The C8 Update – “Manta Ray” & C8.R Night Testing


New Rumors and Video of the Mid-Engine Corvette

If you’ve been following our page for any length of time, then you’ve read at least some of the many posts we’ve published about the elusive mid-engine Corvette.  For over a year now, there have been countless spy photos, stories and even a few videos depicting GM‘s latest iteration of the beloved sports car.  Today, we bring you more of the same, and as before, none of what follows is “official news,” but rather data polled from our best sources on the internet.  Still, the data is compelling and gives us another, better look at the future of the mid-engine Corvette.

The “Manta Ray”

Earlier this week, a member of the popular Corvette message boards “Corvetteforum.com” published a detailed narrative about the mid-engine Corvette. What follows is a copy of the original transcript.  We cannot validate its authenticity or the credibility of the source, who goes only by username “unlimitedPower” on the forum.  However, if the information described in the post is accurate, then it is some of the most compelling data about the mid-engine Corvette that has been published to date.

mid-engine Corvette
One of the latest renderings of the mid-engine Corvette.

From the post by unlimitedPower at Corvetteforum.com:

“I’m close enough to the inside to know the following about GM’s plans for the Corvette. I cannot reveal all I know without jeopardizing my business’s success, so please do not ask me to explain further, I will not answer. If you don’t believe me then that’s fine, I wouldn’t either if I was in your shoes, but I’m compelled to post now so there is less disappointment later when the Eagle has Landed.

The C8 Corvettes at Nürburgring are the real thing – the 2020 Corvette Manta Ray. This base Corvette will be powered by an updated LT1 V8 with about 520hp and 485 lb-ft torque. A DCT transaxle is used in all C8 Corvettes, no exceptions. The R&D investment in the DCT is said to be equivalent to that of both the manual and automatic in the C7 – they knew they had one chance to get the DCT right. The interior will be somewhat higher quality than the C7, and GM’s stylists have attempted a more “upscale” design. I have not seen it but those who have say it’s impressive, but still not at Porsche or Ferrari levels, which seems fair given the price.

In 2021 GM will revolutionize the Corvette lineup. In addition to the base Corvette two different high-end models will be introduced: Corvette Grand Tour and Corvette Grand Sport. The GT is as luxurious as if Cadillac designed it, because a Cadillac team is in fact responsible for the GT. It’s a true GT and in addition to standard MRC it will deploy a full gamut of NVH countermeasures like acoustic glass, heavy sound deadening, and special wheels/tires, all for a cross country tourer that with a twist of the mode dial will handle any road or even a race track. The GT will be propelled by a version of Cadillac’s 4.2L twin turbo V8 with the turbos moved to the sides, and this engine is said to be the quietest V8 GM has ever developed. Word is that GM benchmarked the Corvette GT’s NVH against German luxury tourers from Mercedes Benz and BMW. Not sports cars, tourers.

mid-engine corvette
Mid-engine Corvette undergoing testing.

The Grand Sport moniker will be used for the insane sports version and it will feature additional escalating packages with more and more track orientation. GM found that buyers liked the name “Grand Sport” better than their alphanumeric gibberish “ZO6” so they ran with it. MRC is standard and in later years there will be a track package with DSSV and a higher output engine. What engine, you say? Hold on to your butts because the GS will be powered by a beastly 5.5L twin turbo V8 that is said to be frighteningly powerful and in private track sessions has dominated both “the Germans and Italians.” That’s just the first year GS, not the track-oriented version. My description isn’t hyperbole – those who have driven the GS tell me that it is literally frightening to floor it. GM even had a team of lawyers in to advise on the legal perils of selling such a potent vehicle for street use.

How the Corvette is sold will change as radically as the engine mounting position. Any GM dealer will be able to sell the Corvette brand, but on the flip side, it will be far more difficult for dealers to qualify to sell Corvettes. You won’t have to worry about Joey the Chevy Cruze expert wrenching on your Corvette since dealers will require a minimum count of certified Corvette techs and only those techs will be permitted to work on Corvettes. Since “Corvette” will be a brand unto itself it implies more than just the GT and GS sub-models, doesn’t it? Make of this what you will.

Interestingly, a mid engine Corvette makes space for the 7th gen Camaro to slip into the C7’s current segment in 2021, at current Camaro prices. The 2021 Camaro will be as revolutionary as the C8 but that’s for another forum at another time.

So there you have it, GM’s bold and brash sports car strategy. These will be the last of GM’s gasoline powered sports cars, a bright nuclear flash before the onset of an EV future. I’m familiar with one of the upcoming EV sports cars as well. Suffice to say, performance gearheads have absolutely nothing to worry about because every one of the sports cars (and sports CUVs) in development at GM are poised to vastly exceed expectations.”

There is a lot to un-package here to be sure, but at this point we felt that the post provided the best potential insights into the future of the Corvette brand.  Until such time (if any) that the above information is either validated as being true, or debunked completely, we’ll let the information stand on its own merit without trying to dissect it.  At the same time, if the above IS true, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future.

Corvette C8.R Spied at Sebring Racetrack

Just in case you missed it, we shared the latest video of the C8.R Corvette racer at the top of this article.  The video, which was captured during night testing at the Sebring Racetrack, once more validates that GM is developing their next-generation race car, albeit not for the 2019 race season.  All teams currently running the C7.R will continue to do so in 2019.  It is our belief that the C8.R will makes it debut for the 2020 season, which will likely coincide with the announcement of the production-vehicle variant of the C8 mid-engine Corvette.

The images of the car captured in this video footage is definitely similar to the C8.R race car that was photographed a couple months ago.  While the video is dark, this latest footage gives us our first look at the car’s headlights and taillights, adding definition to both the front-and-rear ends of the car that have been mostly camouflaged up to this point in time.

Perhaps more significant is the sound that was captured with the video.  For the first time, we’ve got definitive audio of the car’s engine.  Based on the overall resonant sound of the engine, we believe that this newest Corvette is still powered by a V8 engine, though the engine is higher-pitched than those used in the current C7.R Corvette race car.  The exhaust note of the C8.R is reminiscent of other mid-engine race cars, most especially like the Ferrari 488 GT3.

There are rumors that the new C8.R Corvette race car will be powered by a V6 engine.  While the audio in this footage certainly doesn’t appear to validate that possibility, the tone of the engine is definitely different from the Corvette race cars that have participated in race events like the American Le Mans Series for the past twenty years.   This much is certain, these glimpses of the newest race car definitely bode well for the future of the Corvette Racing program.

 

 

 

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