Upcoming Variants Of The Corvette C8 - EXPLAINED
The Chevrolet Corvette is the most popular sports car among automotive enthusiasts. During nearly its entire life, from the earliest C1 to the latest C7, it was coined by Corvette enthusiasts as America's Sports Car. Today, it is America's (Entry-Level) Supercar. Instead of relying on the front-mid-engine layout and elderly-oriented appearance, General Motors transformed the Corvette into a rear-mid-engine superheroic, superfighter of the so-many exotic cars and supercars around.
The C8 will be a hit-or-miss when it comes to the Corvette community as well as to the owners of General Motors and its four automotive brand divisions (which of course includes Chevrolet, and also Buick, GMC, and Cadillac). The C8 will join the C4 in one way or another; it will follow the C4's footsteps in being harder for the manufacturer to decide on more extreme versions with than the C7, the C6, or even the C5.
The C4 and C8 also have two other things in common: both were revolutionized from their descendants, and both have had hard times in their very beginnings (the C8 is being held back in production, but not as harshly as the C4 was). The C1, C2, and C3 were "almost" muscle cars; save for the seating of "only" two and weighing much less than the contemporary V8-powered muscle and pony cars.
The C4 was well-revolutionized and passed its track-oriented, Y-body offspring onto the C5, C6, and C7. The last four generations of the Corvette moved up a league; from (C1-C3 era) being barely above Thunderbirds, Mustangs, Camaros and Cudas, to (C4-C7 era) being a budget alternative to 911s, Vipers, R8s, NSXs, GT-Rs and AMG GTs, to (C8 era) being a mid-engine, entry-level supercar that can tackle McLarens, Lamborghinis and Ferraris on both sides of the racetrack (the Hellcat-loving dragstrip and the corner-craving circuit).
Basically, the C4-C7 era is the son of the C1-C3 era, which in turn is the grandfather of the C8 era. The C8 is born to the father, the C4-C7 era. The body-on-frame C1-C3 era was 29 years old when the C4 was born. Likewise, the unibody C4-C7 era was 36 years old when the rear-mid-engine C8 was born. The C8's LT2 engine is based on the outgoing LT1, which in turn is based on the LS3 (which is literally based on the truck-oriented L92). So actually, the engine dates back to 2006 - with major improvements especially on emissions to comply for the 2020 model year. Similarly, the C4's L98 was based on the C3's L82 and even earlier engines, going far back to 1967.
Following the 2023 model year, the Stingray and Z51 levels of the C8 Corvette will likely make a switch to the 6.6-liter L8T-based "LT3" engine, heading to the north of 500 horsepower with lower-end torque. Likewise, the C6 made the switch from the 6.0-liter LS2 to the 6.2-liter LS3 for the 2008 model year. However, the Grand Sport version is reported to have a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8.
The report about the C8 Grand Sport's engine being twin-turbocharged, especially as a 5.5-liter variant, has placed my philosophy of the Corvette in doubt. The C4-C7 era Corvettes have had a Grand Sport variant not being much different from the base version. I do believe, however, that the C8 Grand Sport will have a flat-plane-crank, naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V8 (which will possibly be a DOHC variant rather than a pushrod) that produces between 590 and 710 horsepower, with at least 415 lb-ft of torque and a maximum engine speed (which is the fuel cutoff) between 8,000 and 9,000 rpm, with a redline between 7,500 and 8,500 rpm. To compare, the C4 ZR-1 also had a DOHC engine, although C4 did not revive the Grand Sport nameplate until after the ZR-1 was discontinued.
The C8 Z06 and ZR1 will feature a 5.5-liter engine. It will likely stay DOHC like the GS, but with the addition of twin-turbochargers and a lower redline, making it a crossplane-crank variant. Likewise, Ford converted the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R's engine from naturally-aspirated flat-plane to supercharged crossplane for use in the top-of-the-line GT500.
The Z06 should make debut for the 2021 model year, and the ZR1 should be revived for 2022. Just like in the C7 era, the Z06 and ZR1 will share the very same engine with different horsepower and torque ratings. The Z06 will use the lower-output variant, of course. With no less than 760 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque, the Z06 will take on likes of the Ferrari F8 Tributo and McLaren 720S. The ZR1 will produce 900 horsepower and should make 770 lb-ft of torque.
The C8 Grand Sport and the C8 Z06 both should top 200 miles per hour, with the C8 ZR1 topping the same 212 as the previous, C7 ZR1. However, C8 isn't all about top speed. For example, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 tops 180 mph.
The C8 Grand Sport should come with rear- and all-wheel-drive options, with the C7's 7-speed manual coming back as an option in the RWD variant - keeping the naturally-aspirated, high-revving engine free to shift gear after gear. Like the Porsche 911 R. But the Aston Martin Vantage AMR also carries a manual, while 'most' of the Vantage lineup won't.
It'd be pretty impressive if Chevrolet actually created a mid-engine supercar named Zora (equivalent to the Ford GT), slotted well above Corvette. GM probably won't have the time or the money to create an actual, top-range supercar. Performance versions of the entry-level supercar (such as Grand Sport) will do just as fine.
Chevrolet's Corvette as a supercar model is among the most unique (even more so than Porsche's 911) because it has no direct competitor from any one of the "Big Three" exotic brands (Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren).
The 490-to-495-horsepower Stingray and Z51 already take on the entry-level McLaren Sports Series (which includes the 540C, 570S, and 570GT) and the Lamborghini Huracan RWD.
The flat-plane-cranked Grand Sport with circa 650 hp should take on the lower-mid-level Lamborghini Huracan Performante/Evo, McLaren 600LT / 620R / GT, and Ferrari 458 Speciale / Roma.
The all-wheel-drive, hybridized and twin-turbocharged Z06 will take on the higher-mid-level supercars with 760+ hp, battling the Ferrari 488 Pista / F8 Tributo and McLaren Super Series (675LT / 720S).
The ZR1 variant with 900 hp will rival likes of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, Monza, and SF90 Stradale, as well as the Lamborghini Aventador S/SVJ and the new Sian, and 'some' of the McLaren Ultimate Series (which includes the Senna and Elva, but 'not' the Speedtail).
It is likely Chevy will still create convertible variants of the Z06 and ZR1 Corvette to keep up with the supercar world. Even Pagani has a Huayra Roadster.
The Chevrolet Corvette C8 is a world supercar.