They’re all powerful, exciting mid-engine sports cars. That, and none of them are American. But Chevrolet appears determined to end this national travesty with the debut of their very own mid-engine Corvette. The debut date was officially/unofficially announced this past April via a camouflaged test drive of the new C8 through Times Square complete with the date 7.18.19 prominently emblazoned across its doors.
For Corvette fans who’ve been waiting over a decade since the project was first greenlit back in 2007 and initially conceived by “father of the Corvette” Zora Arkus-Duntov way back in the early 1960s, the dream of a mid-engine Corvette is now tantalizingly close to reality.
Most importantly, this will be a mid-engine car. Pushing the engine back (where it belongs) will allow the C8 to provide a boost in driving dynamics. With its newly balanced weight distribution you’ll see improved braking, greater traction, and a jump in power delivery.
Additionally, the mid-engine configuration offers new and novel opportunities for re-imagined styling while incorporating those distinctive Corvette lines. I for one can’t wait to see what this thing finally looks like with the camo off.
The engine is rumored to be a 6.2 liter LT2 V8 with at least 500hp, though this number will likely jump significantly after modifications. Plans are for a single 7-speed, dual clutch, paddle-shifted automatic transmission. Though I’d be surprised if we don’t see a manual option not too far down the line.
The Detroit News reported the possibility of a hybrid version, with Hagerty adding that this would likely co-opt the front trunk space for the addition of electronically driven front wheels. This is especially exciting when you consider what this would mean, in conjunction with the undoubted twin-turbocharging that’s in store, we could be looking at versions of the C8 closing in on nearly 1000hp. Supercar indeed.
New patents filed by GM point to other innovations for the C8 including an “active rear spoiler” that would be height adjustable to increase or decrease rear downforce and aerodynamic drag along with, according to Road & Track, a hood cover that combines glass with a magnesium mesh which would, so the patent claims, provide 200 percent better ventilation. The C8 will also come with a front-axle-lift system meant to both improve clearance (much appreciated on a street legal car) and, more enticingly, adjust aerodynamics. The suspension too will see a move to featuring coil springs rather than transverse composite leaf springs.
GM appears to be shifting assets in favor of the new Corvette (in addition to trucks, SUVs, and electric and autonomous vehicles). While shuttering their Lordstown, OH plant, home of the now defunct Cruze, GM’s Bowling Green, KY plant has added over 400 jobs and a second shift to meet anticipated demand for the new C8. While manufacturers continue to follow consumer tastes and technological trends, it’s nice to see both forces coming together to produce an American mid-engine.
There’s another thing that the Audi R8, Porsche 911, Lamborghini Huracan, and Ferrari 488 have in common, they’re all more expensive than the new Corvette. The estimated starting price of this American mid-engine will be targeted around the $70,000 mark, with additional upgrades raising the price from there. That combination of affordability and performance looks to democratize the supercar experience.