In case you weren’t aware, after more than 60 years on the market, it’s believed that the Chevrolet Corvette is finally being redesigned as a rear-mid-engine sportscar. Chevy has played around with mid-engine Corvette concepts in the past, of course, but for the iconic coupe’s eighth generation, a Corvette with that layout is at last, almost certainly, making it to production.
The latest proof that the mid-engine ‘Vette is nigh was shared recently by our sister site, GM Authority. The website published a couple of photos originating from Corvette Forum, showing painted front and rear body panels that seem to match the design that’s been seen in numerous spy shots of camouflage-clad prototypes. It’s believed that the current seventh-generation (C7) and future eighth-generation (C8) Corvettes will be produced alongside one another for a short time, while America’s droves of retired grandfathers acclimate to the change.
But will the rear-mid-engine C8 Corvette prove a formidable opponent to the new, 2017 Ford GT supercar? It’s hard to say. We don’t figure that the more base models of the mid-engine Corvette will make such extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber, and the car most certainly won’t be built under contract by an elite race car constructor. But given that the C7 already weighs in at just 3,350 pounds or so, and that Chevrolet has used Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspensions Dual-Valve dampers (like the ones the Ford GT uses) in cars like the 2014 Camaro Z/28 and 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE, perhaps it matters not.
In all likelihood, the question will largely come down to power. The 2017 Ford GT has it in spades with the twin-turbocharged, 647-horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6, but after decades of relying on antiquated pushrod technology, the Chevrolet Corvette could be gaining a modern engine all its own. Reports indicate that a dual-overhead-cam V8 could be on the way for Chevy’s next ZR1 – a model that’s expected to join the front-engine C7 lineup. That engine would have strong chances of then ending up in the mid-engine C8.
Why does that matter? Because overhead-cam engines tend to suffer less valve float at high RPM, theoretically making valve timing more precise and raising the speed at which the engine can operate. Moreover, a DOHC design means four valves per cylinder, which aids the engine’s ability to inhale fresh intake charge and exhale spent gases.
All things considered, Chevrolet’s rear-mid-engine C8 Corvette is not likely to ship with anywhere near a $450k price tag like the Ford GT supercar has, meaning there’s are tighter restrictions to what cutting-edge technology it can deploy. But at the very least, if you’ve been turned away from purchasing the GT, there’s another fast, sporty, mid-engine sportscar with an American badge on the way.