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
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
If you’re waiting for an all new 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette, it’s only natural that you’re wondering when your allocation is going to come up. And, with production just now kicking off, it’s easy to wonder whether yours will be considered a 2020 or a 2021 model (and what pricing implications that will have on your bottom line.) I’m sure some of you have plenty of other questions too and now, thanks to Mike Furman – one of the most famous Corvette salesman in the world – we have some answers. Keep reading for a full update on the Chevy C8 Corvette and what’s going on behind the scenes.
CHEVY ISN’T PRODUCING C8’S SLATED FOR CUSTOMER DELIVERY YET
One of the most important things we’ve learned from Mr. Furman’s latest e-mail update is that Chevy’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant is exclusively producing C8 Corvettes, but none of them are going to make it into customer’s hands. According to Furman, all of the C8’s produced so far and those produced through the end of January, are all “captured test vehicles.” Now, no clarification beyond that was mentioned, but in most cases, these are the vehicles used to fine-tune the production process, make sure everything lines up the way it should, etc. Chevy could have other uses for these vehicles, but usually, they are destroyed or recycled once their purpose has passed.
IF YOUR ALLOCATION COMES AFTER THE 2021 MODEL YEAR SWITCH, YOU’LL PROBABLY PAY MORE
We all know that the initial 2020 models will be cheaper than subsequent model years, however, the difference in cost between the 2020 and 2021 models has yet to be revealed. In his latest E-mail, Mike Furman raised a very important point.
Pricing for 2021 models will probably go up, but historically GM has not raised the price by more than $2,500 year-to-year.
So, it won’t be outrageously more expensive if you receive a 2021 model over a 2020. And, as pointed out by Furman, the C8 Corvette landed at some $10,000 less than anyone expected anyway, so you’re getting one hell of a deal for a world-class sports car anyway.
C8 CORVETTE PRODUCTION FOR CUSTOMER CARS STARTS IN THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY
If you’re lucky enough to have one of the first customer car allocations (you’re probably not,) you could be riding around in your new Vette very soon.
The production of customer-bound cars starts in the first week of February and GM will begin delivery sometime after that.
And, if you were considering skipping the museum delivery because of not having paint film protection for the ride hone, you can now get XPEL applied at NCM Motorsports Park before you head our on your maiden voyage.
CHEVY IS LIMITED ENGINE TORQUE FOR 500 MILES BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS
When news about Chevy reducing torque in the C8 Corvette during the break-in period hit the net, some people lost their minds. Well, there’s a damn good reason that Chevy has to do it, and it boils down to the fact that people just don’t honor the break-in period as they should. As quoted on Mid-Engine Corvette Forum it has to do with ensuring that the break-in period is honored and, while torque will be reduced by 25-30 percent for around 500 miles, it doesn’t really affect performance that much:
“For the 8th generation Corvette, we have taken it a step farther. With more weight on the rear, the car has more traction and we take advantage of that with more aggressive gearing. That translates into more torque multiplication and more loads in the driveline. We decided for the first 500 miles to limit maximum torque in first and second gears. The torque reduction is roughly 25 to 30% depending on which transaxle (standard or Z51) and which gear. That may sound like a big reduction, but in reality the car is still really fast.”
The basic principle is that this is done to make sure the engine’s components wear properly during break-in and, ultimately, helps ensure the longevity of the engine. Apparently, Chevy is still going to ask customers to take it easy on the car during the break-in period too, so do yourself a favor and don’t get into it until you pass the golden 500-mile mark.
JAY LENO WAS THE FIRST NON-GM-EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE THE 2020 CHEVY C8 CROVETTE CONVERTIBLE Z51
ENJOY THE CHEVY C8 CORVETTE EXHAUST COMPILATION FROM DRIVE615
Source Robert Moore;Top Speed
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
The $60,000 Stingray pushes its engine to the middle and expectations through the roof.
From its dream-car debut in 1953 at the Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the Chevrolet Corvette has kept its engine up front, where sports-car tradition says it belongs.
But with sales of many fast, fun cars on the wane — blame the rise of dully practical S.U.V.s, an aging boomer audience or a declining car culture — the Corvette’s creators saw the need for a radical about-face. The 2020 Corvette Stingray has moved its engine behind the driver and passenger, adopting the physics-approved layout that brought Ferdinand Porsche his first racing successes in the 1930s. Today, this approach is associated with money-torching supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
The long-awaited “mid-engine” Corvette easily outruns its formidable predecessor, as I learned during a time-warping desert drive near Tortilla Flat, Ariz. The eighth-generation “C8” Corvette is earning rapturous reviews and dominating industry awards, as a car that can take on European exotics that cost $200,000 and more, but at a $59,995 base price that reads like a misprint.
“It’s certainly a great moment in the car business,” said Eddie Alterman, chief brand officer for Hearst Autos and a former editor in chief of Car and Driver. “It’s nothing less than the democratization of the supercar.”
At General Motors, that democratization includes a virtual decree that Chevy’s relatively blue-collar baby generate vastly more sales than, say, its Porsche 911 nemesis, enough to earn its keep in profits. Yet sales of sports cars and muscle cars have plunged by nearly half since 2000, on track for just 230,000 this year, according to analysts at Motor Intelligence. A reborn Toyota Supra, despite huge fanfare, has found a lukewarm 500 buyers a month since its summer debut, fewer than one-quarter of the expected 25,000 to 30,000 first-year sales of the Corvette.
At Porsche, a single sport utility vehicle, the Macan, finds more buyers than all the brand’s sports cars and Panamera sedans combined. Unsurprisingly, the world’s speed merchants, including Lamborghini, Bentley and Jaguar, have developed S.U.V.s into their best-sellers around the world, with entries from Aston Martin and Ferrari on the way. Some of those companies had vowed to never sully their names with a sport utility. Never mind.
Into this minefield steps Tadge Juechter. As just the fourth chief engineer in the Corvette’s fabled 67-year history, Mr. Juechter holds one of the most scrutinized positions in the American industry, his every utterance parsed for clues to the ’Vette’s future.
The previous-generation Corvette, the first to wear the Stingray badge since 1968, also generated robust sales beginning in 2014. Yet Mr. Juechter and his team saw a car nearing its end, both in technical terms and its ability to win new buyers.
“We saw an aging demographic, the same faces at Corvette events year after year,” he said.
That honking, 6.2-liter V8 up front had become an Achilles’ heel. The Corvette’s top-shelf, $121,000 ZR1 edition was already pumping out 755 horsepower, keeping pace in an unprecedented industry horsepower war. Moving the engine aftward — shifting critical weight over driven rear wheels — became the only way to apply such monstrous force to the pavement while improving traction and stability.
The move risked alienating the Corvette’s tradition-loving buyer base. At a design clinic for owners of various sports cars, Mr. Juechter discovered that current customers were split roughly 50-50 on the mid-engine switch. But among supercar owners that Chevy hoped to conquer, 90 percent favored it.
“We had to go for it,” Mr. Juechter said. “We did it purely for physics rules, but the byproduct was that it would also appeal to a new generation. We try to respect the past, but not be stuck in the past.”
G.M. had teased the faithful for decades, experimenting with a midmounted layout in a series of fanciful prototypes, beginning with the CERV 1 (for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) in 1959. Finally, for the 2020 model year, the near-mythical mid-engine Corvette is here, including the coupe’s Ferrari-esque view of its V8, provocatively exposed below a glass cover.
The public’s first glimpse of the car, in April, supported the Corvette engineering team’s confidence. Mr. Juechter drove a prototype, its body work disguised by a black-and-white pattern, through a bustling Times Square, with Mary Barra, the G.M. chief, riding shotgun. Rolling, windows down, Mr. Juechter heard younger voices yelling, “Mid-engine Corvette!”
“We imprinted on young people a super passion for this car,” he said. “Our job is to push that, that every drive can be a joy, an adventure.”
Dodging Times Square tourists and Ubers in a 495-horsepower, roughly 190-m.p.h. sports car is one form of adventure. But in my Arizona test, including roller-coaster desert curves, this new model combined moonshot acceleration, handling, tech and versatility like no rival remotely near its price. That includes a 2.8-second catapult to 60 miles an hour, on a par with a $250,000 Ferrari 488 GTB; a sharply improved, jet-fighter-inspired cockpit; and a GPS-based video data system that records street or track drives, overlays them with animated telemetry readouts and lets drivers analyze their performance with racing software.
“It doesn’t have the operatic Sturm und Drang of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but it really is an everyday supercar,” Mr. Alterman said.
Fuel economy is surprisingly decent, roughly 26 to 28 miles per gallon at a steady highway cruise. The Corvette is notably aerodynamic, and can deactivate half its cylinders to save fuel. The latest driver-adjustable magnetic suspension, a G.M.-first technology now adopted by several European exotics, lets the ’Vette drive as smoothly as some luxury cars in its Touring mode, despite the sleeping-bear V8 just over your shoulder.
“It couldn’t be just a weekend toy,” Mr. Juechter said. “A lot of people use this as their only car.”
Perhaps because do-it-all S.U.V.s are strong-arming sales — and definitely because today’s fans won’t put up with punishing rides or dodgy reliability — the worldwide trend is all about more practical sports cars that are safe and approachable for amateurs, yet still rewarding for skilled pilots.
Many mid-engine exotics lack a trunk, because the engine hogs the space. Yet Corvette designers made room for a trunk that can fit two golf bags, in addition to the Porsche-style “frunk” up front where the engine used to go.
Even the carefree convertible model doesn’t neglect its chores, with an ingenious powered soft-top that tucks away without stealing an inch of luggage space. Welcome practicality does bring a visual downside: The wide, chunky rear deck makes the ’Vette a bit back heavy.
Proper fits aside, wishful fans didn’t find a little red-ribboned Corvette under their Christmas tree: A now-settled G.M. strike has delayed production until February. For Chevy’s pampered halo car, only about 12 units each hour will roll off the production line in Bowling Green, Ky., down the road from the National Corvette Museum.
In anticipation of huge demand, more than 400 workers have been hired to fill a second daily shift, including employees laid off from Chevy’s closed plant in Lordstown, Ohio. (G.M. plans to open a new battery plant there, part of a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem of South Korea.)
Mr. Juechter is confident that Chevrolet can sell every Corvette it can build, for now. The real test comes after the initial frenzy subsides. Mr. Alterman points to an increasingly short, roughly 18-month shelf life for such high-profile performers, with fickle buyers and collectors always in pursuit of the hot new thing. He sees the Corvette borrowing from Porsche’s ultra-profitable playbook, keeping the lineup fresh with myriad styles, performance upgrades and personalization options.
Though Mr. Juechter wouldn’t comment on future models, the cottage industry of Corvette rumors cites development of a hybrid ’Vette with up to 900 horsepower.
The dominance of S.U.V.s and the momentous shift to electrics has automakers playing offense.
Aside from an industry explosion of superpowered sport utilities, Ford ignited a controversy when it unveiled a Tesla-baiting electric S.U.V. and called it the Mustang Mach E. The traditional Mustang is enjoying its own golden age of performance, including a bonkers Shelby GT500 with 760 horsepower and an affordable four-cylinder model that gets 32 m.p.g. on the highway. Yet Mustang sales continue to tumble.
And while traditionalists are crying foul over the Mustang Mach E — first S.U.V.s stole customers, now they’re stealing legendary names — Mr. Alterman suggests that this heresy won’t be the last. A five-seat, Corvette-branded S.U.V. could be the most “everyday supercar” of all.
“You’ve got that sub-brand of the Mustang that’s so evocative,” he said, “so why not draw on it? There’s an opportunity for Chevy to do the same thing.”
Original Source Lawrence Ulrich; NY Times