The eternal all-American sportscar, the Chevrolet Corvette, has been given much more than just a facelift. An icon of a car that has had its engine mounted up front through seven design generations dating back to 1953 is now mid-engined. Purists may object, but there have been no complaints from the team tasked with turning the new C8 Corvette into a racing car.
In fact, they were jumping for joy at Corvette Racing, the Pratt & Miller-run operation based near Detroit that has been responsible for the Chevys that have competed in North American sportscar racing since 1999 and at the Le Mans 24 Hours since 2000. That was nearly six years ago and the fruits of an unusually long gestation period will be on show as the new C8.R GT Le Mans class contender makes its debut in the Daytona 24 Hours IMSA SportsCar Championship opener this weekend.
"As rumours of the consideration of a mid-engine car were floating around, the race guys kept asking if it was true," recalls Corvette chief engineer Ed Piatek, who has led development of the road car. "They were certainly encouraging us to make this decision."