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Rumors & Innuendo

The GT1 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

AutoSport Magazine is reporting that Corvette Racing will not return to France next summer to compete one last time in the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 class as originally planned due to budget constraints. However Steve Wesoloski, director of Chevrolet’s road racing program denies the decision has been made.

Corvette Racing has won at La Sarthe 4 times since 2000 and finished 2nd in class last year, but due to the ongoing financial crises, the team has been told to reduce its racing budget next year. Should the AutoSport Magazine report be true, you would think that this decision would call into question the whole strategy of running the GT1 program during the first half of the season as those races are essentially tune-ups for the 24 Hours of Lemans in June.

While Wesoloski denies the cancellation rumor, he does add the caveat that the final decision will based on the bailout discussions in Washington:

“We are still going ahead with our plans for a reduced programme of Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans,” he said. “No one has told me otherwise. We are, of course, prepared for all eventualities. It all hinges on what happens in Washington.”



Source:
Autosport.com
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Related:
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Ready for Assembly
Corvette Racing: GT2 Will Never Be The Same

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Next-Generation C7 Corvette on Hold – Indefinitely

by Keith Cornett on October 18, 2008

C7 Corvette Rendering

It was just two weeks ago that Motor Trend reported the next generation Corvette would be pushed back to 2014. With turbulent economic crises threatening the very existence of the Big 3 automakers, word comes from AutoWeek that GM has put plans for the C7 Corvette on indefinite hold with no official word or set timetable.

Luckily, none of the sources are suggesting that the Corvette will go away. Corvette Vehicle-Line Executive Tom Wallace told AutoWeek “No one is saying we’re not doing Corvettes. We’re still bullish on Corvettes.” When asked directly if there was any chance the Corvette would die, Wallace stated emphatically “No way.”

Talk is now about the how the C6 Corvette’s run can be extended. One version of the story is that the C6 could be upgraded significantly in 2012 as a ’13 model. Wallace says we’ll see changes sooner than that. “There are changes, some neat stuff, coming for 2010 that I can’t talk about yet.”

Read the entire article at AutoWeek.


Sources:
AutoWeek

Related:
C7 Corvette Rumors: No Mid-Engine and C7 Pushed Back to 2014

 

Is the Sun Setting on the Corvette ZR1?

A proverbial bombshell was dropped last night when Patrick Gramm of DigitalCorvettes.com posted news about GM halting Corvette ZR1 production. Patrick was told by a source that ZR1 production was to be halted and the model may have been cancelled despite no known issues that would warrant a production stop.

The story was given credence with Corvette Conti’s post about Corvette ZR1 orders with production dates suddenly disappearing from the system. Corvette orders are assigned a Target Production Week (TPW) and when those TPWs start disappearing, people get nervous.

We confirmed the order process with Kerbeck Corvette’s Sales Manager Dave Salvatore who told us that not seeing a TPW is completely normal, especially on early production cars. Dave says they did the same thing to the Corvette Z06s when they came out. “They do this so as not to get people mad or nervous if there’s a delay during the early production.”

Fact is, production has been halted on the Corvette ZR1 as well as the other three models this week as GM idled the Bowling Green Assembly plant to allow for a bit of constriction in supply. Salvatore says that he is hearing that once the plant’s operations resumes next week, Corvette ZR1 production will be doubled to make up for the loss numbers during the shutdown.

Finally, Autoblog weighed in, pulled out the rolodex and called GM’s Terry Rhadigan, Global Communications Director for Chevrolet, who responded with a terse statement designed to put this rumor to bed: “Not True”.

Going back to the Digital Corvettes post, there are several members with “sources” within the Corvette program that have provided reliable information over the last few years when it comes to Corvettes in general and the ZR1 specifically. They are saying that this rumor is not true and not what they are hearing. One of the members said the following:

The huge amounts of money that were spent on the ZR1 were for R&D. In other words, most of the money was spent before the car even went into production. That money is spent and gone…it’s never coming back. Killing the ZR1 at this point won’t get that money back and wouldn’t really save that much money in the grand scheme of things. There might even be penalties to pay to suppliers for cancelling the parts contracts. Even if you do cancel the contracts, how much are you really saving by not paying for the parts for a 2000-3000 unit/year vehicle program? Again, not that much in the grand scheme. It makes more sense to keep building this super-limited run vehicle and get all the money out of it you can. They will sell every one they build.

We count Patrick of DC as one of our online friends and his information is usually reliable. But I feel for the guy who may have led him astray on this if that’s the case. Patrick followed up with a comment in the thread that mentioned “balls” and “chopping block” so we’ll see where this story goes.


Sources:
DigitalCorvettes.com
Corvette Conti’s
Kerbeck Corvette
Autoblog

Related:
GM: Corvette Production Being Cut to Reduce Supply

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Motor Trend C7 Corvette Rendering

Motor Trend’s Mike Conner is reporting that a mid-engine design for the next generation Corvette is out. Unfortunately, he also mentions the C7 Corvette is on hold and unlikely to launch earlier than 2014.

Mid-Engine Corvette supporters, including GM’s Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz, believe they can achieve better fuel economy utilizing gas-saving cylinder shutoff with an LS3 V8 mounted behind the driver as its hard to deactivate cylinders based on the current front engine/rear transaxle setup without adding a clutch to deactivate the driveshaft.

Detractors counter that the extra weight that comes with a mid-engine layout and its heavy rear cowl would offset any fuel-economy savings of cylinder shutoff.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on your outlook of a mid-engine Corvette) the accountants appear to be having the final say as the funding for a complete ground up redesign of the Corvette is just unavailable during this time of GM’s fiscal difficulties.

With all that being said, MT says don’t count out Tom Wallace and his team considering 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 for the base C7 Corvette.

Sources:
Motor Trend

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?

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Transformers Corvette Concept Revealed as Sideswipe

by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept on Set of Transformers

Since the mysterious Corvette Centennial Design Concept was spotted on the set of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, there has been much speculation about the identity that the car would portray when in Robot mode. At a recent Hasbro Licensing summit in Malaysia it was revealed that the Corvette was in fact Sideswipe.

Producer Michael Bay has had to jump through some hoops to appease the Transformers fan base (we know all about rabid fan bases) because GM has an exclusive agreement to provide the vehicles for the movies. In the original cartoon, Sideswipe was one of original crew members of the ARK, although he was a red Lamborghini when in auto-mode.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept
Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

I’m the first to admit that I’m not really up on Transformers trivia. I’d rather have a hunk a junk that can make the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs any day than a car that transforms into a robot. But I digress. I’m just still trying to understand that if you’re a robot hiding on earth, why pick a Corvette Concept car as your secret identity?


Source:
Seibertron

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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Corvette Centennial Design Concept: Lutz Comments

by Keith Cornett on September 4, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

As another set of high quality photos featuring the Corvette Centennial Design Concept make their way to our friends over at Jalopnik, we finally get a comment from GM’s Bob Lutz regarding the significance of the concept in relation to the next generation C7 Corvette.

Since the first photos surfaced earlier this year of the Centennial parked behind a car hauler on the Transformers movie back staging area, the Concept has fueled rumor and speculation about this being a C7 Corvette prototype.

Leftlane News recently posed the production question to GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz:

Leftlane: “Is there any significance to the Chevrolet Corvette Centennial concept, aside from the role in Transformers 2?”

Mr. Lutz: “No, I would say that is in the realm of ‘pure concept.’ At this point, there’s zero intention to produce.”

Leftlane goes on to point out that Lutz said the very same thing about the Camaro beginning as “pure-concept” so anything may be possible.

The Corvette Centennial Design Concept was developed as part of GM’s 100 Year celebration. This design study integrates key design elements of previous Corvettes as well as other GM vehicles.

Once of the more fascinating elements is the stingray emblem on the rear deck behind the split window. It’s a very minor element but it gives the Corvette Centennial an attitude and a sense of identity that is sometimes lacking in design concepts. Bottom line? We think its a great starting point for the C7.

Make sure you view the entire gallery of new Corvette Centennial Design Concept photos at Jalopnik.


Sources:
Jalopnik
Leftlane News

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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C7 Corvette Rumors: Is A Twin Turbo V6 In The Mix?

by Keith Cornett on August 26, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

Popular Mechanics recently played the guessing game on the 2012 C7 Corvette and since we’re all about Corvettes here (hence the name – CorvetteBlogger), we decided to reprise our role of irresponsible speculators. Besides, now that the supercharged ZR1 is rolling off the assembly line, we need something new to dream about. With the changing times brought on by $4/gallon gas, we know two elements that will become the mantra for those in charge of developing the next Corvette – reduced weight and fuel efficiency. How GM gets there will be the trick.

Development for every generation of Corvette since the C4 has started out with engineer’s dreaming of a mid engine layout. And every single time its tried its ruled too expensive. As one of the hallmarks of the C7 program will be weight reduction, a mid engine Corvette will not be in the cards for the C7. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics tells Popular Mechanics “The mid-engine Corvette is simply too expensive. It would need costly new tooling and offers little weight savings because it requires an extra, metal-intensive firewall.” So count on the next Corvette being like the first Corvette – front engined and rear wheel drive.

So what will go in that engine compartment? GM’s recently foray into supercharged engines could mean a smaller V8 with displacement returning back around 5.7 liters instead of the 6.2 liter and 7.0 liters we see on the C6 Corvette. But superchargers, turbo charging and variable valve timing will still make the smaller V8′s much more powerful than their predecessors.

Can a Corvette be a Corvette without a V8? Another bold idea being floated is a twin-turbo version of the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 that’s currently in the Cadillac CTS. That engine could easily pump out 400 hp, just 36 less than today’s LS3 V8. Drop that engine into a Corvette that weighs several hundred pounds less than today’s C6 and you’ll have something moves.

And speaking of weight, the new C7 Corvette will have to be several hundred pounds lighter to maintain that all important performance to weight ratio. The Corvette Z06 is already considered relatively light at 3200 pounds and technology exists to cut this figure even more. Katech recently announced that their ClubSport Z06 in its ultimate performance configuration has a weight of 2825 lbs, so we know its doable.

We could see the next generation Corvette make more extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, especially as these materials mature and higher production levels can be achieved. The hydroformed steel frame found on the Coupe and Convertible models could be dumped altogether in favor of the aluminum frame used on the Z06 and ZR1 models. Titanium and Magnesium are two other pound saving materials that have found their way onto Corvettes in limited production but the cost factor for these metals is higher so use may still be limited to wheels and exhaust.

Popular Mechanics also believes that despite the fuel savings that could be gained from Corvette moving to a dual clutch gearbox, one with seven gears and a wide ratio spread, the development dollars for such a project, estimated at half a billion dollars, has already been shifted to other more pressing projects like the Chevy Volt. We’ll have to wait and see if this is the case as that UAW agreement that ended the strike last fall calls for such a transmission to be built.

And finally, the next Corvette will be drawn by the same talented designers who’ve been on a roll lately with efforts including the Cadillac CTS, Pontiac’s Solstice Coupe and the new Chevrolet Camaro. The Corvette Centennial Design Concept that will make its movie debut in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may provide some insight to the limits that GM’s designers are willing to push for the 2012 Corvette C7.


Source:
Popular Mechanics

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
GM-UAW Deal: C7 Corvette Planned for 2012

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Corvette Centennial Design Concept

Jalopnik got a tip from “the Auto Insider” about the corvette concept car spotted this summer during the filming of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s been identified as GM’s Corvette Centennial Design Concept. So it is a Corvette Concept car, just not the C7 Corvette Concept as some have been speculating.

As the name suggests, the Corvette Centennial Design Concept was developed as part of GM’s 100 Year celebration. This design study integrates key design elements of previous Corvettes as well as other GM vehicles, namely the Camaro.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept
Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

As far as the design of the C7 Corvette, we think the designers should use this Corvette Centennial study as their starting point. It would need to be refined so its mostly acceptable to the masses and enthusiasts, but still keeping the sharp design aspects that make you stand back in awe. Can you imagine this thing in black? We should be seeing more of this car early next year before the opening of the Transformers.

Click over to Jalopnik to read more and see the exclusive photo of the full sized clay model.


Source:
Jalopnik

Related:
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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Is Chevy Preparing to Sell Corvettes in China?

by Keith Cornett on July 21, 2008

Corvettes for sale in China?

This black C6 Corvette was recently spotted outside China’s National Department for Automotive Quality, the agency that reviews automobiles and decides whether or not they will be allow for sale in the People’s Republic. With China’s booming economy and burgeoning middle class, not to mention the fact that China will at some point become the world’s single largest market for automobiles, establishing a foothold for America’s iconic sports car only makes good business sense for GM.

One of the hurdles that Corvette will have to overcome is that Chevrolet is knows as a bargain brand in China much like Daewoo is in the US. GM sells the Corvette as a standalone brand or paired with Cadillac and Hummer in much of the world so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

I’m not too up on my Chinese automotive trivia, but are their roads (and cars) right hand drive or left? If you know, please leave a comment.


Source:
ChinaCarTimes.com via Jalopnik

Related:
Japan’s Special Edition Corvette: The Corvette S-Limited Technorati Tags:
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Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed

by Keith Cornett on July 17, 2008

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

I was skeptical at first about the photos that surfaced last month from the filming of the Transformers 2 movie showing what was reported as a Corvette concept. But some intrepid photographer was to get to the automotive staging area on the set of the sequel currently being filmed on Edwards Air Force Base and snapped a few photos including this one showing not just one Corvette Concept, but two.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

The lines on this Concept do scream Corvette with what appears to be a highly evolved coke-bottle design and a split rear window. The chopped top and wrap around windshield (first appearing on the ’53 Corvette) are so cool and the massive tires look to be able to supply plenty of traction. Could this be a preview of the C7? Let’s hope!

As GM is supplying many of the vehicles for the movie including the Chevrolet Beat, Trax and the now familiar next-generation Camaro, we wonder if this is an actual C7 style exercise, a tuner rebody or the product of a famous movie car customizing shop. GM has supplied two concepts to Michael Bay previously, the Camaro for the first Transformers movie and a Cadillac Cien for the cinematic thriller The Island, (LOL, cinematic thriller…) so we’re not off base for making the suggestion.

The sequel, officially titled as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is sure to be hit when it makes it to the big screen next year. Total gross of the first Transformers movie was $319 Million in the US and $708 Million worldwide. GM’s product placement of concepts into movies allows the automaker feedback about their designs as well as gives the base a chance to warm up to any redesign of the iconic American sports car.


Source:
Jalopnik

Related:
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon

 

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