A little more than a week ago IEN Now offered a look at an electrified Corvette that broke its own land speed record.
As it turns out, that’s not the only modification in the works for this classic American sports car. Although rumored for more than a decade, it looks as though Chevrolet is finally moving forward with a mid-engine design for the Corvette.
Moving the engine behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels is being pursued for a couple of reasons. First, a number of higher-end sports cars use this positioning because it improves the handling and responsiveness of the vehicle.
From an engineering perspective a mid-engine placement also provides more flexibility when incorporating a potential plug-in hybrid powertrain or all-wheel drive. It would also compliment the rumored active-aerodynamics system which would positively impact downforce in improving vehicle handling.
This improved handling feeds another key driver of the mid-engine concept. Namely, the core Corvette buyer is getting older. GM wants to re-position this 8th generation in attracting younger performance car buyers who are leaning more towards the designs of the Ford GT and high-end European sports cars from Acura or even Porsche and Ferrari.
However, to keep costs down, it will most likely retain its small block V8. Possible names for the new model, which could debut as early as the fall of 2018, include E-Ray and Manta Ray, in reflecting its sleeker design. Other possibilities include Emperor and Zora – after early Corvette designer Zora Arkus-Duntov.
Production of current Z06 front-engine models would most likely continue through 2021. Also fueling speculation over the new Vette is the recently announced $800 million in investments planned for Corvette’s production facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky.