Next-gen Corvette to be right-hook, mid-en­gined $120,000 V8 Holden halo

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - MAY 2017

Mid-en­gined ’Vette to pro­vide Holden halo

HOLDEN’S post-com­modore V8 hero car – the all-new C8 Corvette due in 2019 – will be a $120,000plus mid-en­gine bel­ter set to take the per­for­mance fight to Fer­rari for one-third of the price.

The next-gen­er­a­tion Corvette will emerge from the Bowl­ing Green pro­duc­tion line with the steer­ing wheel on the right and de­liver tra­di­tional V8 per­for­mance as well as a hybrid-in­fused high-tech knock­out as part of a three-tiered range set to re­de­fine Amer­ica’s most iconic mus­cle car.

It will pos­si­bly use the Zora name – ref­er­enc­ing Zora Arkus-dun­tov, the ‘fa­ther’ of the orig­i­nal 1953 Corvette. GM has also trade­marked E-ray, which h is ex­pected to be used on a hybrid flag­ship.

The shift to a mid-en­gine lay­out will al­low for or bet­ter po­si­tion­ing of weight over the rear wheels, bring­ing dy­namic ben­e­fits and al­low­ing for more power in high­end ver­sions of what in­sid­ers say will be the fastest, most en­gag­ing Corvette in the 64-year his­tory of the model.

Re­cently snapped spy shots of a heav­ily cam­ou­flaged Corvette have con­firmed years of mi­dengine spec­u­la­tion that reached fever pitch in 2015 when pic­tures of a mod­i­fied VE Com­modore ute test mule emerged.

That early mule – which al­lowed easy fit­ment of a V8 in the mod­i­fied tray of the ute – has been side­lined, with near-pro­duc­tion ready pro­to­types un­der­go­ing fi­nal val­i­da­tion ahead of an an­tic­i­pated pub­lic re­veal early in 2018.

Gen­eral Mo­tors ex­ec­u­tives, led by for­mer Holden boss and now GM product chief Mark Reuss, were said to be con­sid­er­ing re­veal­ing the C8 Corvette at the LA mo­tor show late this year, but in­sid­ers say there were con­cerns an early re­veal would risk the siz­zle sim­mer­ing down by the time the car reaches show­rooms, as it did to a de­gree with the ri­val Ford GT.

De­spite the dra­matic shift in its ba­sic lay­out the C8 will con­tinue with key Corvette styling themes, in­clud­ing the low-slung shape, dis­tinc­tive Ca­maro-in­spired tail lights that were a con­tro­ver­sial ad­di­tion to the soon-to-be­dis­con­tin­ued C7, and pro­nounced rear hips, com­plete with air in­takes to feed the trio of V8 op­tions.

The move to a mid-en­gine lay­out will con­tinue along with the Fer­rari-crush­ing price tag, at least in its most ba­sic guise, which is

ex­pected to use a 37 375kw small­block ohv V8.

That power outpu out­put may seem low, but GM is also e ex­pected to fo­cus on re­duc­ing w weight to cre­ate the fastest Co Corvette in eight gen­er­a­tions. Fur­ther, we un­der un­der­stand that as the ’Vette flexes its mus­cles through­out it its life, we can ex­pect a ne new dohc en­gine for the hi hi-po ZR1, which is also likely to be utili utilised with the hybrid driv­e­train.

Pen Penned un­der the g guid­ance of GM d de­sign chief, Aust Australian Mike Simc Sim­coe, the C8 Corv Corvette will ado adopt mod­ern aero aero­dy­namic prin prin­ci­ples from sup su­per­cars as dive di­verse as Porsche and Mclaren; thin think air blades to rele re­lease pres­sure and lift in the whe whee­larches, as well as vents to di­vert air at the rear.

The aero will be e even more cru­cial for a high­er­higher-out­put ZR1 model with around 500kw, al­though it won’t ar ar­rive un­til 2020 at the ear­li­est.

B Butt it’ it’s th the h hot­lytl an­tic­i­pated hybrid ’Vette, pos­si­bly to be called E-ray, that will top the power race.

With­out elab­o­rat­ing on the C8, Chevro­let de­sign boss John Ca­faro told Wheels a hybrid pow­er­train made sense for su­per­cars.

“[Chevro­let] Bolt tech­nol­ogy and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion re­ally has ap­pli­ca­tions in per­for­mance cars,” said Ca­faro. “You see it at Le Mans … it’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

While Ca­faro says the floor is the most log­i­cal place for bat­ter­ies in an elec­tric car – help­ing lower the cen­tre of grav­ity – the mid-en­gine Corvette is tight for space ev­ery­where ex­cept un­der the bon­net. Such a move would pave the way for elec­tric mo­tors pow­er­ing the front wheels.

It’s weight that’s the chal­lenge for any hybrid sys­tem, some­thing GM’S vast bat­tery lab at Warren is work­ing hard to over­come.

All driv­e­trains should be avail­able to Holden; as the lack of an en­gine un­der the bon­net al­lows eas­ier place­ment and shuf­fling of steer­ing and brake com­po­nents.

For decades GM has dreamt of mid-en­gine Corvettes, but pro­duc­tion costs and com­plex­i­ties have re­sulted in the V8 be­ing placed up front in­stead.

Work on a mid-en­gine C7 Corvette was well un­der­way from 2006, be­fore be­ing shelved when GM filed for bank­ruptcy in 2009.

A large tech in­flu­ence on the C8 will be the Cadil­lac CT6 un­veiled in 2015. It’s a car that stretched en­gi­neers at Warren to re­think the makeup and pro­duc­tion of a lux­ury car.

The CT6 uses 11 dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als in its body as part of its ‘mixed ma­te­rial’ strat­egy, whereby var­i­ous grades of steel and alu­minium are used.

The C8 will have an alu­minium in­ten­sive frame wrapped in car­bon com­pos­ite pan­els, but ex­pect GM to in­fuse it with pro­duc­tion ef­fi­cien­cies gleaned from the CT6.

There’s plenty of de­tail yet to sur­face about the C8 Corvette, but what is be­com­ing clearer is that it will be the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced car ever to emerge from Gen­eral Mo­tors.

The C8 Corvette will be the most ad­vanced car ever to emerge from GM

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