Sports car racing fans have come to know the sound of Corvette Racing’s menacing V8 engines as one of IMSA’s most unmistakable soundtracks. The punch to the chest delivered by the Corvette C7.R through the 2019 season, and all of its predecessors dating back to the program’s debut in 1999, was as unique as it was thrilling.
It makes the brand’s greatest shift with its mid-engine C8.R (pictured above) — which debuts in competition this week at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring a fresh V8 motor with an entirely different voice — a new experience for Corvette fans. Thanks to the move to a flat-plane crankshaft in the 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated powerplants, the C8.Rs strike the ears with a higher pitch that, in typical Corvette Racing fashion, is unlike anything else in the field.
Which exhaust note sounds better? Take a listen to the C8.R from testing at the Roar Before The 24, and from a C7.R during December Daytona testing in 2016, and you decide.
Original Source: Marshall Pruett for Racer.com
Expect to see them on dealership lots by summer.
As the world prepares for the new Chevrolet Corvette to finally enter production, many people may not realize that it’s only part of the 2020 C8 story. Corvette Blogger reports that Chevrolet dealerships are now able to place orders for the 2020 Corvette Convertible. We’ve confirmed with a GM representative that order banks are indeed open.
The convertible debuted a few months after the official C8 launch, but in many ways it’s been overshadowed by another Corvette model that hasn’t been revealed just yet. The C8.R race car made a surprise appearance at the end of the convertible’s debut event in Florida, and while it’s not a production-ready machine, its high-revving, DOHC flat-plane-crank V8 is virtually guaranteed to appear in a future ‘Vette. The likely candidate is a new Z06, but we still aren’t sure when it will arrive. In the meantime, the irony of the C8.R stealing the show at the convertible’s own reveal isn’t lost on us.
We suspect Corvette buyers aren’t overlooking the convertible, however. Chevrolet has said that 2020 C8 preorders are all but filled, so the drop top could be the last chance for buyers to get in on the mid-engine Corvette’s first production year. Opting for the convertible is a $7,500 premium over the hardtop, and it’s available with all the same options and trim levels. That includes the Z51 performance package which bumps the 6.2-liter V8 to 495 horsepower, and since the Corvette was designed from the beginning to be a convertible, Chevrolet says there’s no loss in performance when going roofless.
According to Corvette Blogger, there are no restrictions on convertible orders save for the number of cars a dealer is allocated. Rumors says that convertible production will begin in April, which would have them on dealer lots just in time for summer.
And we literally mean “big.”
With production of the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray about to get underway next month, attention is now turning towards future variants. More specifically, the E-Ray, the first of two hybrids planned (the second likely named Zora), as well as the Z06, and, eventually, the ZR1. While we don’t have a precise timeframe as to when any of those will arrive, it goes without saying the Corvette engineering team led by Tadge Juechter is hard at work this very moment.
Details remain mostly vague, but GM Authority has learned something very cool about the C8 Z06. An inside source familiar with the project is claiming the C8 Z06 will sport a massive rear wing, even bigger than what’s found on the outgoing C7 Corvette ZR1. What’s more, it’ll produce higher levels of downforce and create less drag.
Although the C8.R race car has a big rear wing of its own, the Z06’s will differ in both appearance and functionality. Think more along the lines of the rear wing on the Koenigsegg Agera RS. Another unknown is whether or not the C8 Z06 will come with the rear wing as standard or if it will be optional. Some sources are claiming the Corvette team is leaning towards making it standard.
Assuming all goes to plan, the next Z06 could arrive in about two years’ time. Instead of the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, the C8 Z06 is expected to have a new NA 5.5-liter V8 with a flat-plane crank. Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hp.
Additional elements will include an improved suspension, brakes, and additional aerodynamic components aside from the rear wing. There shouldn’t be any mistaking the C8 Z06 for the C8 Stingray, even when the latter is equipped with the Z51 performance package. It should also go without saying the Z06 will command a significant price premium. A fully-loaded 2020 Corvette Stingray will surpass $100,000, so don’t expect the Z06 to cost any less.
Source; Jay Traugott; Carbuzz
“Wow — thank you so much, ma’am!” gushes a young parking attendant at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. “It made my day to see this car in person!”
That’s the contagious effect the all-new 2020 Corvette Stingray has on just about everyone. A toddler in a stroller pointed and squealed as I rolled by. A well-dressed businessman was studying the car with appreciation when I emerged from a store. “I’ve never been a Corvette guy, but I can actually see myself owning one of these,” he told me before jumping into his Audi R8.
Of course, $300,000-plus Lamborghinis and McLarens garner longing looks, but they don’t provoke the ear-to-ear grins that Chevy’s latest does. I have rarely seen a vehicle elicit so much joy, so consistently, as I did in the two days I had the eye-popping “Rapid Blue” version GM lent me for testing.
Chevy gave the world its first peek of the C8 (its internal name) last July, at an unveiling in a hangar in Tustin to a standing-room-only crowd of media, collectors and influencers. Chevy chose SoCal for the launch because it’s the most important market for the car — which is the first in the model’s 67-year history in which the engine sits behind, not in front of, the driver. At the event, journalists commented to me that it looked like a Ferrari, to which I replied, “Is looking like a Ferrari a bad thing?!”
Last month, I got the call: It was finally time to test-drive a pre-production version. When I slid behind the steering wheel, I entered a whole other world of aromatic leather, slick driver-centric controls and intuitive next-gen tech. I pushed the start button and the 6.2-liter V8’s 495 horses raucously screamed to life over my shoulder.
I headed to test-drive heaven — California 1. Almost immediately I was laughing at all the G-forces I could easily conjure with the steering wheel and my right foot. I played with the paddle shifters like a pinball machine (in automatic mode, the eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission is far faster than me—or you—but where’s the fun in that?).
From Malibu’s twistiest canyons to heavy 101 traffic, the Stingray ticked all the boxes. Cornering: tenacious grip without body roll. Steering: light and responsive. Brakes: grabbier than a pickpocket. Off-the-line acceleration: near-psychedelic pull with a dash of wheelspin, even with traction control on. Acceleration at speed: Just about terrifying, if it didn’t feel so darn capable and well-sorted.
I am not gushing. I’m merely reporting the delicious facts.
I am fortunate to have driven some of the best cars on the planet. So, when I say the new Vette exceeded my expectations, consider that a sizable understatement. And now perhaps the best news of all: The Corvette’s base price is $59,995. If you wanted to buy a midengine sports car with this level of capability from a European competitor, you’d have to spend five times as much, minimum.
GM has been producing competent Corvettes since the 1950s — two-seaters long on under-the-hood oomph but short on the kind of snob appeal that Aston Martins, Porsches and the like command. For all the performance prowess over time, there has always been some defensiveness on the part of Vette owners, who often cite one of the model’s best stats — its dollar-to-horsepower ratio. Those numbers are indeed impressive, but sports cars are about sex appeal; not every buyer sees the desirability of a lower sticker price over, say, Italian sheet metal.
Ironically, Corvette’s spiritual father and first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, was himself European — Belgian-born and a successful endurance sports car racer. Duntov joined GM in 1953 after seeing the first Corvette concept earlier that year in New York City (constructed, under the skin, largely out of GM truck parts, including Chevy’s “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine).
From the beginning, Duntov dreamed of a midengine version of the Corvette, where the engine’s weight would help to balance the car’s handling and allow for a clear view over a short hood. He constantly lobbied GM’s top brass to bring such a forward-leaning configuration to market.
But the costs and engineering required to shoehorn a powerful V8 engine into a small space without the benefit of a long hood were onerous. So were other technical challenges — cramped passenger space, little cargo room and no place to tuck a convertible roof, to name a few. Eventually, Duntov and his successors built several midengine concepts but never a production version.
Fast-forward to today. According to Tadge Juechter, Corvette’s chief engineer, his team had finally reached the limit of how much performance they could squeeze out of the Corvette’s front-engine architecture. Also, it was clear the car’s loyal buyers were aging. Those factors, along with huge strides in areas like materials science and production capabilities, gave Juechter and his team the moment they had been waiting for.
But would the car’s traditional owners feel abandoned? “On the marketing side, this was a huge endeavor. We did a heck of a lot of research,” says Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet cars and crossovers marketing. “Could we retain loyalists and also attract new buyers who appreciate the configuration but who don’t have the best perception of the Corvette brand?”
Apparently, yes. “Die-hard Corvette fans didn’t believe that Chevy would really do it, but now that they’ve seen the car, no one is complaining,” says Mike Vietro, the founder of Corvette Mike, an Anaheim-based specialty sales, service and restoration shop that has been around for 38 years.
Think about it: a $60,000 midengine V8, capable of a sub-three-second zero-to-60 time, with the looks of a European exotic and the reliability and affordability of an American-made car. Against the odds, Chevy has managed to achieve the best of both worlds.
“The C8 demonstrates GM’s technical capability to run with the big boys in performance but at Chevy prices — one of the brand’s key philosophies,” says Don Runkle, former chief engineer for Chevrolet. “Another is a focus on racing. The new Vette epitomizes both.”
To that point, the C8’s track version, the C8.R, will make its endurance racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26. “With this new Corvette, there’s a direct linkage between the production-car and the racing programs,” says Majoros. “Working with the racing side is a great way to test new technologies that may find their way into production, and it’s also an internal training ground for engineering talent.”
From the epic expense of motorsports to the relatively low-volume nature of a sports car, it’s a small miracle, really, that the Corvette has survived at all, even putting aside where its pumping heart resides. Given economic downturns, gas price fluctuations, priority on new and greener powertrains, and the killing off of entire GM brands such as Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile, the car‘s endurance is testament indeed to its accomplishments and fan base.
So thank you, Chevy, for finally doing what Duntov envisioned and for setting a new high-water mark for an irresistible, ultra-high-performance car that is also financially approachable as well as user-friendly. If that doesn’t have the Corvette’s far pricier competitors quaking, I’ll bet the sales numbers will. According to Chevy, already 45,000 consumers have preordered a car online; deliveries begin in February.
2020 Chevrolet Stingray Coupe
Price: $59,995; $83,825 as tested
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 490; 495 as tested with optional Z51 performance package
Torque: 465 lb.-ft. – 470 lb.-ft. as tested
0 to 60: 3 seconds; 2.8 seconds as tested
Original Source: Sue Calloway; LA times
The 2020 Corvette Stingray was named as one of the three finalists for the prestigious North American Car of the Year Award and the winner will be named Monday morning (Jan 13th) in Detroit. The all-new mid-engine Corvette does have some stiff competition as it’s facing off against the redesigned Toyota Supra and the Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan.
If you’re looking for a scouting report on the three finalists, you’ve come to the right place!
In this recent episode of Autoline This Week, host John McElroy is joined by panelists Gary Vasilash, Jeff Gilbert and Lindsay Brooke to discuss the contenders up for what is by far the most important vehicle award of the year. All four members of the panel are “NACTOY Jurors” who tested each of the cars and they all weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle.
After watching this episode, I am feeling pretty good about the Corvette Stingray’s chances, but that Sonata does have a ton of style and technology for a $30K vehicle so it won’t be a given. Check out the full conversation below:
From Autoline Network via YouTube:
The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) jury comprises roughly 50 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Every year they vote on the best new cars, trucks and utility vehicles that came out in North America. Three of the NACTOY jurors join us on Autoline This Week to discuss the three cars that made it to the finalists’ list, as well as some of the cars that did not make the list. They also predict which vehicles will win the awards for best car, truck and utility.
Panel: Garry Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production Jeff Gilbert, WWJ NewsRadio 950 Lindsay Brooke, SAE International John McElroy, Autoline.tv
Detroit Bureau Steve Burns will be live at the NACTOY award ceremony and will bring us any breaking news from the event. The North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards will be announced on January 13, 2020, at 8 a.m. in Detroit.
Keith Cornett; Corvette Blogger
Corvette Racing set for COTA-Sebring double FIA WEC run with C8.R
Corvette Racing looks set to contest the 1000 Miles of Sebring, in what would be the second consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship outing for the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Sportscar365 has learned that provisional plans are in place to run the Sebring WEC race alongside its two-car factory GT Le Mans class program in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring the following day.
It would come as one of the prerequisites from the ACO, which has stipulated that the Pratt & Miller-run team must run in at least two regular-season WEC races in order to be guaranteed a pair of GTE-Pro entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team ran the Shanghai WEC race in 2018 in addition to Sebring last year with its previous-gen Corvette C7.R.
While declining to comment or confirm on any WEC plans beyond its COTA entry, Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said that it’s been their intention to run two regular-season races in the 2019-20 WEC season.
“Right now, that’s the plan but we’re running down a road,” Fehan told Sportscar365.
“We haven’t refined what exactly that plan is going to be. I couldn’t give you every detail and widget.
“We’ve been busy for a couple of years trying to race and design, build and develop the new car. This adds to the challenge of all of that.
“I think most people would understand that we don’t have it completely defined yet.
“It’s a case of dealing it in an orderly fashion.
“We can’t become overwhelmed too much with what’s going on down the road when we have to focus on what we need to accomplish [in Daytona] in a couple of weeks.”
While set to give the new mid-engined GTE contender its competition debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month, the car’s second race will come just four weeks later at Circuit of The Americas, with a single entry having been submitted for the WEC replacement round.
Fehan said details on that program, including drivers, have yet to be determined.
He explained the reason for doing the additional WEC races is to “try as best we can” to support the globe-trotting championship.
“We understand the value that has to the sanctioning body and the value to the global fan base,” he said.
“We know it’s important but they also know the business side of it that prevents us from doing both things. They get that.
“I think they also appreciate how hard we’re trying to make all of the accommodations we can to keep the ball moving down the field.
“It’s not easy for us and they know it’s not easy for us and they appreciate that.”
No Issues in 2019 ‘Super Sebring’ Endeavor
Fehan said the team faced no issues in its double-duty endeavor at Sebring last year, in what was only the second-ever time the team raced three cars between two different series on the same weekend.
In addition to its over-the-wall crew and several other staff, drivers Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller took part in both Friday’s eight-hour WEC race and the around-the-clock IMSA enduro the day later.
“That worked out great,” Fehan said. “We were lucky because we had enough equipment.
“It’s not like you can piggyback what you have set up. You’ve got to have a completely additional set of stuff.
“Between stuff that we had in stock and stuff that we had for the Cadillac program, we had enough in place.
“That system is getting better and we learned from that on all the things we did right and all the things that we know we could improve upon.”
Source John Dagys; SportsCar365
The waiting is over for Marcel Fassler. This weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 was the first opportunity for the three-time Le Mans winner to drive the revolutionary mid-engine Corvette Stingray C8.8 — either in a test or even on a simulator — and he likes what he’s found.
“I heard really good things beforehand, so I was really looking forward to my very first drive,” said Fassler. “I finally got my first chance on Friday, and I am more than positively surprised how good and how much fun it is to drive. It’s difficult to compare both cars, because they are completely different in how they were built and set up, but this is a big step forward. I’ve enjoyed every lap in this car around the track.”
Fassler won GTLM honors as part of a 1-2 outing for Corvette Racing in his Rolex 24 debut in 2016, with his car prevailing by 0.034s in the closest class finish in event history. The 43-year-old Swiss driver enjoyed the changing conditions at the Roar — which have ranging from a warm Friday to a wet Saturday to a sunny but chilly Sunday — as he tested the silver No. 4 Stingray with Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.
“The weather this weekend is the best we could have,” Fassler said. “Now we know hot conditions, we know wet conditions and today we’ll work with colder conditions. Experience shows that everything can happen at Daytona. It can be super warm or freezing cold, or a lot of rain like last year.”
Antonio Garcia, who shares the traditional yellow No. 3 Corvette with Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, was also pleased with the progress of the C8.R.
“It’s going the right way,” said Garcia, a two-time Rolex 24 winner. “We’ve got to gather as much data as possible to prepare for the first race of the season — the first race for the actual car. It’s going to be very difficult for us, because we don’t know how the car is going to behave, with a lot of unknowns. I think we’re as prepared as we can be, and we are using this test to be even more prepared. So far, it’s going well. But in racing, you never know. We’re probably the best team out there to get with a new car, and so far it looks good and drives good. I can’t wait until the start of the race.”
Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan shares the optimism of his drivers.
“Everything operationally has worked out well,” Fehan said. “The cars are performing well. We haven’t had any major issues in durability and reliability — things we are looking for here. Every day we come out we write another page in setup and learning about the chassis and aero on the car. So every lap’s an important lap.”
Original Source: J.J O’Malley; Racer