1, the 1996 Grand Sport was an awesome way to send off the C4 generation Corvette.
Built as an homage to the ’60s Grand Sport Corvette racecars, the 1996 Grand Sport was situated in a tough position. With the C4 ZR1 ending in 1995, and the all-new C5 ready for release in 1997, Chevy needed to make a splash with a special edition for the C4’s retirement.
While not the performance beast that the ZR1 was, the Grand Sport was one of the coolest C4 Corvettes to be released. Tuning the LT1 V8 to 330 hp, and renaming it the LT4, the Grand Sport was genuinely quick for the late ’90s. Sporting the iconic blue and white paint with red fender marks, the 1996 Grand Sport did its job of sending off the C4 with great style and set the tone for later Grand Sport editions of the Corvette.
2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition
Similar to the 1996 Grand Sport, the 2004 Commemorative Edition was a send-off for the C5 generation of Corvette, and focused on a flashy red, white, and blue paint job.
With the C6 on the horizon for 2005, and the C5-R Corvette racecar scoring consecutive class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Commemorative Edition sent off the C5 generation by celebrating those Le Mans victories.
Available on either the coupe, convertible, or Z06 flavors of Corvette, the Commemorative Edition was mostly just aesthetic changes. Painted in the same base scheme as the Le Mans C5-R, the Commemorative Edition came with plenty of cool touches like badges and seat embroidery. One performance touch present though, order the Commemorative Edition Z06, and you had the option to add a carbon fiber hood.
Bringing the special edition ZR1 nameplate back for its third shot at crushing the performance game, 2009 saw it return with the greatest power of any road-going Corvette before it.
Gone from the market since the previous one’s end in 1995, the ZR1 returned with ferocity after 14 years. Like the previous ZR1s it followed in the footsteps of, a monstrous and unique engine was placed inside – the supercharged LS9 V8 spitting out a whopping 638 hp. With features like a window in the hood that displays the supercharger, the most power a stock Corvette had up until it, and a 200 MPH+ top speed, the 2009 ZR1 helped prove that the Corvette was a competitive force in the modern car industry.
2011 Z06 Carbon Limited Edition
Another special edition that celebrates the Corvette’s long-lived presence at Le Mans, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition does more than just add a special paint job though.
Limited to just 500, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition takes the already performance-oriented Z06 and imbues it with performance parts from the monstrous ZR1. Included in the Carbon Limited Edition are the big carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable shocks, wheels, and tires from the ZR1. But that’s not all, as the “Carbon” in its name also refers to the carbon fiber front splitter, hood, and roof panel it comes with. Only available in a special shade of blue or orange, the Carbon Limited Edition is one of the coolest modern Corvette special editions.
2013 427 Convertible
A number that will be instantly recognizable to Chevy fans, the 427 Convertible pays tribute to the legendary 427 big-block V8 of Chevy’s muscle car past.
While the Z06 is a favorite amongst Corvette fans for its balance of performance, affordability, and ease of street use, one of its best features on the C6 generation was the 505 hp LS7 V8. Although the Z06 and its LS7 didn’t come in convertible form – the 427 Convertible changed that.
While missing Z06 exclusive features like its aluminum frame, the 427 Convertible drops the LS7 into a convertible Corvette and adds touches like a special paint scheme, and the rear axle and shock absorbers from the Z06. Back to the name though, the LS7 is technically a 427.7 cu-in engine, but Chevy rounded down to pay tribute to their classic big block, it’s a technicality that’s easy to forgive though, especially when the car is this cool.
The 4th, and most powerful iteration of the legendary ZR1, the C7 based edition is also the last time ZR1 will be used on the Corvette’s traditional front-engine layout.
Even better, or worse – depending on your perspective, the C8 ZR1 is confirmed to be a hybrid. But back to the C7 ZR1 – serving as the 4th time the special edition ZR1 has graced Chevy showrooms, the 2019 ZR1 evolved from the 2009 version with even more ridiculous amounts of power. Capable of a 0-60 MPH time of 3.0 seconds thanks to the 755 hp its supercharged LT5 V8 produces, the 2019 ZR1 is the most powerful and most insane stock Corvette so far – though, the C8 ZR1 is said to be shooting for 900 hp.
2016 Z06 C7/R Edition
A team with many decades of racing legacy, Corvette Racing’s C7.R is the focus of this special edition, using a Z06 to pay tribute to the full-on racecar and its iconic yellow paint.
Limited to only 500 units, the C7.R edition was available on Z06 Corvettes and offered the Z07 Performance Package with its carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. Otherwise, the C7.R Edition is mostly an aesthetic one, packing Corvette Racing Yellow paint, special graphics, wheels, yellow brake calipers, as well as a black interior with yellow contrast stitching. Equipped with the C7 Z06’s supercharged LT4 V8 with 650 hp, the C7.R Edition is one of the coolest for fans of the Corvette Racing team.
SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com
General Motors today is celebrating two separate reports that show more GM vehicles have the most “Made in the USA” content than any other automaker. We’ve featured both reports already as the new C8 Corvette ranks high on both lists. As a bonus to Corvette enthusiasts, GM is sharing a new video showing the C8 Corvette under construction at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
First up comes the Cars.com American-Made Index for 2020 which had the 2020 Corvette Stingray in 8th place on its vehicles with the most domestic-sourced content. In addition to the Corvette, the Chevrolet Colorado was 10th and GM placed another seven vehicles in the Top 25.
As for the American University Kogod School of Business and its Made in America Auto Index, the 2020 Corvette tied for 3rd place alongside the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups and behind the automatic Chevrolet Camaro. GM had 10 models in the Top 25, the most of any manufacturer. GM also received credit as ranking the highest among manufacturers for total domestic content across all 2020 models.
“We’re proud of GM’s massive American manufacturing footprint, consisting of 11 vehicle assembly plants, 26 stamping, propulsion, component and battery plants, and 19 parts distribution centers,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations. “Our manufacturing strength in the U.S. is a team effort starting with our employees and extending to our supplier partners and local communities across the country.”
The Making of the C8 Corvette
In this video from General Motors, go inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant for a look at how the mid-engine C8 Corvette is manufactured. We also get a great look at the construction of certain parts from vendors like the Bedford aluminum castings and the carbon-fiber rear bumper beam.
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.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
A good balance.
Those are a few of the ways Popular Mechanics describes the 2020 Corvette Stingray, the new mid-engine monster from Chevrolet so good it’s just become that magazine’s Car of the Year.
“So much of what makes Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis the stuff of phone wallpaper fantasy is present” in the new Corvette, Popular Mechanics writes.
Things like a 0 to 60 time of 2.8 seconds “with a pleasantly terrifying exhaust sound.”
With the seats so far forward, the Corvette gives you “that tip-of-the-cruise-missile feeling.”
Even after a week-long test drive, Popular Mechanics says the car never lost its novelty, noting that “it is thrilling to hold the keys to this thing.”
Unlike so many other supercars, the new Corvette is still a practical vehicle, with PM calling it “livable. Actually comfortable.”
With two trunks that hold 13 cubic feet of stuff, the Stingray can fit two week’s worth of groceries for three people.
Even a four-hour trip in heavy traffic and rain was “mostly pleasant,” the magazine reports, with sound dampening materials that “kept the cockpit quiet at highway speeds.”
Even the “strange center bar with the air conditioning controls made sense within just a few miles of our first drive,” PM admitted.
It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows, though, as the magazine did point out a few minor nitpicks with the car.
The overall comfort means that the Corvette “loses some of the vibration that helps you feel feedback from the road, even in its most aggressive drive setting. And as our colleagues at Car and Driver have pointed out, the steering feel doesn’t quite have the precision you get from six figures.”
But with a base price under $60,000, the Corvette more than delivers its money’s worth to owners.
PM says the $100,000 718 Cayman and Spider are “slightly more engaging (though slower) driving experiences” thanks to their six-speed manual transmission over the Corvette’s new dual-clutch automatic.
“But for those of us who like a little utility in a two-seater,” PM says, “the Corvette is a good balance.”
Ironically, the gasoline-powered Corvette breaks a three-year-long streak of electric vehicles earning the Car of the Year award. We wouldn’t be surprised, though, when the rumored E-Ray electric hybrid version of the Corvette debuts in a couple of years or so, if that car doesn’t restore order to the PM universe and win this award again.
The Corvette runs blistering laps on track and ruins back roads for the price of a Porsche’s option list.
The spiritual home of the sports car in North America isn’t Detroit. It’s not Southern California. It’s not even Bowling Green. It’s upstate New York, specifically Watkins Glen. A tiny American town with an outsize reputation.
From the November/December 2020 issue of Road & Track.
After World War II, sports cars followed returning service members to America. Lithe, light, and low-powered, they were the antithesis of the American way of travel. Cameron Argetsinger, a Watkins Glen local, saw an opportunity. In 1948, he staged the first Watkins
Glen road race, an event that became an annual showcase of the country’s bravest drivers on challenging country roads. In 1951, legendary General Motors designer Harley Earl attended the race to show off a concept LeSabre and was inspired to build a purely American sports car. In 1953 he came back to the race with his creation: the Corvette.
The first generation wasn’t quite up to its world-beating task. But through seven generations and more than 65 years, the Corvette evolved into a car that did everything a Porsche or a Ferrari could for less than half the price. It’s one of few cars at home in every possible environment. It’s underrated to the point of disdain by those who simply don’t want to believe that an American sports car can beat the hell out of models from Europe.
Part of that may be the working-class price. Another may be the lackluster interiors. The biggest knock may have been the perception that the engine was in the wrong place. And for decades, rumors insisted that the Corvette’s V-8 would move behind the driver. It was always just about to happen, with a string of mid-engine concept cars giving credence to the rumors. But a series of false starts, including one C7-generation plan scuttled by bankruptcy, saw hopes continually fall. Until now.
The C8-generation Corvette is easily the most anticipated American car of the last 20 years, one with impossibly high expectations from customers, journalists, and GM itself. It must be a grand tourer, sports car, track car, drag racer, and golf-club hauler, displaying versatility not expected of any other model. That’s the Corvette’s dilemma: Because it has doubters, it must to do everything flawlessly.
Our first drive of the C8 for Performance Car of the Year saw us get behind the wheel of a preproduction model, one not 100-percent finalized. At the time, it seemed the Stingray was very good but best considered as a building block for higher-powered versions of the car to come, variants that would truly take advantage of the mid-engine architecture.
But the completed car stands on its own. This is the performance bargain of the century.
Like the Corvette, Watkins Glen has evolved. Racing moved from public roads to a purpose-built facility decades ago, but the track is no less daunting. This circuit hosted the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix for two decades and still sees professional sports-car racing each year. It’s one of the old-school tracks, iconic blue barriers lining a course carved out of the land by men on tractors, not mere algorithms. What you get is a gorgeous, flowing track, a fast 3.4-mile goliath as intimidating as it is iconic. This is where we reacquaint ourselves with the C8.
It gets you the first time you push the start button, the familiar small-block bark smacking your brain from behind, the unrefined lope a brief reminder that you’re not in something from Europe. The new engine, dubbed LT2, is an evolution of the V-8 we saw in the C7, now producing 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque with the Z51 package. That gets it to 60 in 2.8 seconds, better than the last-generation Z06 and ZR1, cars with at least 150 more horsepower.
The C8 gives the illusion of ever-present grip. It’s a rear-wheel-drive car with an almost all-wheel-drive character, able to fire in any direction at any time. That acceleration from a dig is thanks to the mid-engine layout and aggressively short gearing from the eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter said shifting weight toward the rear axle would allow the C8 to put more power down, hence the move to a mid-engine layout. Perhaps the C7 Stingray and Grand Sport had no traction issues; the C8 has less than none.
You do lose the dance of clutch, accelerator, and steering, of making sure you have the right mix to stay straight. On the track, going for lap times, that’s undeniably a good thing. But losing that theater is noticeable on the road, where instead of worrying about controlling the rear end, you need to worry about hitting imprisonable speeds within seconds of touching the throttle.
Unlike Corvettes past, the controls are delicate, with light steering and paddle shifters. A sign of modern trends. While it was a sad day when the Corvette lost its third pedal, the gearbox has vastly improved since we first drove the car months ago.
Shifts from the Tremec-designed transmission are crisp and rapid in manual mode, thanks to paddles wired directly to the box. Downshifts are quick and perfectly rev-matched, when you get them. That’s one annoyance. In a heavy braking zone, like into Turn 1 at The Glen, you’re snagging gears quickly. Occasionally the gearbox takes more than one pull to react, likely because a paddle was pulled before the engine was ready to allow a shift. Instead of delaying that shift slightly, the gearbox denies it, then forgets you ever asked. Exercising more patience with the paddle results in delay-free downshifts. Driven in automatic, it’s telepathic, keeping the engine in the powerband at all times and banging off shifts without issue.
Chevrolet has recently compared Corvette automatics to Porsche’s PDK gearbox, and every single time Chevy’s automatic has been a letdown. The PDK is still the best you can buy, but this Tremec is leagues better than any automatic ever fit to a Corvette, a half-step at most behind the best.
Tucked in the hills just outside the hamlet that bears the same name, Watkins Glen International is one of America’s greatest and most challenging tracks.
1. TURN ONE
A fast right. Get your braking done beforehand, hit an early apex, and use all the track for the fast run up the esses.
2. THE BUS STOP
The place to be brave. Brake late and clobber the curbs. The Vette was touching 150 before the braking zone.
3. THE BOOT
Quicker than it looks. Use the track’s compression to get back to power early, maximizing that short straight.
4. THE TABLETOP
Secretly the most challenging turn on track. An off-camber left, get this one wrong and you’ll end up in the wall.
Like the gearbox, the brakes have gone digital, a brake-by-wire setup bypassing the physical connection between pedal and braking system (though there is a mechanical backup if the by-wire system fails). This means the computer can change the pedal feel depending on the driving situation, which is gimmicky—and disconcerting, since brakes should be a constant—but also a likely sign of an upcoming hybrid system. But left in Sport mode the pedal is linear and accurate, the brakes showing no fade after repeated use at more than 150 mph through The Glen’s bus-stop chicane.
The delicate controls, light steering, and paddle-shift gearbox may lead you to believe that the Vette needs a light touch. Not the case. In fact, it’s the opposite; in corners like The Glen’s Turn 5, a long, downhill right-hand sweeper, you need patience with the throttle lest you make the front push. A big swing at the wheel or an aggressive move on the pedals is needed to make the Corvette come around. Steering, while accurate, is numb, meaning your inputs must be informed by something other than your hands.
Vague steering is always a letdown. But as the pace gets higher, the chassis comes alive. It may not be as adjustable as the last car, likely a design choice made to save drivers from the 6.2-liter pendulum behind their backs. Still, speeds become very serious very fast, although the car remains stable and predictable, two confidence builders. The last thing you want in a car this accessible to so many people is a tricky experience. Otherwise we’d likely be hearing about a lot of owners who aren’t thrilled with GM after wrapping their C8s tail-first around a tree.
But get on the power at the right time, and from apex to corner exit there isn’t much that drives like this. A big part is the fantastic Performance Traction Management (PTM) system, hyper-advanced traction control that actually cuts spark instead of using the brakes to bring the car back in line. This is racing-level stuff, and it works excellently, though we’re not sure it’s being fully exploited. The sheer rear-end grip is so massive that traction control is more safety net than necessity.
Stopwatch estimates from pit lane put the Corvette at a sub-2:10 lap at The Glen, positively blistering when you consider that this is a lightly optioned base Corvette putting up numbers that are tough for any car to match.
On the road, heads snap when it drives by, some innocent bystanders wondering what the hell it is, some refusing to believe it exists at all. The front three-quarter view is the winner, a mixture of angles and shapes invoking stealth fighters. The rear view is inelegant at best, the need for golf-bag storage creating squarish hips, denying the Corvette the lithe, tapered beauty of other mid-engine cars. No matter what you think of its looks, it has serious presence.
The ride quality is simply outstanding. Magnetic Ride Control shocks make this the most comfortable sports car you can drive that doesn’t cost more than $300,000. It’s truly a feat, keeping the Corvette comfortable for hours. And this iteration has an excellent interior.
The seats are normally a Vette low point. The GT2 buckets in our car were supportive and on the verge of being too tight, though that’s honestly a sign that I need to spend more time on the bike than I do eating cookies. It’s a great place to be, especially if you’re behind the wheel.
Everything is angled towards the driver, including a raised panel housing the ancillary controls, which creates a border wall the passenger must summit in order to change the radio station. On the track or a solo drive, it’s wonderful, a cocoon that lets you focus without distraction. But trips with a friend or significant other feel like you’re in two different cars, particularly if your passenger is short. There is one blessing of the control wall: Passengers with music ADD won’t change the radio as often.
While companions struggle to find some way to turn off the Gin Blossoms, you can focus on driving. The gearbox’s on-track blindspots are eradicated on the road. The dual-clutch system begs you to put it in manual mode, as if it knows it can do everything itself but would really rather have you as part of the fun. There may not be a clutch pedal, but the transmission feels visceral enough that you can forget it’s not there.
The C8 Corvette is years of anticipation made real. On first impression, it does all the right things. It tucks crisply into corners, the engine has that perfect lope, it attracts the eye, and it feels like you’re driving a car worth three times the price. It’s a wonderful road car you could use daily, in any location, without worry. Unlike any other mid-engine car, it’s relaxed around town, a gentle cruiser, perfectly at home. On a good road it comes alive, quick and agile, the small-block V-8 once again proving it will never be outdated. It’s an outstanding combination.
Yet something undefinable is missing. The C7-generation Corvette had layers, getting better the more time you spent behind the wheel. The C8 seems to throw everything at you from the first drive, shouting its inherent specialness from minute one, relentlessly showing you every trick it has. It’s the same with its appearance. The C7 flew under the radar, eliciting knowing nods and glances and occasional waves, but nothing that’d attract a civilian crowd. The new car may as well come with a disco ball and DJ air horns. A drawback? Perhaps not. But if you’re running an errand, expect it to take twice as long as planned. Grocery run? Everybody on the dance floor! WAH-WAH-WAHHHHH!
Put it all in perspective. The Corvette’s base price is $59,995, with our tester coming in at $86,710. Either price is a bargain for a car with Ferrari/McLaren levels of performance. It’s impressive on every level, and the mid-engine platform will pay bigger dividends as engineers add power, hybrid systems, and handling packages that truly exploit the layout, if you actually need more performance. It’s hard to imagine that anyone does; more speed usually leads to sacrifices in comfort, usability, and—most importantly—price.
After every run at The Glen I had the same thought: This is the first car from Chevrolet with the engine behind the driver since the Corvair. Their corporate history is not mid-engine unobtanium but budget performance. And now they have a mid-engine Corvette that runs blistering laps on track and ruins backroads for the price of an option package on a high-end supercar.
If this is the future of performance, we’re going to be all right.
TRAVIS OKULSKI for Road and Track
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe is a Chevy’s newest supercar. It features a powerful V8 engine, excellent handling with multiple drive modes and a comfy interior.
Chevy’s new Corvette is kryptonite to the ever-growing bevy of Supercars.
For more than 65 years Chevrolet’s everyman’s dream car has put its throbbing V8 power in front of the driver, but with the eighth generation that all changes. Supercars beware!
Now the Vette’s 6.2-liter V8 moves behind the driver in a mid-engine arrangement that seems new and exciting even though supercar makers, plus Ford with its GT, have been milking this layout for years.
While new and exciting looking there’s a familiarity too with the new Corvette. Stand in front and you’ll see the family resemblance, the pointed nose, the long headlights, the rounded front wheel wells. There’s even a tall flat rear shoulder that exudes Corvette styling.
Yet there’s the engine, under a glass rear window, Corvette headers confirming this isn’t a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren. And the grumble and rumble from the brilliant metallic Sebring Orange test car’s V8 also lets even the uninitiated know this isn’t an electric motor-assisted V6 as in Acura’s NSX, which resembles the Vette in profile.
Certainly a Ferrari V8 or Lamborghini V12’s growl would set them apart, so why should they get queasy in the presence of this new Vette?
Consider this. It looks a lot like them (a neighbor asked if it was a McLaren or Ferrari), packs nearly 500 horsepower, drives like it’s ready for the track and … wait for it … only starts at $59,995. Oh sure, I know that’s a lot of coin from your 401k, but it’s only a down payment compared with the supercars’ retail pricing.
A quick comparison with the heavyweights:
- A McLaren 570GT, the British firm’s low-cost entry level racer, starts at $205,450 and packs 562 horsepower from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Torque is rated at 443 lb.-ft.
- A Ferrari 488 GTB lists at $266,397 and boasts 660 hp from its 3.9-liter turbo V8.
- A Lamborghini Aventador crushes them all with 740 hp from its 6.5-liter V12 and comes with AWD. However, it lists at $421,145.
All of these have 7-speed automatics, while Corvette has a new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic that shifts better than you or I ever will. Plus, in Track mode, the crackle it emits as downshifting is absolutely inspiring.
And the non-turbo aluminum small-block Chevy V8 with the Z51 Performance package ($5,000) found on the test car delivers 495 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, instantly. No turbo lag here, because there’s no turbo. Power is instant as you tromp the accelerator. Like the $180,000 BMW M8 Competition convertible driven a week earlier, the much lighter Vette (3,647 lbs. vs. 4,251) explodes down a highway entry ramp, reaching 100 mph. Please don’t ask how I know.
But to be honest, as enthralled as I was with the raw power, it was the handling and smoothness of the well-balanced Vette’s chassis that impressed most. I have a route in rural southeast Wisconsin that will test any car’s handling and ride quality. This was the easiest sports car, or wannabe, that I’ve driven on this route, perhaps with the exception of that much pricier M8 (roughly $100,000 more).The Stingray Coupe features three driving modes: Sport, Track, and Tour.
On one stretch I repeated the route three times, once each in Tour, Sport and Track mode. Track, as you’d assume, is most precise for steering with a wheel you barely needed to twitch to slice through a daunting S-curve. The wheel becomes incredibly tight and racy. In Sport it’s a slight wheel and shock tightening and in Tour it’s easy to steer, but still effortless to control. Track is more fun, Tour is more practical.
Take a rural “rustic” road and you’ll want Tour to somewhat soften the naturally stiff sports car ride. Plus note the Vette still has a relatively short 107.2-inch wheelbase. The longer the wheelbase, the smoother the ride.
You’re not buying a Vette, or any supercar, for smooth, boulevard cruising though. Yet this one will not beat you up. And yes, we all know the average Vette buyer has aged a bit. A friend happily told me that at 65 I am the perfect age for a Corvette. Ha! Maybe WAS! This new design is targeting much younger driving enthusiasts. It will succeed.
Certainly performance per dollar is there and for those interested in such feats of strength, Car & Driver magazine puts this Vette at 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, while Chevy says it can eek out a bit better. Still, it’s about a second quicker than the older C7 Vette. Likewise Car & Driver reports its Corvette topped out at 184 mph, while Chevy claims 194. Either way, you’re in for a huge speeding ticket!
For the record the test car’s Z51 performance package upped the ante with performance brakes, performance suspension, performance exhaust and rear axle ratio, plus an electronic limited-slip differential, a rear spoiler, run-flat performance tires and a heavy-duty cooling system).The Stingray Coupe can go 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, almost a second faster than the last model Chevy released.
A group of onlookers at Hartford Municipal Airport praised the new Vette’s looks, but were especially curious about its removable roof panel and stylish new interior. Several owned Vettes.
First, the roof panel is easy to remove. Flip two levers over the windshield as with most convertible tops, and then release a lever in back and the roof is easily lifted off. Best with two people unless the singular person is tall and strong of upper body strength. You won’t want the fiberglass top to slip and mar the car’s paint job.
In any case, with two of you lifting and the rear hatch (which covers the engine and rear trunk space) released, you can slide the top into the trunk for storage while driving. It only fits one way.
Inside, the orange test car was all black leather with gray stitching and a lot of satin or brushed chrome trim on the doors, door armrests and steering wheel spokes and under the info screen. It looks great as does the raised ridge that divides the driver from the passenger. There you’ll find climate and seat heat/cool controls for both folks. It’s easy for the driver to use, but less so for the passenger. Also awkward to get at is the wireless phone charger that’s in a little pocket between and behind the seats. It’s standard on the 2LT trim Vette, which this was.
I loved the seats as did all the passengers. These were powered GT2 seats ($1,495) and heated and cooled, plus multi-adjustable including side bolsters. But I slipped right in and was instantly at ease. A power tilt/telescope square (racer-like) steering wheel also helps. That wheel gives you more legroom and allows easier viewing of the 12-inch instrument cluster.The Stingray Coupe’s interior features all black leather with gray stitching and a lot of satin or brushed chrome trim on the doors.
The 8-inch screen also is easily read and simple to use. Two Favorites buttons on the underside of the steering wheel also help the driver quickly find tunes. A Bose high-performance stereo system with 14 speakers also helps. That’s part of the $7,300 2LT package that includes a load of extras, like adjustable head-up display, navigation system, front-view camera, anti-theft system, rear cross traffic and blind-spot alert.
That front camera can help if you park near a curb or parking lot block because the Vette has a low nose. But fear not, there’s a button to lift the car’s nose an inch or so to avoid scrapes. That’s $1,495 extra.
I also found the foot well a little tight because I’m short and had the seat fairly far forward. Rear visibility isn’t great either, but you expect that in mid-engine car. Rear view cameras and mirror/cameras help in that regard. I used them exclusively when backing.
On the considerable plus side are superb brakes, 13.6-inch discs up front and 13.8-inchers in back. Calipers are black Corvette branded and whoa this baby down in a hurry.
The two trunks, one front, one rear, also give you decent storage for a couple suitcases or grocery bags when eating takes precedence over driving. And I know it’s a small thing, but I loved the orange seatbelts on the test car, just $395 extra.
Gas mileage was good too and there’s no gas guzzler tax here. The EPA puts the Vette at 15 mpg city and 27 highway. I got 19.3 mpg in a 60/40 mix heavier on highway. A Vette owner told me he sometimes gets nearly 40 mpg on the highway. Know too that 91 octane fuel is required for the V8. But that’s to be expected.
All told the test car ended up at $79,315, considerably more than the base 1LT model, but still way less budget busting than any supercar, and a full $100,000 less than last week’s spectacular M8 convertible. Not exactly a poor man’s supercar, but much more approachable than those with fancier nameplates.
The new Vette is a winner! Overview: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe
Hits: Supercar looks, powerful V8, excellent handling and multiple drive modes. Comfy interior with good screen, easy controls for driver, fine stereo, power tilt/telescope wheel, square steering wheel, HUD, plus removable and storable roof panel, two trunks and great stopping power. Price is a bargain!
Misses: Stiff ride, especially in Track mode, tight foot well, poor rear visibility, awkward climate controls for passenger and tough-to reach wireless charger behind seats.
Made In: Bowling Green, Ky.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8, 495 hp
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Weight: 3,647 lbs.
Wheelbase: 107.2 in.
Length: 182.3 in.
Cargo: 12.6 cu.ft. (2 trunks)
MPG: 15/27, 19.3 (tested)
Base Price: $59,995 (includes delivery)
Major Options: 2LT package (Chevy infotainment 3 w/Nav, Bose performance series 14 speaker audio system, cargo nets, head-up display, HD front curb view camera, memory driver and passenger convenience package, rear camera mirror, performance data and video recorder, heated/cooled seats, power lumbar support and bolsters, heated steering wheel, theft-deterrent system, universal home remote, wireless charging, 9 months of Sirius radio, power heated outside foldaway mirrors, rear cross traffic alert, blind-spot alert), $7,300
Z51 performance package (performance brakes, suspension, exhaust, rear axle, electronic limited-slip differential, rear spoiler, run-flat perf. tires, heavy-duty cooling system), $5,000
GT2 bucket seats, $1,495
Front lift adjustable height w/memory, $1,495
Body color exterior accents, $995
Sebring orange paint, $995
19-inch front, 20-inch rear carbon flash painted aluminum wheels/composite rockers, black, $550
Orange seat belts, $395
Carbon flash metallic painted outside mirrors, $100
Test Vehicle: $79,315
Editor’s note: Mark Savage’s auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.
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.
The first mid-engine production Corvette was six decades in the making
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a rock star car. I don’t mean that figuratively. An actual rock star owns one.
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley picked up a white Stingray with a red interior and tweeted his love for it, saying he bought American because it’s beyond “world class.”
OK, perhaps the fact that he’s buds with General Motors President Mark Reuss influenced his purchase, but he’s driving it, so the endorsement is legit.
Of course, the 68-year-old singer does fit the classic stereotype of a Corvette buyer: mature with money to burn. Just the type of customer many expected to be alienated by the Corvette’s switch from a front- to mid-engine design. So much for that.
The eighth-generation Corvette is the realization of a dream that dates back six decades, when legendary GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov started building mid-engine prototypes because the layout offered potentially better performance than a front-engine design. It’s an idea that race and exotic car builders took and ran with while Chevy stuck to tradition.
Arkus-Duntov’s team and its predecessors developed over the years, but the executives at HQ just couldn’t be convinced. Current Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter told Fox News Autos that a mid-engine Corvette was rejected as recently as 2006 simply because of inertia.
“There were people when we first started talking about this that were almost entirely naysayers. Virtually nobody in leadership thought it was a good idea because we were building and selling Corvettes to an enthusiastic fan base, or selling them in volumes to make a profit,” he said.
Cooler heads prevailed as the seventh-generation Corvette was completed for 2014, and Juchter and his team were off to the races, even though none of them had ever worked on a mid-engine car before. You’d never know it.
The new Stingray is a radical departure from previous editions, but it keeps many classic Corvette traits intact, including a relatively low starting price of $59,995. Some of the bodywork is technically fiberglass, but in various modern composite forms. Jucther calls it a “mosaic” of materials, which also applies to a chassis made from aluminum, steel, magnesium and a touch of carbon fiber.
Then there’s the rear trunk, which you don’t often find in a mid-engine car. It’s big enough to fit the lightweight, removable roof panel or two golf bags, because the latter capability may be even more entwined with the Corvette’s image than the location of its motor. Since that’s in the middle of the car, there’s also room for a sizeable front “frunk.”
The Stingray’s interior is equally practical, as far as low-slung sports cars are concerned, with enough legroom for the 6-foot-tall Stanley to fit comfortably, perhaps even while he’s wearing his sky-high stage boots. It’s well-trimmed and designed with a lot of interesting details, like panels hovering over the top of the dash, and is more appealing than the cabins in some far more expensive cars, including the $450,000 Ford GT’s stark accommodations.
Its one controversial element is a long row of climate control buttons on a buttress separating driver and passenger that can be awkward to use. However, the tablet-style infotainment screen, which is a close reach, has redundant on-screen controls that you can operate with your thumb while you steady your hand on the bezel.
A second display serves as the instrument cluster, which is configurable and framed by a squared-off steering wheel that stays below your line of sight as you look over the low dashboard and through the absolutely panoramic windshield. The over-the-shoulder views aren’t anywhere near as good, but the rearview mirror is equipped with a video feed, and if you turn your head all the way around you can see the engine behind the window. It’s a glorious sight.
The Stingray is powered by GM’s latest 6.2-liter pushrod V8. Yes, pushrods. Just like the Chevy Silverado. Except this one is presented in all of its mechanical glory with parts designed to be displayed under the humongous hood’s glass panel.
The V8 gains 35 horsepower over the outgoing version for 490 hp and has 465 lb-ft of torque to go with it. A toggle and pushbutton-controlled 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard and the only type available, but it does come with paddles behind the wheel that let you shift gears manually. If you pull them both at the same time it instantly switches to neutral so you can rev the engine for your audience. There will always be one, because the Stingray’s chiseled body has all the presence and drawing power of a million-dollar exotic.
The $5,000 Z51 performance package on my test car tweaks the engine to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft and adds extra cooling for the engine and transmission, a track-oriented suspension tune, downforce-producing rear wing and body extensions, larger Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential and a set of sticky summer tires.
The car was also equipped with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control adjustable shocks, which are worth it on any model they are available on, from trucks to sedans, even for the $1,895 they cost here. Just as valuable, but for a very different reason, is the optional $1,495 hydraulic system that raises the Stingray’s pointy nose 2 inches to avoid scrapes and can be programmed to do that automatically as you approach up to 1,000 marked locations where you often drive.
Although billiard table-smooth roads are preferred, a Stingray configured like this and set to Tour mode can be used as a daily driver on the most wretched pavement, even with its ridiculously low-profile tires and staggered 19- and 20-inch wheels. The car just glides over them with no shakes, rattles, rolls or flexes. But the Stingray can flex when you want it to.
Drop the hammer and 60 mph arrives in about 2.9 seconds without any wheel spin, according to Chevrolet. That’s thanks in part to the 40/60 weight distribution provided by the mid-engine design and the Stingray’s excellent traction management system. It’s nearly as quick as the old front-engine 755 hp Corvette ZR1, which was a big part of the reason Chevy made the switch.
The other becomes apparent when the road gets curvy. Moving the weight between the wheels improves steering response and helps neutralize the handling, which is like a slot car’s up to the limit. I didn’t get the opportunity to find out what happens when you go past it, but I can tell you that there is a long way to go to get there.
The Stingray plays good music while you do all this. Jucther said refining the engine sound with it located right behind your ear was one of the tougher challenges posed by the layout.
“The nice thing about a front-engine car is that you’ve got induction noise in the front and the exhaust pipe in the back, so you’ve got a kind of stereo,” he said. All I can say is: expert-level challenge complete.
The transmission can be a little lazy to shift in Tour but rips through the gears and always picks the right one in the Sport and Track modes, which also adjust the throttle response and firm up the suspension and steering feel. You can customize everything to your liking and engage your settings with a Z-mode button on the steering wheel if you prefer.
The reimagined Stingray now nearly exists in a class by itself. The cars closest to it on price and execution are the mid-engine Porsche 718 and the rear-engine Porsche 911, but neither are quite the same thing. As far as six-figure, mid-engine cars like the Audi R8, Acura NSX and Lamborghini Huracan are concerned, despite their power advantage and all-wheel-drive, I’d be hard-pressed to give you a truly good reason to spend triple your money on one.
Those arguments won’t even hold much longer against the Corvette, because you know there are much more powerful models on the way. Juechter won’t even hint at how much, but word on the street is that 800-1,000 hp isn’t out of the question, possibly with an electric boost. Based on the Stingray’s performance, the platform has plenty of room to grow.
But regardless of what’s to come, the car on sale today makes one thing perfectly clear:
This Detroit city automaker still knows how to rock.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Type: 2-passenger, 2-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe
Base price: $59,995
As tested: $80,315
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Power: 495 hp, 465 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
MPG: 15 city/27 hwy
Gary Gastelu for Fox News
Building enough to meet demand is key.
The era of the C8 Chevrolet Corvette got off to a rocky start. First, there was the five-week-long UAW strike against GM. And then came the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, not every 2020 Corvette order can be fulfilled. To help settle down anxious buyers who missed out this year, Chevrolet decided not to increase the 2021 Vette’s base price and those customers are now first in line. But there’s still one very specific way Chevy can boost C8 production that it has yet to do: add a second production shift.
According to Corvette Blogger, the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant has just initiated that second shift. These second shift workers had been in training alongside their first shift colleagues for some time before the pandemic struck.
The factory shut down delayed their training. But now they’re up and running, although not quite at full capacity because plant managers are still in final coordination with supply chain vendors to guarantee a steady flow of parts. Fortunately, these managers anticipated such a scenario months ago and decided to stock up on extra parts beforehand.
However, not all vendors are back to normal operating conditions and management isn’t too wild about dipping into their extra parts supply just yet. It’s best to give suppliers a bit more time because once those extra parts are used up, that’s it.Best Cars For City Driving In 20206 Performance Models Ford Needs To Bring Back
vette Assembly Plant can reportedly build 95 Corvettes per shift, but employees have been working especially hard lately by dedicating more hours to increase that figure to about 116 cars per day. Once the second shift fully comes online along with zero supply chain issues, at least 190 vehicles per day can be expected. Last May, Chevy confirmed a total of 20,181 Corvette orders had been received and the initial plan was to build 20,000 units before the 2021 model year.
Obviously that isn’t happening now but the fact the second shift is now underway is a promising sign.
JAY TRAUGOTT car buzz
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
Since last week’s recall notice regarding the 2020 Corvette’s frunk issue, which then led to Chevrolet issuing a Stop Delivery Order, we’ve been waiting anxiously for the news of when the over-the-air updates would begin.
GM told us that engineers were working around the clock on this issue and today they notified dealers that an update will be available tonight. General Motors will then rollout the customer updates shortly afterward.
After several YouTube videos caught the Corvette’s frunk suddenly opening, the Corvette Team has determined that it’s caused by customers inadvertently opening the frunk via the key fob or interior release buttons and then missing the audio and visual warnings when they put the car in drive. We’ve noted in the videos that the cars are going at least 40 mph when the wind catches the frunk lid, lifting it all the way back and causing damage to the hinges and paint.
To explain the update, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter shares this video showing the reprogramming of the key fob’s frunk button. The update changes the pattern so that it’s less likely to be inadvertently pressed causing to the frunk to open while the fob is in your pocket.
The recall update also updates the maximum speed at which you can drive with the frunk open to 26 mph, down from the 82 mph it is set at currently.
The Stop Delivery Order issued last week paused the deliveries of most 2020 Corvettes at dealerships and at the Corvette Museum. Once they receive the update, they can be released to customers. GM will also resume shipping vehicles from the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green once they have been updated as well.
Here is the official statement from Chevrolet:
General Motors has decided to voluntarily recall certain 2020 model-year Chevrolet Corvette vehicles for a potential issue with the vehicle’s front trunk lid.
If drivers ignore the vehicle’s visual and audible warnings that the front trunk lid is open, they can drive the vehicle in that condition at speed, which could increase the likelihood that the wind force is sufficient to inadvertently flip open the hood.
GM will update the software in the vehicles’ Body Control Module (BCM) to limit vehicle speed to 26 mph when the hood is not completely closed and latched. The software update will also provide a driver information center message indicating that the top speed is limited to 26 mph. In addition, the operation of the hood release on the key fob will be modified to reduce the likelihood of inadvertent hood release actuations. The interior door trim switch and release button located inside the front trunk compartment are also modified to require a longer press-time.
The Z06 is coming and it’ll be motivated by a powerful, twin-turb o V-8 engine.
If the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray‘s nearly 500-hp V-8 engine fails to entice you, then the forthcoming Corvette Z06‘s 650-hp V-8 ought to do the trick. And it’s not just the horsepower output that’s changed. The Z06’s engine will be an entirely different animal from its lesser sibling, increasing performance and bringing an entirely different character to the car. Read on to find out why.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Twin-Cam, Twin-Turbo, Flat-Plane
Unlike the LT2 engine of the Stingray, the Z06’s V-8 will forgo pushrod valves and a cross-plane crank for dual-overhead cams and a flat-plane crank. The resulting engine should possess the rev-happy nature and aural thrills of the Corvette C8.R’s V-8, which also happens to use twin cams and a flat-plane crank.
While Chevy will not drop the C8.R’s 5.5-liter engine into the Z06, the two Corvettes’ V-8s are expected to share a number of common pieces. The Z06’s V-8 should be smaller than its race car kin, reportedly sharing parts (and perhaps its entire block) with Cadillac’s Blackwing V-8 engine. We’d wager it’ll ultimately displace in the neighborhood of 4.2 liters. V-8s using flat-plane crankshafts lack the natural balance of a cross-plane crank, and larger displacements exacerbate the vibration and harshness of this arrangement. By limiting the displacement, employing lightweight pistons, and using a short-stroke crank, we expect the Z06 to be tolerable for owners who regularly drive their cars in traffic.SPONSORED CONTENTValvoline. The Original Motor Oil.By Valvoline
To compensate for its lesser displacement, the Z06’s engine is due to adopt a pair of turbochargers. Unlike Cadillac’s Blackwing engine, which houses two turbos in the valley between its heads, the Z06’s V-8 is expected to rely on outboard-mounted turbos. All in, the high-performance Corvette model purportedly produces 650 hp. Like the Stingray, look for the Z06 to rely on an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to send all those horses to its rear wheels. Revisions to the car’s suspension and a set of sticky summer tires—that are properly wide at the rear—are sure to keep the Z06’s power from overwhelming its drive wheels and chassis.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Carbon Fiber Fever
In addition to the added power, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will welcome a number of weight-saving measures. Don’t worry, creature comforts will still abound, and there’s no indication the Z06 will ditch the likes of the Stingray’s large digital gauge cluster or touchscreen infotainment system.
Nevertheless, look for the model to feature a number of lightweight materials for items such as the exhaust, rear wing, front splitter, and even its wheels. Specifically, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will offer buyers the option to equip it with a set of carbon-fiber wheels. While such a setup is not new (vehicles from Porsche and Ford offer carbon fiber wheels), it’s still a relatively rare—and surely expensive—way for road-going cars to go about shedding mass.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shut Up And Take Our Money!
Although we hear the current pandemic is forcing Chevy to push back the Corvette Z06’s debut, we’re still hopeful the brand manages to take the wraps off the car in early 2021 and ship it to dealers before the end of the year as a 2022 model. That said, it’s possible the Z06 won’t arrive until sometime in 2022 as a 2023 model.
Regardless, prepare to spend a good chunk more change to get into the car. Frankly, we’ll be surprised if the Z06 stickers for anything south of $80,000. That’s pricey for a Corvette (consider the Stingray starts at $59,995). Still, compared to the 572-hp Porsche 911 Turbo, which starts at more than $170,000, the Z06 is sure to be a relative steal given its performance capabilities.
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
The 1,750,000th Corvette is white and red, paying tribute to the 1953 original. It’ll be raffled off later this year.
NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSUEMFACEBOOK
Last Friday, without much fanfare, Chevrolet built Corvette No. 1,750,000. It’s an Arctic White coupe, with an Adrenaline Red interior—a spec paying homage to the 1953 Vette—and there’s a chance it could be yours.
The National Corvette Museum announced last month that this particular Corvette would be raffled off, and it’s selling 1500 virtual tickets at $200 a pop. A drawing will be held on September 4, and until then, Corvette #1,750,000 will live in the Museum alongside the millionth (a 1992 convertible) and the 1.5 millionth (a 2009 convertible) Vettes. Hopefully this one doesn’t end up in a sinkhole. All the proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the Museum.
Corvette No. 1,750,000 is extremely well equipped. It’s got the 3LT package along with the must-have Z51 Performance Pack, a front-end lift, the Engine Appearance Package, and a handful of other options. It’d cost you at least $81,000 to order a similar 2020 Corvette, so suddenly, a $200 raffle ticket doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.
NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM FACEBOOK
Given that the very first Corvette was built on June 30, 1963, it took Chevrolet 67 years, one month and 15 days to build 1,750,000 examples. Not bad for a sports car. For context, it took Porsche 53 years to build a million 911s, and Mazda 26 years to produce its millionth Miata. Ford has built over 10,000,000 Mustangs, but that’s not a true sports car like a Corvette. Nissan reached the million Z-Car milestone sometime in the early Nineties, but even still, the Corvette has to be the most popular sports car of all time.
“This type of milestone only comes around every 10 or so years for Corvette,” said Kai Spande, head of the Bowling Green plant. “For this landmark achievement to also be one of the early mid-engines is just awesome for us and for our customers. It’s an amazing time to be part of the Chevrolet brand.”
At the time of writing, 400 raffle tickets remain, so if you want to own a landmark Corvette, get your credit card out. We’ll check back in when Chevy builds its 2 millionth Corvette.
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
A small donation to Ronald McDonald House could permanently put you in the driver’s seat of the fastest production Corvette yet!
Commonly referred to as “America’s Sports Car”, the Chevrolet Corvette has been offering thrills since its big unveiling back in 1953. With 60 years of production over eight generation designs, the all-new C8 Corvette is a game-changer. For the first time, the model is powered by a mid-mounted V8 engine. Even the C8’s body was drastically redesigned for aerodynamics, but stunning enough to stop car enthusiasts dead in their tracks. Get get your hands on the fastest production Corvette yet – a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 with 3Lz trim. A small donation to the Ronald McDonald House will enter you into the drawing for this incredible C8. Enter the code WIN here to receive double entries!
Finished in a stunning Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic, the exterior is nothing short of magnificent. On all four corners sit staggered 5-spoke Carbon Flash-painted aluminum wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear) wrapped with sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. Further complementing the exterior is the addition of a high-wing Carbon Flash rear spoiler and an exposed carbon fiber ground effects kit. Open the doors to a stunning black interior that features carbon fiber trim and GT2 bucket seats.
Powered by a mid-mounted 6.2-liter LT2 V8 engine with an appearance package, the new C8 generates 495-horsepower and 470 lb/ft of torque that can propel this car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a lightning quick 2.9 seconds. Sending that power down to the rear wheels is an 8-speed Dual Clutch automatic transmission. The Z51 Package gives this aggressive Corvette a unique Z51 adjustable performance suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, an altered axle ratio, large Z51 Brembo brakes, a sport exhaust, enhanced cooling, and improved traction.
If you’re looking for a car that is can drive to the track, smoke the competition, and then drive home, look no further than this performance-oriented 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51. Even if the track isn’t your thing, this would make one head-turning daily driver. A small donation to the Ronald McDonald House will enter you into the drawing for this incredible C8. Enter the code WIN here to receive double entries! The Ronald McDonald House helps support families to stay close to their child while they receive treatment at a local hospital.
*Actual Corvette may vary from images above based on availability.*
Amie Williams for Motorious
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.”
here and in Part 2 next month.
here and in Part 2 next month.
New engine configuration changes everything
GM engineering went into preliminary design knowing they’d be working on a mid-engine vehicle — the first production Corvette in eight generations to sport that configuration. “We evolved the front-engine architecture as far as we could for performance, so shifting to a mid-engine design was the next logical step to improve an already great car and be the segment leader,” explains GM’s Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. Equipped with the Z51 performance package, the 2020 Corvette Stingray can accelerate 0-60 mph (0-97 kmh) in 2.9 seconds and reach top speeds of 194 mph (312 kmh). Pushing the engine toward the vehicle’s rear affected many things, including the car’s center of gravity, the relative position of occupants, transmission location and design of underbody panels and trunk storage. The mid-engine design also introduced higher operating temperatures and noise to new areas of the car.
The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette — all eight generations (C1-C8) shown above, left to right respectively — from General Motors Co. started production earlier this year. This mid-engine sports car is not only impressively fast, and the most composites-intensive Corvette yet, but it features an array of genuinely innovative composites applications. Source | General Motors Co.
“Because of the mid-engine, we had to do things differently,” explains Ed Moss, Corvette body structure engineering group manager. “From the start, we had so many discussions about how to lay out the body structure. At one point, everything was on the table as we discussed the best way to design and build each system. For example, we debated metallic versus composite for wheelhouses. If we’d kept the C7’s composite wheelhouses, we’d have to bond to the hinge pillar [A pillar], which is immediately adjacent to the front wheel in a mid-engine vehicle, leaving very little package space. We went with metal there. We even briefly discussed metal versus composite body panels. However, it would’ve been economically infeasible to create the C8’s styling lines in metallics.”
“A real challenge we faced was how to handle air induction,” recalls Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer, explaining the need for a different method to funnel cooling air into and across the naturally aspirated, 495-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine, which generates 470 foot-pounds (637 Newton-meters) of torque. “We tried all kinds of designs that forced air to take really torturous paths, creating eddies and flows we didn’t want. It took lots of iterative work with the powertrain team to develop the best path for airflow because the car needs to breathe freely with no restriction. We also needed access to the air box and had to work around rear trunk space. Another issue was heat and engine noise in the passenger compartment, because occupants no longer sit behind the engine but are positioned directly in front of it. And we were especially conscious of cabin air quality as laws had changed in Europe and elsewhere since the C7, so we worked really hard to reduce VOCs [volatile organic compounds].”
“Even working out how to assemble the car was a challenge,” adds Moss. “With a front-engine design, you have a long hood and large engine compartment, providing operators plenty of room to build the car from inside the compartment, even with the front bumper beam already welded on. On the mid-engine Corvette, with its very short front clip, we keep the front of the car open as the vehicle is built out, then bolt on the front bumper.”
“It was quite a balancing act to get the proper shapes, while ensuring our suppliers could produce the parts and our team in Bowling Green [GM’s Kentucky-based Corvette assembly plant] could assemble them,” continues Basela. “In the end, there was only one carryover composite from the C7’s body to the C8.” This was tough Class A, 1.2 specific gravity (SG) sheet molding compound (SMC) developed for the 2016 Corvette and used in a variety of exterior closures on the new vehicle.
For four generations (C5-C8), Corvettes have featured a three-layer, multi-material body structure: the frame, usually a mix of aluminum or steel — this time with a carbon fiber-reinforced composite (CFRP) part; the body structure, which is largely bonded composite to capitalize on design and manufacturing flexibility; plus bolt-on closeouts (body panels), which have been composite since Covette’s June 1953 debut. This layered hybrid structure not only provides affordable lightweighting in high production volumes — particularly for cars of this performance class — but also permits multiple vehicle variants to be produced at low tooling investment. In fact, for the current C8, GM managed to produce all Class A composite body panels (bonded inners and outers) on both the base model coupé and convertible using just 20 tools.
GM and its suppliers have already won many awards for innovative composites use on the 2020 Corvette Stingray. Among those standing above are key GM engineering team members at last November’s 49th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, where GM won SPE Automotive Div.’s Vehicle Engineering Team Award. A number of composite parts on the vehicle also were finalists or category winners at the event. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
In addition, Corvettes have always been engineered with an open-roof architecture, regardless of whether they are actually convertibles or coupés with fixed or removable roof panels. Because open-roof vehicles are generally less stiff than those with fixed roofs, an important focus for each Corvette’s engineering is always to create the stiffest foundation possible to improve suspension and steering. Historically, tunnels(housing transmissions and driveshafts on front-engine vehicles) have dominated Corvette body structures and have been key enablers for achieving high torsional rigidity. In the case of the new Corvette, GM achieved even higher rigidity. With the roof removed, the C8 body is 53.78% stiffer than a benchmark high-performance mid-engine competitor, 29.27% stiffer than a second high-performance mid-engine competitor, and 13.79% stiffer than the C7. Two composite parts made important contributions to vehicle stiffness—one directly attached to the frame structure (rear bumper beam) and another attached to the underbody (lower tunnel closeout).
The C8’s frame is largely aluminum alloy with one CFRP part developed to meet GM’s stringent dollar-per-kilogram targets. In contrast, the C7 frame was all-aluminum and the C6 was mostly steel.
The only composite part directly mounted to the frame that travels with the body-in-white (BIW) through the electrophoretic rust-coat process (which GM calls ELPO), is a unique CFRP rear bumper beam. This part helps stiffen the frame and contributes to rear-impact performance. Its curved shape — possible thanks to a novel process called radius pultrusion developed by Thomas GmbH + Co. Technik + Innovation KG (TTI, Bremervörde, Germany) — enables it to match rear styling cues and fit in limited package space while maintaining dimensional integrity close to engine-bay heat. As the auto industry’s first curved pultruded part (see our full feature on this part in the CW May 2020 issue), the hollow, two-chambered beam was produced by Shape Corp. (Grand Haven, Mich., U.S.) on equipment developed and built by TTI. The beam weighs just 1.3 kilograms and features a bonded/bolted tow-hook eye capable of 25 kilonewtons of pull-out force.
An auto industry first, the 2020 Corvette sports a curved rear bumper beam in pultruded carbon fiber composite produced with 87 individual carbon tows and eight carbon fiber non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) impregnated with polyurethane-acrylate resin. The hollow, two-chambered beam is 66% lighter than the outgoing aluminum beam and met GM’s demanding dollar-per-kilogram targets. Source | Shape Corp.
Body Structure: part A
Virtually all of the C8’s body structure components are composite and are bonded and/or bolted to the frame after the latter undergoes ELPO. Notable composite parts at this level include structural underbody closures and the floor — which we’ll cover in this issue — and front and rear trunks, induction ducts and the rear surround and bulkhead — which we’ll cover, along with body panels and trim, next month.
This hybrid-composite, lower-tunnel closeout is produced using a variant of liquid compression molding. It eliminated secondary attachments, lowered mass by 3 kilograms and reduced labor, tooling and capital costs vs. aluminum. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
The removable lower-tunnel structural closeout on the C8, which acts as an access door, contributes more than 10% of the vehicle’s torsional rigidity and acts as a primary load path during a crash. This hybrid-composite panel consists of three layers of glass fiber preform. These consist of continuous/woven and chopped/random fibers at 38% fiber volume fraction (FVF), with veils added to top and bottom face layers on each stack for improved surface finish. Glass preforms are interleaved with two layers of preforms made using Toray (Tokyo, Japan) T700 12K standard-modulus carbon fiber in the form of NCF biaxial fabric at 21% FVF and a vinyl ester (VE) matrix. The closeout is produced by Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.) using its proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a type of liquid compression molding (LCM).
Aside from a single aluminum closeout near the rear wheels that is part of the engine cradle, the remaining underbody panels consist of either compression molded SMC or injection molded thermoplastics. Among other benefits, these panels reduce underbody turbulence and drag, improve fuel efficiency and keep moisture, dust and stones out of the vehicle’s engine and driveline. Further, they provide the dimensional foundation for multiple exterior and interior interfaces.
The low-density but structural SMC panels feature new formulations (in this case, 40% FVF chopped fiberglass/unsaturated polyester (UP) resin) developed by MFG. The material is called “float” SMC because each panel’s density is less than 1.0 (average SG=0.97) and thus can float in water. MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
An important contributor to vehicle lightweighting on the C8 is the extensive use of “float” SMC. With specific gravity values less than 1.0, this low-density but structural SMC developed by MFG is used in a variety of non-Class A parts, including underbody panels, the dash panel, air-induction ductwork and the front trunk. Source | Molded Fiber Glass Co.
The vehicle also sports a hybrid floor optimized for torsional bending and side-pole impact protection (engaging the rocker panels and tunnel, to which it is joined). Floor panels feature cabin-facing stamped aluminum bonded to sheets of road-facing 1.5-SG composite (60 wt-% continuous and woven glass fiber/VE) produced via the PRiME process. Before heat-bonding both layers with Pliogrip 9100 polyurethane structural adhesive from Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (Wilmington, Del., U.S.), MFG cleans and preps the materials.
All composite parts directly bonded to the C8 frame are first subjected to laser ablation, a process developed by GM, MFG and Adapt Laser Systems LLC (Kansas City, Mo., U.S.) for the 2016 Corvette, and adapted from a composites industry method for mold cleaning. Laser ablation replaces hand sanding and reduces labor, time and cost, eliminates dust and improves repeatability. Laser path, angle of attack and energy level are customizable for each part’s material and geometry. To maximize manufacturing flexibility, the entire underbody, including the floor, is connected to the frame and itself via bonding and screws.
In the August issue of CW, we’ll continue covering composites innovation on the new Corvette, resuming with additional components at the body structures level and finishing with exterior closures (body panels), plus additional trim and upgrades.
Peggy Malnati for Composites World
Thanks to our friends at the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com, we’ve got two different confirmations that newly completed 2020 Corvettes are once again shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green
The shipping confirmation comes from the Jack Cooper Transport website. Owners can post their VIN into the search box and it returns the shipping manifest.
Yesterday, the National Corvette Museum received four new 2020 Corvettes while another shipping manifest shows 2020 Corvettes with VINs ranging from 2814 to 3354 heading to multiple Chevy dealers in the midwest.
Thanks to some of the sleuths on the MECF, we also see a few CTF Convertibles heading up to the Detroit area:
This is great news for customers who have been “patiently” waiting for shipping of the new 2020 C8 Corvettes for the first time since the Corvette Assembly Plant reopened on May 26th after being closed for two months due to the coronavirus.
How to Track Your 2020 Corvette
CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn previously wrote this post on how to Track the Shipping of your C8 Corvette via Jack Cooper. To find the shipping status of your 2020 Corvette, go to https://www.palsapp.com/, then click on the search icon on the top right of the page (looks like a magnifying glass). Enter your VIN and click the search icon to the right of the input field.
The future of the mid-engine Corvette should be long and very fast.
Future variations of the new-generation Chevrolet Corvette have been the cause of much debate over the past year. Hagerty recently claimed that it has the scoop, via an “industry leak” on the roadmap for the Corvette’s’ development in trim and model variations. Between that and a lot of industry chatter and some leaks, we’re sure that the Corvette is not only going to evolve over the coming years but mutate into something incredibly special. Here’s how the future lineup of the Corvette should shape up.
2021 C8 Corvette Stingray
The first iteration of the new Corvette is on the road, although in limited supply due to the pandemic. It comes with an LT2 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8, making 490-495 hp and 465-470 lb-ft depending on trim level. There’s no manual option, and power is controlled and delivered to the rear wheels by a Tremec supplied 8-speed automatic transmission.
Only 2,700 C8 Corvettes were built before the virus struck, then production had to be paused. The years given below are the planned model years. However, development programs throughout GM have been paused, and there could be significant delays.
2022 C8 Corvette Z06
The Z06 badge means added performance, and initial reports claimed the first heated up C8 Corvette would arrive with 650 hp and 600 lb-ft from a 5.5-liter LT6 V8. The race-inspired LT6 engine is set to have a flat-plane crank design that’s rumored to rev past 8,000 rpm. Since then, though, credible sources have reset expectations at 600 hp and 470-500 lb-ft of torque, but will, indeed, rev fast and long. The Z06 will also have a wider body to accommodate larger brakes inside the larger wheels and tires, as well as a more aggressive suspension setup. There’s also reports that an optional aero package will include a unique rear wing.
2023 C8 Corvette E-Ray
Some enthusiasts aren’t going to like this, but the Corvette is going to go hybrid in the 2023 model year. It will use the same 6.2-liter LT2 V8 as the Corvette Stingray, but it’ll be bolstered with an electric motor located between the front wheels. The 1.94-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will be located in the middle of the car, and the electrical system’s peak output will be 85 kW. Total output should sit at around 600 hp and 575 ft-lb of torque – around the same as the Z06 model. Unlike the Z06, the E-Ray isn’t expected to have the widebody setup and will be the first-ever all-wheel-drive Corvette.
2023 C8 Corvette Grand Sport
There are conflicting reports on this one with some claiming the Grand Sport will be the hybrid model, and others suggesting that the Grand Sport will be powered by the Stingray’s 6.2L LT2 V8, but with the chassis and aerodynamic enhancements from the Z06. Using the base model V8 and upgrading the chassis is the traditional recipe for the Grand Sport. We’re trying to verify either way, but we currently suspect the Grand Sport will be the name of the hybrid model.
2024 C8 Corvette ZR1
The ZR1 has traditionally been the flagship Corvette, cranked up then honed to hunt down supercars at the track. The ZR1 will come with a twin-turbo variant of the flat plane crank 5.5L V8 LT6 engine making a fearsome 850 hp and 825 lb-ft of torque. For reference, the C7 generation ZR1 made 755 hp and 715-lb-ft of torque and that was frightening enough for the uninitiated.
The C8 generation Corvette ZR1 promises to be the fastest Corvette yet, and that’s before adding the upgraded chassis with track-oriented suspension, brakes, and active aero. However, in 2025 something even faster should arrive.
2025 C8 Corvette Zora
The Corvette Zora is named after Zora Arkus-Duntov, the man who turned the Corvette into a serious performance car but didn’t live long enough to see his dream of a mid-engined version come true. Fittingly, the fastest Corvette in its history will have his name on it, and use the twin-turbo 5.5L LT7 V8 from the ZR1 paired with a hybrid-electric system. Total power output is set to be astounding at around 1,000 hp and 900-1000 lb-ft of torque. It’ll be all-wheel-drive, wide-bodied, track-ready, and feature active aerodynamics. It will also put to bed any argument of whether the Corvette is a supercar or not.
With demand for the C8 outstripping supply, it’s a great time to buy a nearly new C7.
Last year saw the introduction of a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for the first time when the C8 took over from the front-engined C7. It marked a major departure for any Corvette, but thankfully, the C8 has retained the unmatched bang-for-buck performance and power that made the C7 so impressive.
For customers who still want to purchase a 2019 C7, time is running out. According to a report by Corvette Forum, there are now fewer than 300 examples of the 2019 C7 for sale in the country. That said, it may still be easier to get hold of one than the 2020 C8, of which only a few are on sale at dramatically marked-up prices.
As of June 4, there were 289 C7s listed for sale based on information from a Chevy dealership in Pennsylvania. With zero-percent APR financing over 72 months along with a rebate of $3,250, the incentives are attractive and in stark contrast to the 2020 C8s, with many examples of the new car selling for over $100,000.
The 2019 C7 inventory includes 62 Z06s, 44 of the Z51 variants, and just four examples of the crazy ZR1. Of course, the latter was the ultimate C7 with its 755-horsepower supercharged V8 engine sending it to 60 mph in less than three seconds. State availability of C7s varies significantly, with 28 models in New Hampshire and 22 in Illinois, but nothing at all in Kansas, Maine, Alaska, and South Dakota.Most Extreme Brabus Creations EverMcLaren Special Operations Finest Creations
With the current sky-high demand for the C8, purchasing a nearly new C7 could be the perfect solution until the C8 increases in availability. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money. Around three weeks ago, car rental company Hertz was selling 100th Anniversary Editions of the C7 (based on the Z06) for as little as $57,000. Although that’s close to the base C8’s starting price, it’s just about impossible to find a C8 in this spec at the moment.
Besides, whether the engine is midship or in front, the Corvette offers as much driving enjoyment at the price as anything else out there. The new C8 may have moved the game on, but the C7 is far from disgraced and remains a cracking sports car.
Karl Furlong for Carbuzz
Some states even have more than 20 units up for grabs.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette sold like hotcakes, with some pending orders still underway. In fact, Chevrolet is aiming to hit the 20,000-unit production mark this year, covering both coupe and convertible versions of the C8 Stingray. Now, production of the remaining 2020 Corvette orders has already commenced, but if you’re among those who have ordered, patience should be your virtue.
Alas, Chevrolet is moving on to the production of the 2021 model year Corvette C8 by November, but did you know that there are still a few units of the Corvette C7 left in the dealers?
Gallery: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 First Drive
According to a report by CorvetteBlogger, Matt Beaver of Whitmoyer Chevrolet in Pennsylvania discloses that there are still 289 units of the 2019 Corvette C7 showing as available in dealerships spread across the country. So, if you aren’t a fan of the new mid-engine layout, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to buy a brand new unit in a dealership near you.
Among the states that have the most number of C7s still available are New Hampshire, Illinois, and Florida – all with more than 20 units waiting for their rightful owners. There’s no information about their prices, though.
Get Into The ‘Vette Mill:
Also, if you’re looking for a manual Corvette, which is something missing on the C8 generation of the sports car, you’ll be glad to know that there are still a few MT units left within these dealerships. There’s one manual Stingray Convertible, while nine Stingray Z51 coupes still come with a stick shift. Out of the 138 Grand Sport Coupe units left in the U.S., seven of them come with a third pedal.Save Thousands On A New Chevrolet Corvette
MSRP $ 56,995Save on average over $3,400 off MSRP* with
Motor1.com Car Buying ServiceSEE PRICING
And yes, if you’re in the hunt for a 2019 Corvette ZR1, there are still four units up for grabs – three manual, one automatic – but all of them are dealer demo units, according to Beaver’s list.
The catch? It wasn’t disclosed at which exact dealerships do these MT Corvettes are located at, so you better be asking for assistance from your local dealership if you’re interested.
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