A dual-clutch and a completely new package are on the horizon.
The secret is out that Chevrolet is working on a mid-engined Corvette – for real this time. It’s no longer just a rumor or a one-off concept. The C8 Corvette will switch to a mid-engine setup because, well, Chevy engineers have realized they’ve gone as far as they can with the engine up front. The Z06 is the best proof. And in order for the Corvette to continue being a world class high-performance sports car, a major overhaul is needed. As previously reported, the C8 flagship, rumored to be named the Zora ZL1, will launch as a late 2017 model.
It’ll essentially kick off the era of the mid-engined Vette. By 2020, the rest of the C7 lineup will be retired and the base trim C8 will take things from there. Fortunately, the small-block V8 will remain but GM is also working on new V6s, with and without added boost. But how does one package a mid-engined Corvette? Will there be enough trunk space for a set of golf clubs? According to Road and Track, GM is using the Porsche Boxster/Cayman duo as case studies. To make some extra space available, GM may opt to position all heat exchangers, like those for the engine, transaxle, and A/C, at the sides of the car between the door openings and the rear wheels, a la the Ferrari Testarossa.
Also expect greater use of carbon fiber, a design that’s definitively Corvette though obviously with altered proportions, and a new seven-speed dual-clutch. More than likely, the manual gearbox will be sent to the graveyard. GM is fully aware there will be anger from some enthusiasts, but also bear this in mind: 65 percent of new Stingrays today have automatics. Yes, some major changes are coming.