“It looks like you guys are expecting to hear something here.”
That’s how Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter kicked of the Corvette Team seminar last Friday at the National Corvette Museum’s annual Bash Event.
We knew things would be a little different this year as the 2019 Corvette was featured in last year’s Bash presentation and production is still on-going. The team covered much of the latest updates on the 2019 model from production numbers, best-selling colors, and select option penetration. We also got to hear about the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Drivers Series which was the last major update to the 2019 model year.
But the truth of the matter is that people were expecting to hear something about the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette. The Corvette Team couldn’t disclose much about the new car prior to its reveal on 07.18.19, however, we still came away from the event having learned some great info.
The Corvette Team kicks off the presentation with a review of the news from the previous year and then we get into some of the specifics of Corvette sales info.
The 2019 Corvette Model Year Data shows the sales and pending orders for each of the four nameplates as of April 1st. Chevrolet is reporting 27,868 Corvettes produced or scheduled so far for the 2019 model year. The best selling model continues to be the Stingray Coupe and with the car now in its 6th year of production, we are seeing the 1LT models make up the bulk at 67% of sales. The Grand Sport Coupe comes in second with 59% of buyers selecting the 2LT package. The Z06 Coupe and Convertible models make up 21% of production while the Corvette ZR1 has 9% combined with total production and orders totaling 2,599.
As far as colors go, Arctic White, Black and Torch Red remain the top three exteriors and account for 51% of all Corvettes produced. Sebring Orange has been buoyed by ZR1 sales and is doing incredibly well at 9% of production. The rest of the colors are nearly tied with 4% to 6% each.
From there the Corvette team moved into a review of what’s new in 2019 and the big news was the ZR1. Kirk Bennion reviewed some of the ZR1 aerodynamics and what makes it all work with graphs on aerodynamics and info about the LT5 V8. Another slide shows a number of magazine covers and then some of the awards the car picked up over the year.
The new 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Driver’s Series was next on the agenda and Kirk talks about working with each of the four full-time Corvette Racing drivers on the design details for each of the four cars. Each of the #01 Grand Sports were on display at the NCM as well.
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Indy 500 Pace Car was also talked about. Not only were four pace cars built for the race, but a number of Corvette Stingray Convertibles with the same graphics package were produced for the race and those “Festival Cars” will be offered to dealers for sale sometime starting in June.
The Corvette Team then moved to the news that the last C7 Corvette, a Black Z06, will be offered for auction at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast sale in late June with the winner receiving the car once it is built. The team couldn’t give a date yet on the end of production as they will be notifying their dealers with that info first, but they said those plans will be out soon.
With the discussion of the final C7 Corvette to benefit the Stephen Sillers Tunnels to Towers Foundation, that opened the door for Tadge to talk about his experience driving GM CEO Mary Barra in the prototype C8 Corvette in downtown Manhatten. The video of the drive on the streets is shown and Tadge says it was one of the coolest things that both he and Mary said they have experienced in their careers at General Motors. It’s a fun story to learn how it all came about.
Tadge also talks about the small “Zora Head” stickers the team uses internally and how they made it on the C8 Corvette in NYC. In talking about the Zora Head stickers, the team featured our graphic with the red arrows showing a couple of the locations for the stickers:
That drive through NYC generated a huge number of articles from the media, and Tadge talks about how they knew that Corvette enthusiasts would be studying the photos and would see the Zora Head stickers. That resulted in another 24-hour news cycle despite the fact that the team originally was told not to do it.
The official reveal date is shown as well as the url to get on the list for official info. That led into the official reveal of the C8’s emblems. The team had on-hand two production-ready badges with one in black and the other with a bright finish.
The last big piece of news was the that the team will be offering the VIN #025 to the National Corvette Museum to auction at its 25th Anniversary show in August. The tickets for the auction are $25 as well and the winner will pick up the car in early 2020 once production starts. The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park will also be getting a C8 Corvette once production is underway, which will offer the ability for enthusiasts to drive the car at the track.
Following the presentation, the Corvette Team opened up the floor to discussion. Most questions were answered by Tadge or Harlan pointing to the graphic on the screen and saying “07.18.19”. We know that following that date, the Corvette Team will be more than willing to discuss all aspects of the 2020 Corvette and we hear that cars will most likely make appearances at Carlisle and the NCM Anniversary Show as well.
We have the full presentation from Friday’s seminar below. The discussion on the C8 Corvette starts at around 35:48 into the presentation:
Photos/Video by Keith Cornett
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