The Corvette Team couldn’t be at Carlisle this year, so they offered a Virutal Corvette Presentation hosted by Lance Miller of Carlise Events. We touched on this Sunday but wanted to share the entire conversation about the Right Hand Drive C8 Corvettes.
During the Q&A session, the question was asked to Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles if the team has built any pilots of the right hand drive Corvettes for export to Australia and the U.K.
While we were expecting to hear that they can’t talk about future product, Tadge answered the question by saying, “Yes, some of us are actually driving them around…it’s very strange to be driving a Corvette with the steering wheel on the right hand side. We’ve built some and we’ll be doing some of our preproduction testing now in the US.”
With the moving of the engine to behind the driver and the lack of a manual transmission, the clean sheet redesign allowed the C8 Corvette to be offered as a factory-built right hand drive model. The markets for right hand drive models include Australia, New Zeeland, the U.K., Japan, India, and South Africa.
The first export market for the right hand drive Chevrolet Corvette will be Japan, which saw the number of orders triple following its debut at the Tokyo Auto Show back in January. “The car sold out almost immediately in Japan when we introduced it. That will be our first foray into right hand drive,” said Tadge.
The first photo of the right hand drive Corvettes was released during the media rollout back in February and shows a near mirror image of the traditional LHD Corvette. Tadge explains some of the processes behind the new model:
“In our car, everything is driver-focused, everything is angled towards the driver, the cockpit wraps around you, and so when you do a right hand drive, we didn’t want to dumb that down, we wanted those customers to have the same exact experience whether it’s Japan, U.K., Australia. We wanted them to have the same driver-focused interior and so what we actually did was tool-up all those unique parts that are kinda mirror shaped so that we can flip them over to the other side and it would just be an exact mirror of the rest of the world’s car, the left hand drive cars.”
Harlan Charles also enjoyed driving the early prototype right hand drive cars at the Milford Proving Grounds and shares which country’s RHD model he liked the most.
“I really like the Australian car because it’s all localized and so the navigation, the voice, she has that cool Australian voice that comes through…A lot of fun.”
Chevrolet has previously stated that that the mid-engine Corvette will be available in Japan and Europe starting in the second half of 2021 with both the Coupe and Convertible versions of the Corvette Stingray offered as a right hand drive model.
You can watch the entire presentation here. The discussion on the RHD Corvettes starts at the 43:40 mark:
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