Since its 1953 debut, the Chevy Corvette’s rear-wheel drive, front-engine dynamics have earned it high marks from those seeking a visceral GT car. With its most recent refresh for the C7 generation, the engine, adjustable suspension, interior, and exterior dimensions have all been improved upon drastically, but the Corvette hasn’t lost the basics. This adherence to Corvette tradition has been one of the prime reasons for the C7’s success. However, according to MotorTrend.com, the Corvette C7 ZR1 and next-gen C8 are almost certain to be mid-engined, a marked departure from the 50-year-old plus Corvette model.
MotorTrend cites multiple sources as having confirmed that the ZR1 will use a mid-engine setup, while a single reliable source has stated that the C8 will follow suit. Why the move to mid-engine? Weight savings, primarily. By moving the engine directly behind the driver, Chevrolet could shorten the C7’s wheelbase considerably, slashing much unneeded length from the long hood. This step would allow for a more lightweight chassis, something that would keep the Corvette line ahead of its competition (Camaro and Mustang) in terms of power-to-weight ratio. Also, the shorter wheelbase would allow for improved handling dynamics that would let top-tier Corvettes better compete with the likes of the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 650S.
Speaking of top-tier Corvettes, a brand-new, hyper-performance variant of the Corvette may soon be on the way, code-named Zora. Named after the father of the Corvette who tried on multiple occasions to bring a mid-engined Corvette to production, the Zora and the ZR1 would share mid-engined design and massively souped-up powertrains, and potentially (gasp!) all-wheel drive systems. Though AWD would be the ultimate sacrilege in the eyes of Corvette enthusiasts, the ZR1/Zora’s horsepower and torque numbers may be so high that no other drivetrain would suffice.
MotorTrend suggests that Chevrolet may begin offering the Corvette in a variety of “flavors,” so to speak, with a number of engine choices and engine configurations available. The C8 Stingray will be the base, front-engine model similar to the current C7, while more performance-oriented models will receive the supercharged, mid-mounted engines. These more potent cars would definitely stretch the Corvette’s reputation as the “affordable sports car,” with prices potentially skyrocketing to around $200,000. What Chevrolet can do in a $200,000 car, however, is sure to rival that of cars costing double that figure.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more Corvette developments.
Frank caught automotive fever early in life. Hailing from a long line of car fanatics, he was able to recite the year and model of every car that passed him by age five. His passion and love for the automobile have only grown since then. When not thinking about cars, he is reading, writing, learning, or dreaming about them. His area of expertise is in the realm of German and Italian cars, of which Porsche is a favorite. Frank currently resides in the heart of NASCAR country in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family. He enjoys driving exotic cars in the beautiful Carolina weather.