Corvette unveils new C8.R racer and C8 Stingray Convertible
Suddenly, that first mid-engined Corvette Stingray unveiled to much fanfare back in July has blossomed into a family of ‘Vettes with the addition of the new C8 Corvette Stingray Convertible and the C8.R race car.
Unveiled at the same event at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral today, the Corvette C8.R is Chevy’s first-mid-engined GT contender in the Le Mans series and due to gets its competition baptism at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
So far we know more about the livery than the specification of the two cars due to hit the Daytona grid. One will be silver with yellow accents inspired by the colour of Corvette concept cars such as the 1973 Chevrolet Aerovette. The other will feature a traditional yellow livery as used by the GTLM racing Corvettes of the past 20 years.
Those front-engined monsters have not lacked for GT racing success – in 2015, Corvette Racing became the first sports car team in 15 years to win endurance racing’s triple crown of victories at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans in the same season. The pressure will be on the mid-engined car to do even better.
“The C8.R is much more than just a race-tuned version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray,” said Chevrolet motorsports VP Jim Campbell.
The Stingray Convertible
Just as the first-ever mid-engined Corvette coupé emulates Ferrari and McLaren styling so too does the convertible – perhaps even more so. The American take on things is just as pronounced but the already faint echoes of front-engined ‘Vettes of the past are even fainter with the roof open. It doesn’t stop it looking dramatic in a busy sort of way.
A convertible ‘Vette was always a given even with the relocated engine and new cab-forward proportions of the mid-engined car. There’s been a soft-top ‘Vette since the very first in 1953 after all. But this one is no soft-top. It has a rigid hardtop which (thanks to no fewer than six electric motors) flips back under the rigid rear tonneau in the manner of a McLaren Spider. The rear glass window divider even goes up and down like Woking’s cars.
The roof works at speeds up to 30mph and takes a brisk 16 seconds to open up the two-seat cabin to the elements. Impressively you do not have to rearrange your luggage either: Chevy says the convertible offers the same storage as the coupé (including two sets of golf clubs) even with the top down.
The chassis had to be tweaked – there’s no carbon-fibre tub here remember, and we can presume the steel monocoque needed strengthening – but elsewhere it’s the same as the coupé. Which means a small-block V8 – just 6.2 litres then – churning out 495bhp to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Expect all the naturally-aspirated V8 sound effects you could ever wish for – especially with the roof down…
“We put the world on notice when we introduced the first mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette a few months ago, and now we’re raising the bar with Corvette convertible,” said Brian Sweeney, Chevrolet vice president.
And how much will it cost Brian? “The convertible will be priced only $7,500 more than entry 1LT Stingray coupé.” That starts at $60,000 so in our book a straight dollar-to-pound comparison will make the convertible the equivalent of £54,500. A McLaren Spider for a third the cost? We shall see.
All they have to do now is deliver on right-hand drive (promised) and get ‘em into the UK…