A mid-engine setup allows for great things.
The worst kept secret in Detroit these days is the existence of the mid-engined Corvette, aka the C8. Everyone, and we mean literally everyone, knows it’s coming, likely in 2019. Spy shots, leaked details and the outright refusal of GM’s top brass to even discuss the car on the record are all clear indicators. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter only smiled and put his finger to his lips when asked by this writer at Detroit last January for any details.
Fortunately, Car and Driver has learned of yet another extremely interesting C8 detail that could ultimately prove the car to be a game changer, at least for American-built factory performance. As we already knew, the C8 will initially come powered by an updated version of the current LT1 V8, upgraded to around 500 hp in order compensate for the new car’s slightly heavier weight. But don’t worry, the C8 will still be faster than the C7. Only one gearbox will be on offer, a new 8-speed dual-clutch Chevy has been developing with Tremec. Now, here’s where things begin to get even more interesting and, not to mention, ballsy. The LT1 won’t be around forever.
Think of it as sort of a stop-gap until its successor arrives: a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 with a reported 600 hp. A twin-turbocharged version of that engine will follow, increasing output to 800 hp. For some at Chevy, that figure still isn’t good enough. Within a couple of years after the latter engine arrives, the plan is to add an electric motor. It will located up front, replacing the front trunk, or frunk, and will be good for an additional 200 hp. You can do basic math, right? A mid-engined Corvette with a twin-turbo V8 and an electric motor with a combined output of around 1,000 hp. Yes, this is for real.
Not only is Chevy breaking with a decades-old front-engine Corvette tradition, but also shattering previous Corvette performance capabilities. Of course, this ultimate Corvette will place it in the exclusive group of supercars, but Chevy is still wisely planning to offer those less powerful engines at the same time. Not everyone needs (or can handle) a four-digit output. Because the C8 will be such a radical departure from the get-go, Chevy will build it alongside the C7 at the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant for a few years. Chances are, we’ll see the C8 (or, at the very least, a concept version) at Detroit this January. The 1,000 hp C8, however, isn’t likely to come until around 2022.