Power doesn’t always equal victory.
Forget about the 1960s and 70s; we are truly living in the golden age of the muscle car, where power levels have pierced the stratosphere, and quarter-mile times keep tumbling down at an incredible rate. Cars such as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are best suited to racing in a straight line, but people are just as interested in seeing more dynamically capable cars duke it out on the strip. Two such cars are the Chevrolet Corvette, which is no stranger to the drag strip, and the sonorous Ford Shelby GT350. These two cars are more track-focused, but can still get down in the quarter, and in a YouTube video posted by Driving Line we see these two square up for a bit of a friendly battle.
The Corvette shown here is of the Z51 variety and produces 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter V8. The Z51 package also adds an electronic LSD and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. This allows the C8 Corvette to sprint to sixty in only 2.9 seconds, and cross the quarter-mile in a scant 11.2 seconds. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, on the other hand, is motivated by a 5.2-liter Voodoo V8 that produces 526 hp and 429 lb-ft, but the car in the video has seen some extensive modification. Chris Wise’s GT350 now produces 875 hp thanks to a supercharger, while the C8 ‘Vette remains bone stock. That’s quite the power disadvantage.
After some tight practice rounds, the two cars line up for the official race. The Corvette blasts off the line, leaving the Mustang, which is struggling with traction, in the dust. The Corvette keeps pulling down the track, and by the end of the run the Mustang starts crawling back, but it’s too little, too late. The end result reveals that both cars crossed the line in the 11.8-second range. To then level the playing field, both drivers climb in identical Chevy Sparks, packing 98 hp, and burn down the strip. In a show of skill, the Corvette driver takes the race, proving that sometimes skill (and appropriate weight balance) outweighs power.
The Shelby GT350 is not long for this world: we recently found out it will not be produced for the 2021 model. Perhaps GT350 buyers might want to buy a new Corvette instead.
Michael Butler for Car Buzz
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
Fifth win for GTLM leaders, sixth for first-year Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2020) – Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor’s charmed season continued Saturday as they claimed another victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a victory in their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Garcia passed John Edwards for the lead with 21 minutes left and held on despite a late-race caution on a tricky and treacherous night at the Roval – the first time for Corvette Racing at the venue. The duo extended their GTLM Drivers’ Championship lead to 24 points over their Corvette Racing teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, who finished fourth in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Chevrolet also saw its lead grow in the Manufacturers standings to 14 points.
Garcia and Taylor have now won five of eight races this year and four of the last five in the first year of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R. Taylor began on pole position Saturday for the second consecutive race, but conditions were much different at the green flag with a steady rain having pelted the track since mid-afternoon. The first 16 minutes featured two full-course cautions, and both Corvettes came in at 20 minutes running for fuel, tires and driver changes – Taylor to Garcia and Gavin to Milner.
On the restart, Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette ran second while Milner made a big move on the inside of the first corner to move from fourth to third. He fell back a few laps later before the track began to dry somewhat, and the Corvettes grew stronger during a long-green flag run. It culminated with Garcia moving in front with a move on Edwards to the inside of Turn 8 just before the infield section rejoined the banked oval part of the track.
Garcia pulled away quickly and led by as much as five seconds a handful of laps later. Milner, too, was making a charge back to podium position before part of the No. 4 Corvette’s right-rear suspension broke with 11 minutes remaining. Milner went hard into the outside wall but got out of the car under his own power and later was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
The race began again with five minutes to go, and Garcia pulled out to a one-second lead with a lap to go and rain falling again. He crossed the finish line with a 1.474-second margin of victory.
Corvette Racing heads back to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for next week’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans on Oct. 15-17.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“It was super, super stressful. Even if it felt like I was just following the 24, I was really hanging on. I probably crashed four or five times, just like everyone else. Jordan gave me some very good indications before he jumped out and before we went green to give me confidence in following the BMW. They were really strong right away, but I didn’t really give up. As soon as I felt like we stabilized on lap times, I kept pressuring him and using traffic to close up. They were very strong as you saw with their sister car. As soon as I saw they were struggling a little bit with tires – especially the 24 – I stayed patient even when the 25 was coming. I saw my opportunity and went for it. I don’t know if it was risky move or not, but at that point I didn’t think about the championship. I wanted to win the race. As soon as I got past, I put my head down, tried to open a gap and it worked. I’m very happy for Corvette Racing and Team Chevy. I’m glad Tommy is OK. We have a very fast car but also a very safe car. That’s a magnificent combination of car here. It’s great to be driving for the best team out there and keep winning races. We need to keep this mentality and go all the way to the end.”
DID THE TRACK IMPROVE FROM THE START? “The first two laps was close to how we finish. It was very difficult at the beginning. There was a massive river going across at Turn Three, and I almost lost it two or three times there. The conditions definitely improved, but lap by lap you know where to place your car, and following someone opens the water a little bit for you. Once we got into a rhythm, the track improved for sure but it started to rain at the end. Being in the wet in the dark also makes it difficult to spot standing water.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – RACE WINNER:
“At the beginning of the race, there obviously was a lot of water on the track, and with the lighting it was hard to see where the standing water was. Considering our championship position, it was kind of damage control for me, trying to stay on the track and handing off the car in one piece. It was easy to get caught up in battling with people at that point of the race, but there was really no point. You weren’t going to win the race in the first 20 or 30 minutes. I was glad to get through that phase and hand over the car to Antonio and let him go for it. He did a great job of keeping the car out of the wall for those first few laps and putting the pressure on the BMW. We would have been happy leaving here with a podium given the championship position with three races to go. But he kept the pressure on, never put a wheel wrong and was able to get by. It’s really awesome to maximize the points when we didn’t expect it. We can go into the last three races and race for the win, as well. It’s another great day for Corvette Racing. It’s good to see that Tommy walked away from that big hit at the end. It says a lot about Chevrolet and Corvette Racing and how safe they build the race cars and how strong they are. It give us a lot of confidence when we strap in that we’re going to be safe.”
ROLE OF THE CHEVROLET SIMULATOR IN RACE PREP: “If it wasn’t for the simulator, we probably wouldn’t have been able to put it on the pole and been able to stay out of trouble like that. So the simulator was a big tool for us. I’m glad this all worked out.”
LOOKING TO PETIT LE MANS: “We’re already thinking about it. It’s at the top of Antonio’s list of races to win. The focus has already shifted. The guys are driving to Atlanta tomorrow to prep the cars, but unfortunately they’ll have a lot to prep on the 4 car. We did a test day there last week where Nicky (Catsburg) and Marcel (Fassler) were able to get some laps. At the Six-Hour, we struggled with a few things and I think we found a few things at the test for some long runs and working on the different compounds of tires. This weekend was good to get in some mixed conditions. We haven’t had a lot of rain and mixed conditions in a race setting other than Road America. It was good to get a bit of everything. Now no matter what we see at Petit Le Mans, we feel pretty well prepared.”
DID THE ADDITIONAL INFIELD LIGHTING HELP? “Yes, we tested here about a month ago and the lighting was pretty difficult to see where you were going. They’ve definitely made some nice improvements. If it had been a dry race, the visibility would have been great. When you add in the water with the type of surface they have here, it’s very reflective when there’s a lot of water on it. It’s hard to distinguish what’s a damp section and what’s a deep section. It’s hard to pick out what’s what at night. It took some getting used to, but it probably made a good show on TV. It looked pretty spectacular when I got out and watched all the headlights reflecting off everything. This was definitely a cool event, and I’m glad we were able to win the first one back here.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“This whole weekend has been a massive challenge. The format of this race and the way it has happened made for some quite difficult sessions. Then you add in the extra element of the weather conditions, it just seemed like it was culminating in somewhat of a bit of a perfect storm for us. The start of the race for me was crazy. There were massive amounts of standing weather everywhere. I was just hanging on, just driving the car around and trying not to crash. I had multiple moments every single lap thinking well I could finish the race by doing something daft, so I just got myself into a position where I could sort of survive. Others were spinning off and crashing, and we ended up in third when we came in for the pit stop and hand it over for Tommy to drive. It was looking okay for a while and Tommy had pretty good pace. Then we had the issue at the right-rear. We still are trying to figure out what exactly happened. It just seems if something can go wrong, it will go wrong for us unfortunately. But I am very happy Tommy was able to walk away. It was a pretty high-speed accident so that’s a great testament to the guys at Chevrolet and Corvette for how well they’ve engineering the road car and the race car. That was a really big hit and Tommy was able to walk away on his own. And of course, I’m happy for Jordan and Antonio in picking up another win. It’s another positive outcome for the team.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FOURTH:
“I didn’t have any indication at any point that there was something going wrong. Everything felt totally normal up until it wasn’t. I had almost finished on the banking, which is more G-loading than Daytona. It doesn’t really explain the problem, it seems like. At first I thought I lost a tire, like it just overheated or something like that for how quickly it went around. The first indications were that wasn’t the case. The track had some pretty gnarly weeps in the seams of the race track that would get you a little bit loose sometimes, but it was never really a huge deal. Upon further inspection, it looks like once the car got back to the trucks, we did have something at the right-rear and the wheel came off. Fortunately, this is a really strong and safe Corvette that we have and it held up really well. Selfishly I’m glad it is nothing I did wrong, but that doesn’t change the outcome. There is still a lot of work for the guys to get the car fixed and get ready to go to Petit Le Mans in less than a week. I feel bad for the guys for the amount of work they have to do. Obviously, the first thing we do as a team is to figure out what the failure is, how it happened and make the necessary changes to prevent that from happening again. The guys will go through that in the next couple of days and come up with a good plan.
“In the last part there, I don’t know if it was the BMW kind of fading or us getting better. I got a little bit unlucky at the start of my stint with traffic. I got balked pretty bad there going into Turn One and had a little moment and the No. 25 got around me. We knew that was going to be a big deal here. It seemed like the car was getting better toward the end. Once Antonio got around the No. 24, he was able to pull away with a little bit of a gap. I was just trying to put a little pressure on the two cars in front of me and see if we could make them make a mistake again to get around. Passing is very difficult here, but it never quite got to that point unfortunately for us. It just wasn’t our day today. I felt like we had a pretty good car. We were fast in practice and it looked like we were making decent progress at the end, but we never got there.”
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.
Kids have been hanging out of car windows screaming, grown adults stopping in my driveway to take photos, and minions asking lists of questions at gas stations. Any number of fellow drivers waved their hands for me to roll down my window. “Is that the new Corvette,” they screamed. When I confirmed it was, the overwhelming sentiment was, “I thought it was, but it didn’t look right.” That’s because the engine has changed its latitude from front to behind the driver. The rest of the car is just as dramatic.
Paint To Light The Night
It flares its presence with Sebring orange metallic paint and Carbon Flash black accents that include 19-inch/20-inch wheels front/rear. It’s all good, but moving the engine location changes proportions, shortening the nose and lengthening the rear roofline that ends in a high wide deck. Peaked fenders, pointy nose, and quad taillamps all whisper “Corvette” while the rear window becomes a viewing platform for the engine. It’s all familiar, but oh so different.
Hallmarks of previous generation Corvettes have been their roomy interiors, generous cargo space, and all-day comfort. Unlike most supercars, Corvettes could be driven to work with ease. Even drivers of advancing years and generous proportions fit inside. Mid-engine cars tend to be cramped and uncomfortable. Designers knew they would have to overcome those deficiencies to meet Corvette enthusiasts’ expectations.
Drivers feel like they’re commanding a warp-speed starship when facing the reconfigurable flatscreen instrument cluster, heated squircle steering wheel, and flatscreen infotainment system. A large head-up display changes configuration with the drive modes. Climate controls are housed in a thin panel running from dash to console. Tech includes a 14-speaker Bose Performance series audio system, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Seeing out was bound to be more difficult, but a rearview camera mirror, front camera, rear parking sensors, crosspath detection, and blind zone alert alieve any concerns.
Passengers sit further forward in the chassis than in previous generations, but there’s still ample space. Drivers get wide footwells with a proper dead pedal. Heated and ventilated seats feature power side bolsters and lumbar while a roomy trunk behind the engine and deep frunk in the nose provide nearly as much cargo space as the C7. The roof panel still fits in the trunk. So does a set of golf clubs.
Fastest Vette Yet
Fully exposed, the engine is one potent device. The 6.2-liter V8 spins out 495 horsepower and 470 lb. ft. of torque. It all gets to the rear wheels through an 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. There’s no manual option, so pat the paddles to shift yourself. If you want a selfie, click quick as the fastest ever Vette evaporates 0-60 mph in under three seconds and terminates just shy of 200 mph. Fuel economy rates 15/27-MPG city/highway.
So why, after nearly 70 years, did engineers move the engine from front to middle? Well, they kept adding power to the front-engine cars, but could not get them to go appreciably faster. They just couldn’t get weight to transfer to the rear wheels. This one hooks up and is far better balanced on the track.
Shred curvy backroads and you can almost think it through. It’s an easier car to drive, especially with Tour, Sport, and Track modes that change the steering weight, throttle sensitivity, and transmission shift points. The Z51 package adds performance brakes, suspension, exhaust, and electronic limited slip differential. There’s a slight hesitation before unholy acceleration as the e-diff sorts itself, but after that, bliss. Even with the stiffer suspension, it’s not brutal. I’d drive it anywhere.
Chevrolet could have served up another very competent front-engine Corvette, but instead delivered a car that’s still clearly a Corvette, but one that causes teenage boys to swoon and little girls to scream. Continuing another Corvette tradition, the C8 is one a heck of a deal. Base models start at $58,900, but rose to $79,315 as tested. That’s a pittance compared to the Porsche Boxster, Acura NSX, and Ford GT.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51
- Two-passenger, RWD Coupe
- Powertrain: 6.2-liter V8, 10-spd trans
- Output: 495hp/470 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 19”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Comfort, Performance
- 0-60 mph: 2.9s
- Fuel economy: 15/27 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Bowling Green, KY
- Base/As-tested price: $58,900/$79,315
Casey Willams – WFYI
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
Auto experts and journalists spend hours and hours evaluating every aspect of a vehicle so you have a road map to the models that will work best for you. The Chevrolet Corvette repeatedly rises to the top of lists and brings home the awards. According to the editors at Kelley Blue Book, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the pub’s 10 most awarded cars of 2020.
Prestigious Win: Corvette Stingray named MotorTrend Car of the Year
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the seventh spot on the KBB list.
“When it was unveiled, the all-new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette nearly broke the internet,” writes KBB writer Allyson Harwood. “Its supercar styling and power numbers were impressive, but its incredible resale value data and bargain starting price make the Corvette far more than just an excellent sports car.”
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette relishes a top speed of 194 miles per hour and thunders across the pavement with the strength of 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In a blink of an eye, approximately 2.9 seconds, the 2020 Corvette hits 60 mph.
Available Now: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
In addition to KBB’s honors and praise, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the 2020 North American Car of the Year title and a Wards Auto 10 Best Award for the interior. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray took home the 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year award. The Detroit Free Press gave the Chevrolet Corvette C8 its inaugural title of Car of the Year. It is a 2020 Car and Driver 10Best and a 2020 Edmunds Top Rated Award winner in the sports car category. KBB recognized the Corvette’s value, giving it a 2020 KKB.com Best Resale Value award.
Source: DeAnn Ownes; TheNewsWheel
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
#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor
2020 has been a hard year for a lot of folks, but it’s been pretty smooth sailing for No.3 Corvette C8.R drivers Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia. The pairing gave Corvette Racing its first victory with its new Corvette C8.Rearlier this year at Daytona and promptly backed it up with another win at Road America shortly after.
Now the No. 3 Corvette C8.R has taken its third win of 2020 after Taylor and Garcia took victory in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway. The victory was unexpected, with Garcia only moving into the lead in the closing laps of the two-hour, 40-minute race. The No. 911 Porsche of Nick Tandy looked like a shoe-in for the win and was leading with just 18 minutes remaining when the Core Autosport-run entry cut a left rear tire, forcing Tandy to come into the pits.
Garcia then held off the No. 25 BMW M8 GTLM of Bruno Spengler and the hard-charging Porsche of Tandy, who was now on fresh rubber, to take the victory. If the race was any longer, Garcia may not have made it, with the No. 3 Corvette C8.R suffering heavy high-speed vibrations in the latter stage of the event. The Corvette Racing crew later sourced the cause of the vibrations to a broken rear diffuser, but without knowing what the cause of the issue was, the Spaniard was understandably concerned while behind the wheel.
“It took me a little bit (to know what was wrong), but the whole car was shaking a lot,” he said. “About 200 kph, the whole car was shaking a lot. It was coming from the rear.”
“I thought it was terminal because it was vibrating really bad,” he added. “But once I got used to it and knew it wasn’t interfering with the performance, I knew I could handle it. With the gap I could manage to the BMW. It was stressful not knowing what would happen if the rear diffuser would have fallen off, but the C8.R held on.”
Garcia also praised the Corvette C8.R for retaining a good degree of downforce and drivability even without a rear diffuser.
“So, the C8.R is also good with almost no rear diffuser or rear splitter. I’m very proud of that,” he said. “Very proud that everything stayed in one piece even though it was very challenging to drive there at the end.”
Spengler crossed the finish line second in the No. 25 BMW, while Tandy completed the podium after setting the fastest lap of the race on his charge back to the front. The No. 4 Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin finished fourth after Gavin went off-track following a restart earlier in the race.
Click here for full results from the 2020 Michelin GT Challenge from VIR.
Sam McEachren for GM Authority
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
By Corvette Racing -Aug 2, 2020
Garcia, Taylor take second GTLM win of season; Gavin, Milner finish as runners-up
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 2, 2020) – Corvette Racing took its second consecutive 1-2 finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM class) following a chaotic finish Sunday at Road America. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor won for the second time in their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R following a late-race pass in torrential rain.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner placed second in the sister No. 4 Corvette C8.R. It was the eighth victory at Road America for Corvette Racing, and the team’s first there since 2016. Garcia and Taylor both won for the first time in their IMSA career at Road America and extended their points lead to 10 in the class. Gavin and Milner unofficially moved to third in the standings.
Chevrolet also grew its lead in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship to eight points. Corvette Racing has now won three consecutive races in the category.
Things weren’t looking positive for the first half of the race. Taylor, who qualified second, led early but the expected tire degradation reduced the pace for the GTLM cars. Adding to the problems for the team were electronics issues on the No. 4 Corvette that left both Gavin and Milner without traction control.
The predicted rain for the race came with just under an hour to go. Garcia, who took over with two hours left in the race, was the first GTLM runner to pit for rain tires and stopped from sixth place. Two other GTLM cars followed suit but three others stayed out, including the then-leading Porsche which skidded off-track during a downpour at Turn One.
Milner remained on slick tires during the first deluge as officials halted the race with 43 minutes left. The rain let up initially before cars returned to the track with about 25 minutes to go once the red flag was lifted. Following the final pit stops for wet tires, racing resumed with seven minutes left and Garcia in second place.
An even more intense rain began to fall with just minutes left in the two-hour, 40-minute race. Garcia was locked in a back-and-forth duel with Porsche’s Nick Tandy just before the GTLM leader and the third-place Porsche went off-track late in the lap. Both Garcia and Milner, who did a masterful job on a wet track with no traction control, were able to get through the chaos and took the checkered flag under a race-ending, full-course caution period.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the GT-only Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 22.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER:
“It was super tough. Because of the wave-by, we were at the back of all the GTD cars. So the spray we had back there was amazing. It was impossible to see anything. The first thing was to go by a couple of LMP2 cars while fighting (Nick) Tandy to catch up to the 24 BMW. It was a very intense three laps. I knew from Sebring practice that the Corvette C8.R was really good in the wet, even if today was beyond wet! I had Nick all over me, and we had many times when we were together… almost just sailing together instead of racing together. I knew the Carousel and the Kink were going to be really bad, and the line I took on the previous lap seemed to work. Luckily enough for me it was the same and I was one of the few cars to make it through. It’s another 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing, which is amazing. It’s finally my first victory at Road America, so it’s been a very good weekend.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE OF THE BMW AHEAD OF YOU? DID HE SPIN ON HIS OWN? “The Carousel and the Kink were almost impossible to go through that part of the track. There is really nothing you can do there. It depends on the depth of the water. The Corvette C8.R survived it better than the rest. I don’t know if it was due to the race line I took. I was following the car behind me and saw the BMW lose control. The race still wasn’t done because I had to do another lap through there. It’s a credit to how good the C8.R is in the wet. Thanks to everyone at Team Chevy because this car seems to be working in all conditions.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WIN TO EXTEND YOUR POINTS LEAD? “We didn’t know starting the season how the C8.R would be. With the fourth at Daytona, we saw the potential of the car. Our team did a great job during the shutdown with fixing things that needed to be corrected. We’ve had a chance to win the last three races, and we’ve converted those. We need to keep putting pressure on everyone and make the rest of the field make mistakes. On our own, we need to be their in the end and maximize our points opportunities. The next one is VIR, where we have tested with the new Corvette. We will do what we can to keep this momentum and carrying on winning.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER:
“It was a wild day…very unexpected. The race started off strong for us. We took a different strategy to go with three stops from the beginning. Thankfully it worked out well with the timing the rain and track position. Antonio never gave up. It was a tough fight in tough conditions, but he did a great job of surviving for our second win of the year and third of the year for Corvette Racing.”
THIS RACE WAS ON THE NATIONAL NBC NETWORK. WAS THIS THE KIND OF EXCITEMENT THAT WAS GOOD FOR NETWORK TV? “It had a bit of everything. The start for me was exciting, and the battles were all good. I could see on the big screen across the frontstretch that the prototype battle was often exciting and had a little bit of everything with the strategies. The weather was a bit different for those who probably turn into NBC for NASCAR where they wouldn’t run in the rain. There were probably too many crashes for everyone’s liking, but the show was very exciting with the battle for the win at the end. You like to see that between the manufacturers.”
TALK ABOUT WINNING ON THE SAME DAY AS YOUR BROTHER (RICKY TAYLOR): “It’s definitely cool. I think this is the first time we’ve won on the same weekend. I know we’ve gotten a pole on the same weekend, but in all the years a win has never gone both our ways. It was cool to watch their battle at the end with the 10 car. I know my dad’s team hasn’t won here either, and we tried hard for many years.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“I take my hat off to the team every time for never giving up. It didn’t look like we were going to be finishing that high up in the dry. But as we all know, there was a chance of rain all around. In this part of the world when the rain comes, it comes big. You just have to take you chances and make the right calls at the right time. We got a little lucky with a few things, and ultimately the No. 3 Corvette made the right choice on the right tires at the right time. We didn’t quite get that break or make that decision at that time. But then as all the pit stops cycled through for that last restart, we knew we just had to flat-out race. Our car was compromised a little as we didn’t have any traction control as part of an electrical issue throughout the entire race that we couldn’t really get on top of it. I fought it all during my stints. I honestly don’t know how Tommy kept the car on the track when he driving around on slick tires behind the safety car. I mean… water that was three or four inches deep on slick tires with no TC was amazing. For us to come away, even with all the stuff that happened, with a one-two finish is pretty spectacular. Hats off to the team and the crew and also to the C8.R. It seems like it is a car that can live through some crazy circumstances and conditions on track and deals with it. It’s a very fine car.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“That was absolutely wild. We had kind of a tough day to start with, but it came back pretty well for us there at the end. Credit to the guys with their never-give-up attitude that Corvette Racing is famous for definitely paid off today. The conditions were unbelievably difficult. The call to stay out there on slicks just before the full-course yellow was just as much mine as it was the engineers. I thought it was the right thing to do to run one more lap to see how bad the rain was going to be. And it ended up being almost biblical in the amount of rain that came. In all the races I’ve done, this has been the most rain I’ve ever seen come down at one time. It was hard enough just keeping it on the track under yellow with slicks, and it was bad enough when it was still green just trying to survive. Then it went red flag so we had the opportunity to come in and change it to rain tires. That in itself was difficult. For me I knew I just needed to get to pitlane and survive. That was the name of the game there and see what happened at the end. Once we went green, it was the most difficult conditions I have ever driven in my life with the amount of spray and with traffic and having so many cars around. At times it felt like I was driving blind. I could have closed my eyes and would have had the same amount of visibility at that point. I just tried to use very bit of muscle memory and track knowledge I could as to where the track goes at certain points. In the end, luckily we just survived with a first and second for the team. The day didn’t start out well, but it ended as well as it could.”
(Not having traction control) “Because I didn’t have it from the time I got in the car, I had to manage it from the start. In the dry, it’s definitely difficult because you are trying to not use the rear tires too much. I felt like I did a decent job in that first run but driving in the wet without it makes it that much more difficult. To be honest, the Corvette felt really good in the wet. Even though we don’t have a lot of time in the wet, the guys made the right call with tire pressure. When the Michelin wet tires are new, they’re really good. That gave me the confidence early on to really push, get through traffic, and trust in the car and tire to find the fastest way around.”
Appears in Print as: ‘Part 2: Beauty, speed, luxury — 2020 Corvette ‘
Earlier this year, the first installment of eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette sports cars (C8s) from General Motors Co. (GM, Detroit, Mich., U.S.) came rolling off GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., U.S. assembly line. Described as the “fastest, most powerful entry Corvette” in the model’s 67-year history, it’s also the most composites-intensive Corvette, and the first to feature a mid-engine configuration. Not only is the 2020 Corvette Stingray beautiful and fast, but it’s tricked out with a host of luxury features. However, don’t let good looks and fast track times fool you: there’s plenty of composites innovation on this car. CW’s two-part coverage of composites use in this vehicle began in the July 2020 issue. This is part 2.
Body structure: part B
The new Corvette features not one but two trunks that, combined, hold 12.6 cubic-feet/0.36 cubic meters of cargo. Both trunks are produced in 42 wt-% chopped fiberglass/vinyl ester-unsaturated polyester (VE-UP) resin, but use different processes driven by geometry and mechanical requirements. The front trunk (frunk) is compression molded 0.95-specific gravity (SG) “float” sheet molding compound (SMC), while the rear trunk is formed via the proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a liquid compression molding (LCM) variant. The float SMC and the PRiME process were developed by processor Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.). MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
“Although both spaces are characterized by shallow-draft, long-draw walls, the frunk is smaller than the rear trunk, and could be compression molded,” explains Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer. “The rear trunk needed higher mechanical performance and was a tough geometry to fill with an SMC charge. Because the PRiME process lets us change fiber length, we could use longer pre-positioned reinforcement in our preform. Flowing the resin [not the glass] proved the best approach.”
The 2020 Corvette is the first car to use body-structure cavities (integral to the body frame) for air-induction ductwork (above), which is fed by multiple primary cooling paths (below). The car’s naturally aspirated V8 engine needs a lot of air, so it was important to ensure good, unimpeded airflow to keep the engine cool. Source (both images) | General Motors Co.
Clever engineering and a new material were key to cooling the C8’s engine. Multiple primary cooling paths (rear inlets behind each door, front wheelhouse vents, and outboard cooling inlets) feed highly complex induction ducts that funnel air through the vehicle and across the engine, before ejection through aluminum-mesh vents and SMC appliqués on either side of the glass partition that showcases the Corvette engine. The appliqués are made with MFG’s float (0.95-SG) SMC (chopped glass/UP-VE resin). Low in volatile-organic compounds (VOCs), the material reduces emissions and eliminates the need for resonators on rear-induction ducts, while reducing cost and mass (2.4 kilograms) versus alternative technologies.
The massive, customer-visible rear surround frame — 64 by 69 by 24 inches (163 by 175 by 61 centimeters) — that surrounds the rear-half of the passenger compartment is compression molded in toughened 1.2-SG SMC. This hybrid-reinforced material features carbon fiber at 15% fiber-volume fraction (FVF) and glass fiber at 30% FVF, with a low-VOC UP resin, formulated to withstand engine-bay heat. The frame forms the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels, yet flexible design enables it to be used for multiple model variants. Thanks to significant parts consolidation, secondary attachments were eliminated, increasing interior package space, reducing noise/vibration/harshness (NVH), providing better body structure and sealing performance, improving rear-hatch visibility and reducing mass (15%) and cost versus the outgoing frame. “Given the size of this part, which is almost 6 by 6 feet tall and 2 feet deep, we actually had to make the material flow uphill in the mold, so we were all a little worried on that first shot,” Basela recalls.
The very-large, customer-visible rear surround frame provides the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels. Each half of the mold in which the part is formed weighs ~35,000 pounds/15,900 kilograms and was produced by Century Tool, a division of Tooling Tech Group (Fenton, Mich., U.S.). The compression press itself has 2,800 tonnes clamping pressure and a platen that measures 108 by 68 inches (274 by 173 centimeters). Despite its size, cycle time is
Equally interesting is the bulkhead (mid-window frame), which was custom-formulated by MFG to resolve high heat and noise challenges, since this portion of the cabin sits directly over the V8 engine. Fiberglass reinforcement combined with beryllium graphite filler in low-VOC VE-UP resin deadens sound transmission into the passenger compartment so effectively that it eliminated the need for secondary sound-deadening countermeasures. That, in turn, reduced costs, increased interior package space and passenger comfort, and improved body sealing and NVH. “With a specific gravity of 2.2, this is the first composite part I’ve ever been asked to add mass to rather than take it out,” laughs Basela.
Closures and trim
Exterior body panels are all bonded (inner/outer), painted, toughened 1.2-SG SMC (22-28% FVF fiberglass/UP resin, depending on component) from Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a Teijin Group company (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.). By bolting on composite closures, GM achieves the C8’s aggressive styling, aerodynamics and functional cooling integration, with cost-effective lightweighting on multiple model variants using common parts. All body panels are painted inline on a “skuk system” in vehicle position, using Bowling Green’s innovative robotic wet-sanding process.
Rear service doors are molded from toughened SMC and feature a high-temperature, foam-in-place silicone gasket that provides a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance while handling long-term exposure to engine-bay heat. Another composite — heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized aramid fabric — is used as a heat shield to provide extra thermal protection on door interiors. | SPE Automotive Div.
Another innovation involves use of a one-part, thixotropic silicone elastomeric foam gasket applied to the back side of SMC service doors, which are located in the rear trunk (one on coupés, two on convertibles), and permit customer access to the air-filter system. Owing to proximity to the engine bay, the high-performance foam-in-place
(FIP) elastomer (Silastic 3-8186 from Dow, Inc., Midland, Mich., U.S.) was specified to survive continuous-use temperatures up to 392°F/200°C while providing a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance, even after repeated open/close cycles. GM reports that most other die-cut foams and gaskets would either have melted or broken down under continuous exposure to such temperatures. After dispensing, the applied gasket is heat-treated at 167°F/75°C for 10 minutes to expand the foam, eliminating die-cutting cost and waste. The doors themselves are toughened SMC (42% FVF glass in a VE-UP matrix). Heat shields, produced by Gentex Corp. (Carbondale, Pa., U.S.) using heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized Kevlar aramid fabrics (fiber from DuPont de Nemours, Inc., Wilmington, Del., U.S.), provide door interiors with extra thermal protection.
The new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray from General Motors Co. is said to be the fastest, most powerful entry-level Corvette in the model’s 67-year history. It’s also the most composites-intensive, with a host of innovative technology. | General Motors Co.
GM also used its second-generation, fully automated precision wheel-balance system on the C8. Developed with The 3M Co. (St. Paul, Minn., U.S.) and ESYS Automation (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.), the high-density (5.8-SG) composite wheel weights with tailored magnetic properties replaced traditional stamped metallic weights in painted steel, zinc or lead that have specific mass and must be hand-applied to wheels.
The new system uses large spools of extruded tape with adhesive backing that contain 67% by volume post-industrial, corrosion-resistant, fully recyclable steel alloy in a fluoropolymer base. The automated system examines each wheel, then cuts and applies custom-weight tape segments in smaller, more precise increments to improve ride and reduce tire wear. It also reduces assembly time and cost, simplifies inventory, eliminates scrap and labor and is offered in more colors than metal weights.
Coupé roofs are available in three trim levels: painted, low-density toughened SMC (from CSP); clear, hard-coated polycarbonate (PC); and clear-coated/exposed-weave carbon fiber composite with painted edges (from deBotech Inc., Mooresville, N.C.). CSP also supplies several Class A, toughened 1.2-SG SMC panels for convertible-model retractable-roof systems.
Additional Corvette beauty shots. Source | General Motors Co.
Other exterior trim panels include painted thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) front fascia upper and lower, the latter with integrated ducts to direct air to brakes (Z51 package only) and outboard heat exchangers. Outer grille and brake cooling vents are painted acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
The upper rear fascia is molded-in-color (MIC) TPO, but the lower rear fascia assembly is Class A painted, 1.2-SG SMC (glass/UP resin), owing to the part’s close proximity to hot exhaust tips. SMC’s excellent mechanical performance enabled GM to design an unsupported short rear overhang and use larger spacings between attachments without sagging. SMC also spreads loads efficiently over a larger area during low-speed rear crashes than thermoplastics. Brackets and rear parking-assist sensors are bonded to the SMC. This is said to be the first time SMC bumper fascias have been used on high-volume vehicles.
Rear-hatch appliqués feature painted PC/ABS for the upper panel, SMC with aluminum mesh for side vents and an SMC lower appliqué to accommodate thermal loading directly over the engine. These SMC panels are produced by LyondellBasell’s Quantum Composites Inc. (Bay City, Mich., U.S.). Door-handle release switches are PC/ABS, while the rear air-intake vent is SMC. The base car sports a blowmolded, painted ABS spoiler and the rear air-exit grille is injection molded painted ABS. A-pillar and header appliqués are painted ABS, as are exterior side-view mirror caps and radiator inlet grilles. Depending on the option package, a toughened SMC front underwing and either a blowmolded TPO or carbon fiber composite front splitter/diffuser — clear-coated/visible-weave carbon/epoxy produced by deBotech using prepreg from Solvay Composite Materials (Alpharetta, Ga., U.S.) — contribute additional aerodynamic stability. A rear diffuser in toughened SMC mates to the SMC lower rear fascia in Class A painted SMC from MFG.
The premium carbon fiber trim package features various clear-coated/visible weave carbon fiber accents inside and out, including mirror caps, front grille insert, front splitter, accessory wing, engine-compartment covers, interior door switch plates, rocker moldings, instrument-panel cluster bezel, door-handle covers, quarter appliqués and ride-control plate. These components are produced by deBotech, SMI Composites LLC (Comer, Ga., U.S.) and Plasan Carbon Composites (Wixom, Mich., U.S.).
The Corvette is not only fast and beautiful but contains a host of creature comforts. For composites aficionados, the premium carbon-trim upgrade adds numerous clear-coated/visible-weave carbon fiber composite accents to exterior and interior surfaces, such as the ride-control plate shown here. | General Motors Co.
The 2020 Corvette has already won many prestigious industry awards, including 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year, 2020 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive supplier Contributions to Excellence) Partnership Award, and several awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), including 2019 Vehicle Engineering Team Award. “Although the new Stingray’s mid-engine architecture has dominated headlines, no matter where the engine is — in front of or behind the driver — for eight generations, Corvettes have always advanced the state of the art in automotive materials technology,” adds Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. “Advancing technology is at the heart of what we do.”
The Gulf livery’s iconic colors make an appearance.
We’re quickly approaching the first anniversary of Chevy’s introduction of the 2020 Corvette C8, which happened on July 18. Now, less than two weeks ahead of that date, the Chevy Corvette’s official Facebook page shared a short, 14-second teaser video that hints at something new for the Corvette for the 2021 model year.
The post says, “It’s time to earn some new racing stripes,” while the quick-hitting teaser hints at what Chevy is “Adding to the [Corvette’s] legacy.” However, we have no idea what that means exactly. The teaser shows off some stylized Corvette footage with colored stripes crisscrossing the video. There are also four overhead shots of striped Corvettes that flash on the screen. Two are black, one with a pair of red stripes while the other has yellow ones. There’s a blue-on-white one, and another that mimics the iconic blue-and-orange Gulf livery.
For as much fanfare as the 2020 Corvette created, the Stingray model the automaker introduced was just the beginning. We expect Chevy to add more high-performance models to the Corvette lineup, like the Z06. But we don’t think Chevy is ready to reveal that top-tier model just yet. Instead, we’d bet that Chevy is planning to introduce a new appearance package, or packages, that help enhance the car’s appearance. It could be similar to the Competition Sport package Chevy introduced for the 2009 Corvette C6.
We know for sure that Chevy still has a ton of Corvette excitement to reveal going forward. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next Z06, and the numerous spy photos and videos don’t help. We know it should pack a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 that’ll leapfrog the Stingray in power, performance, and price. We don’t expect that model to arrive until the 2022 model year, so until then, we can look forward to Chevy’s latest, which the automaker should reveal soon.
Source: Chevrolet Corvette / Facebook
The mid-engine C8 Corvette’s clean-sheet redesign resulted in just a couple of parts carried over from the C7 generation, but there is enough “baseball and apple pie” in the sports car to keep it in the Top 10 of the 2020 American Made Index as compiled by Cars.com.
Chevrolet landed two vehicles on the 2020 List with the Corvette coming in at a very appropriate 8th place and it was joined by the Colorado that landed in 10th place. They were the only two GM vehicles to make the list.
The American Made Index, or AMI, “is an independent annual list that ranks the new vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy based on criteria ranging from U.S. factory jobs and manufacturing plants to parts sourcing.” Manufacturers are required by law to annually report the percentage of US and Canadian parts and that information appears on the window sticker of all new vehicles sold in the USA.
The AMI studied 91 vehicles and the ranking looks at four key factors:
- Origins of the engine and transmission
- Origin of parts in the car (as reported by the American Automobile Labeling Act)
- Final assembly location
- U.S. manufacturing workforce relative to production footprint
The were some new additions to the list for 2020 with the Ford Ranger leap-frogging the Jeep Cherokee to #1 while Tesla landed three vehicles on the list.
Cars.com says that 70% of shoppers consider a car’s impact on the US economy a significant or deciding factor in their vehicle choice and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the desire of Americans to “buy local.” The survey found that nearly 40% of consumers report they are more likely to buy an American-made car due to the current health and economic crisis, while just 4% said they were less likely. A whopping 26% said it was “unpatriotic” to buy a non-American-made car, compared to just 18% in 2019.
“This marks the 15th year we have released the American-Made Index, and for the first time, we are ranking a full, comprehensive list of qualifying American-made cars available in the U.S. Of some 350 cars on the market for 2020, 91 models qualified for our index,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com’s senior consumer affairs and vehicle evaluations editor. “The auto industry is highly globalized, but these 91 models bring jobs to America and investments to our local communities — a growing concern for Americans in the current climate.”
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