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Not Everyone Agrees That The Corvette Should Go Mid-Engine

Jim Mero, who used to be a Corvette ride and handling engineer for GM recently had some very worrying words about the latest iteration of the Corvette... “I worry about the mid-engine Corvette.”
Posted: June 26, 2019 - 2:23AM
Author: Justin Nohe


At this point we are less than a month away from the official reveal of the highly anticipated C8 Corvette. While the majority of us are waiting eagerly to see what Chevrolet is going to give us for this generation of Corvette some of us are not so convinced that GM is moving in the right direction with it.

Jim Mero, who recently released some of the 7th generation Corvette Nurburgring track times, has stated he has his doubts that the move to the mid-engine layout is the best one at this point due to the current generation Corvettes performance capabilities.

Mero, also stated he was part of the mid-engine C8 Corvette development team before his retirement and thus has a good insight to everything C8. Before he left GM he was part of a testing group that rented higher end supercars to test heavily against the C7 Corvette for benchmarking reasons. He goes on to say that the C7 Corvette Z06 was able to "smoke" all of them.

Why the mid-engine design might not be the best thing for the Corvette

This really says something about the performance of the C7 Corvette and why Jim Mero was so against the move to mid-engine. While there are many pros to move to mid-engine platform, there are also many cons. GM has been perfecting the front engine rear wheel drive platform for so long it is almost perfect and Mero had noticed this in the benchmark testings.

Mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette in New York City

Regardless of his push to stay front engine, GM wanted to move to a mid-engine setup for a few reasons. They stated they preferred the seating arrangement and the better viewing angles the mid-engine allowed for. It's no secret that the visibility out of the C7 Corvette left something to be desired but for the most part, sports cars in general aren't the greatest in this regard.

One of Mero's biggest complaints about the mid-engine layout is one I've heard mentioned many times since Chevrolet has committed to changing the engine layout of the Corvette and that is: cargo space. Yes, believe it or not, people care about the storage room in their sports cars and mid-engine cars typically offer less of it. Mero stated that the C8 may be able to fit a golf bag but it won't have room for much else. I, personally, would love to have the same amount of cargo room that the C7 Corvette has but it isn't a huge deal to me.

Uncharted Territory

Mero has been retired for a while now but has said that the C8 engineers will likely need to “reinvent the wheel” to try and perfect the car’s build. As I stated earlier, GM has worked with the front engine design for a long time and each generation has gotten better and better but now they are moving in to uncharted territory and basically starting over.

Mero stated that the mid-engine car will not offer a perfect weight distribution (like the C7 does) and understeer will be a hard problem to fix. This is coming from someone who has spent a lot of time in a Corvette on a track so he knows a thing or two about how they behave when pushed to the limits.

Jim stated straight up that the mid-engine car wasn’t likely necessary to achieve GM's performance goals for the new Corvette but he also said it will still be “crazy popular" since it is.

Well, a new Corvette and those are always popular. We will all soon find out for sure if the move to the mid-engine layout is the right move or not. July 18th is rapidly approaching and soon there will be no secrets left!

Also watch why the C7 is the best-selling Corvette at the highest prices in history, and Click To Subscribe Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily News on Automotive Industry.

See you in my next story where I compare C7 Corvette with C8 situation and make a point that buying the very first year C8 Corvette may be a mistake, despite Corvette having a solid line of cars.

Justin Nohe can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


Dr. C (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 9:32AM

Even if the weight distribution in the C7 is already equal front & rear, going to a mid-engine will significantly reduce the cars polar-moment of inertia for quicker turns.

Justin Nohe    June 26, 2019 - 1:17PM

In reply to by Dr. C (not verified)

While this sounds true, I am definitely interested in the fact that a previous GM suspension engineer doesn't think it's needed or that it will be easy for them to achieve.

Dave (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:48PM

I never thought they should make a mid-engine Corvette, for multiple reasons.I never thought they should make a mid-engine Corvette, for multiple reasons.

Cecil (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:49PM

I was hoping Chevrolet would keep making two different versions - front engine and mid-engine Vettes.I was hoping they'd keep making two different versions - front engine and mid-engine Vettes.

Brian (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:50PM

The C7 fell right out of the Transformers movie. Now this, the most UN-Corvette, Corvette. Completely off into the weeds. No thanks. The C6 was the last real, sexy Corvette.The C7 fell right out of the Transformers movie. Now this, the most UN-Corvette, Corvette. Completely off into the weeds. No thanks. The C6 was the last real Corvette.

John (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:51PM

I am afraid of GM's competence in handling such a big technological change from C7 to C8. New engine position with new cooling problems, turbo on V8 etc.
Latest major changes as charger on V8 with cooling problems in C6 and C7, shutter problem with A8 etc. have never been solved in total and give IMHO enough reasons for such a fear.

Justin Nohe    June 26, 2019 - 1:19PM

In reply to by John (not verified)

Agreed. A lot of the problems they are having and will have is because this is a totally new platform for them. The C7 was as good as it was because of the many years of experience with it they had. Mid-engine is basically a brand new concept for GM other than the Fiero and we all know how well that turned out.

Stephen (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:51PM

I am sure that not everyone was looking forward to the C3 Corvette, when it was in the wings waiting it's turn. And look how it turned out.

Justin Nohe    June 26, 2019 - 1:25PM

In reply to by Stephen (not verified)

Every single generation of the Corvette has the naysayers. It really seems most people hate change when it comes to this car. I am all for evolution of any automobile to make sure we are getting the best possible performance and if that means the car has to go mid engine then so be it. I'm fairly certain that once the car comes out those naysayers will drastically reduce in numbers or possibly even disappear altogether.

John (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:54PM

Not everyone agrees that ice cream is a good dessert but that doesn’t change fact. I love the C6 and C7 designs, but I haven’t see or driven a C8 Corvette.

Michael (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:56PM

To me the mid engine design gives up efficiencies in packaging that front engine allows. The front "trunk" to hold luggage, groceries, etc will have to be smaller to incorporate the low hood, cooling, etc. With the change to mid engine, losing space, and likely cost increases, I am not interested in a new Corvette. Having been an avid fan and owner, I think this will be the change that finally kills the car.

Tim (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:56PM

In my opinion the reason for change was because of the competition with the mid engine Ford GT. The Ford has been doing well in the LeMans series. Corvette has to compete and I’m assuming that is why Corvette decided to change their platform. Funny thing is now the Ford GT is done so we will never know how they stack up against each other.

Jim (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:57PM

Long time Corvette fans heard the same gripes when solid axles, steel bumpers, pop-up headlights & round taillights disappeared.

Kyle (not verified)    June 26, 2019 - 12:58PM

Imagine how the first Corvette owners responded to the C2!
The beloved C1 being replaced by something with flip-up headlights? Going away from tear drop tail lights? Oh the horror! I am sure that there were even people saying that this was the end of the Corvette because people wouldn't like it!
Some people are still convinced that their generation of choice is the best Corvette

Mark J. Whinton (not verified)    July 19, 2019 - 11:03AM

To me it's the same as Rolls Royce making a small front wheel drive car - if you stray too much from tradition you just throw away your history instead of adding to it