I Don't Believe That GM is Switching the Corvette to Mid-Engine
There have been insider sources, spy shots and event comments from former GM chief Bob Lutz that suggest that there will be a mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette in future. I do believe that General Motors is working on a mid-engine supercar, but I dont think that it will be a replacement for the front engine, rear wheel drive Corvette the world has come to know and love.
It can be argued that the Chevrolet Corvette is the all-American automobile, with the only possible rival being the Ford Mustang and one of the aspects that has always defined the American sports car is a front engine, rear wheel drive configuration. No other drivetrain layout can provide the proper feel of an American sports car like the front-read design and because of that, I truly don’t think that GM will ever change the Corvette from a front engine to a mid-engine design.
It is one thing for the company to do away with the hideaway headlights or the round taillights, but changing the drivetrain layout of the Chevrolet Corvette seems like a break of tradition that GM just wouldn’t attempt. Although a mid-engine Corvette could provide exceptional performance compared to the current C7, an engine mounted anywhere than under the hood just wouldn’t seem right for the Corvette.
It would be like killing off the V8 engine lineup to make room for a high performance 4-cylinder Corvette. Even if it made superior power to the naturally aspirated V8, it just wouldn’t be right for the fabled American performance car to be so different from all of the models which have made the Corvette so legendary.
Price Matters, Too
The other reason that I do not believe that General Motors will switch the Chevrolet Corvette from front engine to mid-engine is the costs associated with this redesigned configuration. There is a reason that most mid-engine cars sold around the world are supercars, as the design is generally more expensive than a front engine, rear wheel drive layout. When you consider the costs of research and development of a mid-engine C8 Corvette platform that would be rolled into the MSRP, plus all of the costs associated with the car in general, this mid-engine Corvette would likely cost far more than the current models. Pushing the base model Corvette price way up with a mid-engine design would surely slow sales, so unless GM could maintain the same price range with this shift to mid-engine, a total move to a new drive configuration seems very unlikely.
I Do Think We Will See a Midship GM Supercar
While I don’t expect that we will see General Motors convert the Chevrolet Corvette to mid-engine with the start of the 8th generation in a few years, I do believe that the rumors of a mid-engine supercar being developed by GM. With all of the facts of a mid-engine sports car program at GM, it seems that we are likely to see a proper competitor for the new Ford GT on display at the RenCen within the next decade. I have a hard time seeing how General Motors would call a new midship sports car a Corvette, but there is a chance that the automaker could offer up a special edition trimline of the Corvette that might just be called the Zora. This car could be a road going version of the Corvette Daytona Prototype (shown above) that led the way in the 2014 Tudor endurance racing series.
In other words, regardless of the name of the car, I do suspect that we will see a mid-engine sports car from General Motors in the not-so-distant future, but I believe just as strongly that even if this midship sports car wears the Corvette name – the Corvette lineup will still be built on a front engine, rear wheel drive design.