A new report out of the US has provided a glimpse into the future for high-performance versions of the Chevrolet Corvette – coincidentally unearthed at the same time as General Motors has hit the brakes all future vehicle development.
According to US publication, Hagerty, a list of Corvette variants and their proposed model year timing gives a solid indication of how Chevrolet will expand the line-up of its first ever mid-engined Corvette.
The new product roadmap gives details of upcoming performance models set to flesh out the C8 Corvette range, but lands at the same time as Michelle Braun, GM’s executive director in charge of program management, issued an internal order to pause all upcoming car and pick-up truck development in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What this means for the release timing of Corvette variants – or any other Chevrolet products – remains to be seen.
As reported by CarAdvice here, the pause on development has cast a cloud over the right-hand-drive version of the regular Corvette.
Although it is yet to be confirmed, CarAdvice understands the factory-built right-hand-drive Corvette was still due to come to Australia and sold under the General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) banner in the wake of the shutdown of Holden at the end of this year, however those plans may have been derailed by the coronavirus crisis.
For now the North American product rollout looks set to include familiar Corvette variants including the Z06, Grand Sport and ZR1. A new halo model, wearing the Zora nameplate also appears on the list, named in homage to Zora Arkus-Duntov, a GM engineer instrumental in driving the performance potential of Corvette models during the 1950s and 1960s.
Listed by model year (which aren’t likely to line up with year of production) Hagerty’s report suggests the first of Chevrolet’s new models to ditch the pushrod engine design used by all generations so far will come with the MY22 Z06, with a dual over-head cam, 32-valve 5.5-litre ‘LT6’ V8 providing an estimated 447kW but the same 637Nm at the LT2 engine.
The flat-plane crank engine is rumoured to be capable of revving beyond 8000rpm, but would also sit below the supercharged 6.2-litre engine it takes over from with the previous Z06 rated at 485kW and 881Nm.
To balance the risk of introducing a new, high-tech engine and ensure traditionalists aren’t turned away MY23 will see the introduction of the Corvette Grand Sport, powered by an uprated LT2 engine rated at the same 447kW as the smaller-engined Z06, but more muscular 678Nm.
In contrast to the C7 Grand Sport, which added Z06-style aesthetics to an entry-level engine, the C8 looks set to create a space for itself as a more defined step on the Corvette model-walk.
The traditional Corvette hero, the track-approved ZR1 is set for an MY24 introduction, adding twin turbochargers to the 5.5-litre V8 under the ‘LT7’ engine code, for outputs of 634kW and a suggested (and somewhat mind-blowing) 1119Nm. Compared to the C7 ZR1’s supercharged 6.2-litre LT5 engine that would see outputs step up by around 71kW and 150Nm.
Initial reports suggested the ZR1 may also benefit from hybrid assistance, but this latest info suggests the new Zora flagship will instead be the model to take this honour.
Specific details on the electric assistance side of the Zora’s performance package aren’t addressed, however in combination with an ‘LT7HP1’ version of the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 the final figures are a suggested 746kW (or 1000 horsepower) and a frankly ridiculous 1322Nm.
Although there’s no mention of hybrid assistance on any model aside from the Zora in the Hagerty report, Car and Driver builds on the info provided by suggesting electric assistance will also be incorporated into the Grand Sport’s 6.2-litre V8 (shown below in Stingray form).
C&D’s info also supports suggestions that the Zora will use a ‘through the road’ hybrid system with the electric motor driving the front wheels independently of the V8 running the rears.
The impact of the band-wide development pause remains to be seen, though its impact may be greater on those variants set for later release with close-to-launch models likely having their requisite work completed in preparation for offical launch activity.
Note: 2020 Corvette Stingray and C8.R images used throughout.