Bring on the C8

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Lead photo by GM

The Hype

The hype over a mid-engine Corvette has been building for decades. With the official debut announced, it is reaching a fever pitch. Chevrolet didn’t have a choice regarding this dramatic move with the Corvette. Anyone who’s driven a C7 hard, specifically the Z06 or ZR-1, knows the current configuration has essentially peaked.

There is only so much you can do with a front engine, rear drive configuration. There’s a reason race cars and supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Porsche have used a mid-engine configuration for years. The mid-engine layout provides a more stable platform with optimum weight distribution and superb handling characteristics.

As someone who has loved Corvettes since childhood, I am a bit conflicted with the change, but I understand. The move to mid-engine is necessary to keep Corvette in the rarified air it has inhabited since 2002.

The Legacy

You’ve been able to buy a Corvette that can hang with, or beat the top performance cars from any brand since the 405HP edition of the Z06 debuted, typically at half the price.

The detractors will be quick to deride the interior, and rightfully so. The C5 and, to a lesser extent, C6 generation have plastic interiors that lack soft touch points or refined materials. The seats in each generation are also woefully unfit for hard core driving or track days. The C7 has done much to remedy this, but the competition has also improved. That leaves the C7 still feeling a generation behind its competitors.  

My old Grand Sport on the track at MSR Cresson.
My old Grand Sport on the track at MSR Cresson in Texas

The Future

The power plant of the C8 has yet to be revealed, but let’s assume it will not be a pushrod V-8. That engine configuration has powered every Corvette for six generations. To make the power needed to be a legit contender in the supercar world today, the C8 needs to have an over-head cam configuration, and probably turbo charging.

The engine change may be more of a blow to Corvette faithful than the engine location, but again, I understand. I’ve enjoyed the Corvettes I’ve owned, and there will always be a welcome spot in my garage for one. I will continue to root for the Corvette regardless of engine type or location. It has represented the best of American performance for over 65 years. The Corvette always punches above its weight class and delivers, and I hope it always will.