Amid much fanfare, the new mid-engine Corvette C8.R race car made its competition debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona during the last weekend of January, coming away with a fourth-place finish for its yellow No. 3 entry.
The trio of Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Nicky Catsburg completed 785 laps and 2,794.6 miles, representing the longest distance completed by any Corvette entry in Daytona International Speedway history.
The team qualified in the third position, led twice and remained in contention throughout the majority of the season-opening event for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“It was a tremendous honor to debut the Corvette C8.R at the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona – 22 years after we debuted the C5-R in the same location,” said Jim Campbell, US Vice President Performance and Motorsports. “I’m so proud of our team and how they prepared and executed the race with the 2020 mid-engine Corvette. I can’t wait for the rest of the season and watch the excitement from our fans grow with every race.”
Taylor, who is competing full-time with Corvette Racing this year, was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“I think it is impressive to have a finish like this. It’s always difficult with a brand new car and limited testing to go 24 hours without issues. That’s a testament to the team, Corvette Racing, Pratt & Miller, the Corvette brand and everyone that is behind this program,” he said. “It’s A good start to the season. Obviously we wanted to be on the podium or win the race, especially when you have a flawless race. If you would have told us two weeks ago that we would have no issues all the way through the race, we would have taken that all day long. I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
The silver No. 4 car, piloted by Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler, started alongside the No. 3 machine on the second row and also showed good early pace, but ultimately faced an oil leak issue overnight that took it out of contention. However, after nine hours of work by the crew, the car returned to the track to use the rest of the event as a test session, ultimately finishing in seventh place.
Both the unique design of the new C8.R and the spectacle of a 24-hour race at Daytona led to some incredible visuals. Below is a gallery of a few of our favorites by The BLOCK team. Each is available as a desktop wallpaper download. A mobile option is available in our Instagram story at @theblockdotcom.
Source: The Block
Shipping of the 2020 Stingray Corvettes officially started on Wednesday, March 4 with the National Corvette Museum receiving two truckloads, 12 Corvettes total, on Thursday afternoon. Of those cars were the VIN 25 Corvette that was raffled at the Museum’s 25th Anniversary Celebration last August, and one of seven Corvettes ordered for guests to drive on track at the NCM Motorsports Park. The customer cars will begin the PDI process on Friday, with cars going on display on Corvette Boulevard Friday, too! The hues of the cars included Torch Red, Arctic White and Sebring Orange. In the batch are cars for NCM Board Chair Glenn Johnson, NCM Ambassador Jeremy Welborn, YouTuber Clarence Garner, 1953 Corvette Owner (who ordered a matching VIN) David D’Onofrio and many other past customers! Delivered VINs include 25, 29, 30, 42, 50, 66, 93, 148, 167, 239, 247 and 369.
SOURCE Corvette Museum
Video of truck load!
The weather will be getting warmer next month and the time is just around the corner to take steps to bring your Corvette out for the summer, either from winter storage or long term storage. We have run the article in the past and everyone appreciates seeing it again to get your car ready for the numerous Corvette events and activities.
Here are just a few steps and things to do when removing your car from storage.
Take a good look under the car. Any spots on the floor will give you an idea of any problems that you will need to look into. Coolant: check the hoses for rot and cracks. Look at the weep hole on the underside of the water pump – a leak here means the internal seal has perished. Inspect your radiator connections & fittings. Fuel: carefully inspect the tank for leaks at seams or on the bottom surface (rust pin holes). Examine all hose and line connections. Brake Fluid: failed seals in wheel cylinders, calipers or master cylinders. Bad hoses or hose connections. Rear axle: seals at the pinion or axles. Steering: failed seals or boots. Gearbox: failed seals, fittings or plugs. Anything you find will have to be checked out and corrected as needed. If you are not equipped or knowledgeable about how to fix or handle, feel free to Call H&H Chevrolet at 402-238-1742 to set up an appointment to have one of our Certified Corvette technicians check it out.
Make a thorough inspection of the wiring in the engine compartment and under the car. Insulation seems to appeal to some animals and they can do some serious damage to the wires. Do the same in the interior. Any collection of nut shells or stuffing material is a reason to look more carefully.
If the car has been sitting for 18-24 months (or more) and you use glycol fluid, drain, flush, and refill the brake system. Bleed the brakes. Check operation at all wheels independently. Have an assistant step on the brakes as you rotate each wheel one at a time. The brakes should clamp down and release smoothly. Any problem detected needs to be corrected before the car is driven. Have your assistant apply the hand brake gradually as you rotate each rear wheel one at a time. Again, the brakes should apply increasing friction until the wheel is locked up, and the release should be smooth. Perform any service as needed based on the inspection.
Remove the winter storage plug from the tailpipe(s). Check the hangers and clamps.
If the car was stored for more than a year, drain and refill the system using name brand antifreeze. Use a mixture of 30% to 50% antifreeze (no more than 50%). Check the hoses for cracks, especially around the clamps. Give all the hoses a good squeeze; any hoses that are suspect should be replaced.
Check the fluid in the clutch reservoir. Top off as needed (or change if the car has been stored for more than 18 months). If low, check the hose and slave cylinder for leaks. Have someone depress the clutch pedal while you observe the movement of the slave cylinder pushrod. If the pushrod is not moving, or moving only a little, bleed the clutch system. Fluid inside the dust boot of the slave cylinder indicates a failed seal in the slave, and that needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Check all linkages for free play and free movement. Operate the clutch several times. If there is a provision for lubrication of the various joints, do so.
Oil & Lubrication
No matter where you live, and what you have done to limit it, some moisture will have gotten into the crankcase. With the appropriate oil, the amount of rust and corrosion will be minimal. If the car has been in storage for 2 years or more, change the oil and the filter before you try and start the car. Less than 2 years – plan on changing the oil and filter after the first 30 minute drive. Top off the gearbox. When was the last time you checked the oil in the differential? A good idea too.
Check all the suspension joints, pivot points and bushings. Visually inspect the rubber boots and seals for cracks, splits or other deterioration. Touch them – they should be soft and flexible. Hardened or stiff boots will soon crack if they have not already. Lubricated joints, like tie rod ends, will dry out eventually if the boots are torn because the grease will harden, losing its ability to lubricate. Correct any problems that you find. Lubricate the suspension, following the procedure in your workshop manual. Check the shocks for signs of fluid leaks. If they leak, they need to be replaced with new or rebuilt units. You can put that off for the purpose of a test drive by topping up the fluid in the shocks – use only proper shock oil.
Inspect all belts for cracks and replace as needed; adjust the belt tension.
Wheels & Tires
Air up the tires to the manufactures recommended pressure. Visually inspect each tire for cracks in the sidewalls or between the rows of tread. Remount the wheels & tires as necessary. Check the knockoffs or wheel nuts for tightness/torque. If the car is on jack stands, remove them and get the car back on the ground. Make sure the handbrake is set or chock the wheels.
The battery should be ready to install, fully charged. Check battery voltage. Clean the battery posts and the battery cable ends. If you have a vintage-type lead-acid battery, buy a pair of the red and green felt battery terminal rings. Run a bead of silicone sealant around the base of each terminal/post. Press the felt rings down over the posts, down into the silicone. Coat the posts with and the insides of the cable connections with Vaseline (to protect against corrosion) and connect the cables after making sure you have the polarity right. Tighten the cable connections.
Remove and clean ground cable connections both at the battery and the engine. A good battery and bad ground will not start the car. Use a wire brush on the connections to bare metal. A squirt of WD40 will protect the bare metal for a while. It will stop corrosion and guarantee a good electrical connection for a year or more.
Verify that the brake lights, turn signals, head lights and running lights all work properly. If one is not working, check the bulbs, the switch, the power feed and ground leads. Work through one light at a time, one component at a time until you discover the fault and correct it. Turn signals which don’t flash can be caused by a bad flasher, one bulb not grounding properly or a bulb of the incorrect wattage.
Lubricate the Pistons/Rings
If the engine has been sitting for over 90 days it is usually a good idea to get some oil to the rings. Mark the plug wires for future reference then remove the spark plugs and squirt a little oil into each cylinder. Let that oil soak for 24 hours. Crank the engine over by hand. Use the starting handle if you have one; otherwise use a suitably sized socket on the crank dog nut with a breaker bar. There may be some initial resistance, but the piston rings should break loose and the engine should spin smoothly after that. Leave the spark plugs out.
If you drained the system, you will need to get some fresh gas. As you add fuel, stop several times and check for leaks in the tank, fuel lines and hoses. If you did not drain the tank, and the fuel in your tank has ethanol in it, check for phase separation before you do anything else. There are products designed just for this purpose, or you can drain the old gasoline and replace it with a couple of gallons of fresh fuel.
Fuel in the Float Bowls & Lines
If the gas in the float bowls is old, remove the float bowls and drain the fuel. If there is old fuel in the lines, disconnect the hose/line at the carburetor(s) and direct the end into a bucket or old coffee can. Energize the pump or pressurize the tank and push enough fuel to clear the lines and hoses of the old gas.
Getting fuel to the Carburetor(s) – Electric Fuel Pump
With a supply of known good fuel in the tank, reconnect the hoses to the carburetor(s) and energize the pump to fill the float bowls. The pump will click quickly and loudly until fuel reaches the pump; it will then slow down and become quieter. As the float chambers fill, the rising float will close the needle valve and shut off the flow of gas. The pump will stop clicking. A pump that continues to click rapidly indicates a problem either with the supply of fuel from the tank or a stuck needle valve in the carburetor(s), which will be obvious because there will be gas coming out the overflow pipe on the float chamber. Whatever the issue, it needs to be corrected. Be aware that the gaskets and seals in the carburetor(s) will dry out and shrink if left for a long time. When the fuel first reaches the carburetor(s), there will probably be leaks, and you will need to attend to those before you go any further.
OK, Where Are We?
Cars run because three things happen in the right order and in the right quantity: spark, compression, and fuel. We should have spark (once we put the plugs back), meaning enough and at the right time, because the car was in tune when we put it up for the season, and the fully charged battery is in place. Compression should be fine, again because the car was tuned up before we put it up and because we have added oil to the cylinders. We have fresh fuel in the carburetor(s). We are almost ready to start the engine. Most bearing wear occurs in the first 10-20 seconds every time the engine is started. That is because the oil is present in a thin film only, and oil under pressure has not reached the bearings yet. Cold oil is not as good a lubricant either. An engine that has been sitting will take time to get the oil to all the moving parts, and we need to get the oil moving throughout the engine before we fire it up.
Building Oil Pressure
There are several ways to pressurize the oil system. Some of you have a tank that can be filled with oil and pressurized with air, and then plumbed into an oil gallery. These are perfect for loading the system with oil under pressure. If you have such a tank, use it to pressurize the oil system. This will pre-oil all the bearings and moving parts in the engine and minimize the chance of damaging bearings or other internal engine components on start-up. If you don’t have such a tank, you will use the starter to spin the engine over and pressurize the oil system. The last place to get oil is the rocker assembly. If you pull the valve cover, you can easily see when oil reaches this point. If the engine has been sitting for years, or if this is a fresh rebuild, it is strongly suggested that you remove the tappets (carefully noting their original position) from the engine to prevent scuffing the face or foot of the tappets. The load on the engine bearings is minimized by having the plugs out. Turn the key to the start position and hold it there. As the engine turns over, the oil pump will fill the oil galleries and push oil into the main and con-rod bearings. With the engine turning over, the oil pressure gauge should come to life and once you see pressure on the gauge and oil at the rocker assembly, shut it off. Reinstall the plugs and reconnect the plug wires. Reinstall the tappets in their original locations with a dab of ZDDP paste or other cam lube on the foot of each tappet.
Start the Engine
If you are in a garage, push the car so the rear end of the car is outside. Place a fan where it will keep the exhaust gas from blowing back into the garage. Make sure the transmission is in neutral. Engage the emergency brake. Do not “pump the gas. The engine should crank over and start. If the engine does not start immediately, you need to determine why before you start “fixing” things. Random adjustments will make the situation worse.
Once It Starts…
Let the engine warm up without revving the engine, ease it in as the engine warms up. Take a good look around, checking obvious problems. There may be smoke as the various components heat up. You can verify thermostat function by feeling the top radiator hose. When the thermostat opens, the top hose will warm up quickly. As the systems come up to temperature, keep an eye open for leaks.
Assuming all has gone well to this point, you are ready for the first test drive. The purpose of the test drive is to exercise all mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems so that you can find any remaining problems. Plan out a route about 20 minutes in a circle around your house so that you can walk back if need be. As you drive, listen to the various clues. Is there a miss in the ignition? Does the car pull to one side or the other when braking? How is the steering? Stiff? Loose and “wandering”? How about the shocks? How is the oil pressure? Any problems with the gauges? Back in the garage; make a list of the things you discovered on the drive. Check your fluid levels (except your coolant level; you cannot do this till the engine has fully cooled). A change will indicate a leak you need to find. Top up as needed. After attending to any minor corrections, plan your next drive. Include a run at higher speed on a local highway. After another 30 minutes on the road, back in the garage to take stock of your situation. There will probably be a few things that need attention. Once these are done, you have a car that is ready to hit the road. Because of the time invested, you can set out with a much higher level of confidence than you might otherwise have.
There is no doubt that putting a car into storage and bringing it out is not a trivial undertaking. The longer the car is in storage, the more important it is to consider all the steps presented here. While obviously somewhat generic, the issues covered here apply to all older cars, and this list should be supplemented by additions of your own based on your experience. It should also be clear that the time and effort invested in preparing a care for storage pays off in the time saved in getting the car back on the road. It is also clear that these lists really are the routine maintenance operations that we need to do regularly, and doing them at the beginning or end of a season’s driving makes some sense. It also makes driving the car every month throughout the year when conditions permit much more attractive – the problems that develop with a car in storage are best avoided by simply using the car regularly. That does not eliminate the need for the routine service that has been included in the procedures given here – that still needs to be done using a schedule that suits you.
If you prefer, you may call the H&H Service Department at 402-238-1742 to make an appointment to have a complete checkup completed and ready your car for a great summer of driving.
When the C8.R and 2020 (C8) Corvette were first introduced to be a mid-engine platform, the reasoning pointed to the obvious benefits of the mid-engine platform being the next step in performance. Enthusiasts hung their hats on buzz words such as the moment of inertia and polar moment, expecting that the shift to a more centrally-located engine would enhance the turning, acceleration, and handling of the car beyond what other, higher-horsepower versions had previously.
It goes without saying that improving the physical characteristics of a car, such as weight position, CAN have a positive effect on a car’s performance. But the obvious benefits of shifting a car’s center of gravity can only go so far, especially in a world dictated by a sanctioning body’s Balance of Performance rule book.
- The C8.R took on all competitors on the rolling hills and turns of the Circuit of the Americas. (Photo by Richard Prince for Corvette Racing)
We recently reported that the C8.R would be competing in both the IMSA (think Daytona, Sebring 12-hour races) and WEC (COTA, 1,000 Miles of Sebring races) sanctioned races to record as much track time as possible. Corvette Racing teams for both IMSA and WEC have now had one race under their belt and their notebooks are likely overflowing with notes.
This past weekend’s race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) left the C8.R piloted by Corvette Racing veterans Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller trailing their class despite saving valuable pit-stop time and other race-winning strategies. Perhaps all the talk about the increased handling and performance of the C8’s mid-engine platform got the BoP folks over-zealous about applying restrictions to limit the power of the now, centrally-located engine.
While the benefits of the car’s new layout are still being learned by its drivers and tweaked by the team, the one thing that both drivers and stopwatches can agree on is that the car’s overall performance is limited below that of its competitors. If left to their devices, the folks at Pratt & Miller can produce a race-winning car, but under the current sanctions, the number 63 C8.R finished three laps behind the class-winning competitor.
The car ran the entire race hitch-free, and yet the only competitor that it beat was the number 91 Porsche 911 that retired after electrical issues put it out of contention. Even before the race, Saturday’s practice sessions saw the number 63’s lap times nearly 2.5 seconds behind the pack. Granted, both Jan and Mike were both learning the new car’s potential and Rocky had the additional burden of learning the COTA course. The level of driving skill in both of these gentlemen is extraordinary, and even after many practice laps and a 6-hour stint with the dial turned to eleven, the little C8.R could only creep up to a best time that was still 1.5 seconds slower than the others.
- Mike Rockenfeller keeps things in perspective. “The goal was not to win the race, it was really to go through and see where we can improve and then at Sebring, see if we have a shot.” (Photo by Richard Prince for Corvette Racing)
Jan Magnussen explains his takeaway after this weekend’s race. “Obviously we were very far off the pace, but we have learned and taken things away from this experience with the new Corvette,” he says. “For sure we were down on power, but there are other areas where we can improve. In a race like this, you have a chance to play around a little bit with different setups and you can try some different things.”
That clearly transmits directly to beneficial notes that will benefit both IMSA- and WEC-based Corvette Racing teams. Mike Rockenfeller focuses on the process more than the current outcome.
“It was the first time at COTA, so obviously a lot of new things to learn,” says Mike. “The C8.R ran pretty well. There were no issues technically… it is always a new rhythm, so that is why we are happy to do these WEC races to get up to speed again. I’m sure we will make improvements and we will make a step for Sebring. We were lacking pace; that was quite obvious these two days. There was not much we could do. We did everything we could. We tried to learn. We tried to do different things during the race. We tried to stretch fuel in the stints and we did one stop less so that was good. Clearly, we need more pace for Sebring and I am looking forward to that.”
- Fuel usage, engine and tire performance, and chassis settings were among the many areas where the team will further study and dissect data. (Photo by Richard Prince for Corvette Racing)
While many agree the benefits of the car’s new design should make it competitive with the class leaders, it is also widely accepted that the current limitations on the car’s performance are keeping it from doing just that. The WEC and IMSA both have the opportunity to revisit the car’s restrictions before March’s Sebring races, but only time will tell whether they choose to use that option. If not, Corvette will continue to have their hands tied behind their backs in a room full of prize-fighters. If there’s one thing that Corvette Racing has shown over the past two decades, it is that they do some of their best work while fighting off of their backs.
SOURCE: LSX Mag Bolig
From Leningrad, Russia, to Bowling Green, Kentucky.
We’re entering an exciting time for the Chevrolet Corvette. A model with a mid-mounted engine has been in the cards since the “patron-saint of the Corvette,” Zora Arkus-Duntov, built a test vehicle with a mid-mounted V8 engine in 1960. Arkus-Duntov continued to advocate for a mid-engined Corvette for the rest of his career and built another prototype in 1970, only to have the idea shot down again for being too expensive to build. He tried again in 1974 just before he retired, but various design problems meant it would never make production.
We’ve been reflecting on the history of the Corvette and the many stories and facts that surround the American icon loved for going fast in style. These are the things we believe that everyone with even just a passing interest should know about the Corvette.
- The Original Corvette Cost $3,513
When legendary designer Harley Earl first sat down to create a new car, the roadster was conceived under the name Project Opel and the target price point was just $2,000. When it was released in 1953, the Corvette cost $3,513, and the only options were a heater for $91 and an AM radio for $145. There were no color options, so if you didn’t like the Polo White paint with a red interior, well, you were out of luck.
Adjusting for inflation, that means the Corvette what have cost $33,942 before options. That’s not quite half of a new C8 generation Corvette, which starts at $58,900.
- The Man Responsible For The Corvette’s Success Wasn’t Born In America
Zora Arkus-Duntov joined General Motors in 1953 by impressing higher-ups with his passion for the Corvette and his suggestions to improve it. His memo titled “Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders and Chevrolet,” and his thirst for racing then set him on course to become Director of High-Performance Vehicles at Chevrolet in 1957. From there, he went on to push the Corvette from being a disappointing European style roadster to becoming an innovative sports car and an American Icon.
The man that designed the Corvette was born American, but Zora Arkus-Duntov was born Zachary Arkus in Belgium on December 25, 1909, raised in Leningrad, and then educated in Berlin. His parents were Russian Jews, and during World War 2, Arkus-Duntov and his brother joined the French air force. When France surrendered, Duntov and most of his family smuggled themselves out, while his wife fled Paris for Bordeaux in an MG sports car, racing ahead of Nazi soldiers. Finally, the family reunited in New York on a ship from Portugal.
Only One 1983 model Corvette Is Known To Exist
The fourth-generation Corvette was due to be on dealer forecourts in 1982. However, it ended up being pushed back to the fall and launched as a 1983 model. Ambitious upgrades led to the date being pushed into 1983, and when production started, quality issues caused GM to stop production until the issues could be taken care of. Of 43 “pilot assembly” cars built to validate production processes before they became 1984 models, one miraculously survived as they couldn’t be sold to the public and were scheduled to be crushed. Car RBV098 slipped through the net and was discovered by a plant manager, who then had it cleaned up, and it’s now on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
- The 2009 ZR1 Was First Corvette to Break 200 MPH
When it was introduced, the C6 generation ZR1 was the fastest and most expensive production Corvette yet. Its supercharged LS9 V8 was a brutal powerhouse of an engine that generated 638 horsepower and 595 lb-ft of torque. It weighed 3,350 lbs and had a better power-to-weight ratio than the contemporary Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599, and the Lamborghini LP640. It was supercar power and supercar speed for just $103,300 versus the Lamborghini’s $382,400 price tag. Perhaps just as impressively, though, the 2014 Corvette Stingray has been recorded doing 53 mph in reverse, just two mph shy of the world record.
- The Original Corvette Logo Didn’t Feature A Bow-Tie Emblem
Originally, the Corvette logo was a checkered flag crossed with the American flag and designed by a man named Robert Bartholomew. Thankfully, four days before the badge made it onto production models, executives realized it’s illegal to use the USA flag for commercial branding purposes. The badge was quickly redesigned to include the fleur-de-lis and the Chevrolet bow-tie we’re now familiar with.
- Quickest Corvette Ever Was Made In 1968
The 2020 Corvette has a zero to 60 mph time of 2.9 seconds, which is remarkably fast, even by today’s standards. However, a prototype for the 1970 Corvette cleared 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds. The prototype was a 1968 LT-2 model, and Chevy rolled it out with a Monaco Orange paint job at a press event in 2015 where it clocked 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.86 seconds. The dyno sheet then showed an immense 588 hp at 6,400 rpm and 542 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm.
- There Were No Manual Corvettes In 1982
While many are despairing over the lack of a manual transmission in the latest generation of Corvette, this isn’t the first time the manual has been missing. However, the new automatic transmissions are faster and offer a lot more control to the driver than those in the dark days of the early 1980s. The reason the 1982 model year car was sold with no manual option was a failure to understand the mindset of Corvette customers, and a misguidedly early attempt to push transmission technology into the future. Even more unfortunately for Corvette fans, 1983 was the year the Corvette never was, and it wasn’t until 1984 that a Corvette could be purchased again with a manual transmission.
- Corvette Wasn’t Born With A V8
The Corvette wasn’t born with a burbling V8 engine. In 1953, it debuted with a 3.8-liter straight-6 engine, and only 300 models were sold. The Corvette was far from an instant hit, despite its celebrated styling. A large part of the reason was final quality, fit and finish, and mediocre performance. In 1955, a 4.3-liter V8 engine was introduced that produced 195 hp through a Powerglide automatic transmission. A manual was added shortly afterward for V8 models. For that year, 90% of Corvettes were sold with the V8 option ticked, and since then, the Corvette has come equipped with nothing but a V8.
- 1978 Corvette Pace Car Was Special
The Corvette has been the Indianapolis 500 pace car 16 times now. The first time was in 1978 and coincided with the Corvette’s 25th anniversary. It arrived with a distinctive black and silver paint scheme dissected by a red pinstripe, and 6,502 special edition replicas were produced. The reason for the black and silver paint job wasn’t just that it looked good, though. It was mainly designed so it would photograph well as most publications and TV screens were black and white at the time. The reason it took so long for the Corvette to be the Indy 500 pace car is that Chevrolet only intended the Corvette to be a low volume car and didn’t need to be promoted to sell well. However, the 25th-anniversary model was seen as being worth promoting. As a result, 1979 was the Corvette’s best selling year to date, with 53,807 units rolling off the production line.
- Iconic Split Window Design Only Lasted A Year
When people think of early Corvette design, the 1963 split rear window model springs to mind. For many, it’s the pinnacle of the vintage Corvette, and came from the pen of Bill Mitchell. Mitchell was as crucial to the Corvette becoming what it is as Arkus-Duntov. The problem was that owners didn’t appreciate the fact it was directly in their line of sight and blocked their view out the rear window. It was also expensive to make and ate into the Chevrolet’s bottom line. Mainly, though, Arkus-Duntov really, really, hated it. It led to a rift between them with Mitchell upholding his uncompromising stylistic vision and Arkus-Duntov upholding his uncompromising dedication to the Corvette being the perfect performance driver’s car.
Rift is actually a needlessly delicate way of saying there were screaming arguments and a lot of name-calling over the design. “We got rid of the split window for the 1964 model year, but there was blood spilled over it,” Arkus-Duntov recalled, “My blood.” Ultimately, he won the war, though, and the split rear window disappeared for the 1965 model, never to be seen again.
Ron Fellows was one of the originating members of the Corvette Racing team when it first set out on world domination in 2000. He, and a handful of other highly-competent hot-shoes used their experience and talents to make Corvette the dominating force it is today.
Now, Ron is helping owners of new Corvettes to be the best drivers they can be, both on-track and on the street. With C8 Corvettes just starting to reach their customers, it won’t be long before these new owners are enjoying everything that the new layout provides to the driving experience.
- Chevrolet honored Ron with a limited-production, white-and-red, Ron Fellows Edition Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in 2007.
Like any drastic change to a car’s design, moving the engine rearward can change the car’s driving characteristics enough that a little “get to know time” can be a welcome benefit. That is exactly what the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club and the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School are providing for owners of the all-new C8 Corvette.
The Ron Fellows Performance Driving School has been introducing new Corvette owners to their car’s full performance potential for over a decade. Set to begin this April, it will be offering enhanced two-day programs featuring the all-new mid-engine Corvette at its facilities located in Pahrump, Nevada. The 866-acre motorsports country club located just 55 miles west of downtown Las Vegas and offers over 6 miles of challenging racetrack and an array of resort-style amenities. Spring Mountain boasts not only the longest road course in North America but also delivers a world-class motorsports experience to driving enthusiasts of all levels.
The Ron Fellows Performance Driving School for C8 Corvette owners is an exclusive program subsidized by Chevrolet, providing first owners of a new and unused 2020 Corvette with a two-day school for only $1,000. Tuition includes a one-night stay in one of Spring Mountain’s luxury condominiums and clubhouse access along with breakfast and lunch prepared by Spring Mountain’s onsite chef.
Longtime Corvette Racing drivers have recently begun experiencing their latest ride, the C8.R, on various racetracks around the nation, and now, you too can experience the all-new C8’s entire performance envelope in a safe, legal, and fun environment catered specifically for you.
Check out the Spring Mountain’s website for more information and to schedule your time behind the wheel of one of their new C8 Corvettes!
For car enthusiasts, an all-new Corvette is a big deal. Every 8.4 years, on average, Chevrolet introduces a completely redesigned ‘Vette. With that comes abundant fanfare and opinions, both positive and negative, but unified in their conviction. To folks who have high-octane blood, a reengineered Corvette is basically like witnessing a new president getting inaugurated.
To American car lovers, specifically, the Kentucky-built Corvette is a symbol of national pride. It’s America’s sports car. Granted, the Dodge Viper conjures up patriotism, too, but that snake’s been bagged and tagged three years. And, sure, there’s plenty of reason to be proud about the Ford GT but, ultimately, the GT is an unattainable supercar that’s actually built in Canada. When it comes to the vehicle that represents the USA, Corvette is the last word.
However, the eighth-generation (C8) Corvette Stingray is not just another redesign. It’s a reinvention. Since its birth in 1953, the Corvette has had its engine up front, but not this year. Chevy now has its famous small block V-8 located behind the driver and ahead of the rear wheels. The Corvette is now mid-engine like a Lamborghini or McLaren. In addition, Chevrolet no longer offers a manual transmission. You can only get a dual-clutch, automatic gearbox, also as with a Lamborghini or McLaren.
Corvette fans are famously vociferous about change. Remember the uproar in 2014 when the C7 brushed 53 model years of quad-circular taillight design off its backside? I do. I was the editor of Corvette Forum at the time, and complaints about the new trapezoidal taillights deluged the discussion boards.
Those passionate about America’s sports cars are no less vocal today about the Corvette’s drastic conceptual shift. Some think Chevrolet shouldn’t have called this mid-engine car a Corvette. Some think the Corvette should have split into two models: one front-engine and one mid-engine.
After testing the all-new 2020 Corvette Stingray in Las Vegas recently, I can report that none of that is necessary. From behind the wheel, the C8 is still all Corvette and a new bag of endearing tricks.
For starters, you can still use the car for weekend getaways. The new model stores up to two sets of golf clubs out back. That’s sure to keep older ‘Vette fans happy. Just like ‘Vettes of yore, the C8 coupe features a removable roof panel that stows inside the rear trunk compartment. However, having the roof back there eats into available space. Fret not, though. There’s still a front trunk, or “frunk,” that can swallow a piece of carry-on luggage, as well as a laptop bag. In total, the new vehicle offers up to 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The convertible variant offers the same amount (compared to the 10 cubic feet from last year’s open-top version). And because the solid, folding top electrically retracts ahead of the engine, cargo space stays the same regardless of roof position.
The 2020 Corvette remains as comfortable as ever, though. Typically, with mid-engine sports cars, you have to clamber over a high structural door sill to gain entry. Once you’re in, your legs are forced to the right in order to make room for an intrusive front wheel well. Not with the Corvette. Once you’re in, even with your left foot on the dead pedal, your legs rest straight.
This arrangement helped make my 90-minute drive northeast from the Las Vegas Strip to Valley of Fire State Park incredibly easy. The new Stingray offers three different seating options: GT1 (base), GT2 (luxury) and GT3 (racing). My tester had the Napa leather-covered GT2 seats, which offered terrific support. The GT3 seats are too aggressive for everyday driving. Even for my rail-thin frame (5-feet, 10-inches tall and 139 pounds), the GT3 seat-bottoms make me feel like I’m stuffing my backside into a 5-gallon paint bucket. As finely crafted and well-designed as the C8’s cabin is, the confining GT3 seats almost feel out of place in an otherwise cosseting cockpit.
There’s plenty of screen real estate inside the new car, starting with the sharp, 8-inch center display. GM’s infotainment system is simple to use, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard if you prefer your smartphone’s interface. Ahead of the driver sits a 12-inch, reconfigurable instrument-cluster display. Corvettes with the 3LT package also get a head-up display, embedded navigation, a performance data and video recorder, a front curb-view camera, a rear-camera mirror and wireless phone charging. The 3LT package also includes driver-assistance features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
On my way to Valley of Fire, I remove the coupe’s painted roof panel and store it in the rear trunk. The targa-style top’s weight, removal and storage processes are pretty much the same as last year. Surprisingly, top-down driving in the C8 is unpleasant at highway speeds. With the windows down while charging above 60 mph, there’s excessive wind buffeting. Air gathers behind my neck and left shoulder.
Raising the windows removes that creepy column of swirling air, but then, above 80 mph, the Corvette’s open roof creates high- and low-pressure oscillation inside the cabin, known colloquially as “the helicopter effect.” No C8 Corvette drop tops were available to test on this first drive, but I’d imagine the convertible’s optimized top-down aerodynamics would yield a more comfortable open-air experience.
It’s also unfortunate that the Corvette’s available 14-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system is unable to overpower the top-down wind noise at highway speeds. Mid and high frequencies remain clear, but low frequencies get lost in the rushing wind. The C7 never had this problem. With the C8’s top up, though, the system sounds just fine. That’s because with the coupe’s roof up, the new Corvette is as quiet as the average four-door sedan. Stomp the loud pedal, and things remain pretty quiet, still. Those who love the classic Chevy V-8 snarl might be disappointed at how muted the engine sounds at wide-open throttle. Chevrolet augments the engine noise with frequencies that flow through the speakers, so the engine’s tone, while muted, sounds fantastic. Chevy does include a performance exhaust system as part of the $5,000 Z51 package, which ratchets the volume up a smidge.
The C8’s well-isolated and balanced chassis feels like it can handle way more power than what the 6.2-liter LT2 engine provides. The big V-8 produces 490 hp and 465 ft lbs of torque sent to the rear wheels through a quick-shifting, eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission (a GM first). Chevy claims the model can make it from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds while on the way to a quarter-mile time of 11.2 seconds and a top speed of 194 mph. The Z51 package shaves 0.1 seconds off the standard car’s zero-to-60 mph time by adding an electronic limited-slip differential, as well as an extra 5 hp and 5 ft lbs of torque.
Launch control gets me off the line efficiently, with just the right amount of wheelspin. But once the Stingray hooks up, I realize this is the calmest I’ve ever felt accelerating to 60 mph in 3 seconds. Mind you, I’ve recently test-driven a Tesla Model 3 Performance. Dialing back the Corvette’s traction control makes acceleration more interesting, but the real takeaway here is that this car is desperate for another 200 hp.
During the journey, my test example’s standard suspension offers plenty of ride compliance, but when veering over into the passing lane, I notice some body roll. During acceleration and braking, there’s also some rear squat and front dive. Despite the body motions, the Stingray on standard suspension feels planted.
Also solid are the standard brakes, which are well-modulated. In spite of the new Corvette’s brake-by-wire system, there’s still a proper amount of feel through the pedal. Throttle response is quite good, as well.
The following day, I head to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch to wring out the C8 on track. I kick off the morning on an autocross course, alternating between a standard suspension Stingray and a Z51 with the optional, $1,895 magnetic dampers. The Z51 with Magnetic Selective Ride Control exhibits none of the standard car’s body roll. Its upgraded Brembo brakes and stickier tires make the higher-spec C8 more responsive and controllable.
That said, I prefer the standard car on the autocross. Because only 40 percent of the C8’s weight rests over the front axle, light braking on corner entry is imperative if you want excellent turn-in. The standard suspension’s slight bob and weave gives me a greater sense of where I’m putting the car’s mass, and thus enhances engagement.
Coming out of turns, the standard Stingray feels looser on corner exit, meaning more opposite lock. In the base-suspension car, I get more of a sense that I’m taming a beast. The Z51, on the other hand, makes me feel like the Corvette is doing the driving for me.
The C8’s steering is plenty direct and accurate, but I expected more feedback through the wheel. The steering is good enough but, compared to other mid-engine sports cars, it’s unremarkable.
Out on the big track, Chevy provided a fleet consisting of solely Z51s with magnetic dampers. No matter the corner, the more capable C8 exhibits all the right behaviors. It feels unflappable near its incredibly approachable limits. Venturing past the traction threshold, it’s a breeze getting the Z51 back in order. And yet, that abundant obedience borders on making the car feel dull. After only a few laps, I yearned for the standard example.
But even as good as the non-Z51 Corvette is, it failed to blow me away. Some of the blame for that could be attributed to how great the C7 Corvette remains. Every time I’ve driven a C7, I’ve been awestruck at how special that car feels. On paper, the C8 is better than the C7. The 2020 model is more powerful, faster at the limit, better balanced, more comfortable, has a 10 percent stiffer chassis, is a higher quality product and is more advanced. And yet, all those superior attributes feel as though they’re working independent of one another.
The C7, on the other hand, feels like more than the sum of its parts. It may not be as high of an achiever as its successor, but there’s a magic about the seventh-gen car that its successor is lacking. Give it time, though. Radical reinventions like the C8 take time to ripen.
Is the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray worth acquiring? Absolutely. Coupes are now arriving at dealerships, while the convertible is expected to hit dealer lots in April. My bottom line: The new ‘Vette is a remarkable achievement for something starting under $60,000, but it’ll be a while before the C8 matures into the outstanding machine I’m confident it can be. Maybe that machine is the forthcoming Stingray convertible. Maybe it’s an eventual higher-powered Corvette variant. Either way, I feel the magic looming.
SOURCE: Robb Report
We recently told you about new C8 owners having an opportunity to drive a C8 on-track at the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School. The National Corvette Museum is offering its Corvette Experience, which features drives of the new C8 on the NCM Motorsports Park for everyone, not just owners.
- The NCM Motorsports Park is adjacent to both the National Corvette Museum and the one and only Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The NCM Motorsports Park is home to some of the fastest names in Corvette. Corvette Racing veteran, Andy Pilgrim bases his driving instruction at the 3.2-mile, 23-turn track and the folks who make the factory Corvette racing team so fast have shared time on the Kentucky-based track. Located across the highway from both the National Corvette Museum and the Corvette Assembly Plant, a visit to the trifecta of Corvette goodness is sure to satisfy the appetite of the most ravenous Corvette enthusiast.
- The track was designed to utilize various aspects of some of the world’s most notable tracks. As such, it is an excellent opportunity for Corvette Racing to get in some seat time without shipping the cars overseas.
The NCM Motorsport Park’s Corvette Experience gives you a blend of both classroom instruction, as well as plenty of hands-on experience behind the wheel of a new C8 Corvette. On-track driving is done in a lead/follow format. A helmet will be provided, but participants must wear long pants and close-toed shoes to drive the C8s on track. You must be 18 years or older to participate and possess a valid driver’s license. There is also a Vehicle Damage Policy and Indemnity Agreement that must be filled out before being able to drive the cars.
- Each Corvette Experience features seat time, as well as classroom instruction inside the NCM Motorsports Park’s world-class facilities.
The Corvette Experience costs $799, and also includes lunch and a VIP tour of the National Corvette Museum. Go to the Corvette Experience website or call (270) 777-4509 to sign up for seat time in the world’s newest supercar. See the list below for available dates when the Corvette Experience is scheduled.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Friday, June 5, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
Friday, August 7, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
SOURCE: LSX Mag/Bolig
Moving 500 pounds of V-8 engine 7.5-feet aft and 300 pounds of automatic transmission components 2.8-feet rearward yields a Corvette with very different weight distribution than ever before. Namely, rear wheels bearing 60 percent of the total curb weight. That, in turn, improves acceleration traction and shortens stopping distances with all four tires better able to provide their share of braking effort.
To achieve this makeover, the Corvette team redesigned the car’s structural spaceframe and created new steering, suspension, and braking components geared to the 2020 mission. Other than a few fasteners, no parts made the leap from the C7 to the C8.
Close examination of the new spaceframe reveals more frame and less space. Dozens of aluminum stampings, extrusions, hydroformed pieces, and castings are held together with fasteners and structural adhesive. What are affectionately known as the Bedford Six castings—they’re produced at a GM plant in Bedford, Indiana—have elaborate ribs, hollows, and interfaces that mate with adjoining frame members. One of their prime responsibilities is providing secure anchor points for the rear coil-over-damper assemblies.
One packaging issue that defied an elegant solution is the lack of clearance between the front of the engine and the cockpit’s firewall. To change one of the accessory drive belts, it’s necessary to drop the engine/transaxle package out the bottom of the car. Hopefully that egregious task won’t be necessary within the first 100,000 miles.
The transverse buggy springs that Corvettes successfully employed for decades are long gone because the new transaxle has seized that space at the rear. Global chief engineer Tadge Juechter hated to see them go, he said, because they were such an outstanding weight-versus-cost solution. Once the single plastic rear spring was replaced by a pair of coil-over-damper units, it was necessary to follow suit at the front of the car to obtain consistent reactions to bumps and cornering inputs. The new packaging placed the rear coil-shock units above the tires, one reason why the C8’s center-of-gravity height has climbed slightly according to Car and Driver’s measurements.
To keep the total C7-to-C8 weight gain below 70 pounds—in spite of additions such as standard dry-sump engine lubrication, an additional gear in the transmission, and a roomier cabin—the parsimonious Juechter splurged a few dollars on ultralight components. The rear bumper beam is a hollow, curved tube manufactured by drawing resin-soaked carbon fibers through a die. Floor panels are fiberglass moldings topped by aluminum stampings to support the seats. The 10×50-inch flat panel that attaches to the bottom of the spaceframe’s central tunnel consists of three layers of fiberglass and two layers of carbon-fiber compression molded into a sandwich only 0.16 inches thick. That part, which is fastened to the aluminum tunnel with 30 screws, weighs only 4.9 pounds. (It’s likely that the large cavity above this panel will someday house lithium-ion batteries.) For the first time, the Corvette’s underbody is dead flat to trim aero drag. The new Corvette’s front and rear luggage bins are made of ultralight sheet molding compound (fiberglass) with a specific gravity below 1.0, which means they’d float if placed in water.
Suspension knuckles, control arms, and links are a fresh mix of aluminum forgings and castings. The magnetic-technology dampers with new suspension and body mounted accelerometer sensors are back as an $1895 option after the Z51 package has been selected.
SOURCE: Hagerty/Don Sherman
The new electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering has a slightly quicker ratio (15.7:1) and fewer turns lock-to-lock (2.5) because the front wheels bear lighter loads. In addition, the rear suspension is tuned to diminish the chance of the tail swinging wide during aggressive turn-in. That annoying chatter experienced through the C7’s steering wheel during low-speed, full-lock maneuvers on cold days has been diminished, Juechter claims, by using less aggressive tire compounds with revised steering geometry.
Corvette and Michelin engineers spent five years tuning the new Corvette’s run-flat radials. The rear tire size has been increased to 305/30R-20 (up from 285/30R-20) and rear wheels are one inch wider to support the rearward weight shift. Pilot Sport ALS (all season) tires are standard while Pilot Sport 4S (summer) tires are part of the $5000 Z51 performance package.
Brake rotors are a touch larger in diameter at both ends of the car in consideration of the added speed available for 2020. One feature missing from the new Corvette is the cross-drilling and slotting that is useful in flushing water from the friction surfaces during wet driving. Juechter explains that more rigorous federal standards limiting the amount of dust permitted from pad wear eliminated copper content from the new friction material recipe. As it turns out, the new material is less resistant to abrasion by drilled holes and slots, so they’re gone in C8. That’s not to say you won’t see them when carbon-ceramic brake rotors reappear on hotter Corvettes such as the Z06 planned for introduction in the near future.
Now that you’ve made friends with the new chassis, it should be clearer why the mid-engine gestation was so lengthy. Instead of hustling C8 out the gate with a flaw or two, Tadge Juechter’s engineers took the time to perfect every last detail. The Corvette faithful are in for the treat of their sports car lovin’ lives.