Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter appeared on Autoline After Hours last week slinging more details on the 2020 C8 Corvette. Juechter was joined on the program by host John McElroy, Autoblog’s Greg Migliore, Gary Vasilash from AD&P. The discussion covers a broad spectrum of topics throughout the video.
As the episode begins, the panel jumps right into questions. They begin by talking about the biggest challenges of designing the new car. Tadge talks about the lack of mid-engine experience in-house at GM, the all-new transaxle, plus airflow and thermal management.
When asked what he’s most proud of Tadge responds that it’s the ride and handling tradeoff and how the car transitions easily from track to street. He’s quick to point out the positive feedback relative to ride quality that’s been received from the media already. Later he’s asked about his biggest fear which was the oversteer that’s common on this type of architecture. He goes on to mention that the team was very impressed by how well planted first prototypes were on the track.
From there they move on to how the Corvette team benchmarked Porsche and Ferrari by doing full teardowns of those vehicles and that they kept the car affordable by “not over doing it” and leveraging internal GM resources and processes.
From a racing standpoint, Tadge talks about how the car was developed in parallel with the C8.R racer. The GM and Corvette Racing teams worked closely on the airflow and thermal management. The result is a car that’s about 1 second faster around the track than a comparable C7.
Throughout the video we get some great tidbits on some of the design features of the car. For example, the rear window is 9mm thick to drown out accessory drive and “keep the bad noise out”. He also touches on the “squircle” steering wheel and how they made and tested several rapid prototypes before settling on the design we see on the production car.
We continue to hear rumors about an electric or hybrid C8 and Tadge skirts the topic by stating that zero emissions of part of GM and that “we’ll get there eventually”.
Later they tackle more controversial topics of righthand drive of the (lack of) manual transmission. We learned that mid-engine makes it easier for RHD because all the engine plumbing is out of the way. While they’re still now sure on RHD volumes they are excited to have a “toe in water” for those markets. Tadge also explains that a manual transmission would have been very expensive, not feel as good as its front engine counterpart, and compromise interior space due to the clutch and dead pedals.
Finally, they wrap up the conversation talking about how resources are shifted back and forth throughout GM as Corvette development changes throughout its life cycle and that the Corvette isn’t sold out. They pipeline is very full and there will be 2 shifts at Bowling Green to help accommodate demand. Tadge also advises that prospective buyers make sure their respective dealers have an available allocation before ordering.
We’ve only mentioned a fraction of the items covered in the full 80ish minute interview so grab some popcorn before clicking below. Overall, it’s a great look into the genesis of the C8 and how many of the features of the car came to be straight from the guy who was responsible for designing it.
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