The C8 Corvette gets better every time we learn more about it.
It’s a testament to how good the current C7 Corvette is that the upcoming C8 will see its engine placed in the center of the car’s chassis. It indicates that Chevrolet’s engineers have gotten all the performance they can get out of the front-engine rear-wheel-drive platform and have to radically change the Corvette’s architecture in order to make it any better.
But while the C8’s engine placement is supposed to be one of the biggest ways the new Corvette will break with tradition, it certainly won’t be the only drastic change GM makes. Also on the table is a dual-clutch transmission and an engine with its camshafts located on top of the cylinders rather than in the block where the Corvette’s current pushrod orientation places them. But if a GM patent uncovered by MidEngineCorvetteForum holds any water, an overhead camshaft will only be the start of things.
The patent regards active aerodynamic elements that could make it onto the upcoming C8, including air deflectors that pivot to control air flow around the body. Yes, that means the C8 will likely get the same kind of aerodynamic technology that many European sports cars, like the Porsche 911, get.
But we already knew that. GM had hinted at it in a patent revealed in early 2017, where it outlined plans for active aerodynamics that would adjust according to the Corvette’s ride height. Given that the patent images depicted a C7 Corvette, we speculated the tech would be revealed on the ZR1 that was set to debut later that year. That never happened, which makes us think this latest patent, which depicts the same C7 but is dated to June 11th, 2019, is referencing the C8 Corvette and only uses the C7’s image to add confusion.
Like the previous patent, which covered a system for "vehicle ride-height determination for control of vehicle aerodynamics,” this patent signals that the technology has advanced since it covers "vehicle ride-height dependent control of air deflector.” What the patent's legalese is essentially saying is that Chevy is looking at giving the Corvette a system that uses sensors to monitor the position of active aerodynamic components at the front and rear, monitor the position of these components relative to the car’s body and to the ground, and measure the vehicle’s height above the ground.
That system could then determine how to move the Corvette’s aerodynamic elements and could go as far as actually modulating the vehicle's ride height at the front and rear in order to milk extra performance out of it or protect the delicate active aerodynamic bits. It’s no guarantee the technology will make it to the C8 Corvette, but we'll have to wait to find out during its reveal on July 18th.