Written by Eric Becker
A Corvette with its engine behind the driver? Such is the stuff of the automotive community dreams, and what Zora Arkus-Duntov, “Father of the Corvette,” always wanted for GM’s perennial sports car. The idea of a Corvette with the engine located aft of the driver has been a darling of the American motoring press for decades; MotorTrend magazine went so far as to put mid-engine Corvette concepts on the cover nine – count them, nine ‒ times. Chevy’s continuous feeding the press with 60 years of mid-engine Corvette concepts, and teases, certainly didn’t dampen expectations. But finally, after decades of hype, hope and speculation, the business and the physics rationales aligned, and the green light was given. Consider this: Up until now, the biggest change GM’s top engineers got to usher in for Chevy’s premiere sportscar was the V8 in the 1955 ‘Vette. The 8th generation Corvette has arrived, and boy was it worth the wait.
Offered at the Barrett-Jackson 2020 Fall Auction is this 2020 Chevrolet Corvette. With just 656 actual miles, the Torch Red C8 ’Vette will make history as the first non-charity C8 Corvette to cross the Barrett-Jackson block, and to add even further appeal, it will sell with No Reserve. This well-equipped Stingray rides on Carbon Flash wheels wrapped in Michelin rubber, and boasts the added style of the Carbon Flash exterior package and dual stripes running the length of the sumptuous body. This effortlessly cool ’Vette also features extended black rocker panels and the no-longer-available Carbon Flash High-Wing spoiler, found on only a handful of the 2020 models.
Inside, the C8 offers an expected supply of functional supercar accoutrements, but also tilts the ergonomics toward the driver. The interior controls are neatly packaged, running the length of the center console, and both enveloping and supporting the driver. The cabin was built with day-to-day usability in mind and offers all the safety and convenience features that one will need ‒ and indeed expect ‒ from a 2020 Corvette. This C8 sports an Adrenaline Red leather interior, beautifully matched with the carbon-fiber interior trim and Torch Red seat belts. Additional options include heated and vented power seats, a Bose sound system, 8-inch touchscreen, heated steering wheel and performance data recorder – perfect for track-day high jinks.
Even with the engine mounted aft of the cabin ‒ a gift to balance and agility ‒ the design is still unmistakably Corvette. The lines respectfully borrow DNA from past generations and maintain the wonderous shark-like design, pulled taut over the modern mechanicals. The ridges, peaks and creases direct air flow around the body, cutting through the air and generating downforce to keep the C8 glued to the road. Air is directed toward the rear inlets that feed the superb, all-new 6.2-liter V8.
Beautifully tucked away in the C8’s welded-aluminum spaceframe and dressed in the Carbon-Fiber Engine Appearance Package is GM’s next-generation LT2 small block. With 495hp and 470 ft/lbs of torque on tap, and exhaling through the factory equipped performance exhaust, the C8 does not disappoint even the harshest critic. The LT2 uses a dry-sump oil system, allowing for the engine to be mounted lower, further improving the already low center of gravity and remain properly lubricated under hard-cornering forces. The C8 is ferociously quick, hitting 60 mph in under 3 seconds, and tearing through the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at over 120 mph. Much of that acceleration can be attributed to two critical design features: The C8’s 40/60 front-to-rear weight distribution – mimicking that of a Formula 1 car – and a superb TREMEC 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle that features an integrated limited slip-differential. Want quick shifts? How about in as little as 100 milliseconds?
Undoubtedly the C8 represents a new direction for America’s premiere sports coupe, and Chevy has properly taken it to new levels of design and performance. The mid-engine Corvette has already established itself as a legend ‒ now it’s ready to show the winning bidder just what that legend is all about.