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.
Power doesn’t always equal victory.
Forget about the 1960s and 70s; we are truly living in the golden age of the muscle car, where power levels have pierced the stratosphere, and quarter-mile times keep tumbling down at an incredible rate. Cars such as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are best suited to racing in a straight line, but people are just as interested in seeing more dynamically capable cars duke it out on the strip. Two such cars are the Chevrolet Corvette, which is no stranger to the drag strip, and the sonorous Ford Shelby GT350. These two cars are more track-focused, but can still get down in the quarter, and in a YouTube video posted by Driving Line we see these two square up for a bit of a friendly battle.
The Corvette shown here is of the Z51 variety and produces 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter V8. The Z51 package also adds an electronic LSD and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. This allows the C8 Corvette to sprint to sixty in only 2.9 seconds, and cross the quarter-mile in a scant 11.2 seconds. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, on the other hand, is motivated by a 5.2-liter Voodoo V8 that produces 526 hp and 429 lb-ft, but the car in the video has seen some extensive modification. Chris Wise’s GT350 now produces 875 hp thanks to a supercharger, while the C8 ‘Vette remains bone stock. That’s quite the power disadvantage.
After some tight practice rounds, the two cars line up for the official race. The Corvette blasts off the line, leaving the Mustang, which is struggling with traction, in the dust. The Corvette keeps pulling down the track, and by the end of the run the Mustang starts crawling back, but it’s too little, too late. The end result reveals that both cars crossed the line in the 11.8-second range. To then level the playing field, both drivers climb in identical Chevy Sparks, packing 98 hp, and burn down the strip. In a show of skill, the Corvette driver takes the race, proving that sometimes skill (and appropriate weight balance) outweighs power.
The Shelby GT350 is not long for this world: we recently found out it will not be produced for the 2021 model. Perhaps GT350 buyers might want to buy a new Corvette instead.
Michael Butler for Car Buzz
And there’s still more in the tank.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 has been hailed as a performance bargain since it first arrived on the scene, but if you’re saving money on the cost of a car, that just means you have more money left over to make it even faster and better. For some, that can even include altering its appearance for a more exotic look. But while some prefer technical circuit racing, where the C8 excels too, the most popular form of motorsport in America is arguably drag racing. We know that a standard C8 with 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque can clock a 10-second quarter-mile, but now someone has made it into the nines.
Extreme Turbo Systems, a company famous for mind-blowingly powerful Nissan GTRs, has just set a new record for the C8, achieving a time of 9.95 seconds at 144 mph. Naturally, this required some extensive modifications, with the ETS C8 receiving new Mahle pistons Ferrea and valves, Mickey Thompson drag radial tires, a bespoke intercooler with an ice box, and direct port methanol injection. As imperative as these mods are, it’s the addition of Precision turbochargers with 46 millimeter wastegates that truly elevates the ETS C8 to a new level.
With 13 psi of boost, this Stingray produces 872 hp. 18 psi generates 980 horses, and then 20 psi gets the team into quadruple digits with an astonishing 1,021 hp. That’s more than double what the car comes with in stock form.
But as any racing enthusiast will tell you, a dyno run does not prove that your car is fast. Thus, ETS headed to Woodburn Dragstrip to lay down some rubber, and despite battling some launch control and transmission issues, achieved some incredible figures. At 11 psi, a time of 10.49 seconds was achieved at 141 mph. Turned up to 13.5 psi, the C8 managed 10.05 at 145 mph. Being that close to the single digits with no breakages, it only makes sense to turn it up again. Interestingly, although the team achieved 9.95 at 144 mph, this was done with just 15 psi, meaning less than 980 hp. Assuming that transmission and launch issues can be resolved and more power put down, this car may achieve mid-nine-second passes very soon.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
A good balance.
Those are a few of the ways Popular Mechanics describes the 2020 Corvette Stingray, the new mid-engine monster from Chevrolet so good it’s just become that magazine’s Car of the Year.
“So much of what makes Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis the stuff of phone wallpaper fantasy is present” in the new Corvette, Popular Mechanics writes.
Things like a 0 to 60 time of 2.8 seconds “with a pleasantly terrifying exhaust sound.”
With the seats so far forward, the Corvette gives you “that tip-of-the-cruise-missile feeling.”
Even after a week-long test drive, Popular Mechanics says the car never lost its novelty, noting that “it is thrilling to hold the keys to this thing.”
Unlike so many other supercars, the new Corvette is still a practical vehicle, with PM calling it “livable. Actually comfortable.”
With two trunks that hold 13 cubic feet of stuff, the Stingray can fit two week’s worth of groceries for three people.
Even a four-hour trip in heavy traffic and rain was “mostly pleasant,” the magazine reports, with sound dampening materials that “kept the cockpit quiet at highway speeds.”
Even the “strange center bar with the air conditioning controls made sense within just a few miles of our first drive,” PM admitted.
It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows, though, as the magazine did point out a few minor nitpicks with the car.
The overall comfort means that the Corvette “loses some of the vibration that helps you feel feedback from the road, even in its most aggressive drive setting. And as our colleagues at Car and Driver have pointed out, the steering feel doesn’t quite have the precision you get from six figures.”
But with a base price under $60,000, the Corvette more than delivers its money’s worth to owners.
PM says the $100,000 718 Cayman and Spider are “slightly more engaging (though slower) driving experiences” thanks to their six-speed manual transmission over the Corvette’s new dual-clutch automatic.
“But for those of us who like a little utility in a two-seater,” PM says, “the Corvette is a good balance.”
Ironically, the gasoline-powered Corvette breaks a three-year-long streak of electric vehicles earning the Car of the Year award. We wouldn’t be surprised, though, when the rumored E-Ray electric hybrid version of the Corvette debuts in a couple of years or so, if that car doesn’t restore order to the PM universe and win this award again.
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
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
With its exotics looks, mid-engine layout and near 500 horsepower V8 engine, the C8 Corvette Stingray was always going to be a car that attracted rock stars, professional athletes and actors and actresses as owners.
Among the celebrity owners of the new C8 Corvette is KISS rhythm guitarist and co-lead vocalist Paul Stanley. In a post shared with his Facebook fans this week, Stanley had the following to say about his new mid-engine ‘Vette:
“For years the auto industry said “Buy American” (and) I said ‘when you manufacture world-class cars I’ll buy them.’ For me the 2020 Corvette C8 is beyond that. It raises the bar with cutting edge technology. It’s a machine I’m proud to drive AND it’s drop dead GORGEOUS. I LOVE mine!”
Stanley’s C8 Corvette appears to be a Summit White model with the Morello Red interior upholstery and black 5-spoke trident wheels. He also appears to have equipped the ‘Vette with the available Bright Red brake calipers and Carbon Flash painted mirrors but opted against the Z51 performance package, judging by the lack of the lower front splitter.
While Stanley indicates that he has avoided owning American cars in the recent past, this isn’t the first time his name has been associated with the iconic Chevrolet Corvette. Back in 2014, Stanley worked with Chevrolet Accessories to develop the 2015 Corvette Stingray Paul Stanley Concept, which featured candy red exterior paint, a silver painted roof, a silver grille insert, quilted parchment leather seats and more. At the time, Stanley said the C7 Corvette was“undeniable in terms of its aesthetics,” and “a world-class piece of machinery.”
At the time, Chevy’s vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports, Jim Campbell, said Stanley’s passion for cars made him an easy fit for the 2014 collaboration.
“It was great working with Paul Stanley, because of his vision and passion for design and automobiles,” Campbell said.
So there you have it, not only is Paul Stanley a fan of the C8 Corvette – he liked the sports car so much he decided to put one in his garage.
Source: SAM MCEACHERN
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
Appears in Print as: ‘Part 2: Beauty, speed, luxury — 2020 Corvette ‘
Earlier this year, the first installment of eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette sports cars (C8s) from General Motors Co. (GM, Detroit, Mich., U.S.) came rolling off GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., U.S. assembly line. Described as the “fastest, most powerful entry Corvette” in the model’s 67-year history, it’s also the most composites-intensive Corvette, and the first to feature a mid-engine configuration. Not only is the 2020 Corvette Stingray beautiful and fast, but it’s tricked out with a host of luxury features. However, don’t let good looks and fast track times fool you: there’s plenty of composites innovation on this car. CW’s two-part coverage of composites use in this vehicle began in the July 2020 issue. This is part 2.
Body structure: part B
The new Corvette features not one but two trunks that, combined, hold 12.6 cubic-feet/0.36 cubic meters of cargo. Both trunks are produced in 42 wt-% chopped fiberglass/vinyl ester-unsaturated polyester (VE-UP) resin, but use different processes driven by geometry and mechanical requirements. The front trunk (frunk) is compression molded 0.95-specific gravity (SG) “float” sheet molding compound (SMC), while the rear trunk is formed via the proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a liquid compression molding (LCM) variant. The float SMC and the PRiME process were developed by processor Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.). MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
“Although both spaces are characterized by shallow-draft, long-draw walls, the frunk is smaller than the rear trunk, and could be compression molded,” explains Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer. “The rear trunk needed higher mechanical performance and was a tough geometry to fill with an SMC charge. Because the PRiME process lets us change fiber length, we could use longer pre-positioned reinforcement in our preform. Flowing the resin [not the glass] proved the best approach.”
The 2020 Corvette is the first car to use body-structure cavities (integral to the body frame) for air-induction ductwork (above), which is fed by multiple primary cooling paths (below). The car’s naturally aspirated V8 engine needs a lot of air, so it was important to ensure good, unimpeded airflow to keep the engine cool. Source (both images) | General Motors Co.
Clever engineering and a new material were key to cooling the C8’s engine. Multiple primary cooling paths (rear inlets behind each door, front wheelhouse vents, and outboard cooling inlets) feed highly complex induction ducts that funnel air through the vehicle and across the engine, before ejection through aluminum-mesh vents and SMC appliqués on either side of the glass partition that showcases the Corvette engine. The appliqués are made with MFG’s float (0.95-SG) SMC (chopped glass/UP-VE resin). Low in volatile-organic compounds (VOCs), the material reduces emissions and eliminates the need for resonators on rear-induction ducts, while reducing cost and mass (2.4 kilograms) versus alternative technologies.
The massive, customer-visible rear surround frame — 64 by 69 by 24 inches (163 by 175 by 61 centimeters) — that surrounds the rear-half of the passenger compartment is compression molded in toughened 1.2-SG SMC. This hybrid-reinforced material features carbon fiber at 15% fiber-volume fraction (FVF) and glass fiber at 30% FVF, with a low-VOC UP resin, formulated to withstand engine-bay heat. The frame forms the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels, yet flexible design enables it to be used for multiple model variants. Thanks to significant parts consolidation, secondary attachments were eliminated, increasing interior package space, reducing noise/vibration/harshness (NVH), providing better body structure and sealing performance, improving rear-hatch visibility and reducing mass (15%) and cost versus the outgoing frame. “Given the size of this part, which is almost 6 by 6 feet tall and 2 feet deep, we actually had to make the material flow uphill in the mold, so we were all a little worried on that first shot,” Basela recalls.
The very-large, customer-visible rear surround frame provides the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels. Each half of the mold in which the part is formed weighs ~35,000 pounds/15,900 kilograms and was produced by Century Tool, a division of Tooling Tech Group (Fenton, Mich., U.S.). The compression press itself has 2,800 tonnes clamping pressure and a platen that measures 108 by 68 inches (274 by 173 centimeters). Despite its size, cycle time is
Equally interesting is the bulkhead (mid-window frame), which was custom-formulated by MFG to resolve high heat and noise challenges, since this portion of the cabin sits directly over the V8 engine. Fiberglass reinforcement combined with beryllium graphite filler in low-VOC VE-UP resin deadens sound transmission into the passenger compartment so effectively that it eliminated the need for secondary sound-deadening countermeasures. That, in turn, reduced costs, increased interior package space and passenger comfort, and improved body sealing and NVH. “With a specific gravity of 2.2, this is the first composite part I’ve ever been asked to add mass to rather than take it out,” laughs Basela.
Closures and trim
Exterior body panels are all bonded (inner/outer), painted, toughened 1.2-SG SMC (22-28% FVF fiberglass/UP resin, depending on component) from Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a Teijin Group company (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.). By bolting on composite closures, GM achieves the C8’s aggressive styling, aerodynamics and functional cooling integration, with cost-effective lightweighting on multiple model variants using common parts. All body panels are painted inline on a “skuk system” in vehicle position, using Bowling Green’s innovative robotic wet-sanding process.
Rear service doors are molded from toughened SMC and feature a high-temperature, foam-in-place silicone gasket that provides a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance while handling long-term exposure to engine-bay heat. Another composite — heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized aramid fabric — is used as a heat shield to provide extra thermal protection on door interiors. | SPE Automotive Div.
Another innovation involves use of a one-part, thixotropic silicone elastomeric foam gasket applied to the back side of SMC service doors, which are located in the rear trunk (one on coupés, two on convertibles), and permit customer access to the air-filter system. Owing to proximity to the engine bay, the high-performance foam-in-place
(FIP) elastomer (Silastic 3-8186 from Dow, Inc., Midland, Mich., U.S.) was specified to survive continuous-use temperatures up to 392°F/200°C while providing a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance, even after repeated open/close cycles. GM reports that most other die-cut foams and gaskets would either have melted or broken down under continuous exposure to such temperatures. After dispensing, the applied gasket is heat-treated at 167°F/75°C for 10 minutes to expand the foam, eliminating die-cutting cost and waste. The doors themselves are toughened SMC (42% FVF glass in a VE-UP matrix). Heat shields, produced by Gentex Corp. (Carbondale, Pa., U.S.) using heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized Kevlar aramid fabrics (fiber from DuPont de Nemours, Inc., Wilmington, Del., U.S.), provide door interiors with extra thermal protection.
The new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray from General Motors Co. is said to be the fastest, most powerful entry-level Corvette in the model’s 67-year history. It’s also the most composites-intensive, with a host of innovative technology. | General Motors Co.
GM also used its second-generation, fully automated precision wheel-balance system on the C8. Developed with The 3M Co. (St. Paul, Minn., U.S.) and ESYS Automation (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.), the high-density (5.8-SG) composite wheel weights with tailored magnetic properties replaced traditional stamped metallic weights in painted steel, zinc or lead that have specific mass and must be hand-applied to wheels.
The new system uses large spools of extruded tape with adhesive backing that contain 67% by volume post-industrial, corrosion-resistant, fully recyclable steel alloy in a fluoropolymer base. The automated system examines each wheel, then cuts and applies custom-weight tape segments in smaller, more precise increments to improve ride and reduce tire wear. It also reduces assembly time and cost, simplifies inventory, eliminates scrap and labor and is offered in more colors than metal weights.
Coupé roofs are available in three trim levels: painted, low-density toughened SMC (from CSP); clear, hard-coated polycarbonate (PC); and clear-coated/exposed-weave carbon fiber composite with painted edges (from deBotech Inc., Mooresville, N.C.). CSP also supplies several Class A, toughened 1.2-SG SMC panels for convertible-model retractable-roof systems.
Additional Corvette beauty shots. Source | General Motors Co.
Other exterior trim panels include painted thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) front fascia upper and lower, the latter with integrated ducts to direct air to brakes (Z51 package only) and outboard heat exchangers. Outer grille and brake cooling vents are painted acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
The upper rear fascia is molded-in-color (MIC) TPO, but the lower rear fascia assembly is Class A painted, 1.2-SG SMC (glass/UP resin), owing to the part’s close proximity to hot exhaust tips. SMC’s excellent mechanical performance enabled GM to design an unsupported short rear overhang and use larger spacings between attachments without sagging. SMC also spreads loads efficiently over a larger area during low-speed rear crashes than thermoplastics. Brackets and rear parking-assist sensors are bonded to the SMC. This is said to be the first time SMC bumper fascias have been used on high-volume vehicles.
Rear-hatch appliqués feature painted PC/ABS for the upper panel, SMC with aluminum mesh for side vents and an SMC lower appliqué to accommodate thermal loading directly over the engine. These SMC panels are produced by LyondellBasell’s Quantum Composites Inc. (Bay City, Mich., U.S.). Door-handle release switches are PC/ABS, while the rear air-intake vent is SMC. The base car sports a blowmolded, painted ABS spoiler and the rear air-exit grille is injection molded painted ABS. A-pillar and header appliqués are painted ABS, as are exterior side-view mirror caps and radiator inlet grilles. Depending on the option package, a toughened SMC front underwing and either a blowmolded TPO or carbon fiber composite front splitter/diffuser — clear-coated/visible-weave carbon/epoxy produced by deBotech using prepreg from Solvay Composite Materials (Alpharetta, Ga., U.S.) — contribute additional aerodynamic stability. A rear diffuser in toughened SMC mates to the SMC lower rear fascia in Class A painted SMC from MFG.
The premium carbon fiber trim package features various clear-coated/visible weave carbon fiber accents inside and out, including mirror caps, front grille insert, front splitter, accessory wing, engine-compartment covers, interior door switch plates, rocker moldings, instrument-panel cluster bezel, door-handle covers, quarter appliqués and ride-control plate. These components are produced by deBotech, SMI Composites LLC (Comer, Ga., U.S.) and Plasan Carbon Composites (Wixom, Mich., U.S.).
The Corvette is not only fast and beautiful but contains a host of creature comforts. For composites aficionados, the premium carbon-trim upgrade adds numerous clear-coated/visible-weave carbon fiber composite accents to exterior and interior surfaces, such as the ride-control plate shown here. | General Motors Co.
The 2020 Corvette has already won many prestigious industry awards, including 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year, 2020 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive supplier Contributions to Excellence) Partnership Award, and several awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), including 2019 Vehicle Engineering Team Award. “Although the new Stingray’s mid-engine architecture has dominated headlines, no matter where the engine is — in front of or behind the driver — for eight generations, Corvettes have always advanced the state of the art in automotive materials technology,” adds Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. “Advancing technology is at the heart of what we do.”
The Gulf livery’s iconic colors make an appearance.
We’re quickly approaching the first anniversary of Chevy’s introduction of the 2020 Corvette C8, which happened on July 18. Now, less than two weeks ahead of that date, the Chevy Corvette’s official Facebook page shared a short, 14-second teaser video that hints at something new for the Corvette for the 2021 model year.
The post says, “It’s time to earn some new racing stripes,” while the quick-hitting teaser hints at what Chevy is “Adding to the [Corvette’s] legacy.” However, we have no idea what that means exactly. The teaser shows off some stylized Corvette footage with colored stripes crisscrossing the video. There are also four overhead shots of striped Corvettes that flash on the screen. Two are black, one with a pair of red stripes while the other has yellow ones. There’s a blue-on-white one, and another that mimics the iconic blue-and-orange Gulf livery.
For as much fanfare as the 2020 Corvette created, the Stingray model the automaker introduced was just the beginning. We expect Chevy to add more high-performance models to the Corvette lineup, like the Z06. But we don’t think Chevy is ready to reveal that top-tier model just yet. Instead, we’d bet that Chevy is planning to introduce a new appearance package, or packages, that help enhance the car’s appearance. It could be similar to the Competition Sport package Chevy introduced for the 2009 Corvette C6.
We know for sure that Chevy still has a ton of Corvette excitement to reveal going forward. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next Z06, and the numerous spy photos and videos don’t help. We know it should pack a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 that’ll leapfrog the Stingray in power, performance, and price. We don’t expect that model to arrive until the 2022 model year, so until then, we can look forward to Chevy’s latest, which the automaker should reveal soon.
Source: Chevrolet Corvette / Facebook
General Motors said Wednesday it will keep the price of its 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray the same as the introductory 2020 model.
The 2021 Corvette, which goes on sale late in the fourth quarter, will start at $59,995, matching this year’s model, which is about a $4,000 increase over the 2019 Corvette. Comparatively, the mid-engine Porsche 718 Cayman starts at $61,250. All prices include destination charges.
There will also be some new content in the 2021 model, GM said.
“Our mission was to develop a new sports car, combining the successful attributes of Corvette with the performance and driving experience of mid-engine supercars,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer. “We are thrilled with the enthusiasm the mid-engine Corvette brought following its launch and are keeping it fresh with new content for the 2021 model.”
Here is what will be new on the 2021 Corvette:
- Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension, which is new for non-Z51 models.
- Standard wireless Apple CarPlay/wireless Android auto
- Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat exterior color
- Silver Flare Metallic exterior color
- Sky Cool Gray/Yellow Strike interior color
- New full-length dual racing stripe package colors: blue, orange, red and yellow
- Stinger Stripes in three colors: Carbon Flash/Edge Red, Carbon Flash/Edge Yellow and Carbon Flash/Midnight Silver
- Driver mode on-screen visualization and new track digital tachometer
- Standard Buckle To Drive, a safety technology that, when active, can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of park if the driver’s seat belt is not buckled for up to 20 seconds
GM will also offer on the next-generation car Chevrolet’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to allow for faster shifting and more power.
Here are some other engine features on the 2021 model:
- Engine: 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 with direct injection, variable valve timing and active fuel management
- Transmission: eight-speed dual-clutch with manual and automatic modes
- Six modes of Driver Mode Selector — Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, and MyMode and Z Mode customizable modes
- Brakes: four-wheel antilock, four-wheel disc, four-piston calipers (12.6-inch front rotors, 13.3-inch rear rotors)
- NEW: Available Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension. It reads the road better, providing more precise data.
- Available Z51 Performance Package: brakes, suspension, exhaust among other features
- Z51 Performance with Magnetic Selective Ride Control, includes Performance Traction Management
- Front lift: adjustable height with memory
Jamie L. LaReau Detroit Free Press
Corvette Racing’s 100th victory in IMSA competition has been coming for more than two years. The last one came in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April 2018.
Tonight, the iconic American sports car team’s drought finally ended, appropriately enough, on the Fourth of July at Daytona International Speedway. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor will go down in the history books as the driver pairing to deliver the milestone victory – also the first for the revolutionary, midengined C8.R race car – in the No. 3 Velocity Yellow machine.
Fuel strategy was the name of the game in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class tonight at Daytona. And while every car in the class led at one point or another throughout the evening, it was the No. 3 team that hit the strategy just right.
Garcia won the high-speed game of musical chairs by 1.977 seconds ahead of defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champion Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19.
“The engineers spotted very early how close we’d have been with fuel and how early we should start working on that,” Garcia said. “Jordan did a great job and saved a lot there and I saved another one. We didn’t know about the 912. We didn’t know if they could make it or if we were fighting them and the 911.
“We were expecting the Porsche to follow the 4 car (Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin), but we realized it was a fight. As soon as I had an opportunity early in the stint when I knew my tires were good, I waited for Earl to make a little mistake, and because I was able to follow very close I took advantage of that position. After that I worked my way through traffic really, really well.”
It was Taylor’s first GTLM win after moving from his father’s Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi team to the Corvette factory program this season. The significance of the Independence Day victory wasn’t lost on him either.
“It’s obviously very special,” Taylor said. “I was Antonio’s third driver for so many years and we finished second at Sebring, and Petit and Le Mans, and had so many podiums. It’s great to finally get a win with Antonio. And to get a win on the Fourth of July in an American car and being an American driver is pretty sweet.”
Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor finished second, matching their result from January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. The same can be said for No. 911 Porsche co-drivers Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki, who claimed their second straight third-place trophies in Daytona’s Victory Lane.
A member of the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com is offering even more proof that Corvette production has returned pretty much back to normal by sharing Saturdays shipping manifests of new 2020 Corvette Stingrays headed to dealerships. Each Jack Cooper Transporter can hold a maximum of 10 new C8 Corvettes and so this batch of 10 transports contains just under 100 cars which is nearly identical to one shift’s production totals.
From the printouts we see the VIN sequence numbers range from #805 to #4126 which was just completed last week. The cars are sorted by destination and the trucks will soon be headed to Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland. The NCM is receiving two trucks and one load will be headed north to Canada.
There are going to be some very happy Corvette owners next week! If one of these is yours, let us know in the comments below!
To find the shipping status of your 2020 Corvette, go to https://www.palsapp.com/, then click on the search icon on the top right of the page (looks like a magnifying glass). Enter your VIN and click the search icon to the right of the input field.
General Motors and Honda have announced they will produce around 12,000 gallons of hand sanitizer that will be provided to workers at their respective production facilities.
The hand sanitizer is being produced by both companies through their joint Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) partnership. The hand sanitizer is being made at the Brownstown, Michigan facility where the GM-Honda FCSM team has been working on to develop fuel-cell fuel stacks for the next generation of hydrogen-powered road cars. Honda says the sanitizer is made using an “apparatus designed to manufacture the electrodes used in the fuel cells,” that was repurposed.
“It is inspiring to see how the automotive industry continues to find new and innovative ways to help society during this crisis,” said Honda North America general counsel Cathy McEvilly. “The commitment shown by Honda associates and their counterparts at GM is a source of pride to us and we are happy to provide something to help the brave health care professionals fighting this pandemic every day.”
Honda also said it will donate 75 percent of the hand sanitizer to healthcare facilities and other places that may be in need of it and will keep 25 percent for Honda North America workers. It has already sent some bottles of the sanitizer to ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, Memorial Health in Marysville, Ohio, and the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, Michigan.
GM and Honda formed the FCSM partnership back in 2013 and, more recently, announced a collaboration on electric vehicles as well. Under the new EV partnership, Honda will use GM’s new BEV3 electric vehicle platform an Ultium battery technology in its future line of EVs and will also incorporate other GM technology such as OnStar and Super Cruise.
“This collaboration will put together the strength of both companies, while combined scale and manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers,” executive vice president of American Honda, Rick Schostek, said in a statement previously.
SAM MCEACHERN for GM Authority
here and in Part 2 next month.
here and in Part 2 next month.
New engine configuration changes everything
GM engineering went into preliminary design knowing they’d be working on a mid-engine vehicle — the first production Corvette in eight generations to sport that configuration. “We evolved the front-engine architecture as far as we could for performance, so shifting to a mid-engine design was the next logical step to improve an already great car and be the segment leader,” explains GM’s Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. Equipped with the Z51 performance package, the 2020 Corvette Stingray can accelerate 0-60 mph (0-97 kmh) in 2.9 seconds and reach top speeds of 194 mph (312 kmh). Pushing the engine toward the vehicle’s rear affected many things, including the car’s center of gravity, the relative position of occupants, transmission location and design of underbody panels and trunk storage. The mid-engine design also introduced higher operating temperatures and noise to new areas of the car.
The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette — all eight generations (C1-C8) shown above, left to right respectively — from General Motors Co. started production earlier this year. This mid-engine sports car is not only impressively fast, and the most composites-intensive Corvette yet, but it features an array of genuinely innovative composites applications. Source | General Motors Co.
“Because of the mid-engine, we had to do things differently,” explains Ed Moss, Corvette body structure engineering group manager. “From the start, we had so many discussions about how to lay out the body structure. At one point, everything was on the table as we discussed the best way to design and build each system. For example, we debated metallic versus composite for wheelhouses. If we’d kept the C7’s composite wheelhouses, we’d have to bond to the hinge pillar [A pillar], which is immediately adjacent to the front wheel in a mid-engine vehicle, leaving very little package space. We went with metal there. We even briefly discussed metal versus composite body panels. However, it would’ve been economically infeasible to create the C8’s styling lines in metallics.”
“A real challenge we faced was how to handle air induction,” recalls Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer, explaining the need for a different method to funnel cooling air into and across the naturally aspirated, 495-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine, which generates 470 foot-pounds (637 Newton-meters) of torque. “We tried all kinds of designs that forced air to take really torturous paths, creating eddies and flows we didn’t want. It took lots of iterative work with the powertrain team to develop the best path for airflow because the car needs to breathe freely with no restriction. We also needed access to the air box and had to work around rear trunk space. Another issue was heat and engine noise in the passenger compartment, because occupants no longer sit behind the engine but are positioned directly in front of it. And we were especially conscious of cabin air quality as laws had changed in Europe and elsewhere since the C7, so we worked really hard to reduce VOCs [volatile organic compounds].”
“Even working out how to assemble the car was a challenge,” adds Moss. “With a front-engine design, you have a long hood and large engine compartment, providing operators plenty of room to build the car from inside the compartment, even with the front bumper beam already welded on. On the mid-engine Corvette, with its very short front clip, we keep the front of the car open as the vehicle is built out, then bolt on the front bumper.”
“It was quite a balancing act to get the proper shapes, while ensuring our suppliers could produce the parts and our team in Bowling Green [GM’s Kentucky-based Corvette assembly plant] could assemble them,” continues Basela. “In the end, there was only one carryover composite from the C7’s body to the C8.” This was tough Class A, 1.2 specific gravity (SG) sheet molding compound (SMC) developed for the 2016 Corvette and used in a variety of exterior closures on the new vehicle.
For four generations (C5-C8), Corvettes have featured a three-layer, multi-material body structure: the frame, usually a mix of aluminum or steel — this time with a carbon fiber-reinforced composite (CFRP) part; the body structure, which is largely bonded composite to capitalize on design and manufacturing flexibility; plus bolt-on closeouts (body panels), which have been composite since Covette’s June 1953 debut. This layered hybrid structure not only provides affordable lightweighting in high production volumes — particularly for cars of this performance class — but also permits multiple vehicle variants to be produced at low tooling investment. In fact, for the current C8, GM managed to produce all Class A composite body panels (bonded inners and outers) on both the base model coupé and convertible using just 20 tools.
GM and its suppliers have already won many awards for innovative composites use on the 2020 Corvette Stingray. Among those standing above are key GM engineering team members at last November’s 49th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, where GM won SPE Automotive Div.’s Vehicle Engineering Team Award. A number of composite parts on the vehicle also were finalists or category winners at the event. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
In addition, Corvettes have always been engineered with an open-roof architecture, regardless of whether they are actually convertibles or coupés with fixed or removable roof panels. Because open-roof vehicles are generally less stiff than those with fixed roofs, an important focus for each Corvette’s engineering is always to create the stiffest foundation possible to improve suspension and steering. Historically, tunnels(housing transmissions and driveshafts on front-engine vehicles) have dominated Corvette body structures and have been key enablers for achieving high torsional rigidity. In the case of the new Corvette, GM achieved even higher rigidity. With the roof removed, the C8 body is 53.78% stiffer than a benchmark high-performance mid-engine competitor, 29.27% stiffer than a second high-performance mid-engine competitor, and 13.79% stiffer than the C7. Two composite parts made important contributions to vehicle stiffness—one directly attached to the frame structure (rear bumper beam) and another attached to the underbody (lower tunnel closeout).
The C8’s frame is largely aluminum alloy with one CFRP part developed to meet GM’s stringent dollar-per-kilogram targets. In contrast, the C7 frame was all-aluminum and the C6 was mostly steel.
The only composite part directly mounted to the frame that travels with the body-in-white (BIW) through the electrophoretic rust-coat process (which GM calls ELPO), is a unique CFRP rear bumper beam. This part helps stiffen the frame and contributes to rear-impact performance. Its curved shape — possible thanks to a novel process called radius pultrusion developed by Thomas GmbH + Co. Technik + Innovation KG (TTI, Bremervörde, Germany) — enables it to match rear styling cues and fit in limited package space while maintaining dimensional integrity close to engine-bay heat. As the auto industry’s first curved pultruded part (see our full feature on this part in the CW May 2020 issue), the hollow, two-chambered beam was produced by Shape Corp. (Grand Haven, Mich., U.S.) on equipment developed and built by TTI. The beam weighs just 1.3 kilograms and features a bonded/bolted tow-hook eye capable of 25 kilonewtons of pull-out force.
An auto industry first, the 2020 Corvette sports a curved rear bumper beam in pultruded carbon fiber composite produced with 87 individual carbon tows and eight carbon fiber non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) impregnated with polyurethane-acrylate resin. The hollow, two-chambered beam is 66% lighter than the outgoing aluminum beam and met GM’s demanding dollar-per-kilogram targets. Source | Shape Corp.
Body Structure: part A
Virtually all of the C8’s body structure components are composite and are bonded and/or bolted to the frame after the latter undergoes ELPO. Notable composite parts at this level include structural underbody closures and the floor — which we’ll cover in this issue — and front and rear trunks, induction ducts and the rear surround and bulkhead — which we’ll cover, along with body panels and trim, next month.
This hybrid-composite, lower-tunnel closeout is produced using a variant of liquid compression molding. It eliminated secondary attachments, lowered mass by 3 kilograms and reduced labor, tooling and capital costs vs. aluminum. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
The removable lower-tunnel structural closeout on the C8, which acts as an access door, contributes more than 10% of the vehicle’s torsional rigidity and acts as a primary load path during a crash. This hybrid-composite panel consists of three layers of glass fiber preform. These consist of continuous/woven and chopped/random fibers at 38% fiber volume fraction (FVF), with veils added to top and bottom face layers on each stack for improved surface finish. Glass preforms are interleaved with two layers of preforms made using Toray (Tokyo, Japan) T700 12K standard-modulus carbon fiber in the form of NCF biaxial fabric at 21% FVF and a vinyl ester (VE) matrix. The closeout is produced by Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.) using its proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a type of liquid compression molding (LCM).
Aside from a single aluminum closeout near the rear wheels that is part of the engine cradle, the remaining underbody panels consist of either compression molded SMC or injection molded thermoplastics. Among other benefits, these panels reduce underbody turbulence and drag, improve fuel efficiency and keep moisture, dust and stones out of the vehicle’s engine and driveline. Further, they provide the dimensional foundation for multiple exterior and interior interfaces.
The low-density but structural SMC panels feature new formulations (in this case, 40% FVF chopped fiberglass/unsaturated polyester (UP) resin) developed by MFG. The material is called “float” SMC because each panel’s density is less than 1.0 (average SG=0.97) and thus can float in water. MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
An important contributor to vehicle lightweighting on the C8 is the extensive use of “float” SMC. With specific gravity values less than 1.0, this low-density but structural SMC developed by MFG is used in a variety of non-Class A parts, including underbody panels, the dash panel, air-induction ductwork and the front trunk. Source | Molded Fiber Glass Co.
The vehicle also sports a hybrid floor optimized for torsional bending and side-pole impact protection (engaging the rocker panels and tunnel, to which it is joined). Floor panels feature cabin-facing stamped aluminum bonded to sheets of road-facing 1.5-SG composite (60 wt-% continuous and woven glass fiber/VE) produced via the PRiME process. Before heat-bonding both layers with Pliogrip 9100 polyurethane structural adhesive from Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (Wilmington, Del., U.S.), MFG cleans and preps the materials.
All composite parts directly bonded to the C8 frame are first subjected to laser ablation, a process developed by GM, MFG and Adapt Laser Systems LLC (Kansas City, Mo., U.S.) for the 2016 Corvette, and adapted from a composites industry method for mold cleaning. Laser ablation replaces hand sanding and reduces labor, time and cost, eliminates dust and improves repeatability. Laser path, angle of attack and energy level are customizable for each part’s material and geometry. To maximize manufacturing flexibility, the entire underbody, including the floor, is connected to the frame and itself via bonding and screws.
In the August issue of CW, we’ll continue covering composites innovation on the new Corvette, resuming with additional components at the body structures level and finishing with exterior closures (body panels), plus additional trim and upgrades.
Peggy Malnati for Composites World
Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent his whole life chasing meaningful rewards.
He waited for a pat on the back from his famous father, worked diligently to generate compliments from crew members and other drivers, and reveled in the roar of his fans — those he inherited from his father and the new ones he brought along for the ride.
NASCAR’s longtime fan favorite received the sport’s biggest honor Tuesday, when he was selected to join his father in the series’ Hall of Fame. Earnhardt will be inducted in Charlotte, North Carolina, along with the late Mike Stefanik and 87-year-old Red Farmer, who is planning to race on Talladega’s dirt track this weekend. Ralph Seagraves was named the Landmark Award winner for his contributions to the sport.
Despite never winning a series championship, Earnhardt received 76% of the votes cast on the modern era ballot.
“Just talking about it, it’s really emotional because I feed off affirmation,” he said wistfully. “It’s such a great feeling to know people think I made an impact. I know what my numbers are, and I feel like I was chosen because of that, but also for the impact I made off the track, being an ambassador for the sport.”
Junior’s grandfather, Ralph, went into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Junior’s father, The Intimidator, also made the list, even before finishing his career with 76 wins and a record-tying seven Cup titles.
The team-owning father gave Dale Jr. his first big break: a full-time ride in the Busch Series in 1998. It didn’t take long for Junior to prove he was a natural — on and off the track.
He won Busch championships in each of his first two seasons and two races as a rookie Cup driver in 2000.
When the elder Earnhardt was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500, Junior suddenly found himself in a place he never imagined.
“I knew when Dad died, I was going to assume most if not all of his fan base, and I feel like I took care of that,” he said. “I didn’t squander that, I didn’t ruin that, and I also introduced myself to a lot of people who never heard of Dale Earnhardt.”
Suddenly, the brash, 26-year-old Earnhardt emerged as the face of the sport and started adding his chapter to the family legacy. He won 26 races — including two Daytona 500s and the 2001 Pepsi 400, the first Cup race held at Daytona after his father’s death — before retiring as a full-time Cup driver following the 2017 season.
Fans watched to see if he could replicate the fearless style that made his father so popular. But Junior never tried to compete with that image.
“There was a point in my career where I started to think I’m not going to win seven championships; I might not even win one. I’m not going to win 100 races; I might not even win 40,” he said. “There were a lot of people that wanted me to be as successful as he was and be as aggressive as he was and spin people out or whatever. So I started to think about what I could do outside of that and what else I could do to help the sport.”
Junior introduced new fans to stock car racing through different news outlets, social media and podcasts. The result: 15 consecutive Most Popular Driver awards.
Stefanik won seven titles in NASCAR’s modified series and two more in the Busch North series. His nine total championships are tied with that of Richie Evans for the most in NASCAR history, and Stefanik was named the second-greatest driver in modified history in 2003.
Stefanik, who died from injuries sustained in a plane crash in September in Connecticut at age 61, edged Ricky Rudd for the second spot on the ballot with 49% of the vote.
“Phenomenal when you think about what he did. Nine championships,” Kyle Petty said during NBCSN’s announcement show. “Phenomenal record, phenomenal amount of wins.”
The 87-year-old Farmer won four Late Model Sportsman season titles and an estimated 700 to 900 races. He was a member of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers and became a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004. This week, with the big series returning to Talladega, he’s scrambling to put together a car for two nights of racing on the dirt track across the street.
“I had a little fender bender in a 40-lapper last weekend,” he said. “They had a three- or four-car pileup right in front of me, and I slid into it and messed up the nose pretty good. So I’m getting my backup car ready.”
An executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Seagraves helped spearhead Winston’s decision to sponsor NASCAR’s premier series from 1971 to 2003. Winston’s financial support allowed many tracks to upgrade their facilities, and the season-long points fund bolstered purses for drivers and teams.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Thanks to our friends at the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com, we’ve got two different confirmations that newly completed 2020 Corvettes are once again shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green
The shipping confirmation comes from the Jack Cooper Transport website. Owners can post their VIN into the search box and it returns the shipping manifest.
Yesterday, the National Corvette Museum received four new 2020 Corvettes while another shipping manifest shows 2020 Corvettes with VINs ranging from 2814 to 3354 heading to multiple Chevy dealers in the midwest.
Thanks to some of the sleuths on the MECF, we also see a few CTF Convertibles heading up to the Detroit area:
This is great news for customers who have been “patiently” waiting for shipping of the new 2020 C8 Corvettes for the first time since the Corvette Assembly Plant reopened on May 26th after being closed for two months due to the coronavirus.
How to Track Your 2020 Corvette
CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn previously wrote this post on how to Track the Shipping of your C8 Corvette via Jack Cooper. To find the shipping status of your 2020 Corvette, go to https://www.palsapp.com/, then click on the search icon on the top right of the page (looks like a magnifying glass). Enter your VIN and click the search icon to the right of the input field.
Many gearheads have a strange affinity to Hot Wheels. Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the company, but never asked.
Toy cars can be divided into two categories: Hot Wheels and everybody else. For over 50 years, Mattel has dominated with what is now recognized as the best-selling toy in the world. It’s impossible to count how many car buffs, from mechanics to real race stars to TV personalities, grew up playing with these cars. Whether it was just a few models or massive collections, Hot Wheels has been part of car culture for decades and is never going to stop. Whether it’s a simple model or some fancy licensed vehicle, Hot Wheels simply enthralls.
Yet it’s incredible how some people are unaware of the facts of the company and its history. From its unique origins to how these cars are put together, the story behind Hot Wheels is fascinating. There are also touches from how some of these cars are more expensive than real ones to some unique touches on the culture. Here are 20 amazing facts about Hot Wheels to prove they’re more than just “kids toys.”‘
20/20 Real-Life Hot Wheels Jump Was A World Record
Growing up a massive Hot Wheels fan, racer Tanner Foust decided to honor them in a fun way. At the 2011 Indy 500, Foust talked the management into seeing up a massive orange ramp and raced down it in a rally car.
After 90 feet of track, Foust sailed 332 feet, the longest record for such a move. He topped it by driving through a 66-foot loop in 2012 to live out the dreams of every kid.
19 Technology In Car Building Is Amazing…
Making toys has become a very high-tech business today. Just like real car companies, Hot Wheels has adapted to the 21st century nicely. Computers and 3-D technology are utilized to make sure the designs are perfected before the building begins.
It also helps them keep on top of the latest car trends to ensure that today’s Hot Wheels are sleeker and more natural than the ones of the past.
18 But They’re Still Diecast
There are many toy car lines out there, but Hot Wheels is still the king of the bunch. The key reason is that, for all the advances in technology, every car is still diecast and built mostly by hand.
Even when cheaper materials are available, Mattel knows the diecast is what the fans want. It’s also helped in making customized cars at home for popular models. After 50 years, Mattel doesn’t want to mess with success and do away with diecast.
17 They’ve Worked With NASA
Hot Wheels have done a few astronaut-themed toys over the years. But that’s not the only connection they have with NASA. In 1998, they were able to work with the agency to create an exact replica of the Mars Rover, which landed on the Red Planet that very year.
They also worked with them in 2012 for scale models of the Curiosity rover. It’s amazing how the company got access to top-secret plans to make these toys.
16 Collectors Take It Seriously
Some may dismiss Hot Wheels as “just for kids.” But collectors take it more seriously than real automobiles. The 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb (only 16 prototypes were made) is known to go for at least $15,000.
Some rare models can go for a hundred grand, and collectors are always on the lookout for unique mint models. Entire museums are devoted to various cars as some Hot Wheels collections put legit car collectors to shame.
15 Scaling Down The Cars Was Tricky
A key to the company’s success is that they work with scores of real car companies to get looks at plans for their toy models. Yet it’s not so simple as just “make a smaller version.” The biggest challenge is to achieve the proper scale for the toys in a diecast model yet retain the details of the actual car.
That can be complex with some fancy vehicles. That every model has to be sized to fit the same tracks just adds to why it takes as long developing a toy car as a real one.
14 NASCAR Star Has The Record For The Longest Track
Ever since the Hot Wheels tracks were created, fans have been trying to top themselves making the most extended and most complex. A few have achieved great ones, but it’s fitting a NASCAR star holds the record for the longest.
In 2019, Joey Logano unveiled a 1,941-foot long track stretched across his garage. It weaves through his car collection with 1222 boosters before ending in Logano’s own 2018 HW Ford Mustang. Add yet another title to Logano’s list of accolades.
13 They Made A Car Coated In Diamonds
In 2008, Mattel made a big deal of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Hot Wheels line. As a special reward, Mattel had Jasons of Beverly Hills craft the most expensive Hot Wheels car on the planet.
Cast in 18-karat gold, it’s covered with 2700 diamonds and gems totaling nearly $150,000 today. It’s become a rotating exhibit at toy museums for the glitziest Hot Wheels you could see.
12 The Darth Car Is A Speed Machine
While they do stick to toys, the company has been busy creating some real-sized cars for collectors. One of the most notable is based on Darth Vader, with the hood looking like his fearsome helmet and in jet black.
This isn’t just for show as it’s based on a C5 Corvette with a GM LS3 V-8 engine capable of 526 hp and 150 mph. The Dark Lord of the Sith would be proud of this powerful craft.
11 Every Car Is Tested To Make Sure It Can Run A Track
Almost from the beginning, Hot Wheels car fans had to have a track with the cars. They’ve gone from straight lines to elaborate roller-coaster-like loop systems to leave kids entertained for hours.
What few realize is that the track determines if a car makes it as Mattel prides itself on “every car can fit every track.” More than once, a prototype has to be altered when it won’t fit as the track decides a car’s final form.
10 There Are More Hot Wheels Cars Than Real Cars
While it’s tricky to figure out for sure, most sources agree there are at least one billion cars on the planet (give or take a few hundred thousand in auto graveyards). In contrast, since 1968, six billion Hot Wheels cars have been created.
True, many have been trashed and/or recycled, and it’s impossible to count how many have been lost in backyards. But given how 16 cars are produced every second, it’s no shock the toys outnumber the real deals.
9 Several Creators Are Legit Car Designers
The one constant of Hot Wheels is that the cars look just as good as the real deal. There’s an excellent reason for that as scores of the manufacturers are legitimate car designers. Larry Wood was a veteran of Ford before becoming one of the first Hot Wheels designers.
He’s not alone as Jack Ryan was a rocket designer who crafted the bearings that made the cars so great. Scores of the car designers were in real automobiles first, so it’s no wonder the vehicles look so good.
8 The Original Camaro Is Worth A Fortune
Mint conditions of the Original 16 Hot Wheels releases are all pretty collectible items. But one dominates from the pack. While versions of a Camaro were produced, a few had white enamel paint.
They had been meant to discover flaws in a prototype but accidentally released. A mint version of one went for a hundred thousand dollars and made this one of the most expensive toys on the planet
7 They Released A Custom Corvette Before GM Did
An early standout for the company at a custom Corvette in 1968. What made it notable was that the toy was released before GM had their actual Corvette in car dealerships.
The fact designer Harry Bradley had worked at GM indicates he may have “borrowed” the designs before he left to allow Mattel to beat GM to releasing a Corvette to the masses.
6 The Red Stripes Are Expensive
If you find what looks like an old Hot Wheels car, take a good look at the wheels. If they have red stripes, then you’ve just found a fantastic collector’s item. From 1968 to 1977, designers hand-painted red lines onto the wheels to make the cars look distinctive.
As a cost-cutting measure, they switched to all-black wheels in 1978. Some mint condition red-striped vehicles have been known to go for thousands online.
5 One Of The Original Cars Was Based On A Car With No Doors
The first wave of Hot Wheels was just 16 cars, and any of them can be valuable today. One is notable, the 1965 Dodge Deora. This car boasted no doors but rather a hatch for folks to crawl into.
It was based on a fun design used by Mike and Larry Alexander but in an irony, no real Dodge Deoras were built, to make this a truly unique model
4 A Tie-In Cartoon Got Pulled By The FCC
Today, cartoons based on toy lines are commonplace. But in 1969, Hot Wheels got in trouble when they put out a cartoon series about some teenage car drivers. Despite good messages, the show was hit by complaints about being a “half-hour commercial.”
The FCC agreed, and it was yanked off the air. The company was just ahead of their time with a cartoon tie-in for a hit toy line.
3 There’s A Fight On Where The Name Came From
Much of Hot Wheels is shrouded in myth, and that includes just where the name comes from. The familiar story is that when Eliot Handler saw the first models from designer Fred Adickes, he remarked: “those are some hot wheels you’ve got there.”
Another version is that Handler just blurted the name out in a meeting with a designer. Regardless, it just stuck to become one of the most popular toys on the planet.
2 They’re Number One…Because They Remain So Cheap
In the ranks of the most popular toys on the planet, Hot Wheels dominates. They’re not just the biggest toy vehicle sellers but also the number one selling toy in the entire world. The reason is that in many markets, the cars can still go for only a dollar each.
True, they can be put out in packs, and some nations charging a few bucks more. But many stores do sell the cars for less than a bottle of water, which is the reason they are so dominant.
1 Its Creator Was Married To Barbie’s Creator
Elliott and Ruth Handler were the First Couple of the toy world. The two had founded Mattel as a picture frame company in 1945. While making a dollhouse, Ruth decided to craft a series of dolls she named Barbie.
It was an instant hit to make Mattel a success. Elliott then realized how a toy car line could be great for boys to craft what would become Hot Wheels. The two remained together until Ruth’s death in 2002 (Elliott passed on nine years later) to be icons of their industry.
Sources: Mentalfloss.com, hotwheels.com, hotwheelsmedia.com, thrillist.com
Both cars retail for about $81,000, but one is a lot more accessible.
SPEED PHENOM ON YOUTUBE
If you’ve got $80,000 to spend and want an American high-performance car, now’s a pretty good time to be in the market. In addition to tire-shredding stalwarts like the Camaro ZL1 and Challenger Hellcat, Ford and Chevy have recently launched high-profile, track-ready sports cars. And thanks to a new video by Speed Phenom, we now know how they directly compare on track.
Naturally, we wanted to do this comparison ourselves. But the GT500 wasn’t ready during our Performance Car of the Year competition when we had an early C8 to test. And now that both cars are on sale, stay-at-home orders and track closures mean we’ll have to wait for an opportunity to do a full R&T comparison.
In the meantime, Speed Phenom does a good job of breaking down how they perform. With the caveat that he’s got a base model GT500 without the optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, he notes that the car struggles for grip more often than the similarly-tired Corvette. It’s also less composed through mid-corner bumps, with slower cornering all around. Thanks to its massive horsepower advantage, though, it jets through straightaways.
The C8, meanwhile, benefits from serious mechanical grip. The better-balanced midship car fires through corners and has no problem putting its power down. That makes it more approachable, not surprising given that it’s the tamest version of the C8 while the GT500 is stretching the limits of the S550 platform. We’re sure to see more track-ready Corvettes soon, but for now the Stingray is a surprisingly capable start.
Mack Hogan- Road&Track
Even off the pavement, the new ‘Vette is a rocket ship.
The 2020 C8 Chevy Corvette is a fast car. In base form, it can hit a staggering 194 mph flat-out. Even with the drag-inducing Z51 performance package, the car can still do 184. Hennessey Performance took theirs to 182 mph with ease before they turbocharged it to oblivion. Now, there’s another C8 top-speed run on the internet, and this time, it takes place on a dry lake bed.
Popular YouTube TheStradman took his new Z51-equipped Corvette to a dry lake bed in Utah to test out the top speed of the car. He managed to hit an impressive 173 mph before slowing down—not bad considering the uneven and bumpy surface. It helps that there’s absolutely nothing for miles in either direction. In fact, from inside the cabin, it looks a bit uneventful. Here’s a perspective from outside the car to give you a sense of how fast 173 mph is:
If the base Corvette is this quick right out of the box, we’re curious to see how the upcoming Z06 stacks up. Considering the last-gen car could hit 200 mph, we’re expecting big things.
Source: Brian Silvestro; for RoadandTrack
The Goldilocks zone of Corvette C8 interiors?
By now, you should know that Chevrolet has started deliveries of the mid-engine 2020 Corvette. Lucky owners of the ‘Vette C8 are starting to receive their newest toy and most likely you’ve already seen one on the streets – that’s if the state you’re in is not affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
If you’re among those who are planning to purchase the new Corvette but are undecided with the trim level to choose, this video might be able to help you – especially if you’re particular with a car’s interior.
The Corvette C8 comes with three trim levels: 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The differences lie mainly in the features offered on each trim level, which defines that the cabin will look and feel like. That’s pretty important, considering that we spend so much time inside the car rather than staring at our investment from a distance. So, here’s a little guide.
The base 1LT trim isn’t really basic. With the entry-level trim, you already get the GT1 seats wrapped in mulan leather, a customizable 12-inch gauge cluster, push-button ignition and keyless entry, and an 8-inch Chevy MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and 10-speaker Bose sound system. The Corvette 1LT trim is available in three color options: black, gray, or red.
Going up the 2LT trim gives you more interior color options plus features like a rearview camera mirror, a colored head-up display, heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, advanced blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic warning. The infotainment gets upgraded as well with a wireless charger and a 14-speaker Boss audio system.
Finally, the 3LT trim dials up the ante by adding a premium Nappa leather with suede microfiber accents – all in combination with the GT2 seats that have more bolsters. These seem not a lot but the range-topping trim adds luxury to the sports coupe.
If you’re still undecided, watch the 2LT interior review on top of this page to check whether you need to take it down a notch to 1LT or go all out on the top-level 3LT.
Source: HorsePower Obsessed
It took 30 hours for Hennessey Performance Engineering to tear apart a new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, install twin-turbo setup, and put it back together.
It’s no surprise, then, that the twin-turbo C8 Corvette isn’t ready to be sold to customers. The engine lacks intercoolers and Hennessey hasn’t cracked the code of GM’s new electrical architecture to reprogram the ECU.
“This is just the beginning, our own car, doing R&D,” company founder and CEO John Hennessey told Motor Authority.
On Monday, the engine made 643 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque at the wheels on a Dynojet dyno while running just 5 psi of boost. That compares to baseline testing HPE performed on the stock car which revealed 466 hp and 451 lb-ft of torque. HPE plans to offer a 1,200-hp version of the C8, which Hennessey said could make 18-20 psi of boost.
Hennessey took delivery of an orange C8 Corvette in Detroit on March 13. He and his daughter, Emma, drove back to the performance outfitter’s Texas headquarters and performed baseline testing before the Hennessey team tore apart the car.
The orange C8 fired back to life on Friday with twin 62-mm Precision Turbos and twin blow-off valves connected to the throttle body mounted behind the catalytic converters. Both turbos are oil-cooled with twin scavenge pumps that feed back into the motor.
The system is not intercooled. Instead, there’s a methanol injection setup to keep things from getting too hot. HPE is considering where to put intercoolers. The current packaging has limited space for intercoolers without cutting into trunk space, which Hennessey does not want to do. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
Hennessey told Motor Authority his team currently can’t tune the factory ECU, but it is looking at aftermarket solutions for the engine management system. He noted it took a year for solutions to come to market for the C7 and added, “hopefully, it won’t take a year.”
Hennessey said when the turbocharged C8 was first started it didn’t throw any codes, errors, or a check engine light. “The computer seems happy with the turbos,” Hennessey noted. A check engine light did appear when the front wheel speed sensors were disconnected to put the car on the dyno, Hennessey said.
The orange C8 will used for R&D of upcoming modifications. Hennessey said he doesn’t expect to deliver modified customer C8s for at least six months, and all will have intercoolers and full plumbing.
Joel Feder for Motor Authority
Did you see the two race on YouTube? We’ve tested them, too; here’s why the results were no surprise.
- We have tested both the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette (11.2 seconds at 122 mph) and the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (11.4 seconds at 132 mph) in the quarter-mile.
- A video on YouTube, however, shows flipped results: 11.5 seconds at 120 mph for the Corvette and 10.8 seconds at 132 mph for the GT500.
- As always, the driver and track conditions are critical, and our two-run average is far more repeatable than any one-off run at a drag strip.
When we tested Ford’s new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 against the top-dog 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Mustang came out on top on the drag strip. But how does the front-engine Shelby stack up against the other, now mid-engine, threat from Chevy?
Greg PajoCar and Driver
During our testing, the GT500 hurtled through the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 132 mph. But that was on a regular street-like surface, not a sticky, prepped drag strip. We struggled mightily with traction at launch, and our best run was with the launch control set to the lowest rpm allowed (1200 rpm) to prevent igniting a rear-tire fire. However, no surprise: with more traction far, better numbers are possible, and we’ve seen numbers below 11 seconds at drag strips, including this kid, who ran a 10.665 shortly after he acquired the car.’Murica Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?This Kid Ran a 10.66 Quarter Mile In His GT500
On the other hand, the 2020 Corvette has far fewer launch struggles, as it benefits from its newly acquired mid-engine layout and rear weight bias. Moving the weight distribution rearward improves launch traction, helping it jump off the line much quicker. During our testing, and despite far less horsepower, the mid-engine Vette outaccelerated the GT500 through the quarter-mile by two tenths of a second, reaching it in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
We’re starting to see other people’s numbers from both of these cars, though, as customers are starting to take deliveries of their C8 Corvettes and GT500s. Contrary to our test results, there’s a video circulating on YouTube that shows the new GT500 beating the C8 Corvette through the quarter-mile by seven-tenths of a second. It raced to the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds while the Corvette reached it in 11.5 seconds.
Keep in mind that the driver and conditions are huge factors in quarter-mile and acceleration results. We suspect that here, the Corvette likely got bogged down on the high-grip surface, as the launch control isn’t optimized for those conditions, and the 760-hp Mustang benefited from the extra traction on the track.
Connor Hoffman for CarandDriver