On early Friday morning at the National Corvette Museum’s Bash, the Corvette team held their annual “What’s New Seminar” with the focus on the 2019 models. Although the three returning models started production at the end of January, and the new ZR1s started on March 5th, we still learned a whole lot about the America’s favorite sports cars.
The seminar was hosted by Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles. The Corvette Museum’s Conference Center held a large group of owners and enthusiasts who were on hand for the 8:30 am seminar start.
“How many people knew that Corvette is the most loved car in America?” asked Harlan Charles as he started the seminar with the traditional round-up of news, production stats and awards from the previous model year. The most loved car in America refers to the survey by Stategic Vision which featured both the Coupe and Convertible models at the top of their vehicle class segments.
Corvette still maintains a sizeable lead in sales against others in the luxury sport class. During the 2017 Calendar Year, the Corvette’s share of this market was 40.3%, followed by Porsche 911 with 14.4% of market share. Harlan recapped the production stats for the 2018 Carbon 65 Editions and then gets into current 2019 production stats showing the break down of models.
A total of 7,070 Corvettes have already been produced for the 2019 model year. The Grand Sport leads the way with 36% (2,521) followed by Stingray at 30% (2,117), Z06 at 24% (1,686) and finally ZR1 at 10% (746). *These numbers include cars that have been built as well as those orders that have been accepted and scheduled for production.
Some of the interesting facts about the ZR1 include a 78% take rate on the automatic transmission, 37% are the Sebring Orange Design Package, and 69% of production/orders include the high-performance ZTK package.
Arctic White, Black, and Watkins Glen Gray are the top three exterior colors with the new Sebring Orange coming in 5th out of 10 colors with 12% of production. Jet Black was the top interior with 68% while Spice Red is coming in last at just 1% of all 2019s.
What’s New for 2019
The 2019 model year was essentially a roll-over of 2018 but there were a couple of updates. All 2019 models now are factory filled with Mobil 1 0W-40 motor oil. The new 0W-40 allows owners to drive on the street or track without changing oils. All Corvettes back to the 2014 model year can use the new blend.
The Corvette Assembly Plant also restarted the Engine Build Experience for LT4/LT5 engines. However, this special program will be going away sometime this summer.
In Accessories news, GM Performance Parts has introduced a new Corvette Performance Air Intake (RPO RVK) for LT1, LT4, and LT5 Corvette engines. We posted pics of the air intake installed on a Stingray that was displayed at the Bash. A new Accessory Rocker Kit for Stingray/Z51 was also shown. These are carbon flash painted rockers (RPO STI) that MSRP for $895.
Harlan also talked about the new calibration upgrades available for those Corvettes with the Magnetic Ride Control. These upgrades were introduced at SEMA last November and owners who have done its say they are very happy with the changes.
For ZR1 news, Harlan goes through the history of the ZR1 before sharing a video from the North American reveal in LA. Tadge came back up and answered why the worldwide reveal was held in Dubai. “In the middle east, there are a lot of rich people there and its becoming a bigger and bigger part of our market and could be much bigger. The customers there are a lot like you guys, except about 30 years younger” said Tadge, which drew laughs from the crowd.
Tadge takes us through the various components of the ZR1 including talk about the High Wing vs Low Wing. He says that the Low Wing is much more suited for all around driving, but nearly 70% are going with the ZTK performance package which includes the High Wing. On the ZTK Performance Package, the brakes come with hybrid racing pads and a special version of the Brembo carbon ceramic rotors on the front for even better braking performance.
Next, Tadge talks about the ZR1’s new LT5 V8 engine. The LT5 uses the base LT4 architecture with a new Eaton supercharger. The new supercharger is 73 mm taller (almost 3 inches) than the one used on the LT4. The larger supercharger presented a number of design challenges which was solved by the creation of the halo hood with the top of the engine exposed. A new 95mm throttle body had to be created as the largest ones available from GM or its suppliers were still too small for the amount of air the engine requires.
Here is a chart showing performance comparisons of the LT1, LT4, LT5 as well as the C4 LT5:
Tadge then moves into the cooling of the car as well as aerodynamics and shares a number computation fluid dynamics graphics which show the flow of the air through the car. He points out the large openings in the front of the car and says that the front fascia consists almost entirely of functional openings for the cooling. Where there is the enery absorbing material for the bumper as required, they actually cored four additional holes in the structural elements behind them for additional breathing through the bumper cover.
Slides with the various standard and optional equipment on the ZR1 are shown. Tadge say that accounting for inflation, the new ZR1 costs the same in today’s dollars as the previous C6 model did when it was released in 2008. The Ron Fellows Driving School also is included with the ZR1. Videos are shown of the ZR1 testing at 200 mph as well as the video of Tadge with Jay Leno going 202 mph at the Milford Proving Grounds. Tadge does say the top speed for the Convertible ZR1 with the top up is 208 mph. They haven’t tested it with the top down for obvious safety reasons.
The Corvette ZR1 has been breaking records at various tracks so far and Tadge claims those records at VIR and Road Atlanta fell during testing and neither was planned. He says there are no plans to go track to track for the purpose of breaking records. The video of Jim Mero breaking the record at Virginia International Raceway is featured.
Big Announcements at the Bash
The Corvette Team made sure to let attendees know there was going to be some big announcements at the BASH. Tadge then shows the photos of the 2019 Corvette ZR1 Indy 500 Pace Car and Harlan volunteers to be the driver. Tadge says they like to joke that this is the only Pace Car in the world that when they drop the flag, it doesn’t get off the track, it just accelerates and beats all the race cars to win the race.
The big announcement for the Bash was the introduction of the two new Corvette colors. Shadow Gray will be replacing Watkins Glen Gray this summer with the first cars produced in early August. Elkhart Lake Blue will be replacing Admiral Blue with the first cars produced on October 1st.
We shared photos of the rear quarter panels on Friday (they didn’t have a complete car to show in either color) and we’ll have even more comparisons coming up.
Following the new color reveals, Harlan and Tadge spend another 40 minutes or so answering questions. All in all, a very complete run down of What’s New for 2019 Corvettes.
We have the full presentation on video and you can see it here:
[PICS] Shadow Gray and Elkhart Lake Blue Exterior Colors Introduced for 2019 Corvettes
[PICS] GM Performance Parts Shows Off New Cold Air Intake at the NCM Bash
The 2018 Michelin NCM Bash is April 26th – 28th