Thanks to YouTuber Jason Fenske, we now have logical explanations for the so-called “flaws” in the engineering of the new C8 Corvette.
In a new YouTube video, Fenske shares his thoughts behind five of these “flaws,” explaining why the C8 has (1) brake by wire, (2) a longer stopping distance than the C7, (3) understeer, (4) a pushrod engine with two valves per cylinder, and (5) all-season tires.
“You’re thinking, none of this is any good,” Fenske says. “But if you look closely at any one of these aspects, you’ll find there’s actually a brilliant reason as to why.”
For example, the brake by wire system is an engineering miracle in itself, since it can still stop the 2020 Corvette “even if the brake fluid boils” and even if the electronics fail, Fenske points out as he squats behind a cut-away version of the C8 provided by General Motors. The braking system known as eBoost combines the control module, vacuum pump and booster, and master cylinder into a single package.
Unfortunately, eBoost doesn’t translate into shorter stops for the C8 for a couple of reasons, Fenske says: the 60/40 weight distribution of the C8 compared to the 50/50 of the C7 and the intentionally limited rear-wheel braking that prevents a twitchy rear end during evasive maneuvers.
The new weight distribution also contributes to understeer, but it also makes small corrections in the middle of a corner easier. He suggests dropping cold tire pressure to 23 psi in the front and 24 psi in the back, along with trail braking, to adjust track performance. The intentional understeer also makes the car more predictable for inexperienced drivers, he notes, but the suspension can be adjusted if desired.
Fourth, Fenske says he used to think pushrod engines were dumb, but they’re actually brilliant, he now says. They’re simple to keep costs down and have fewer moving parts than any alternatives, make great low-end torque, and are compact and powerful, with the LT2 producing 495 horsepower and 470 ft-lb of torque.
Finally, the all-season tires might seem like a poor choice for a mid-engine car, but Fenske says after driving a C8, he’s impressed with the “magic” that Michelin put into the new tires. These are actually very grippy tires, he says.
Fenske points out that when you hear about supposed “flaws,” take the time to understand more about the reasons for the engineering behind those decisions, and in the case of the C8, you’ll be even more impressed with the job that Tadge Juechter and crew accomplished.
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