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Ford Caught Benchmarking C8 Corvette Stingray Around Dearborn

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Ford Motor Company is perfectly capable of creating compelling vehicles on its own, but it cannot entirely rely on itself if it wants to properly roll out the types of vehicles that ultimately become coveted by customers. That’s why Ford Authority has extensively covered what the company has been spotted benchmarking, which recently included the Ram TRX, Tesla Model 3, Jeep Gladiator, BMW X7, and Audi e-tron. Now, we can exclusively report that The Blue Oval was spotted driving a C8 Corvette Stingray around its corporate stomping grounds.

C8 Corvette

Our photographers spotted this C8 Corvette Stingray on Oakwood Blvd, a Dearborn thoroughfare where many Ford Motor Company facilities reside. In fact, the Chevy entered one of those facilities, which means the performance coupe is clearly owned by The Blue Oval. This particular example is equipped with the Z51 Package and clad in the fetching Torch Red color.

Naturally, the immediate question presented by substantial evidence that Ford is in possession of its own C8 Corvette for benchmarking purposes is…for what purpose? The company currently lacks a direct competitor to the performance coupe, although it does offer the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Those are about the closest models that can match up to the Chevy, in terms of performance, price, and markups, as the three models generally tend to fetch more than their respective MSRP figures suggest they should sell for.

There is also the possibility that Ford is using their C8 Corvette to benchmark the performance of a new product that has yet to be announced. As Ford Authority reported earlier this year, the company filed to trademark “Thunderbird” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in January. The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E demonstrate that The Blue Oval isn’t afraid of reviving older or well-established nameplates to enhance the credibility of its fully electrified vehicle lineup. Therefore, it is not outside the realm of possibility that they could do the same thing with the Thunderbird name, which is a rather fitting moniker for an EV.

In any event, we’ll continue to keep tabs on what Ford is benchmarking, so subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. Jean-Francois Rivard

    Interesting but not necessarily news. It’s a 100% guarantee that Ford started benchmarking the C8 Vette against the GT500 at the instant they could get their hands on one, by any possible means, and that was most likely 11+ months ago.

    Independent road course testing typically show the GT500 to be a few 1/10’s faster than the Vette at most tracks and that’s no happenstance. I guarantee Ford tested back to back, and if the C8 was faster they just went back and tweaked the recipe until they had satisfactory results.

    Reply
    1. Alex Luft

      “It’s a 100% guarantee that Ford started benchmarking the C8 Vette against the GT500 at the instant they could get their hands on one, by any possible means, and that was most likely 11+ months ago.”

      I would question your “guarantee.”

      First, actual customers have been waiting for months (some even as long as a year) to get their hands on the C8 and supply is not even close to meeting demand:
      https://gmauthority.com/blog/2021/06/gm-not-even-close-to-meeting-corvette-c8-demand/

      Second, development of the Shelby GT500 was complete before anyone “could get their hands on” a C8, and that includes FoMoCo via company-to-company exchanges. Anyone guaranteeing that Ford made changes to the GT500 upon the launch of the C8 Stingray is highly doubtful at best.

      Reply
    2. BobM

      And it only took the Ford an extra 250 hp to be a couple of 10ths quicker….

      Reply
    3. ViperGuy

      Do you come with a money back guarantee? Because I saw completed GT500s on the road way before the C8 Corvette hit the market.

      Reply
  2. Mark L Bedel

    This is certainly one of the more interesting “benchmarking” vehicles that Ford has possession of. It is difficult to argue with the advantages of a mid-engine platform in terms of performance applications, although technology and cutting edge engineering have made the latest front engine, rear drive platforms quite impressive performers when compared to mid-engine layouts. I’ll site the 14th edition of Car & Drivers Lightening Lap as an example.

    The GT 500 was faster than the C-8 and even a tick faster than the Lamborghini Huracan EVO on their Virginia International Raceway test track. There are differences though, particularly when you look into the more subtle inputs and responses of the mid-engine versus front engine-rear drive platforms. It just boils down to physics. If one is looking for the best combination of attributes, mid-engine is hard to beat.

    Reply
  3. Stephen Ketterer

    Maybe there’s an updated GT in the works with a V8? Perhaps a lower-tech version of the current car that could be a direct competitor to the Vette? Another scenario suggests they’re benchmarking this car for the benefit of the upcoming S650.

    Reply
  4. Jet

    Maybe a stupid question but how do they know it’s benchmarking and not a C8 owned by an employee showing up for work? Do tell

    Reply
    1. Joel Hill

      The C8 is the hottest automobile under the sun at the moment. The z06 model will meet the performance needs that will far exceed the base model.

      GM got it right on the new Corvette. Ford needs a better look obviously to get it right for their next rear engine performance model. Ford Gt is priced way out of the ball park. What will Ford offer at a 100k as an equivalent to the C8? Possibly the Mustang?

      Most sensible would be the Pantera. Has the pedigree as a rear engine performance car.

      Reply
    2. caf

      Because it has a manufacturer’s tag on it and it pulled into a Ford facility.

      Reply
    3. Ratripower

      It has a manufacturer license plate.

      Reply
  5. Roy Chile’s

    AC/COBRA ,PANTRA or THUNDERBIRD Corvette fighter any one

    Reply
  6. BobM

    That is Torch Red, not Red Mist. Should have asked your friends at GM Authority.

    Reply
  7. Dave Mathers

    Completely normal behaviour. Auto makers do this all the time.

    Reply
  8. Darrell

    This is absolutely normal behavior for automakers. If you watch the auctions you’ll occasionally see cars listed as former owner ford, gm ,etc. They all expect that to happen as soon as a new model is released.

    Reply
  9. Paul

    The author did say torch red not red mist

    Reply
  10. mike

    just talk nothing new they all do it even general motors and dodge. gm took lots from fords gt and it’s smooth lines just imagine what it would be with v8 power

    Reply
  11. Denis R Dearborn

    What will all those poor Ford owners do once the 2023 ZR1 touches ground🤣 I’m sorry but to tube a GT500 to run a 10th of a second faster? Nahhh, driver difference folks. Something that minute can be the result of fuel, the temperature at which the test run was done, heck, even the wind comes into play. The problem Ford will ALWAYS have is that they lack aero dynamics. This is why the older GT 500s were the fastest cars Ford ever built yet when you look at them, they basically stole ideas from Chevy, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and actually from what I heard from my dad who was a Master AT for GM for over 40 years and one of 3 the ( at the time) certified Master Techs to work on the Callaway Twin Turbo Vette, there were only 3 GM MAT’s who were certified to remove, tear down and rebuild the Callaway TTs engine, transmission and turbos. My dad worked on 4 of them to include one owned by Bill Cosby but anyhow, word on the street was that when Ford was designing the GT500 they stole ideas from the Mangusta. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means an expert in this field but my dad on the other hand… They guy diagnosed what’s wrong with my car over the fricken phone and that’s no BS.👍 It’s funny how he’s a GM man when it comes to the Vette yet he drives a Toyota Titan and crushes every other car with his Dodge Demon that he tweeked out at just a little over 1,200 HP

    Reply
    1. Roy Chile’s

      No matter what GM do the Corvette ZR1 or what ever they want to call the top model will NEVER match the level of Performance or be as Exotic as FORD GT You quick to compare the Corvette to the GT500, where is Chevy top model Z/28? FORD have been building rear engine cars since the 60’s this is GM 3rd try the other 2 where 4 bangers this is the 1st V8

      Reply
      1. Elvis Ramone

        If you have to bring out the GT in order to get a favorable comparison to a nearly base model C8, the battle is already lost for the Mustang, imo.

        btw, Z/28 is a Camaro. You need to wait until the Z06 or the ZR1 comes out, if you want to compare the GT500 to something equivalent (in terms of marketing position) in the Corvette model lineup.

        Reply
  12. AJS

    The title is a little humorous. I doubt Ford is trying to hide it. I use to work pit in that area for a supplier that also did some engineering work for the industry. GM, Ford, and Chrysler do it all the time.

    That said may be we will be getting a sports car that will set between the GT500 and the Ford GT. Or maybe a lower spec Ford GT?

    Reply
  13. Detroitrealist

    I wonder how many current Mach I owners would trade their ride for a new Corvette C8? Case closed.

    Reply
    1. Elvis Ramone

      imo, this comment lacks objectivity.

      Turn it around, and it comes out the same. Meaning, ask the question: how many current Corvette owners would trade their ride for a new Mach 1?

      As a Vette guy, I wouldn’t. But at least I can recognize when I’m not being objective.

      Case closed.

      Reply
  14. Bert

    Ford is probably trying to figure out how and why the new Vette is a huge success while the GT500 is basically a sales failure…

    Reply
  15. Earnest Freeman

    BobM says:June 25, 2021 at 8:16 pm
    And it only took the Ford an extra 250 hp to be a couple of 10ths quicker….

    BobM just make sure you remember that when GM does the same with the C8 in order to beat a Porsche GT3

    Reply
    1. Greg

      Ok and your point?

      Reply
  16. GonjaMan

    To the person asking how do we know it’s owned by Ford and not just a Ford Employee’s car.. The license plate is the first giveaway =)

    Reply
  17. Eugene

    Apple and Orange, Ford is not competing with the Corvette. The Mustang is a competitor with the Camero which GM simply is failing hard at making a Camero that can even hold a candle to the Mustang stick from the Factory.

    Reply
    1. samurai

      Lol, the 2016 SS 1LE was a new performance benchmark. It took Ford years to be on par with the 1LEs times with the PP2. And since you can’t get a PP2 anymore, you have to get a Mach 1 which is friggin $15k more expansive than a 1LE while not being a faster car.
      Even the ZL1 1LE was unbeaten on track and it took Ford more than 100+ more horsepower to finally slightly beat it.

      Reply
  18. Michael Heilmann

    I saw a camo mid-engined sports car with LIDAR cameras on roof around FOMOCO proving grounds last week. I can’t post jpegs on this site.

    Reply
  19. Mariano Alfafara

    I can assure you this is not a personal car of a Ford employee showing up for work. I worked at Ford in the 70s and I was told by security I couldn’t park my GTO on company property. Do some employees? Yes, but it is frowned upon. Also the C8 had a manufacturer’s plate. These are not for the general public or individuals for that matter. I live in Metro-Detroit and we see these ‘M’ plates everyday; Fords in Dearborn on the west side and GM cars in the northern burbs.

    So that leave two possible scenarios: This C8 was driven by a GM exec or engineer who was stopping in for lunch with a Ford engineer who was his/her roomie in college, or the likely explanation, car is registered to FoMoCo for testing and benchmarking.

    Reply
    1. Greg

      That’s hilarious a company wants to cry because you have a vehicle not made by China I’m sorry I meant them. If they care that much then they should give you a car to drive

      Reply
  20. Jeremy

    The license plate is a manufacturer plate, that’s why I believe the narrative.. The Mustang is a competitor of the Camaro not the Corvette. I think the guy that mention Pantera had it right. That’s a pretty good idea.

    Reply
  21. Jerry stultz

    It’s time that Ford completely redesigned the mustang to make a small GT40 in the style after the c8 Corvette that people can afford and that they would buy

    Reply
  22. Bert

    There has never been a decent V8 mid engine sports car that was considered affordable at time of production. High insurance and expensive maintenance would also destroy sales.

    Reply
  23. James Johnson

    Did anybody even check to see that just maybe it was someones relative picking or dropping of a Ford Employee at work. Is their a sign that states Ford cars only? All others will be assumed to be stealing other company secrets.

    Reply
  24. James Johnson

    Did anybody even check to see that just maybe it was someones relative with a Corvette picking or dropping of a Ford Employee at work. Is their a sign that states Ford cars only? All others will be assumed to be stealing other company secrets.

    Reply

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