Hear ye, Hear ye!
Work has work has commenced on the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette and it shall be henceforth called the C8. The C8 isn’t due until the end of the decade. However, a car riding on its platform may appear much sooner than that. The car may be launched as early as the 2017 model year and sport a price tag of around $150,000.
While technically a C8, the new ZR-1 will be sold alongside the current C7 Corvette for its first years on the market. Eventually, the C7 Corvette will be replaced by the new C8 Corvette, with all the variants being based on the mid-engine platform. Surely, you and I have heard rumors about mid-engines ‘Vettes since the 70’s and even seen enticing renderings and experimental prototypes. GM reportedly started working on a new mid-engine Corvette prior to its bankruptcy in 2009 and Corvette’s current Chief Engineer was said to be a key player on that project.
A mid-engine design would help separate future Corvettes from the Camaro. This change will also help the C8 Corvette become a semi-exotic halo model for Chevrolet worldwide, a bit like the NSX for Acura/Honda and the R8 for Audi. A practical exotic with world-class performance and everyday reliability has always been the Corvette’s stock and trade. A mid-pot setup would allow it to play in the yard with the same uniform as the rest of the kids.
A small-block V-8 will remain the powertrain of choice for the new ZR-1 and it will not doubt come with a single transmission: a seven-speed dual-clutch. A manual transmission could also become available for loyalists who like to row through the gears for themselves. Hybrid technology is definitely a part of the plan to ensure it can keep up in the technology stakes against its German and Japanese rivals.
Finally, GM has rights to the Zora name already and will probably feature it in the new ZR-1’s full title. The usage would serve as a tribute to Corvette father, Zora Arkus-Duntov, much like Ferrari tributes like the Dino and the Enzo. Duntov was a huge fan of the mid-engine layout. How appropriate.
We shall continue with updates along the development trail. As you were.