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VKTRY Performance Insoles Embrace Carbon Fiber For Energy Return

If just a touch of carbon fiber can provide benefits for athletes, then VKTRY founder Matt Arciuolo figured engineering a full-length carbon fiber insole had a range of untapped potential. Following nearly a decade of research and development, all sparked by an effort to provide the USA Olympic bobsled team more explosiveness on their starts, Arciuolo patented a carbon fiber footwear insole customizable to provide performance benefits for athletes far beyond the bobsled. 

VKTRY, now four years beyond that patent and three years since producing its first commercial insoles, has made inroads in major college and professional sports the country over, gaining backing from LSU’s director of athletic training Jack Marucci, now-retired Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Red Sox doctor James Creps and a handful of professional athlete endorders. 

“Insole inserts are passive devices designed to absorb shock, but they don’t generate energy or return energy to the athlete,” Arciuolo says. “Instead of a passive device, I designed this carbon fiber insole to store energy and return it.” 

The process works in four steps, all using the impressive strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fiber. When the heel hits the ground, the VKTRY insole absorbs the shock of the heel strike and returns it like a trampoline, Arciuolo says. When the second phase of an athlete’s gate moves their full body weight over the middle of the insert, the arched design deflects and adds cushioning. “The third phase is where the magic happens,” he says. When athletes pick their heel up to take a step or jump, the carbon fiber stores the energy at the ball of the foot, returning it in the toe-off phase — phase four — “where all the energy stored in the first three phases is returned.” The insole isn’t generating energy on its own, instead using an athlete’s energy and returning it to them for efficiency and explosion.

Using independent studies, including one from Southern Connecticut State University, VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik says science backs that claims, showing the company’s insoles provide over a 9 percent rate of force development, basically explosiveness, than not using the product. 

The carbon fiber is engineered with multiple layers of fibers in different lengths, makeups and directions to offer flexibility where needed and stability in other areas. 

VKTRY was designed for use across multiple sports — major footwear brands from Nike to Asics have started employing carbon fiber in long-distance running shoes for linear benefits — and Wasik says they’ve seen adoption from football to baseball, but have found basketball and volleyball players especially enjoy the energy return for higher jumping ability and less force upon landing. “We hear some great stories from athletes who have suffered from sore knees or shin splints and the pain is gone,” he says. 

The original bobsled design requiring the insole to fit in the tight confines of a spike helped create a product ideal for all athletes, Arciuolo says. “The challenge was not only getting something that worked in terms of propulsion, but also that fit in the shoe,” he says. The carbon fiber portion of the product weighs less than an ounce and is less than a millimeter thick. A proprietary polyurethane top cover provides additional comfort. 

VKTRY isn’t a one-size fits all proposition, with Arciuolo calling it a “truly customized product.” It comes in five different “pro levels,” which are basically different flex levels. Lighter athletes with smaller feet require more flex than a 320-pound football player. To get the same propulsion performance, insoles require customization based on sport, weight and foot size, so an algorithm helps find the best flex level for each athlete. The insole is further customized by sport, using different thickness and sizes. 

“The VK is the best combination of injury protection and performance I have ever seen in insoles,” Vitti says. 

Endorsers of the brand also include Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, Anthony Miller of the Chicago Bears, Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins, Lexie Brown of the Minnesota Lynx, Myles Jones of Chaos Lacrosse Club, George Springer of the Houston Astros, CrossFit world champion Annie Thorisdottir and plenty more. 

Creps says that “for the first time, athletes can experience stabilization, shock absorption and propulsion in a device that is specifically tailored to their size and weight. This is a game changer.” 

Written by Tim Newcomb; Forbes

C8 Corvette ZR1 to Get Hybrid Twin-Turbo DOHC V-8 With 900 HP!

Halo model will also be the first-ever AWD Corvette

MotorTrend’s rendering of what a C8 Corvette Z06 could look like

Back in August, we exclusively reported the upcoming mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Z06 would feature a twin-turbo flat-plane-crank dual-overhead-cam V-8 based on the C8.R race car’s engine. Now, we can report from an even higher-placed source that the range-topping C8 Corvette ZR1 will add a performance hybrid system to boost it to 900 hp.

Rumors of a hybridized C8 have been flowing for quite some time, but now we have exclusive confirmation from a senior official at GM. The ZR1 will build on the Z06’s all-new engine with a performance- (not fuel economy-) oriented hybrid system to fill in torque gaps and increase total output to an even 900 hp.

Our source wouldn’t elaborate on the engineering details, so we’re still unclear whether street cars will share the C8.R’s 5.5-liter displacement, which is unusually large for a flat-plane engine and would likely vibrate too much for customers’ liking. Past rumors have suggested displacement ranging from 4.2 liters to 5.5 liters.

At a minimum, a hybrid system would sandwich an electric motor between the engine and transmission to bolster output. We’ve heard previously, though, the somewhat small frunk in the base C8 Stingray is protecting space for a pair of front-mounted electric motors which can both increase performance and, more critically, perform active torque vectoring to complement the rear axle’s electronically controlled limited-slip differential. This first-of-a-kind all-wheel-drive ZR1 could see major benefits in handling and the ability to put down power while exiting corners. This is a strategy that’s been employed to great effect on other hybrid supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Naturally, electric motors, a battery pack, inverters, and wiring will add substantial weight to the car, which is why it all needs to add enough power to balance things out. The big question is where Chevrolet will place the battery, which it will want to mount as low as possible to keep a low center of gravity. Other mid-engine hybrids mount it in the firewall between the engine and the seats. It’s also possible it could be mounted in the bottom of the frunk or trunk, depending on how large it is. We expect it will be fairly small as it just needs to hold enough juice to boost the engine under hard acceleration. While some mid-engine hybrids have the ability to drive under pure electric power for short distances to meet emissions regulations in some countries and cities, we doubt this was a major concern for the Corvette team. Like the Ferrari LaFerrari, we think the ZR1 will be entirely concerned with performance, not efficiency.

Separately, our source corrected our previous speculation that the Z06, C8.R, and ZR1’s DOHC engine would share design and engineering with the Cadillac 4.2-liter Blackwing V-8. Despite declarations from top GM and Cadillac brass the Blackwing is exclusive to Cadillac, we figured there would be some shared engineering resources to save money. That’s not the case, our source says. Years ago, under a previous product plan that’s since been whittled down, Cadillac was promised an exclusive engine and got it, so GM gave Cadillac and Chevrolet separate pots of money to design two different DOHC V-8s simultaneously.

Original Source: Scott Evans for MotorTrend

C8 Corvette ZR1 Will Get 900-HP, Twin-Turbo, Hybrid V8 Engine: Report

This is the first time that we’ve heard concrete news about a hybrid version of the C8, and their source has confirmed that it is indeed coming very soon. The supposed ZR1 will utilize the engine found in the Z06, a dual-overhead-cam V8 that happens to be flat-plane-crank and twin-turbo; similar to the one found in the C8.R race car. The hybrid system will be completely performance oriented, and will place an electric motor between the engine and transmission to increase output considerably to 900 horsepower. That’s not all, apparently, the C8 Stingray has some space in the front trunk that’s reserved for a pair of front-mounted electric motors that are said to increase performance and apply torque vectoring to aid the rear axle and its electronically controlled limited-slip diff, essentially meaning that the ZR1 will be all-wheel drive. 

More Tiny C8 Details:

 2020 Corvette Stingray Almost Had A Split Rear Window: Report

Furthermore, their source indicates that the rumor of the 4.2-liter Blackwing V8 engine from Cadillac being shared with Corvette models is false; GM gave Cadillac and Chevrolet the resources to design and develop two different V8s at the same time. The hybrid system also has the consequence of added weight and proper placement to retain performance and a low center of gravity, so your guess is as good as ours as to where Chevrolet plans to mount the entire system.

Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter is No. 4 on MotorTrend’s Power List for 2020

If you ever doubted the significance of the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, take a look at MotorTrend’s Power List for 2020, a compilation of the 50 most important names in the auto industry.

On the strength of leading the design of MotorTrend’s 2020 Car of the Year, the 2020 Corvette Stingray, Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, unranked on the 2019 list, zoomed to the No. 4 spot in the 2020 ranking – ahead of two of his bosses, General Motors President Mark Reuss, who came in at No. 28, and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, who ranked No. 6.

Said MotorTrend of Juechter:

“Juechter was able to squeeze the final dollops of power out of the C7 Corvette and then create a whole new beast: the long-awaited C8 with a mid-engine to increase power and performance. Despite all the tech, he engineered an affordable everyman’s supercar: 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds for $60,000.”

Reuss, who moved up from No. 32 in 2019, earned the following praise from MT:

“Reuss is managing the day-to-day for an automaker as focused on the Corvette and Silverado as the goal to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road annually while developing autonomous vehicles and still making a profit. It means overseeing a leaner company going forward to fund the expensive tech.”

Barra, meanwhile, tumbled from the No. 1 spot in 2019 but still earned serious kudos from the magazine:

“Barra continues to be the tough, shrewd, and strategic leader that GM needs to remain profitable while investing heavily in electric and autonomous vehicles. Her decisive, no-nonsense approach has led to unpopular decisions to discontinue models, stop production, and cut jobs to meet long-term financial goals.”

Another GM leader, Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevera, was unranked in 2019 but made it to No. 23 for 2020.

MotorTrend says of her:

“In charge of GM’s finance department since 2018, Suryadevara is pivotal in achieving annual cost reductions of $4.5 billion through 2020—ensuring the automaker has the resources for ambitious EV and autonomous vehicle plans while keeping things running during a protracted labor strike.”

At the top of the 2020 list is MotorTrend’s Person of the Year, someone you may never have heard of, Peter Schreyer, President, Head of Design Management, for Hyundai Motor Group.

Writes MotorTrend of its No. 1 pick:
“Schreyer once said he wishes he could be a painter. The MotorTrend 2020 Person of the Year has taken a Korean canvas and created a masterpiece.”

Original source: Mitch Talley, CorvetteBlogger

Final C7 Stingray Donated To National Corvette Museum

While the last C7 Corvette will be in a private collection, the last C7 Corvette Stingray will be on permanent display for all to see.

The final C7 Corvettes rolled off the assembly line on November 14th marking the end of the line for the front-engine Corvette before production begins for the all-new, mid-engine C8 ‘Vette. The final Corvette – a black Z06 – was auctioned off earlier in the year for $2.6 million to a software company CEO, but the second to last Corvette isn’t going far. This car will represent the last C7 Stingray ever, and today it was donated to the National Corvette Museum, which is right across the street from the Corvette’s assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

This penultimate C7 was purchased by NCM lifetime member and supporter, Ivan Schrodt, who was riding shotgun in the ‘Vette while NCM CEO Dr. Sean Preston drove the car into the museum. Mr. Schrodt took brief delivery of this Stingray before handing the keys over for donation, and he was one of more than 4,000 people who took advantage of Chevy’s museum delivery program. 

As part of the donation ceremony, the NCM had a number of Bowling Green Assembly Plant employees on hand who signed the engine cover of this Stingray. From here, this Corvette will be permanent fixture at the museum enshrined among all of the other important and significant Corvettes on display. This ceremony was a fitting send off for the C7 Corvette ahead of the highly anticipated launch of the C8.

In fitting style, the last C7 Stingray was equipped in a familiar Corvette color scheme featuring the Arctic White paint job over an Adrenaline Red interior – mimicking the look of the original 1953 Corvette with its Polo White paint and red interior. This 2019 Corvette Stingray is equipped with the mid-level 2LT trim level and the upgraded Z51 performance suspension, and it also has Carbon Fiber and Painted Body Color removable roofs, Carbon Flash exterior trim accents, chrome emblems, red calipers, personalized plate package, brake package, performance exhaust and chrome aluminum wheels. All in, this well-equipped Corvette had a sticker price of just over $70,000, making it quite an impressive donation to the museum.

Source; Jeffrey N. Ross, motorious

FAMILY OF STEVEN HOLCOMB RECEIVES OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALS IN HIS HONOUR

Late USA driver in two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams upgraded from bronze at Sochi 2014 after disqualification of Russian medallists

Two and a half years after his untimely death, the family of bobsleigh driver Steven Holcomb will receive two silver medals from Sochi 2014.

Holcomb piloted the USA two-man and four-man bob teams which finished third at the Games.

But they were promoted to silver in both events after Alexandr Zubkov, the driver of Russia’s original four-man and two-man gold medal sleds, was disqualified for doping offences with brakeman Alexey Voevoda also subsequently excluded.

Holcomb, who led his country to its first four-man title in 62 years at Vancouver 2010, died in his sleep at the Olympic training centre in Lake Placid in May 2017 aged 37.

Steven Langton, brakeman in the two-man and a pusher in the four-man, are also set to receive two silver medals at Tuesday’s Team USA Awards in Los Angeles with pushers Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz collecting four-man silvers.

USA’s greatest bobsledder of his generation

A native of Park City, Utah, Holcomb started out as a ski racer before switching to sliding in his late teens.

He was originally a pusher and was part of Brian Shimer’s team ahead of the 2002 Games in his hometown of Salt Lake City before a hamstring injury at the worst time saw him replaced by Dan Steele.

Holcomb then switched to driving but there was a problem – his eyesight.

After laser surgery in 2000 had failed to make a difference, he was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative eye disease keratoconus which leads to the thinning of the cornea.

Deciding not to tell anyone, Holcomb wore hard contact lenses and ahead of Turin 2006 found that his sight was getting progressively worse to the point that he thought he could go blind.

In his autobiography, ‘But Now I See: My Journey From Blindness to Olympic Gold’, Holcomb admitted he should have said something sooner but that “because the only lengthy conversations I’d had about my disease had been with myself, I always came up with the most horrific scenarios for what would happen if I confessed now”.

Having managed to pass a vision test for international competition by memorising the letters on the eye chart, he took sixth place in the four-man bob and 14th in the two-man in his first Olympic Games.

But his eyesight soon deteriorated to the point that contact lenses were not up to the task making cornea transplants in both eyes, and four years out of the bob, the only feasible course of action.

Faced with that prospect, Holcomb’s already fragile mental health worsened and he attempted suicide by taking multiple sleeping pills washed down with bourbon whiskey.

Incredibly, he survived and decided to come clean about his sight issues.

His team-mates and coaches set to work and put him in touch with Calfornia doctor Brian Boxer Wachler who fitted special implants in 2008 which improved his vision markedly without surgery.

The procedure soon became known as the Holcomb C3-R.

Holcomb was able to return to the circuit and became world champion a year later at Lake Placid before securing his greatest triumph at the Vancouver Games of 2010, piloting the ‘Night Train’ – with pushers Tomasevicz, Justin Olsen and Steve Mesler – to gold.

Popular with his team-mates and bobsleigh crowds for his outgoing manner, and his ‘Holcy Shuffle’ dance, Holcomb built on his Olympic title with three golds at the 2012 Lake Placid World Championships – two-man, four-man and mixed team.

USA retained that mixed team title a year later before Holcomb headed to Sochi for his third Games.

Bronze medals in both the four-man and two-man saw Holcomb join Pat Martin as his nation’s most decorated Olympic bobsledder.

The next couple of seasons were not quite as successful, although Holcomb was ranked second in the 2016-17 two-man World Cup standings thanks in part to a victory over Canada’s subsequent PyeongChang 2018 two-man gold medallist Justin Kripps at Lake Placid.

He was still on course to pilot a Team USA sled at PyeongChang but in May 2017 his best friend, world champion skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender, broke into his room at the training centre in Lake Placid having not heard from him for two days and discovered his body.

Holcomb was later found to have alcohol and prescription sleeping tablets in his system having appeared to have passed away in his sleep.

His 60 World Cup, 10 World Championship and three Olympic medals made him one of the most decorated drivers in the sport’s history.

Medal reallocation from Sochi 2014

Six months after Holcomb’s death, Zubkov was stripped of his medals from Sochi 2014 for doping offences.

And in March this year, following the application of the Olympic Medal Reallocation Principles, the teams below Russia were promoted with Holcomb’s two-man and four-man teams upgraded to silver.

Langton, Tomasevicz and Fogt released a statement at the time saying, “It’s unfortunate that our results were not official in February of 2014 and that we’ve had to endure the long process to see justice finally served.

“We are happy that we now can celebrate and be proud of the silver medal accomplishments.”

Latvia’s four-man team, piloted by Oskars Melbardis, were upgraded to the nation’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal with John Jackson’s Great Britain sled promoted from fifth to third with Russia 2 also disqualified for doping having been originally fourth.

Jackson said, “Disappointingly, it is a medal we should have received on an Olympic podium in 2014. Cheats have cost us that moment, along with other nations too.”

In the two-man, Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann were awarded gold with Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens taking bronze after Russia 2 were also excluded for doping.

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

Steven Holcomb’s Olympic legacy to grow, for a final time

U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb is getting one last victory celebration.

A long overdue one.

More than 2 1/2 years after his death — and almost six years removed from the bobsled races in question — Holcomb and his team are about to finally be presented the silver medals that they should have received at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Holcomb and teammates Steven Langton, Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz were originally awarded bronze medals, which were eventually upgraded after a long probe of the Russian doping scandal that now overshadows those games.

deBotech, Inc. Built the sleds that brought the 2014 men home with the now, silver medal.

The medal reallocation will take place at the Team USA Awards in Los Angeles. Langton, Fogt and Tomasevicz are all expected to attend, as is longtime U.S. bobsled coach Brian Shimer and other top American sliding officials. Holcomb, who was 37 when he died in his sleep at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York in May 2017, will be represented by his family.

“I think the word that comes to mind most quickly is bittersweet,” said Jean Schaefer, Holcomb’s mother. “It’s certainly a great honor for Steven and I’m so very, very proud of him — as I have been so very proud of him his whole life. But there’s also a great sadness that he’s not here to enjoy the fruits of his efforts and to celebrate with his team.”

It took years to get to this point: Russia, which won the two- and four-man bobsled races at the 2014 Games on its home ice, was stripped of those titles in November 2017 after the long investigation into the state-sponsored doping program at that Olympics.

But it took the International Olympic Committee until this past March to formally reallocate the medals. Latvia was upgraded to gold in four-man, with Britain moving up to bronze. In two-man, Switzerland eventually was elevated to gold, with Latvia up to bronze.

The U.S., which left Sochi with bronzes from both races, is now recognized as the silver medalist in both. Holcomb and Langton were in the two-man sled; Holcomb drove Langton, Fogt and Tomasevicz in the four-man race.

“Holcomb made such an impact on so many people’s lives,” said Kaillie Humphries, the longtime Canadian bobsledder and two-time Olympic women’s champion who is now competing for the U.S. “He was the best.”

Holcomb, who had prescription sleeping pills and alcohol in his system on the night that he died and was so depressed by failing eyesight in 2007 that he attempted suicide, was by far the best bobsledder in the U.S. program — perhaps ever. He was a winner of at least 60 World Cup medals, more than a dozen World Cup championship trophies and the various awards from his career are scattered about the homes of his relatives.

His mother’s intention for the silver medals is that they be donated to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee archives. The USOPC was in possession of Holcomb’s bronze medals, as a gift from his family, when they had to be surrendered to the IOC in order to receive the new silvers.

“Steven once told me that his medals weren’t just medals for him or his team,” Schaefer said. “They were medals for his country. They represented America and he was very proud of that and I think he would be very proud to know that his medals reside where people can see them and enjoy them.”

Holcomb would have been a lock for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team as well, where he could have added to his medal haul — he drove the U.S. to gold in the four-man race at the 2010 Vancouver Games, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in bobsledding’s signature race.

His mother went to Pyeongchang last year instead, representing her son and his memory. The grieving process is not over, though Tuesday’s event is certain to bring back happy thoughts as well.

“I’m as OK as I can be,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know if a parent ever gets over the loss of a child, because it’s certainly not the natural order of things. And I have to say that the support of his teammates and the Olympic family is incredible. Just incredible. You feel the love all the time.”

She will feel it again Tuesday, one more time.

How the C8 Corvette’s Dual-Clutch Has Changed Since We Drove the Car

The new Corvette has an eight-speed Tremec DCT. We weren’t crazy about it in the pre-production C8 we drove, but engineers tell us the final version will be better.

For the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet abandoned the traditional manual and torque-converter automatic for a new, eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch. And in our Performance Car of the Year testing, the gearbox was the weakest component in the pre-production C8 Stingray we had on hand. It’s part of why the Corvette didn’t win.

In automatic mode, the DCT dolled out nice, snappy shifts, but when using the paddles, it could be clumsy. Too often we found ourselves running into the rev limiter, or having downshifts denied after a paddle pull. But, the C8 we drove wasn’t a finished product. There’s been development work since we drove the car, and that work will continue for the foreseeable future. At a powertrain engineering seminar held by Chevy last week, we asked Glen Hoeflinn, controls program manager for the DCT, what will change from the car we drove.

“Maybe you get some humpy-bumpy shifts here, you get a little bit of that there. That all gets refined out,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s in final refinement, and then it’s in final checks and looking what we’re doing and making sure that it’s behaving exactly [how] we want.”

“That’s what we’ve done since the car that you had. Doing all that refinement and making sure it’s ready to go for everybody across the all the cars.”

A dual-clutch presents unique challenges, no matter what sort of car it’s in. “There’s a lot of pre-selection interaction that goes on in the background,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s the same choreography” between the engine and transmission, he added, but without the “luxury” of a torque converter, there’s a lot more programming work involved.

As you’d expect, the transmission has different automatic shift strategies for the various drive modes, which adapt in real time. The more aggressive, the more spirited you drive, the more aggressive the car’s going to respond,” Hoeflinn said. “As you start to relax, the car’s going to start to relax.”

The DCT uses latitudinal and longitudinal accelerometers, and looks at information like throttle position and steering angle to gauge how the car is being driven, and react accordingly. For example, in Track mode with the transmission set to automatic, the car will downshift aggressively when the driver is braking hard into a corner, and hold upshifts until corner exit.

The C8 has two manual modes. If you pull a paddle while in Drive, you get a temporary manual mode, which automatically times out, or can be exited sooner by holding the upshift paddle. In this mode, the car will automatically upshift at redline. If you press the M button in the center console, you get full manual mode. There’s no time out, and the car won’t upshift at redline.

There are two other neat tricks available for drivers to exploit. First, if you hold the downshift paddle, the DCT will serve up the lowest possible gear. Do that while braking, and the transmission will keep downshifting as engine speed allows. And second, pulling both paddles at the same time is equivalent to pushing in the clutch pedal on a manual car, which allows you to rev the C8’s new V-8 as much as you want.

In the C8, the paddles are directly wired to the transmission control module (TCM) for quicker response times. “In other applications, from the paddle, the wire will go to the body control module and then from the body control module back over to the transmission. You have obvious latency there,” Hoeflinn said.

“It could be 25, 30, 40 milliseconds from the time you pull, to the time that transmission actually got the message. When you wire them directly from the paddle straight to the TCM, we’re getting the message instantaneously.” This doesn’t mean the paddles will give you a downshift that over-revs the engine—the TCM prevents that—it just helps reduce delay.

One of the headline figures of the C8 Corvette is its incredible acceleration. We timed a pre-production Z51 Stingray as hitting 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. With the C8’s Performance Launch mode, the car will actually use the inertia of the engine coming down between revs to propel the car forward. Chevy calls these “Boosted Shifts,” and they’re only used with a Performance Launch. In any other mode, they make the car feel unsettled.

From a mechanical standpoint, this new Tremec transaxle isn’t a radical departure from other DCTs. There are concentric clutches and input shafts for the odd and even gears. The even gears and reverse live near the front of the transmission, while the odds are at the back. A limited slip-differential is integrated within the unit. Base Stingrays get a mechanical diff with a 4.89:1 final drive ratio while Z51-pack cars get an electronic LSD with a 5.17:1 ratio. The overall gear ratio spread of 8.8:1 is the same regardless of differential.

The packaging of the transaxle is such that there’s a common oil sump—filled with 11 liters of Pentosin FFL-4 fluid—for all components. A cooler mounted to the top of the transaxle assembly means there’s no need for additional hydraulic lines, while two filters keep things clean. An externally mounted pressure-side filter requires replacement every 20,000 miles, while the internal suction filter mounted to the sump is a lifetime part.

We asked about why the C8 team didn’t try to do a manual. Hoeflinn and the other engineers present gave us a similar answer to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, when we interviewed him before the car debuted. They’d need to develop a new manual just for the C8, and considering the stick-shift market is shrinking, it would be an expensive endeavor seemingly without much reward. There are packaging constraints with the Corvette’s central backbone tunnel, too, which would require a hole to accommodate the shifter and gear linkage, hurting structural rigidity. Juechter also said the pedalbox would be cramped with a clutch.

Our first experience with this DCT was less than positive, but this is a gearbox that shows a lot of promise. We look forward to driving the finished product.

Originally written by Chris Perkins; Road&Track

Highlights of the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas

SEMA is the United Nations conference of all things aftermarket, and here’s some of the best stuff we spotted there.

1.Quintin Brothers Dodge Challenger

This 1000-hp Dodge Challenger went on a wild adventure after it arrived in Las Vegas. Vermont-based Quintin Brothers Auto & Performance had their truck and trailer stolen days before the show. Their custom Challenger was inside. Video surveillance helped track down the perp, but when Nevada state trooper Adam Whitmarsh tried to block the stolen Challenger into a parking space, the suspect rammed the Trooper’s Ford Explorer and escaped. After exiting the parking structure, the suspect smashed through a fence and drove the stolen Challenger across a nearby karting track—during a karting event. He eventually ditched the car and was later arrested. The Quintin Brothers and their Dodge Challenger arrived at the SEMA show wearing battle wounds from the wild chase.

2. Chevrolet E-10 Concept

It’s not an engine, it’s a motor. The Chevrolet E-10 concept is a 450-hp electrified C-10 pickup. Typically the only time a 1970s Chevy pickup is plugged into anything, it’s connected to a trickle charger. The E-10 has its batteries in the bed. The two electric motors seen here are called eCrate motors, a nod to the popular Chevy crate engines that can be found swapped into just about anything. GM claims the E-10 can complete a zero-to-60-mph run in about five seconds with a quarter-mile time in the high 13s. A Tesla P100D might be quicker, but it doesn’t look as cool.

3. Vibrant Performance Titanium Chair

Had Game of Thrones producers used Nissan Skylines or Toyota Supras instead of dragons as source material, this might be the Iron Throne. Vibrant Performance didn’t have to vanquish their enemies to build the thing, but they did use more than 50 pieces from their lineup of titanium exhaust products to construct what’s likely the most uncomfortable Adirondack chair on the porch. But it’s fun. Feeling exhausted? Have a seat.


4. Hyundai Veloster Grappler Concept

You’re unlikely to see a Hyundai Veloster on an off-road trail, let alone a dirt road, but this overland concept is out to change that. The Veloster Grappler concept is equipped with typical in-car camping accessories like a rear-hatch tent, solar panels, LED light bars, big all-terrain tires, and a roof basket to carry a spare. It’s still pretty low to the ground, and the tire clearance isn’t ideal for crawling, but it’s a concept. We’d pitch a tent with this thing.

5. Toyota Supra Wasabi Concept

Toyota’s Genuine Accessory Team cooked up a color for this concept that we hope will soon find its way onto a Camry. This Supra’s paint mimics wasabi paste and features white accents on the brake calipers, mirrors, stripes, and spoiler. The forged-aluminum wheels were designed at Toyota and have center caps with the original Toyota emblem. Ohlins coil-overs drop the Supra concept two inches. This was one of many Toyota Supras at the show.

6. AEV Jeep Gladiator

This Jeep Gladiator is equipped with all the proper get-dirty-quick gear. It has tough Bilstein dampers, a lifted suspension, and 37-inch tires. American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is known for swapping big engines into off-road vehicles and then adding lift kits and other off-road accessories. They’re also responsible for the coolest parts of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison. This year AEV brought three green machines to show off their latest accessories.

7. 1999 Honda Civic Si Super Street Build

Was this the car that sparked the movie The Fast and the Furious in 2001? It sure looks like it. Honda brought a handful of concepts to the show in celebration of its 60th year in North America, and what better way to do it by showcasing the Civic Si Super Street magazine modified for the Civic Si Challenge in 2000. If you collected buckets of Mattel die-cast cars as a kid (or shamelessly as adults, like us), this car might look familiar.

8. Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

The current-gen Nissan Frontier might be 16 years old, but this concept proves that Nissan knows what people at SEMA want in a truck: tons of suspension, awesome off-road tires, some type of light bar, and a 600-hp 5.8-liter V-8. In the meantime, we can only hope one of these ingredients get put to use on the upcoming Frontier refresh.

9. RTR Rambler Ford Ranger Concept

The RTR Rambler Ford Ranger does everything right without going too far. Ford chose 33-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires with custom RTR Tech 6 wheels, because they know anything bigger than that will be unnecessary in most cases. Three LED light bars are tastefully tucked into a custom front grille to complete an almost Ranger Raptor–like appearance. A two-inch suspension lift is installed as well as heavy-duty rock sliders, which act as both a step and as extra protection against rocky terrain. It’s a simple package done well, saving the flashy stuff like wild paint for the Insta-campers.

10. 1972 Honda N600

If it looks like this 1972 Honda N600 has a motorcycle engine under the hood, it’s because it does. This oddball is powered by a Honda VFR 800-cc V-4 motorcycle engine that puts power to the rear wheels. Although the car itself predates the era of high-revving VTECs, with the bike motor installed, this is likely the only N600 with a 12,000-rpm redline. This was one of several cars Honda showcased at the SEMA show.

11. Honda Civic Si Drift Car

This is a peek under the hood of a 926-hp Honda Civic Si. The engine is turned longitudinally and transforms a front-wheel-drive coupe into a rear-wheel-drive drift-spec machine. The work was done with help from Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works.

12. Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Prototype

We saw this Chevrolet Silverado Desert race truck back in early October, when it competed in the Laughlin Desert Classic, a 17-mile race event in Nevada near the Arizona border. It was there for “engineering development,” but we still think it’s a preview of an upcoming Silverado Z

13. Honda Rally Passport

Honda R&D in Ohio built this rally-ready Honda Passport in their spare time. It has already survived a handful of rally competitions, finishing second in its class at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. It has had typical safety additions like a roll cage, but other than that it’s unchanged except for tires, brake pads, wheels, and skid plates. Oh, there’s also the addition of a hand-operated hydraulic brake, for epic drift action.

14. 1968 Ford Bronco

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about the upcoming Ford Bronco, which is expected to debut in early 2020. A collaboration between Jay Leno and Ford, this Bronco has a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a five-speed manual transmission. The restoration maintained the simple beauty of original Bronco. The 18-inch steel wheels by Detroit Steel Wheels are a great combination of old style and modern needs. The Bronco’s Tonight Blue color would look great on a Mustang or F-150 Raptor.

15. Hyundai Veloster N Performance Concept

The Veloster N is quick, but this Veloster N Performance concept is quicker. Hyundai modified its hot hatch with carbon fiber for the front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, and spoiler while adding carbon fiber to each wheel’s center caps. The suspension is made up of Extreme Racing coil-overs and H&R coil springs with aluminum chassis bracing to add rigidity. Orange-accented interior bits stand out among more carbon-fiber pieces and an Alcantara dashboard.

16. SpeedKore Dodge Charger

Routed through the front fender of a 2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit is the exhaust from a 1525-hp Dodge Demon V-8. This project, put together by SpeedKore Performance Group and MagnaFlow, began as a police car. After fitting a carbon-fiber widebody kit, they turned it into something that would outrun police cars. The stock supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 was transformed into a twin-turbo engine and received an upgraded upper intake manifold designed to withstand the 26 psi of boost.

Written by: Austin Irwin, Car&Driver

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