Will the Chevy Corvette go mid-engine? It's a strong possibility, according to a report from Motor Trend.
The magazine says Chevrolet could use the mid-engine layout as soon as the next ZR1, which would mean the supercar could be only several years away. A bit farther out, the next-generation Vette, the C8, could also go mid-engine, according to Motor Trend. The seventh-generation car went on sale in 2013, so the C8 isn't due until the early 2020s.
The story, which cites anonymous sources and has multiple authors, says General Motors considered using the mid-engine configuration for the C7, but that those plans died when product guru/vice chairman Bob Lutz and former Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace left GM.
A Corvette spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday morning.
Moving the Vette to the mid-engine configuration would offer many possible benefits, including a more favorable weight setup and greater performance. It would elevate the Corvette, which is already considered one of the best and most affordable high-performance cars in the world, to elite status. The C7 is a viable Porsche 911-fighter, but the mid-engine chassis would allow the Vette to face off against Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens.
In its online report, Motor Trend argues the Corvette might need to go to a mid-engine setup to separate itself from the next-gen Chevy Camaro, which is expected to cut weight and improve its agility to better compete against the Ford Mustang.
Rumors of a mid-engine Corvette are nearly as old as the car itself. Zora Arkus-Duntov, considered to be the father of the modern, performance-oriented Corvettes, was a vocal advocate. As we've reported, GM has moved to trademark the "Zora" name for use on cars. Arkus-Duntov spearheaded development of two mid-engine Chevrolet Experimental Racing Vehicle prototypes in the early 1960s, which fueled rumors the Corvette could move to that setup. The CERV II concept (shown above), specifically was conceived as the answer to Ford's GT40 program, and the CERV II also had what's believed to be the first torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Could a Corvette get all-wheel drive? Some people inside Chevy have been thinking about it for more than 50 years.
Still, a move to mid-engine would make the Corvette a completely different animal, and fans of the car are among the most loyal in the industry. A layout change could make the Vette more extreme, and possibly more expensive. Would you welcome this? Let us know in the comments below.