Following the start of production last February of the all-new C8 Mid-Engine Corvette, Chevrolet announced that both a documentary and book about the new sportscar would be coming out. We have since had the opportunity to see both parts of the video documentary which focused on the design and engineering of the 2020 Corvette. Now the book version called Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution will officially be released on Tuesday, March 2nd.
Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution is officially licensed from General Motors and the book’s publisher Motorbooks sent us a copy for our review. If you love Corvette history both past and present, you’ll find a lot to like within the 200 pages. The book itself is roughly divided into two with a look back at Corvette History, and then following the design of the C8 from proof-of-concept to the reveal.
General Motors President Mark Reuss has the honor of providing the book’s Foreword section. Corvette enthusiasts will know the official line of why at this time the automaker rolled out the latest Corvette offered for the first time in a mid-engine configuration. As Mark writes:
Once we got to C7, we had pushed the limits of what we could do with that configuration. It was as close to perfection as a front-engine/rear-drive Corvette was going to get. To take performance and driving dynamics to the next level for our customers, we had to move to mid-engine. As a result, the C8, to me, with its perfect balance, superior handling and outstanding design, is the best Corvette ever.
The Mid-Engine Revolution takes a long march through Corvette history as the “Road to the C8 Corvette” details the storied mid-engine concepts that were developed. Featured are CERV-I and II, along with famous mid-engine prototypes like the Grand Sport 2, the Astrovette, and the Reynolds Aluminum Corvette to name just a few. Each one has its own section with many historic photos, drawings, and sketches from GM’s photo archives.
Of course, no discussion of the mid-engine Corvette is complete without an in-depth look at the man whose dedication to creating a Corvette in the mid-engine configuration would be pursued throughout his storied career at General Motors. That would be the first Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. Whole books have been written on the engineering genius of Zora and his dedication to the pursuit of racing and performance. Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution offers a great recap of his achievements with fantastic photos depicting Zora at both work and play.
Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution starts off its C8 section with an in-depth look at Blackjack, the first “proof-of-concept” vehicle that was custom built and tested early in the development of the car. To me, it’s one of the standout sections of this book. Crafted from a Holden SS-V ute, the test mule featured a corvette cockpit plus a rear wing and flared fenders, and it was powered by an LT1 from the C7 that was mated to the C7’s automatic transmission. Blackjack would provide development engineers with nearly 3 years of data and real-world experience during its use on the Milford and Yuma test tracks.
The book details the design process both for the exterior and interior, and some of the internal considerations that went on as designers looked to solve various issues. One such discussion that seems very relevant today is the design of the climate control buttress that holds the HVAC buttons and why designers opted out of placing them on the dash. Further interior discussions are the unique steering wheel and seat designs.
The external design section spends much time showing the evolution of the car from sketches to clay models, to its completed look at the time of the launch. We also get to meet two key designers of the C8 Corvette, Vlad Kapitonov and Hwasup Lee as they created the clay models which would eventually lead to the current design. The book talks about how the design team would successfully bring an overall “Corvetteness” to the finished design and we get to hear the opinions of designers Tom Peters and Kirk Bennion on the 8th generation Corvette.
There is a C8 engineering portion to the book, but it’s not as prominently featured or as detailed as the design chapters, and that’s the one thing I think Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution is lacking. As much of the engineering of the Corvette was discussed in the video documentary, I would have been interested in learning more about the various stages of the engineering development, the issues they encountered, and how they were able to overcome them. Instead, we get a run-down of the various engineering features such as the DCT gearbox, NPP exhaust, and the eBoost Brembo brakes as some of the topics discussed.
At the very end of the book, the principals of the Corvette Team are featured with Tadge Juechter, Harlan Charles, Ed Piatek, Josh Holder and Kelly Bellore are featured with a brief bio. I also would have liked to have seen more of the team featured throughout the book.
Corvette Stingray: The Mid-Engine Revolution was a very fun read for us as we have followed the program since the first time Blackjack was captured by a spy photographer back in early 2015. For the C8 Corvette owner, this book would be the perfect one to showcase on your bookshelves or man cave.
The book goes officially goes on sale this Tuesday, March 2nd. The list price is $45.00 with Amazon offering the hardback edition on sale for $40.49.
Chevrolet to Feature a Book Version of the C8 Corvette’s ‘Revolution’ Documentary
[VIDEO] Revolution: The Mid-Engine Corvette Development Story – Part 1
[VIDEO] Watch Part II of Revolution: The Mid-Engine Corvette Development Story