The new C8 Corvette is a major break from tradition, transforming the Chevrolet Corvette nameplate with a brand-new mid-engine layout and even higher performance potential. With so much good stuff on offer, the C8 needed a modern exterior restyle to go with it, something that would accommodate the new powertrain placement. Now, we’re getting a look at a stylized C8 Corvette sketch, courtesy of GM Design.
Recently posted to the official GM Design Instagram feed (@generalmotorsdesign), this C8 Corvette design sketch is highly stylized, showing off the overall shape of the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, but without too many details. In fact, the sketch looks as though it shows a single hunk of aluminum that was whittled down to look like the new C8.
The proportions are pure mid-engine goodness, with the cabin moved forward on the body, pushing the eye towards a cone-shaped nose that slants down towards the pavement at an aggressive angle. The front end is flanked by two hugely flared front fenders, which wrap around a concave shape for the wheels. Inside the wheels, we find a V-shaped design that looks a bit like the crossed flag Corvette logo.
Moving along the profile of the sketch, we see a clear C8 Corvette design element in the prominent wide side intakes. The intakes flair out ahead of the rear wheels in a “boomerang” shape that adds tons of visual punch, while also teeing up the ultra-wide rear fender flairs.
The open space created by the side intake is shared by the top of the cabin, which falls away into a relatively flat rear deck lid. Finishing it all off is a blade-like rear spoiler section, which is complemented by thin tail lights and another V-shaped badge. Under the spoiler is the suggestion of a diffuser.
All told, the look is aggressive, sleek, and attractive – just like the C8 Corvette.
Johnathan Lopez- GM Authority
USA Bobsled/Skeleton 2020 Hall of Fame inductees announced
Lake Placid, N.Y.(December 9, 2020) – USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) proudly announced today the six individuals that will be inducted into its Hall of Fame. Steve Mesler, Tristan Gale Geisler, Randy Jones, Vonetta Flowers, James “Nitro” Morgan, and Geoff Bodine will be inducted as the eighth class. A celebration will be held at a future date when inductees can safely gather for a ceremony.
The USABS Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sports of bobsled and skeleton. Their dedication and commitment as athletes and supporters of USABS will be forever honored through their induction into the Hall of Fame.
“These six people are titans of our sports, and we are honored to recognize their achievements as the newest members of our Hall of Fame,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “Our current success is thanks to the hard work, dedication, and success of the people that have come before us and who’ve paved the way for the future. We are grateful for their contributions, and we’re excited to celebrate their accomplishments.”
Mesler’s accomplishments in the sport of bobsled as a push athlete include world champion, Olympic champion, three-time Olympian, and winner of 39 world cup medals – the most of any American bobsled push athlete in history. Mesler won the 2010 Winter Olympic four-man bobsled gold medal as a pusher for the late Steven Holcomb, who was inducted into the 2017 USABS Hall of Fame posthumously. It was the first gold medal for the United States in 62 years. Mesler also earned two world championship medals in four-man bobsled, winning the gold medal in 2009, which was the first in 50 years for the United States, and a bronze in 2004. Mesler attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he competed as a decathlete for the Florida Gators track and field team from 1997 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in exercise and sports science in 2000. In 2009, Mesler and his sister, Dr. Leigh Mesler Parise, founded Classroom Champions, which has grown into an international organization that connects Olympians, Paralympians, student-athletes and pro athletes to millions of students in classrooms across the U.S., Canada, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Costa Rica, and military installations in Germany. Mesler lives in Calgary, Canada with his wife, Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler, and their daughter, Brett.
Gale Geisler was a pioneer in the sport of women’s skeleton, competing in the inaugural women’s skeleton Olympic race in her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002. In front of her friends and family, Gale Geisler became the first-ever women’s skeleton Olympic champion. Growing up in Salt Lake City, she was a downhill ski racer before deciding to switch to skeleton. Gale Geisler followed up her Olympic performance in 2003 with a bronze medal at the world championships in Nagano, Japan. She and her husband, Jonathan Geisler, who is a major in the Marines, have two kids; Brynn and Grey.
Jones competed in the 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006 Olympics as a push athlete, winning the Olympic silver medal in the four-man bobsled event alongside Todd Hays, Bill Schuffenhauer, and Garrett Hines. It was the first time since 1956 that the U.S. won an Olympic medal in men’s bobsled. In addition, he finished the world cup season ranked in the top three three times: third in 1993 and 1997, and second overall in 2003. At one time, Jones held numerous push start records across the world and was considered one of the best push athletes to compete during his world cup seasons. As a team member, Jones represented everything you needed to be a champion in the sport. He had extreme work ethic, tenacious drive, toughness, character, athleticism and exuded great team camaraderie. Jones attended Duke University, where he played football and ran track while earning a Mechanical Engineering degree. He graduated in 1991, and as of 2020, he still holds five team football records for Duke in kick returns. Jones and his wife, Cheri Alou, have twins, Roman and Marissa, and live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flowers was a pioneer as a female brakeman in the sport of bobsled by competing in the first two women’s bobsled Olympic races in 2002 and 2006. Her early accomplishments proved to be an inspiration to several future American push athletes. Flowers was the first member of her family to attend college when she accepted a track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she claimed 35 conference titles and victories in the Penn Relays and The Olympic Festival, and first seven-time All-American. Flowers’ transition to bobsled paved the way for many female sprinters and track athletes to follow in her footsteps by moving from track to bobsled. Flowers pushed Jill Bakken in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, winning the inaugural gold medal in the event. As part of the winning team, Flowers became the first African-American Winter Olympic gold medalist in history in any sport. Since her historic accomplishment, other African-American athletes have won medals at the winter Olympics in bobsled as well as other sports, thanks in part to the path paved by Flowers. She and her husband, Johnny, have 3 boys; Jaden, Jordan, and Jaxon and live in Jacksonville, Florida.
Morgan, known as Jimmy, but nicknamed “Nitro” because of his explosive driving style, started driving bobsleds in 1971 and quickly rose up the ranks as one of the top bobsled pilots in the country. He competed at the 1975 World Championships in Cervina, Italy, where he finished seventh in the two-man event. It was the best American finish at the world championships in Europe in the decade of the 70s. Morgan went on to be the top American bobsled pilot at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games in the two-man and four-man competitions, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively. Morgan tragically lost his life during the 1981 world championships in the final curve of the Cortina, Italy track. He is the only U.S. bobsledder ever killed in competition internationally. Morgan’s younger brother, John, was calling the competition with ABC Sports’ Bill Flemming at the 1981 competition that took Morgan’s life. He joins John as the second Morgan sibling to be inducted into the USABS Hall of Fame. Morgan was one of seven brothers and four sisters, and was raised in Saranac Lake, N.Y. He was also a Vietnam veteran.
Bodine, a former NASCAR driver and the 1986 Daytona 500 winner, brought car racing principles, competitive savvy, and 3-D design software to build a gold-worthy bobsled. Bodine noticed that the team had been using hand-me-down sleds from European teams, and he had a desire to see U.S. Olympic athletes compete in American-made bobsleds. Bodine collaborated with race car designer Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to create the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Cuneo was part of the fourth class of USABS Hall of Fame inductees for his contributions to the sled project. Bo-Dyn bobsleds first appeared in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. The most famous Bo-Dyn sled was the four-man “Night Train,” which was driven by the late Holcomb to the 2010 Olympic gold medal. The achievement ended a 62-year drought for the United States, which had not won a gold medal since the 1948 Winter Games.
There are now 28 members of the USABS Hall of Fame with the addition of Mesler, Gale Geisler, Jones, Flowers, Morgan, and Bodine. Learn more about all 28 Hall of Fame inductees here.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.
They’re Back! Chip Ganassi Racing Returning to WeatherTech Championship in 2021 with Cadillac DPi Entry
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chip Ganassi Racing, which has fielded seven IMSA season champions and eight Rolex 24 At Daytona champions, is returning to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition with a Cadillac entry in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
Joining its already-successful operations in IndyCar and NASCAR, Chip Ganassi Racing joined IMSA in 2004 and won the first of seven championships that same year. The team competed in the Daytona Prototype category through 2015 before moving to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class from 2016-2019.
Other sports car achievements by the team include 64 total race wins, including marquee events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win three straight Rolex 24s (2006-2008).
“We can’t wait to get back to IMSA and fight for the overall win after several years competing in the GTLM class,” Ganassi said. “Our relationship with General Motors has expanded from the NASCAR Cup Series and we couldn’t be happier. Partnering with Cadillac is a tremendous opportunity for our team and we want to start delivering for them in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”
CGR will field one car in the 2021 season, with the driver lineup to be named. It joins a Cadillac program that has claimed victory the last four years at the Rolex 24, won last month’s Motul Petit Le Mans and came within a single point of winning the 2020 DPi driver, team and manufacturer championships.
“We are very excited to welcome Chip Ganassi Racing to the Cadillac competition family,” Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey said. “Their success across many forms of racing, including sports cars, will be a great addition to our IMSA WeatherTech lineup. Chip’s pedigree at winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona eight times, as well as their championships in this form of racing, gives Cadillac another stalwart team to compete for the 2021 IMSA DPi championship.”
The 2021 WeatherTech Championship season kicks off with The Roar Before The Rolex 24 testing Jan. 22-24 at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Saturday, Jan. 30 on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course.
Source: Mark Robinson
Mount Van Hoevenberg track (Provided photo — Jimmy Reed)
LAKE PLACID — USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes are back on ice at Mount Van Hoevenberg to kick off the much-anticipated 2020-2021 season. U.S. athletes are normally on track by early October, but increased safety measures due to the global pandemic delayed the start of the season.
“It’s great to have the team back on the ice,” USABS CEO Aron McGuire said in a statement. “We’ve had all hands on deck to get our athletes back to the ice safely. While it’s complicated and things continually change, our athletes have done an exceptional job of remaining flexible and focused. One of the positives of this pandemic is that we’ve seen just how resilient and strong our athletes are.”
Team trials were originally scheduled to take place in Lake Placid and Park City, Utah, but USABS leadership announced Tuesday, Nov. 3 that team trials will take place entirely in Lake Placid. The coaches and staff want to limit the number of variables involved in team selections by not disrupting the system currently in place. In addition, warmer temperatures are expected in Lake Placid, which may push the current competition days back. USABS is hoping to utilize the Park City track for national team training camps after the team is named.
Skeleton athletes were welcomed to the track by a snow storm Monday, Nov. 2, when they had the opportunity to take their first runs of the season.
“After a longer than normal offseason and so much uncertainty leading into this winter, it was nice to finally get on ice,” skeleton Olympian Kendall Wesenberg said in a press release. “We know how much effort went into getting us to this point, and we are so thankful for the extra effort. Our USABS staff, the U.S. Olympic Training Center staff, and the track crew put in a lot of hard work to make this happen, and it feels great to be back getting to do what we do.”
Bobsledders had to wait one more day before getting back on ice, and took their opening run of the 2020-2021 season the evening of Election Day.
“Getting back in the saddle was huge today,” bobsled pilot Hunter Church said in a press release. “It’s hard enough to go an entire summer without driving, but even harder because my last run of the 2019-2020 season was a crash. It felt really good to shake that off finally. The track crew is hustling the best they can to keep us sliding, and we’re very appreciative for everyone’s extra efforts to get us on ice this season.”
USABS athletes will be training and competing in Lake Placid for the start of national team trials to decide who will compete on the World Cup tour. The U.S. team has opted out of at least the first half of the international season to reduce quarantine times and travel for the athletes.
General Motors today is celebrating two separate reports that show more GM vehicles have the most “Made in the USA” content than any other automaker. We’ve featured both reports already as the new C8 Corvette ranks high on both lists. As a bonus to Corvette enthusiasts, GM is sharing a new video showing the C8 Corvette under construction at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
First up comes the Cars.com American-Made Index for 2020 which had the 2020 Corvette Stingray in 8th place on its vehicles with the most domestic-sourced content. In addition to the Corvette, the Chevrolet Colorado was 10th and GM placed another seven vehicles in the Top 25.
As for the American University Kogod School of Business and its Made in America Auto Index, the 2020 Corvette tied for 3rd place alongside the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups and behind the automatic Chevrolet Camaro. GM had 10 models in the Top 25, the most of any manufacturer. GM also received credit as ranking the highest among manufacturers for total domestic content across all 2020 models.
“We’re proud of GM’s massive American manufacturing footprint, consisting of 11 vehicle assembly plants, 26 stamping, propulsion, component and battery plants, and 19 parts distribution centers,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations. “Our manufacturing strength in the U.S. is a team effort starting with our employees and extending to our supplier partners and local communities across the country.”
The Making of the C8 Corvette
In this video from General Motors, go inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant for a look at how the mid-engine C8 Corvette is manufactured. We also get a great look at the construction of certain parts from vendors like the Bedford aluminum castings and the carbon-fiber rear bumper beam.
When Corvettes are shipped to a Chevrolet dealership, they have to go through a pre-delivery inspection known as PDI. Service technicians take the cars fresh off the truck into the service bays where they run through a checklist of things to do that include installing any parts and accessories as well as checking and topping off the fluids.
We’ve talked about the PDI process previously, and have even shared some of the processes like the installation of a High Wing. Now here’s a chance to watch a 2020 Corvette going through PDI with a time-lapse video that condenses the hour-and-a-half process into just under 5 minutes. While we don’t really learn anything new from the video, we are treated to a scene that most of us will never see.
The video was posted to YouTube by a user named “I Sell Corvettes“:
The long version time-lapse of the C8 pre-delivery inspection. This C8 is a fairly basic, non-Z51 so the PDI is pretty quick and easy, less than an hour and a half.
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
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.”
That wasn’t even close!
Can the C6 Corvette ZR1 keep up with a brand new Lamborghini supercar? Well to find out the team at Track Day headed out to Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania to run some roll races and find out. The Chevy Corvette is known for its ability to punch above its weight class, but can the highest performance Corvette from 14 years ago match a contemporary modern Italian exotic?
The ZR1 trim level has signified the highest performance levels of Corvettes for decades and the C6 ZR1 was a game-changer when it first debuted in 2006. Powered by a supercharged 638 horsepower 6.2-liter LS9 V8 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the C6 ZR1 elevated the Corvette’s performance into the league for supercars. In 2006 638 horsepower (475kW) was a shocking figure and was enough to embarrass almost any car on the road.
The C6 Corvette ZR1 was far more than a powerful engine and benefitted from a Magnaride suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and extensive use of carbon fiber. The ZR1 was a showcase of the best engineering General Motors could offer consumers. Although many critics mocked interior build quality, the C6 ZR1 has a cult following today thanks to its level of performance while still offering an analog driving experience.
Chris Okula for Motor1
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
From its exterior design to its driving experience, there are so many remarkable new qualities of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette compared to its predecessor. We’ve already given GM’s iconic sports car the full review treatment and have covered what it’s like in everyday driving, but a new steering-wheel button in the 2020 Vette caught my eye during a recent test drive.
Positioned to the left of the horn pad is a silver-colored button with a lone letter Z on it. At first glance, it looks like the Z logo from Nissan’s famed sports car, but it actually pays homage to the Corvette’s long history with the letter Z; the letter has appeared over the years in the form of high-powered versions (ZR1 and Z06) and performance option packages (Z51).
Pressing the button activates Z-Mode, one of two new driver-configurable modes on the 2020 Corvette (the other new mode is dubbed MyMode). Like the M buttons on some BMW models, the Corvette’s Z button lets drivers instantly select their preferred performance settings.
While the MyMode, Weather, Tour, Sport and Track modes are selected using a knob on the center console, Z-Mode is only accessible from the steering wheel. In addition to the exhaust sound, steering, suspension (when equipped with Magnetic Ride Control) and braking settings that are configurable within MyMode, Z-Mode also includes a powertrain setting that controls gas pedal, transmission and engine response.
The inclusion of new customizable drive modes are welcome additions for a car like the Corvette, but how the driver controls these modes is just as important. Combining the Corvette’s configurable features into one button with Z-Mode is smart, and putting it on the steering wheel where it’s easy to activate is doubly so.
Mike Hanley for Cars.com
From design to specs and pricing, here’s what you should know about the iconic American sports car as it enters its second year as a mid-engine speedster.
Is there a more American car than the Chevrolet Corvette? The Ford Mustang fan base may quibble with the thought, but there’s no denying that countless enthusiasts believe it to be true. And because of that, each new iteration of the sports car stokes excitement among Chevy loyalists. But it had been decades since the announcement of a new ‘Vette garnered as much anticipation as the unveiling of the eighth-generation model last year.
That’s because, after years of rumors and speculation, the 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray was the first iteration of the model to feature a mid-engine layout. For Corvette diehards, that news was momentous. After all, moving the engine back would almost certainly allow the car to compete more directly with its high-performance European peers. Yet, it would also likely alter its signature look—a mid-engine placement would mean a new frame. Indeed, Chevy took the opportunity to completely reimagine the Corvette’s design, discarding more than a few signature features for the new C8, including the elongated nose of its predecessors. The result is a sports car that looks primed to compete for attention, not only with American devotees, but with collectors of European supercars as well.
The 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray Chevrolet
Engine, Specs and Performance
Any discussion about the C8 Corvette can only begin in one place: the engine. After 67 years of commitment to a front-engine configuration for the Corvette, Chevrolet decided to kick off the new decade by repositioning the car’s powerhouse behind the driver and passenger seats. And this isn’t just any old engine—it’s a brand-new, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT2 V-8.
While that base motor, which is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, isn’t all that different from the one featured in the C7, it is more powerful, bringing a solid 490 hp of grunt and 465 ft lbs of torque. The new power train enables the car to rocket from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds. The C8 can also complete the quarter-mile in just over 11 seconds and reach a top speed of 184 mph. And if that’s not enough for you, a Z51 performance package will boost the horsepower and torque figures to 495 hp and 470 ft lbs, respectively, giving all other performance numbers a lift as well. One thing to note: There is only one transmission option, something that has caused consternation among the faithful.
To help manage all that power, the C8 Corvette has a Driver Mode Selector that allows you to pick from six driving modes, including Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, MyMode and Z Mode (the latter two of which are customizable). It’s also equipped with a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, with disc brakes and four-piston calipers on each wheel. The Z51 package also includes an electronic limited-slip differential, new final drive ratio, improved cooling system for the brakes, an enhanced suspension and a performance exhaust.
A New Exterior
Like any other vehicle, the iconic sports car has seen its shape and design shift since it was introduced in 1953. But from generation to generation, no design overhaul has been as jarring as the C8’s. For that last 25 years or so—about the time the C5 debuted in the mid ’90s—we’ve been able to see the previous generation of ‘Vettes within the new iteration’s design. That stops with the C8.
Chevrolet used the change in layout as a chance to alter the ‘Vette’s profile, discarding some of its trademark features. Gone is the long, signature nose and slightly squared-off back. The front still comes to a peak, but the rest of the lines and angles are sharper and the cockpit has been moved forward. That shift rids the car of the slinky elegance that’s been a part of its shape since the ’60s but gives its a new boldness. This is a vehicle designed for speed, and it looks like it. The new design, which is available as both a coupe and convertible, gives the American vehicle a decidedly more European aesthetic.
Inside the C8 Corvette Chevrolet
Interior, Infotainment and Cargo
But it’s not just the car’s exterior that’s been given a makeover. Open up the C8’s doors and you’ll find a cabin that actually looks like the cockpit of a futuristic fighter jet. Sit down in the low-slung driver seat and you’re met with a rectangular steering wheel, which includes two large paddle shifters. Behind that is a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, which includes a new tachometer, to help keep track of your vehicle and its performance as you drive.
Embedded into the center console is an 8-inch infotainment screen that’s angled toward the driver. It’s equipped with Chevy’s Infotainment 3 Plus system, which features Bluetooth connectivity, a 4G mobile hotspot and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The vehicle is also equipped with a high-performance, 14-speaker Bose audio system that is sure to be music to any audiophile’s ears. You’ll also have three different styles of bucket seats to choose from, as well as a variety of color and material options, including Napa leather and suede microfiber. And for those worried about cargo space due to the design changes, the C8 offers a front compartment and rear trunk that still has room for two sets of golf clubs.
The C8 Corvette’s Infotainment 3 Plus system Chevrolet
Like anyone else interested in high-performance vehicles, we were excited to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Corvette. But that test-drive through Nevada made one thing abundantly clear: While definitely a step in the right direction—and an incredible vehicle for its price—the new C8 wasn’t fully ready to shine. This is a car, after all, that wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Lamborghinis and McLarens, but it simply didn’t feel fully refined yet. From our “First Drive” write-up earlier this year:
“The new ‘Vette is a remarkable achievement for something starting under $60,000, but it’ll be a while before the C8 matures into the outstanding machine I’m confident it can be. Maybe that machine is the forthcoming Stingray convertible. Maybe it’s an eventual higher-powered Corvette variant. Either way, I feel the magic looming.”
Of course, it’s important to remember that the 2020 model is the very first installment of the C8. On average, different ‘Vette generations have managed to stick around for more than eight years. That gives the brand some time to improve the car—and find that magic.
Pricing: Is the Corvette C8 Worth It?
When Chevrolet first announced the mid-engine C8 Corvette, they promised it would start at less than $60,000. As far-fetched as that sounded at the time, the automaker delivered on that promise. Just like last year, the ‘Vette starts at $59,995 for the coupe and $67,495 for the convertible. Of course, with a near-endless list of options and trim levels, its price can quickly climb skywards, with a fully loaded convertible available for north of $100,000. Still, when you consider the kind of vehicles that the C8 is competing with, even the most expensive version seems like a bargain in comparison.
What’s Next: More Ways to Customize
As promising as the C8 Corvette may be, its first year has gone anything but smoothly. First, the United Auto Workers strikes delayed production of the eagerly anticipated vehicle, then the coronavirus pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill Chevy has responded by offering more standard features and a raft of exciting new options for the car’s second go-around.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now come standard with the C8, as does a redesigned digital cluster and GM’s Buckle to Drive safety tech. As for the new options, there are two exterior finishes to choose from (Red Mist Tintcoat and Silver Flare Metallic), two new interior color schemes (Sky Cool Grey and Yellow Strike) and you can add racing or stinger stripes. Most exciting of all, though, is that the Magnetic Ride Control from the Z51 performance package is now available as a stand-alone option.
If none of that sounds sexy enough for you, don’t worry. Rumors are swirling that a high-performance Z06 variant packing a 600 hp, DOHC 32-valve 5.5-liter V-8 could arrive as soon as next year.
After a months-long absence, the High Wing Spoiler and Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package are coming back.
Many 2020 Chevrolet Corvette customers were dismayed, to say the least, when they learned that the car they would receive wouldn’t quite match the order they’d put in. Apparently, GM underestimated how popular big wings are among sports car enthusiasts.
But get ready to do your happy dance, because GM is bringing both options back as production changes over from 2020- to 2021-model year cars
At the recent Corvettes at Carlisle, Product Manager Harlan Charles shared a sketch of the Corvette team’s new IMSA and Indy 500 pace cars, taking the time to highlight some of its genuine Chevrolet accessories, including a mix of current and future parts. Notably, the car wore both the High Wing Spoiler and the Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package.
“Ground effects and the high wing are going to be coming back available soon,” he confirmed.
2021 Chevrolet Corvette buyers will soon have the option of getting a high wing and carbon ground effects from the factory. Of course, those parts can always be ordered later after taking delivery – assuming they’re available.
Another genuine Chevrolet accessory on the IMSA pace car, never before offered by the manufacturer for the C8, is a new Corvette Racing “Jake” hood stinger stripe. The “Jake” is the official logo of the Corvette Racing Team, taking the appearance of a skull-like racing helmet with the crossed-flags Corvette logo where the eyes should be. The hood stinger strip will join other Jake-branded accessories available for the C8, including wheel center caps, all-weather WeatherTech floormats, and a premium indoor car cover with C8.R livery.
Aaron Brozozwski; Carbuzz
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
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
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
It’s been a long time coming, but today we received confirmation that the first 2020 Corvette Convertibles have started production. The plant has been building convertibles for the Captured Test Fleet for the last few months so it’s not anything new to the production team, but it is great news for buyers who have been patiently waiting for this day to come.
We have been reminded that Convertible production will see a ramp-up so expect quantities to be small in these first few weeks before gradually expanding into its regular production schedule.
We are also expecting a quality-control hold on these first batches of the HTC, but I doubt it will be too long. It would be very cool to see a customer-ordered convertible showing up later this month at Corvettes at Carlisle or the NCM’s Anniversary Show, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!
The 2020 Corvette Convertible is our favorite model of the two and we can’t wait to see those happy customers showing off their rides. We expect the number of videos on youtube showing the hardtop convertible’s operation to grow exponentially in next few months so brace yourselves for that!
That’s the latest we have on the Convertible C8 Corvette…stay tuned for any updates or news we can pass along! For a recap of all things related to the C8 Corvette Stingray Convertible, just hit this link to check out our previous stories on the HTC.
Keith Cornett for Corvette Blogger
Expected this week from the Corvette Team is the 2021 Corvette pricing schedule and its now available to dealers. A copy was leaked to the internet and now we can see exactly where GM will be raising prices of select 2020 options as well as setting the price for new options for the 2021 model year.
The Corvette Team made a promise back at the Virtual NCM Bash that base pricing would not change from the 2020 model year. That commitment includes the 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT pricing for the Stingray Coupe and Convertible. Those prices are unchanged* and are:
- $58,900 – 1LT Coupe
- $66,200 – 2LT Coupe
- $70,850 – 3LT Coupe
- $66,400 – 1LT Convertible
- $73,200 – 2LT Convertible
- $77,850 – 3LT Convertible
*Prices do not contain the mandatory destination fee of $1,095.
However, we did guess correctly that certain options would most likely be raised for the 2021 model year. These are the returning options from 2020 with the new 2021 Pricing. I have also included the 2020 pricing in parenthesis. The most popular options receiving a price increase are the Z51 Performance Package and the E60 Front Lift:
- Z51 – Z51 Performance Package $5,995 ($5,000)
- E60 – Front Lift $1,995 ($1,495)
- 5DF – Black Trident Spoke Wheels $2,895 ($2,695)
- 5JR – Carbon Fiber Mirror Covers $1,245 ($1,145)
- RCC – Engine Cover in Red $525 ($495)
- RCD – Engine Cover in Sterling Silver $595 ($495)
- RIA – All weather Floor Liners $205 ($195)
- CAV – Contoured Cargo Area Liners $145 ($135)
Based on 2020 Sales Data the Corvette Team released during the Virtual NCM Bash in late May, the Z51 Performance Package was ordered by 74% of buyers while the E60 Front Lift accounted for 58% of all Corvettes sold. The LPO Black Trident Spoke Wheels were only ordered by 14% of buyers.
Now for the options new to 2021, Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat is priced at $995, the same as the outgoing Long Beach Red, and the FE2 Magnetic Ride Control without Z51 will cost you $1,895. Silver Flare is the other new exterior color for 2021, but there is no additional cost to select it so it is not listed below.
- GPH – Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat $995
- FE2 – Magnetic Ride Control w/o Z51 $1,895
- DSY – Orange Full Length Racing Stripes $995
- DSZ – Red Full Length Racing Stripes $995
- DTO – Yellow Full Length Racing Stripes $995
- DUH – Blue Full Length Racing Stripes $995
- DZU – Carbon Flash/Edge Yellow Stinger Graphic $500
- DZV – Carbon Flash/Midnight Silver Stinger Graphic $500
- DZX – Carbon Flash/Edge Red Stinger Graphic $500
- SFE – Wheel Locks $95
- SQU – High Security Silver Painted Wheel Locks $105
- W2D – Cargo Net Set $110
- WKR – C8R Indoor Car Cover $1,195
- PDY – Roadside Safety Package $175
We note that some of the most popular add-ons were not listed as a 2021 pricing, that being the High Wing or the three-piece Aero Kits which were discontinued and stripped from 2020 orders. We were hoping to see those again. I am also surprised to see that the NPP Performance Exhaust pricing stayed at $1,195 which is what that price as been since it was first introduced on the 2014 Corvettes. Kudos to GM for keeping that popular option from rising as well.
As we’ve discussed, ordering for the 2021 Coupes and Convertibles starts at the end of the week and it will be a busy time for dealers so make sure you have your plans together when you sit down to spec out your Corvette order. Production of the 2021 Corvettes is expected to start in November.
Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are optimistic that a C8.R can score the new car’s third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win at Road America this weekend, but they expect a stronger challenge from BMW following the latest Balance of Performance changes.
For this fourth round of the championship, all GT Le Mans-class cars have had their fuel capacity increased – the BMW M8s by 12 liters, the Corvettes by five liters and the Porsche 911 RSRs by three liters – but the BMWs, run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan, have also had their minimum weight cut by 22lbs [10kg] and their power increased by 14hp.
This could throw a high hurdle in the way of Corvette Racing’s hopes to score three IMSA wins on the bounce for the first time since the spring of 2017. Garcia and Taylor won the second round of this season, the Daytona 240, while they finished just behind their victorious teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin two weeks ago in the Cadillac Grand Prix at Sebring.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s 2hr40min race around the undulating 4.014-mile course at Elkhart Lake, WI, Garcia said: “Tire degradation is always a key thing at Road America. This new Corvette should be a little bit better on that compared to the[2014-’19 predecessor] C7.R.
“Porsche was strong last year and they obviously are going to be strong again. At Sebring, they showed really good pace behind us. With BMW getting a break, it will be difficult to fight them.
“That will create different speeds at different parts of the track where each car will be strong. We will see where everything lines up, but for sure that should be interesting.”
Added Taylor: “Road America is definitely a power track, so I think [BMW’s BoP break] will be pretty major when we go there. We saw at the Rolex [24 Hours] that they had a pretty big power advantage where they were able to drive around most competitors.
“I’m not sure where their loss of performance was at the Daytona and Sebring sprint races compared to the Rolex but going to Road America that change should benefit them.”
The former IMSA Prototype champion concurred with his co-driver regarding tire life, pointing out, “Road America often has a big tire degradation part to it, so for us that could be a big part of the race strategy-wise.”
Explaining Corvette’s ‘hot streak’ with the new-for-2020 mid-engined C8.R since the restart of the IMSA season, Garcia stated: “At the Rolex 24 [in January] we were good but that was hidden by little mistakes and issues we had toward the finish. We had been competitive for the first 20 hours but had a few little things going on with the car because it was very new. The pace was there but we weren’t able to fight for the win at the end.
“Each month, there is a ton of development and we continue to show that. Even when we weren’t on the track, we continued to develop the C8.R.”
Taylor added: “It’s amazing that we’ve come out so strong after the quarantine period… It shows a lot for what Corvette Racing is about and the preparation it does behind the scenes. Even though no one could go to the race shop, the engineers were working from home and made huge strides on the C8.R. We went back to Daytona and obviously had a good race there with the win and then went back to Sebring where we were able to do a two-day test there before the quarantine and one simulator test when that period opened back up.
“For us it was an unknown for us because it was the first non-Daytona track where we were competing against all the other teams. Daytona is so unique in that you can stack up well at that track and have that not be relevant anywhere else. So it was promising that we were able to get the pole. The car was amazing all race weekend, and I think we’ve shown we can be competitive on all different kinds of tracks. I’m really looking for this one at Road America.”
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.”
Seeing, quite literally, is believing for a Canadian man named Mike Schickerowski.
At age 44, he got his driver’s license just two weeks ago.
Why the delay?
Schickerowski was born with a disorder called nystagmus, which causes the brain to see images as a blur.
“My brain would never interpret the image as a steady picture,” he explained. “It basically involves involuntary movement of your eyes. If you’ve ever taken a photo with your camera and moved it slightly or the object moved and it’s a blur, it’s the exact same symptoms.”
That means Schikerowski has been legally blind his entire life, that is, until undergoing successful experimental surgery to correct the condition in California in October 2018.
He says being able to see has changed his life in many ways, most notably allowing him to take part in the simple things of life.
“I took my son fishing last week,” he said. “I was never able to do that before on my own. I took my daughter for ice cream. It’s unbelievable.”
Of course, those trips are made even more special because Schickerowski decided to splurge on his first vehicle ever – a yellow C7 Corvette Grand Sport. So confident he would pass the driver’s license exam for the first time, he purchased the flashy sports care before he even passed the test! “it was overwhelming to think I was doing it at that age,” he said, “but I did pretty well and I just couldn’t believe it.”
While some people thought he should have bought a more practical vehicle, especially living in the province of Alberta, Schickerowski says he wanted to stand out.
“Some people said, ‘Oh, it’s Alberta, you need a truck,’ and sure I like trucks — they’re nice — but everybody’s got a truck,” he said.
Schickerowski is grateful that he is able to drive the Corvette on his own, but he was even more excited about being able to see the world clearly for the first time after the surgery was a success.
“It was beautiful to see,” he said, “but it was more the realization of what I missed my whole life. It was emotional breakdown. My mom was bawling, and my wife was ecstatic. It was never supposed to happen.”
While he says there was a “sad moment” realizing how much of his life had already gone by and “how much I had suffered,” he says he’s “still excited for the future.”
His wife, Angie, says watching Mike see things in 3D for the first time was “unbelievable – things like fireworks, there’s all these things.”
“I’ve lived a wonderful life and enjoyed every moment,” he says. “This is just the awakening to possibilities of the future and the opportunities that are there.”
Add his yellow Corvette to that list of expanding opportunities, and here’s hoping he enjoys his car for years to come.
Thanks to Bob S. for the link!