Car and Driver’s Technical Editor Don Sherman is someone we always enjoy listing to, especially when he is talking about Corvettes. Don’s longevity in the automotive industry allows him to reach out to a wide variety of sources in and around the Corvette Team and we know he cares about the direction of the Corvette brand as he is also an owner with a ’67 big block in his garage.
Don recently appeared on AutoLine After Hours to talk about the C8 Corvette and his appearance also coincided with an article in Hagerty.com where he outlined three alleged issues with the C8 Corvette. The good news is that the three alleged problems appear to have been resolved at least to the point where the Corvette Team is once again moving forward with their testing of the C8s on public roads.
While we don’t want to dwell too much on these issues now, we think it’s important to share Don’s insight in at least documenting what those issues may have been, as well as his opinion on where and when the C8 will be revealed.
Here’s a summary of the three alleged incidents as outlined by Sherman:
First, all GM products are shifting to a new electrical architecture—the means by which 100 or more computer modules per vehicle communicate on what’s called a CAN (computer area network) bus. Engineers are having difficulty working the bugs out of the new Global B party line serving Corvette and several other new models.
The second issue is a structural distortion of the aluminum spaceframe experienced during testing a prototype equipped with the 900-1000 horsepower twin-turbo V-8. The twist in back was enough to fracture the glass hatch covering the engine.
Item three is some unspecified bone of contention between those who design Corvettes and the development engineers who steer them to the far corners of the performance envelope. It could be a visibility issue, some ergonomic shortcoming, or a cockpit design problem.
We’ve heard that one of the major issues with the C8 was electrical in nature, but that’s not addressed by Don unless it was Item 3 on his list which was fairly vague. Current GM President Mark Reuss talked about the Global B initiative back in 2015 which is designed to move much of the vehicle’s computer power to the cloud.
Of the three issues, we find number 2 to be the most exciting. The ZORA model (which we call the highest performance variant of the C8) includes a combination of electric motors with a twin-turbo V8 to make 900-1,000 hp and apparently the massive torque was causing the twisting of a frame member and cracking the glass engine cover.
Our friend John at the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com says the frame issue was solved long ago with the help of GM’s Cray Supercomputer which analyzed the frame structure and identified the areas that needed reinforcement. GM’s plans are to use just one chassis for all C8 models so now the base “Stingray” model will have the same reinforcements as the ZORA model.
As noted, issue #3 was the vaguest and we certainly have no idea what that could have been. We do think that the recent sightings of the car with Mark Reuss in Yuma, along with Tadge, Harlan and Alex in San Diego lead us to believe whatever issue 3 was has been resolved by now as well. You don’t fly the GM President half-way across the country to ride in a car with issues, you fly him out there to ride in a car in which the issues have already been fixed.
Finally, we see that Don Sherman agrees with our position for the timing and location of the C8’s reveal by suggesting the NCM’s 25th Anniversary Show in late August as his best guess on where and when the car will be revealed. As he stated in the Hagarty article, “A car as big as the Corvette can generate news on its own without the backdrop of a show.”
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