Retired Corvette Ride and Handling Engineer Jim Mero ‘Worries’ About the New C8 Corvette

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[AUDIO] Retired Corvette Ride and Handling Engineer Jim Mero has 'Worries' Over New C8 Corvette

Photo Credit: Corvette Forum


Retired Corvette Ride and Handling Engineer Jim Mero was recently invited to talk on the Overcrest Podcast where he spent nearly an hour talking about his 34-year history at General Motors.

His discussions on his early career at GM before joining the Corvette team was very interesting to listen to. In 2004, Jim makes it onto the Corvette team as their ride and handling engineering and is immediately put to work on the C6 Corvette Z06. From that car through the early development of the C8, Mero was the guy who helped tune the driving characteristics of all those great Corvettes over that time.

Jim talks about his time testing at the Nurburgring and he estimates he’s done around 4,000 laps over the 40 different visits to the track over the years. His first visit came in early 2000 where he was helping with Cadillac STS that featured the first magnetic ride control shocks, and his last visit came in April 2018 with the ZR1.

[AUDIO] Retired Corvette Ride and Handling Engineer Jim Mero has 'Worries' Over New C8 Corvette


Eventually the conversation turns to the C8 Corvette (at 53:53 in the podcast) and Jim discusses how he was on the advance team that would help define the goals of the new car. Jim acknowledges that with the Corvette being 65 years old that some change was necessary, but Jim says he reminded Tadge [Juechter] they would go to these shootouts and that he doesn’t ever remember getting beat by a mid-engine sports car that was the same weight and horsepower as the Corvette.

It’s at this point that Jim says “I worry about the mid-engine”.

To get a feel of the top mid-engine sports cars, the Corvette team rented the top cars available which included the Audi R8, Ferrari 458, Acura NSX, and couple of Porsches. Also along were two Corvettes, a C7 Z06 and the Z51 Stingray, and Mero says “the two Corvettes smoked them”.

[AUDIO] Retired Corvette Ride and Handling Engineer Jim Mero has 'Worries' Over New C8 Corvette

Mero says he voiced his opinion that none of the mid-engine cars they tested were cars to “aspire” to and that the front-engine Corvettes were currently better. But he says certain executives liked the driving position and visibility that a mid-engine car inherently has and they were happy with how the car drove when at speeds below its limits. He also stresses the utility of the C7 Corvettes where he can take “two sets of golf clubs and a couple duffle bags and go away for a weekend and well, you’re not going to do that in a mid-engine car”.


Mero says that the mid-engine Corvette will be extremely popular when it comes out but the question for him is whether it will stand the test of time. He reminds us that each Corvette generation was significantly better than the last and as good as the C7 Corvette was, Mero says had they continued along that path, he would rather have the 50/50 weight distribution of a front-engine car than one that is 35/65 and comes with a lot of understeer.

As the interview winds down, Jim talks about his Magnetic Ride Control updates for the C6 Corvette. Mero is also asked what makes a car cool and his answer was “When it’s yours”. He says that while at GM he had access to all the different models in the Corvette line-up but now that he owns a 2012 Grand Sport, it’s the coolest car to him because it’s his…

This was a great podcast for Corvette fans as well as fans of Jim Mero so I hope you will take the time to listen to Overcrest Podcast. You can also subscribe to it via iTunes.


Source:
Overcrest Podcast via GM Authority

Related:
[PICS] Jim Mero Confirms He Lapped the Nurburgring in 7:04 with the 2019 Corvette ZR1
Jim Mero to Offer Magnetic Ride Control Updates for C6 Corvettes
[VIDEO] Corvette Test Driver Jim Mero Has the Best Job in the World

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. So earlier today, we read of Bob Lutz promoting Corvette SUVs and having little faith in the C8, and now this?

    Look, a ME car will be a change for sure, but will not doom it. Want to doom the Corvette? Make an SUV version; just make it easy for the older demographic to get into and out of it!

    #HarshDay

  2. Alot of insiders getting their “i told you so’s” ready. I blame it on nepotism. 4 wheel steering would have solved the high horsepower overdriving the front wheels. But you can’t hire Junior without bypassing some gifted engineer.

  3. In my opinion, The smart decision, would be to build both the C7 and C8…..the C7 is an extraordinary Corvette, and in my opinion leaves nothing to be desired …..this would offer two great options for the sportscar buyer.

  4. I was a bit disappointed with the decision not to produce both front and rear mid engine Corvettes, particularly for the 1st year. My wife and I use our Corvettes primarily as GT’s. For touring you need luggage space, not traditionally a strong point with the motor behind the driver. Even back in our C3 days access for luggage w/o a hatch was problematic. We could make do with the space in a C4, but if the C8 is lacking interior space; thanks to GM axing the C7 before the C8 introduction, we won’t be able to order one. For us, it could mean a pre-owned C7 (which might mean not getting one equipped as we would like) or…moving to an M4 or 5 BMW (which have lots of room but not the look) or a Porsche Cayman or 911(both of which have “the look” but neither of which has much luggage room). We have had Corvettes for over 30 years and would prefer one but shipping our luggage ahead…come on !! But taking a Porsche to watch “Corvette Racing” (as we have done for nearly 20 years…ridiculous ! I understand Corvette’s desire to build appeal with a younger demographic but can the “middie” sustain Corvette long enough to get there ? I hope so but like Mr. Mero, I worry about the C8. Years ago, when asked about a mid engine car, the Corvette design team opined that they would only make one if it could provide everything the current Corvette(I think it was the C5) could, only better. I hope GM management, not generally known for good decisions; hasn’t compromised them and the C8 beyond even their ( the design team’s) capabilities !

  5. Got 2 SRXs and a C7 bought new . I have only been able to put 3000 miles on it since the beginning of 8/2016. Can’t drive it in the snow. One of the SRXs would’ve been the Vette SUV, live in Chicago so…

  6. I have just finished reading Dave McLellan’s book “Corvette from the Inside,” which was published in 2003 and his comments about a potential mid-engine Corvette are very interesting. As an engineer, he agreed with Arkus-Duntov that the mid-engine car was the ultimate solution for a sports car, although as a long-time GM person with a feel for marketing he was wondering if there was actually a significant market for the car since Corvette owners in surveys were quite conservative. The C7 is obviously an excellent car and I wonder if a refreshed body with new high-tech features–active aero, four wheel drive, dual clutch transmission–might have been a better way to go, although weight reduction would have been needed before adding those features. And then you would still have had space in the back for the golf bags!

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