More Powerful Chevrolet Corvette Variants Are Coming
ALISA PRIDDLE- WORDS
The annual Woodward Dream Cruise is lousy with Corvettes of every age this week. Rarer is a sighting of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with its mid-engine mount since the ones on the road are still preproduction. MotorTrend caught up with Ed Piatek, the car's chief engineer, at a Dream Cruise event, where of course we peppered him with questions about future, more powerful variants.
The base Stingray has a pushrod 6.2-liter small-block V-8 engine. The updated LT2 makes 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque; the performance exhaust with the Z51 package bumps that up to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It has an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission; there's no manual.
Piatek won't talk specifics about future superchargers, Z06, ZR1s, or other mouthwatering topics. But that is the natural progression, and Corvette is not about to change past practices just because it moved the engine behind the driver.
"Corvette's got a history of different levels of performance so stay tuned," Piatek said.
He is excited about the launch of the base car—it's been more than 60 years since GM started studying the physics of biasing an engine's weight toward the rear axle in a research vehicle—and he is equally excited about the potential that C8 affords. The seventh-generation C7 was tapped out; it had reached its maximum potential. C8 blows the barn doors wide open again.
"We can certainly use horsepower more efficiently now with this configuration than we did with the previous generation. So that's an exciting proposition," Piatek said. The move gives the 2020 Corvette more bandwidth. "That's the perfect word. The opportunity is super exciting."
"If you look at the current generation car with 460 hp and the 0-60 time, you can add 300 horsepower to that number and the 0-60 time barely moves," Piatek said. "This car, we already start with a really low 0-60 time but with 20 percent more of the mass on the rear axle and a wider wheel-tire package in the rear, the opportunities to do really, really, high-performance cars is there.
"Does he have any concerns about C8 maxing out? "It's a long long way," said the engineer who is clearly relishing how much room the latest Corvette has to grow. Which is saying something, given that the outgoing 2019 Corvette ZR1 with the LT5 supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is rated at 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque. The Eaton supercharger for the 2019 ZR1 is 2.9 inches taller than the blowers that were in the 2009 ZR1 or the 2015 Z06.Built in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will start at $59,995 when it goes on sale early next year, with lots of room to grow pricewise, as well.