General Motors (GM) is set to debut the eighth generation of the Chevrolet Corvette on July 18, 2019. The mid-engine Corvette C8, one of the most highly-anticipated cars in the history of the automobile, will be unveiled to the public with a planned special event at Orange County, Southern California, USA.
GM is taking a totally new approach with the new Corvette’s layout, which underwent completely different changes in styling and proportions. The previous seven generations of the Corvette were Grand Touring (GT) machines with long hoods, cab-back greenhouse and short decks with designs that were striking, imposing, and gorgeous for their time. In contrast, the Corvette C8 has a short hood, cab-forward greenhouse, and a long deck to accommodate the mid-mounted engine. Thus, is overall profile is more or less the same as any other mid-engine V8 exotics like the Audi R8, Ferrari 488 Pista and F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, and McLaren 720S.
With exotic company such as these, the Corvette C8 will obviously be more biased towards performance than touring comfort. Like the European exotic cars, there will be less space for people and things, and more space for the engine. Speculative reports suggest the C8 could come with three engine options – an entry-level normally-aspirated 6.2-liter overhead-valve (OHV) small-block V8 with around 460 horsepower; a new twin-turbo 5.0-liter double-overhead-cam (DOHC) V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft producing around 650 hp and a twin-turbo 5.5-liter DOHC V8 with 850 hp. Other rumors hint at a 1,000 hp all-wheel-drive (AWD) hybrid version but there is no proof of this just yet. GM’s patent for a new clutch-by-wire system means the C8 could get a new dual-clutch gearbox.
The decision to change the Corvette’s layout from a front-engine rear-drive GT to a mid-engine sports car wasn’t conjured overnight. Zora Arkus-Duntov, known popularly as the “Father of the Corvette”, was constantly proposing to GM management to improve the performance of America’s sports car. Zora was a Belgian-born American engineer and race driver who joined GM in 1953 as an assistant staff engineer. Given his racing background, which included several class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s no surprise that he was an immediate fan of the Corvette.
Although he found the Corvette visually attractive, he also felt that its underpinnings could use improvement. Arkus-Duntov helped broaden Chevrolet’s motorsport offerings and performance catalogue, helped usher in the small block Chevy V8 to the Corvette in 1955, and launched the Grand Sport program in 1962. Upon his promotion as the director of Chevy’s high-performance vehicles, he sought to move the Corvette from a front-engine layout to a mid-engine layout. He created prototype vehicles that were mostly mid-engine creations, including the 1962 XP 817, the 1976 XP 882 Aerovette and the Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicles (CERV), all of which led to the development of the modern mid-engine Corvette C8.
Undoubtedly the most hotly-anticipated new model to come from the Bow Tie brand in decades, the mid-engine Corvette C8 became the subject of many renderings to try and see what’s beyond the camouflaged prototypes. We look at a few of these renderings because we can’t wait until it is finally unveiled to the public in July 18, 2019, just a few weeks from now! Watch this space!