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Exclusive! C8.R Corvette 5.5L DOHC V-8 Pics and How the Flat-Plane Crank Alters Its Iconic Sound

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There’s A New Engine In The C8.R Corvette, And It Sounds Nothing Like Its Predecessor.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and although that’s true, it can also be in the ear of the listener.

Since the Corvette first hit the streets back in the 1950s, it was imbued with the beautiful and nearly magical sound of V-8 performance. It was a deep, bass-filled rumble that just oozed a feeling of power. Over the years, the sound emanating from Corvettes, both on the street and at the track, had a distinctive note that became synonymous with the car. When the Corvette moved to the LS1 in 1997, the firing order was tweaked a bit, and although the sound did change, it still had that deep rumble that we all love.

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Chevrolet is super secretive of its new mill for the C8.R, so much so that it covered up the back hatch to keep out prying eyes. About all the team will say is that it’s a 5.5L DOHC V-8 fitted with a flat-plane crank. Power numbers are limited to 500 hp and around 475ish lb-ft of twist, but that’s all it will say. In fact this picture is about as close as you’re going to get to seeing the new C8.R engine.

But the only thing constant in the world is change. For the C8.R, Chevrolet Racing really changed things up with its new mid-engine marvel, but it wasn’t the engine placement that ended the car’s iconic sound signature. It was the engine itself. Gone is the deep baritone exhaust note, replaced instead with a high-pitched Ferrari-like sound. Think puberty in reverse. And although we love the sound of a wound-out Ferrari or other Italian supercars, having that pitch emanate from the back of a Corvette is something that will be hard to get used to. We’re not saying the sound is bad—it’s actually pretty badass—but it’s not even close to the sound signature we’ve come to associate with Corvettes.

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The real culprit here isn’t the new 5.5L DOHC V-8 that Chevrolet moved to. Instead, it was the choice to go with a high-revving flat-plane crank. This drastically changed the firing order of the engine and eliminated the classic American V-8 sound that’s typical with the firing sequence of a traditional cross-plane crank. But we know what you’re thinking: “Well, this is just the race car, so I’m going to be able to get my V-8 rumble fix from the production car!” Well, yeah, for now. You see, for Chevrolet Racing to run this new DOHC flat-plane crank mill in the C8.R, it has to, according to the rules, run a similar engine in at least 300 production cars. So does this mean that an eventual C8 Z06 variant will lose its iconic exhaust note?

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Chevrolet Racing tried hard to give race fans a great-sounding engine. And although the new 5.5L engine in the C8.R does have a unique sound, it’s nothing like we’ve grown accustomed to.
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Tadge Juechter and the 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible Visit Jay Leno’s Garage

Folks, this is some of the best 55 minutes of TV you can watch!

The 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible with Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter makes a visit with Jay Leno at his Garage out in Sunny California. During that 55 minutes, the new C8 Corvettes are discussed and dissected as only Jay can do, and then he and Tadge go for a ride where the Stingray is tested on the streets.

Jay was at the reveal of the 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe and had the opportunity, albeit limited, to be among the first to drive the new C8 Coupe. This taping of the show with the Convertible Stingray happened roughly 1 week after the Convertile’s reveal at Kennedy Space Center on October 2nd. The car is the same Sebring Orange Convertible that was part of the West Coast reveal that occurred on the same night.

Here’s a pretty good exchange between Jay and Tadge on the C8 Corvette’s starting MSRP of $60,000 (for the Coupe):

Jay: “I think its fantastic and of course the price point is what really freaks people out. I think people were just stunned by that as much as they are by the styling…it was like, What? How can you make it…?”

Tadge: “I think you brought it up before, that would have been a different business strategy, and it would have been a safer business strategy to keep the old car in production, move this one to a higher price point and if you starting a sportscar company from scratch and you wanted to cover all those price points you might do that. But as we were developing this car, we thought ‘you know what, we can go all in’”.

Jay gets an exclusive first drive of the highly anticipated 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible with Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter.

Watch Full length video below,

Originally written by Keith Cornett; Corvette Blogger