Although the rumors of a mid-engine Corvette have been circulating for years, General Motors (GM) has recently let new clues slip that point more directly to the possibility of seeing the rumored car become an actual production vehicle by 2018. With the recent revival of Ford’s GT supercar at Le Mans, it makes sense that GM would want to have something that would be able to compete with it in their lineup. Given the Corvette’s very successful racing history so far, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine that GM would want to continue that tradition with a new, faster, and better Corvette.
Just last month the folks at the GM Inside News website (www.gminsidenews.com) noticed that the “Katech Engines website has already made provisions for the “2018+ Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5.” Katech is the performance engine specialist company that used to back the Corvette racing program before GM brought all competition engine development back in-house several years ago.
The “LT5” that Katech references would be a new version of the DOHC aluminum-block V8 developed by Lotus Engineering and built by Mercury Marine. The LT5 was used for a few years in the C4 Corvette platform, yet never made it into production on the C5 platform. Now it appears a Gen III version of the engine is being developed for use in the next generation of Corvettes. Mid-engine Corvettes if the speculation is correct.
The GM-watchers over at MotorAuthority.com also noticed the new landing page for the 2018+ Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5 over at Katech, but the page was quickly removed from the Web after the discovery. Even though the “Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5” page has disappeared, many Corvette enthusiasts are beginning to wonder “What does Katech know that we don’t?” Some are speculating that the C8 mid-engine Corvette will likely make its debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show, a date that is coincidentally exactly five years after the C7 Stingray made its debut at the same show.
Combine that with the fact that some GM engineers have stated that more power won’t make a better Corvette because they’ve reached the limit of what a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive Corvette can do, and you’ve got a good case for a new mid-engine car on the way. Looking at the many clues supporting the existence of plans for a mid-engine ‘Vette only seems to increase the likelihood that the rumors are true:
* The media has already spotted prototype C8s in testing and they appeared to be mid-engine designs.
* GM’s Bowling Green, Corvette plant has recently doubled in size. The company has also dumped $290 million into the same plant for “upgrades.”
* GM recently trademarked the ZR1 name again.
* GM recently trademarked the Zora name for the first time.
Taking a not-so-wild guess, we would bet that the new 2018 C8 Corvette will be named the ZR1 or Zora (or a combination of both) and it will be powered by a new Gen III DOHC LT5 V-8.