JAY RAMEY

Chevy's midengine Corvette C8 undergoes track tests

The midengine C8 Chevrolet Corvette captured on video during testing may be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V-8 or a 6.2-liter LT1 V-8. Photo credit: YOUTUBE

The midengine C8 Chevrolet Corvette has been spotted again -- and caught on video -- testing at the track, giving the latest glimpse of General Motors' planned halo car. The C8 is expected to debut in 2019 and expand the Corvette lineup; GM is expected to produce the new car and the outgoing version until 2022, when the current C7 Corvette will complete its model cycle.

The video strings together three fairly tame starts from a standstill -- the car here is believed to be testing quick pull-aways from a traffic light rather than full-throttle launches -- but it gives a few clues about what sits between the axles. This type of testing is normal midway through the development cycles of running prototypes.

Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.

This midengine version of the Corvettein development for several years, may be using a twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V-8 making its way through GM's pipeline, but it may also be using a 6.2-liter LT1 V-8, which is also expected to appear in the lineup. The sound in this video seems more like a naturally aspirated V-8 than a turbocharged one because of the absence of hisses and whooshes from turbochargers as the engineers give it a lively start. The sound in the video also gives a clue about the transmission paired with the engine; this one seems to be a dual-clutch unit, not surprising given the car being tested and what we know about it. In fact, a three-pedal C8 is not expected to be offered, as GM and Tremec reportedly have been working on an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

When the C8 Corvette lands, likely as a 2020 model, it may offer a choice of three internal combustion power plants, plus a battery-electric or plug-in hybrid version. A 6.2-liter V-8 is expected to be the base engine with around 500 hp on tap, while the twin-turbo 4.2-liter V-8 may end up being the midlevel power plant with about 650 hp.

A range-topping naturally aspirated V-8 displacing 5.5 liters and with more than 600 hp on tap may also be a part of the range, but electrified powertrains are more of a mystery at the moment, and they're not expected at launch in 2019. It's difficult to picture GM skipping the electrified route, as competitors add electric motors to help gasoline units in their cars.

 

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