The former director of GM Performance and assistant Corvette chief engineer, John Heinricy, offers up his predictions and hopes for the C7 Corvette and reflects on the past generations of America’s Sports Car during the current episode of The Downshift, which appears each Tuesday on the new Motor Trend YouTube channel.
“The experience I had working on the Corvette was probably if not the highlight, one of the best things I did in my career,” Heinricy says.
He also says he’s been driving a 427 Convertible the past few days and calls the 505-hp, 7.0-liter LS7 probably his favorite V8 engine GM has ever produced. Besides the great performance, the “very, very light and compact” engine also offers reduced mass on the front and lower center of gravity.
“The driving dynamics of that engine are really impressive,” Heinricy says, “so when you put it together in a convertible, you know, it makes a really nice driving experience.”
He also believes Chevrolet is going to come out with a seventh-generation Corvette that is really going to step up and have everything it needs to compete very strongly in the market, just like they have in the past.
Heinricy also hopes to see even better weight distribution with more weight at the rear of the car to take advantage of the power of the engine and improve traction and handling dynamics of the car along with even better fuel economy than now with improvements like direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing.
Heinricy also takes a moment to look back at his very special C4 Grand Sport Corvette. It’s actually serial number 1, a pilot car and the first 1996 Corvette made, and he’s owned it since 1995 and says it occupies a very special place in his garage and can’t ever imagine selling it. The one-year LT4 engine “is the kind of thing that doesn’t happen very often in an engineer’s career” and Heinricy points out that only 1,000 were ever made to mark the end of the C4 generation.
After 38½ years with General Motors that included a very successful racing career, Heinricy says he would like to be remembered most for his efforts in vehicle integration to make the overall driving experience for the customer as pleasant and rewarding as possible.
Corvette owners would no doubt say he accomplished that goal.
Motor Trend on YouTube