Ladies and Gentlemen….the 2020 C8.R Corvette Race Car
For anyone that has gone looking for them (and even those that haven’t), there has been no shortage of spy photos of the (as-yet-to-be-fomally-announced) C8 Mid-Engine Corvette. Spy photos of the new Corvette began appearing on the internet as early as 2015, when early iterations of a mid-engine Corvette test mule began a global “watch party” throughout the Corvette community. Since that time, countless images have surfaced, each giving the world a new, slightly improved glimpse of what most believe to be the next-generation Corvette.
However, unlike the heavily camouflaged prototypes that have surfaced over the past several years, the most compelling (by far) photographs surfaced earlier today that clearly showcase the mid-engine Corvette…only this time, it’s not just any Corvette, but rather the new C8.R Corvette race car.
While common conjecture among automotive critics agree that the C8 Corvette will mark the most significant re-imagining of the Corvette in its 65+ year history, there is no doubting that this next-generation Corvette is the evolution-and-culmination of decades worth of engineering and research performed on the race track.
Since the late 1990’s, GM and Chevrolet have supported the GT-class Corvette Racing team in conjunction with Pratt & Miller. This past weekend, the team traveled to Road America to compete in the IMSA Continental Road Race Showcase, where the team finished second and third in class. What wasn’t common knowledge – even among the majority of the press that was present for the race – was that Chevrolet had also packed the new, as-yet-untested C8.R Corvette Race Car with them for early testing at the famous four-mile circuit.
Unlike the many earlier sitings of the mid-engine Corvette, the C8.R’s exterior was fully exposed, save for a black-and-white camouflage wrap that concealed only the more intricate details of the new race car. Without question, this unofficial “unveiling” of the new C8.R by Chevrolet provided the world with the best look yet at the new Corvette platform.
The car features a low-hood, a long tail and overall proportions that clearly point towards a mid-engine setup. While its impossible to say exactly how different the C8.R platform is from its production-model counterpart, history has proved that the design relationship between the two variants is close enough that each is clearly identifiable through the other. To put it another way, the race car looks a lot like the production car, and vice versa.
The most obvious visual difference (based on what we can discern from the production models that have been previously spotted on the streets of Detroit) is that the new Corvette C8.R features an incredibly large rear wing. The wing and both the front and rear diffusers extend far beyond the rear bumper, ensuring that the car’s Michelin racing slicks will have plenty of grip on the track. Looking past the wheels and tires, its easy to observe the huge brakes that take up most of the interior diameter of the wheel.
The C8.R Corvette features some new vents on the front and rear bumpers. Both the front and rear fenders appear to be wider than those seen on other mid-engine Corvette prototype variants. The car also has huge vents cut into its sides, presumably to channel air into the mid-mounted engine located directly behind the driver.
As far as what’s going on under the “hood” of the mid-engine C8.R is still anybody’s guess. There is little about the powerplant that can be gleaned from these latest spy photos. However, audio captured during the car’s test run at Road America reveals an engine-and-exhaust note that is unlike any that has come from a Corvette race car before it.
Although this recording remains unconfirmed at the time of this publication, it has been accepted that this is the actual exhaust note of the C8.R. If this is accurate, then it begs the question whether Chevrolet might actually be testing a twin-turbo V6 engine in their new race car, or if the powerplant might feature a V8 engine akin to those found in cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Whatever the case, the engine program used in the race car is a great indicator for what Chevrolet has in store for its production car variant….which leaves us guessing what Chevrolet has in store for the 2020 C8 Corvette.
This much is certain, with the overwhelming evidence now corroborating the existence of a mid-engine Corvette as well as Chevrolet’s limited efforts to camouflage the C8.R race car, there can be little doubt that the arrival of the C8 production Corvette is imminent….and we can’t wait ’till it gets here!