It’s been a couple of months since we spied the Corvette engineering team testing future variants of the C8 Corvette and today we are pleased to share these exclusive videos and photos of the widebody C8s in Marietta, Ohio.
The video and photos come from Corvette enthusiast Dave Wesel who seems to have a knack for this sort of thing after his photos of the first C7 Corvette ZR1 Convertible nearly broke the internet back in October 2016. David and his friend Ken Morrison caught up with the team who arrived in town last night, and then they were there this morning as the engineering team led by Executive Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter set off for a day of testing in the surrounding area.
Since the last time the C8 Corvette prototypes were caught down in Arizona, speculation has been running rampant that those widebodies with the center-mounted exhaust are actually the twin-turbo ZR1 models. Within this testing group are four C8 prototypes with the center-mounted exhaust, as well as one with the exhaust mounted on the corners. We also note the presence of both the coupe and convertible models in the group of test cars.
Previous sightings of the C8 ZR1s showed two main exhaust outlets in the middle of the car with each flanked by a smaller-diameter outlet that is believed to the twin-turbo wastegates. These cars are now featuring four same-sized exhaust outlets mounted in the center of the car, and a closer look reveals that the turbo wastegates are mounted inside the larger openings. The rear fascia bodywork surrounding the center-mounted exhaust has also been refined:
The engineering team also has three C8 Stingrays along for the ride, with one of them trucked in on a flatbed. When that Silver C8 was unloaded, David was able to see that it was wearing an experimental EX-VIN. As it’s an M50 VIN, that corresponds to a pre-production 2021 model year car.
As we’ve seen previously, the performance variants are being benchmarked against two of the finest sports cars in the world, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. As the ZR1 has been rumored to make around 800-hp from the twin-turbo LT7 engine, it makes more sense to benchmark it against the 700-hp twin-turbo 911 GT2 while the naturally-aspirated Ferrari is more closely matched to the high-revving FPC Corvette Z06 which is now rumored to have 617-hp based on the latest news.
David was able to capture these prototypes as they began their day of testing on the backroads surrounding Marietta. He notes that in attendance is a film crew that appears to be documenting the testing, so we could be seeing this footage later on another documentary similar to “Corvette Stingray – The Mid-Engine Corvette Revolution.” From the photos, they have Corvette Chief Engineer Josh Holder speaking on camera and then we see that the driver’s meeting was also filmed before the cars left the parking lot.
In the photos provided, we see that the prototypes are wearing the 345-sized rear tires while the fronts are 275s. We also note that both Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires and the R-spec Cup 2 tires are being tested.
In the video below, the Corvettes are all started up and then David positions himself so that each of the cars drives past his location. We see that the Z06 (again identified with the corner-mounted exhaust) has no rear spoiler and like the base Stingrays, the rear is tapered downward. As the ZR1s drive by, it appears they have some sort of extended lip spoiler along the curved rear deck. That could be a deception which GM is really good at, or it could be hinting at the specific aerodynamics on the ZR1’s rear deck.
Many Corvette enthusiasts were a bit let down as last week’s NCM Bash event concluded without any kind of announcement from the Corvette Team on when we could see the next C8 Corvette model, namely the Z06. While not expecting any kind of formal announcement at the Bash, we were hoping that there might have been notice of a pending announcement much like they did in April 2019 when they formally announced the reveal date for the C8 Corvette Stingray. Instead, we got a “stay tuned” message which we interpreted as the possibility that the Z06 could still happen for the 2022 model year.
Seeing the development team with the prototypes out and about always lifts our spirits, and in conjunction with the latest rumor that Chevy may be starting to build Beta versions of the C8 Corvette Z06 on the assembly line has us again thinking the Z06 could arrive sometime during the 2022 model year. As always, let me know if you see anything interesting in these photos and videos.
We also have this bonus video from a C8 Corvette owner named Ken Morrison who was with David at the time of the sighting:
Photos courtesy of David Wesel:
Photo and videos by David Wesel, Ken Morrison