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Ultimate Corvette Expected to Go PHEV

General Motors is plugging into EVs in a big way. And, among a wide range of electrified models set to come out over the next several years, one is expected to wear the Chevrolet Corvette badge.

GM CEO Mary Barra has repeatedly said the automaker is on a “path to an all-electric future.”

Several officials have acknowledge the C8 Corvette was designed to be electrified, though they have to confirm what form that will take.

A plug-based ‘Vette would focus on performance – likely nudging 700 hp or more — rather than mileage, though it likely also would be the most efficient version of the sports car.

When “spy shots” began circulating last week showing a plug hanging out of the nose of a new Corvette undergoing winter testing its was initially reported this was the rumored battery version of the sports car.

Parent General Motors subsequently explained that the pics had caught a conventional, gas-powered 2020 ‘Vette,” but the episode only underscores expectations Chevrolet is, indeed developing an electric Corvette — something an assortment of executives, including GM President Mark Reuss have taken pains not to deny.

If anything, Reuss effectively confirmed it is only a question of time, noting last July that the eighth-generation Corvette just coming to market will have to comply with the company’s “strategy of 0-0-0: zero emissions, zero crashes, zero congestion.”

But exactly what that means – or, more precisely, what form that would take – is far from certain.

GM officials have made it clear there will continue to be an assortment of different ‘Vette variants, perhaps more than we’ve seen in the past. During the July unveiling of the C8, several Corvette insiders told Ride that the new, mid-engine platform was specifically designed to allow the use of electric drive, with a battery pack placed below the load floor. What type of system it will be is the real question.

Only a few years ago, GM seemed focused on both conventional and plug-in hybrids, the original Chevy Volt being a good example of its PHEV strategy. But it has pulled the plug on Volt and is, for the most part, moving towards pure battery-electric vehicles. The current example is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with an all-electric Cadillac SUV dues later this year. Among the nearly two dozen other BEVs under development: a battery pickup expected to revive the Hummer name.

For those who still think of battery drive as slow and boring, no need to worry, however. Making 100% of their torque the moment they start spinning, electric motors can deliver insane levels of torque given enough power. The “conventional” hybrid Acura NSX is one example. The plug-in Lincoln Aviator is the fastest and most powerful version of that SUV. And whether you’re talking Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode or the new Porsche Taycan Turbo 4S, pure BEVs can be blindingly fast.

If anything, says Sam Abuelsamid, principal auto analyst with Navigant Research, “no doubt about it,” a battery-based Corvette will be the quickest ever, “easily getting into the 700 horsepower range, with over 1,000 NM torque, and launching from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds.”

A conventional hybrid, even one as exotic as the NSX, is unlikely, various sources indicate. The question, then, is whether Corvette goes all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Abuelsamid is one who believes it will be a BEV, though the evidence is still too vague to be certain. One high-level insider cautioned Ride last July it would be difficult to squeeze in enough batteries to deliver the range BEV buyers would expect. But pulling out the internal combustion engine and transmission could solve that.

Do expect the electric drivetrain to be all-wheel-drive, with motors front and back, every source has agreed upon, something critical in order to get all that power to the pavement.

Another unanswered question is what an electrified Corvette might be called. Some sources have hinted this will be the next-generation Z06, others that it might replace the old ZR1, the traditional pinnacle of the Corvette line-up. There has long been speculation Chevy might be working up a Corvette Zora, an homage to the sports car’s legendary first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and what better way to do that?

How soon? “A bit more than” 24 months was the best answer we could get from insider GM. That’s a bit further out than many expected, but the GM strike last autumn appeared to have pushed back development efforts.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The C8 is the first production Corvette to adopt a mid-engine layout, boosting performance to supercar levels at a fraction of the sale price global competitors demand. An electric ‘Vette, whether PHEV or BEV, would pose an even bigger challenge to exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Source: Paul Eisenstein for Ride.Tech.


Garcia, Gavin uncertain of Corvette C8.R’s Daytona prospects

Corvette Racing’s veteran stars, Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia, are positive about the new mid-engined C8.R’s progress but are uncertain how it will perform relative to its GT Le Mans class opposition at this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gavin’s full-time partner Tommy Milner set Corvette Racing’s fastest time in Roar Before the 24 qualifying  which decides garages and pit stalls, and he was encouragingly just 0.108sec off the top time in class, set by James Calado in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE.

However, Gavin warned that the race will be several hours old before everyone gets an accurate picture of how the GTLM contenders match up.

“The C8.R is a brand new car and this is its first race outing,” said the 2016 Rolex 24 winner. “We won’t know where we are in respect to the competition, and they will be looking at us and figuring out where we’re strong and where we’re weak.

“You can pick up little bits and pieces during the Roar and even in the two or three practice sessions before the Rolex 24, but you never really get a great idea of where you’re at until you get five hours or so into the race.

“But it always comes down to the last two hours. It would be quite remarkable if we could come right out of the box and be super-fast, super-reliable and have a successful weekend the first time out.”

Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans title winner and 2015 Rolex 24 winner Garcia also sounded a note of caution.

“So far, the new Corvette has been quite decent in testing,” said the Spaniard who is entering his seventh season with the legendary team. “It is still very early stages for this car.

“Even though we think we are ready, there are things that can come up. We must do everything we can to make sure we are as prepared as possible. Then we can see what we really have.

“Our testing has been a consistent evolution between track days and simulator work. We’ve been able to develop a plan to develop the car even though we weren’t testing on the track. The correlation of data has been good. Everything that we have tested virtually is working in real life. That makes life a lot easier when you can use all your tools to improve.

“We continue to validate all the work we’ve done and what we find on the racetrack. We are on the right track.”

While Gavin and Milner continue to be partnered by Marcel Fassler for the endurance races, Garcia not only is working with a new enduro extra – Nicky Catsburg – he also has a new full-time partner.

Jordan Taylor, who in 2017 won the IMSA Prototype title with the team owned by his father Wayne Taylor, and has two Rolex 24 wins to his credit, has moved to the GTLM class with Corvette, replacing Jan Magnussen.

This continues a relationship with the Doug Fehan-run team that stretches back to 2012, the first of six years in which Taylor raced a Corvette in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Partnering Gavin and Milner, he won the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2015.

“I’m excited to go back into GT racing with Corvette in GTLM with all-manufacturer teams and all-professional drivers,” he said. “The class will get a lot of eyes on it with the first race for the C8.R.

“The race itself will be extremely difficult. I’ll have to get used to looking in my mirrors again! In testing, I was reminding myself to check the mirrors leaving certain corners so I could get in the habit of doing it for the race.

“So I’m looking forward to it. Overall wins are fantastic, but a win is a win; you still get a Rolex watch no matter what class you’re in! But for us in GTLM, the competition will be the same if not more difficult than in prototypes.”

Source: David Malsher-Lopez


2020 Corvette Convertible Order Banks Are Officially Open

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.

Source: Corvette Blogger via CNET Roadshow


First Mid-Engine Chevy Corvette Sold for $3 Million at Auction

Barrett-Jackson sold the first C8 Corvette off the line for the Detroit Children’s Fund charity, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick snapped it up.

  • The Barrett-Jackson auction company got $3 million for the very first 2020 Chevrolet Corvette off the line at its January auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, with all proceeds going to a Detroit educational charity.
  • The mid-engine C8 Corvette with VIN 001 gets the Z51 Performance package and the 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8, and the winning bidder was NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.
  • This same auction house sold the last C7 Corvette last spring and took in $2.7 million for a different charity.

UPDATE 1/19/20: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was the winning bidder, paying $3 million for C8 Corvette no. 1 at a high-spirited charity auction event on Saturday featuring GM CEO Mary Barra on the stage. Although the car present at the auction was red, Barrett-Jackson said the actual first car will be “a black-on-black Corvette 3LT loaded with every available option, scheduled to be built during the first quarter of 2020.”

We’ve seen this before: automakers offering the first example of a highly anticipated new model up for auction to benefit a charity. This time, General Motors will auction off the first mid-engine Corvette off the line at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auction in January. All proceeds will go to the Detroit Children’s Fund, which benefits underfunded Detroit public schools.

VIN 001 of the C8 Corvette Stingray is powered by a 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 and is equipped with the Z51 performance package, which adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential with a shorter final-drive ratio, Brembo brakes, a performance exhaust, heavy-duty cooling system, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires.

GM CEO Mary Barra and winning bidder Rick Hendrick pose during the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale on January 18.

There’s no doubt this example will go for well over the $59,995 starting price of the C8 Stingray. Only a few months ago, the final front-engine C7 Corvette sold for $2.7 million at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in June, and the first Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 off the line sold for an insane $1.1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in January, both also for charity.

Source: Car and Driver; Conner Hoffman


Big C8 news!

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


Patience and understanding are more than necessary

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


Corvette Poised for Sebring WEC Return

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg

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