It’s time for an updated report on the mid-engine C8 Corvette, and here’s the game plan as we understand it from our impeccable source: The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette (code name: ZERV, perhaps chosen as an homage to Zora Arkus-Duntov’s 1960s mid-engine CERV concepts) will bow in production form at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2018 with a version of today’s pushrod V-8 engine delivering 450 to 500 horsepower. Expect a base price of approximately $80,000.
When volume production begins, presumably later in ’18, today’s C7 Corvette will expire, although there should be remaining stock for those who prefer the traditional powertrain layout used for more than six decades. The C7’s final hurrah will occur at next year’s 2017 NAIAS, when a swan-song mega-power edition debuts, possibly wearing the illustrious ZR1 badge.
A notable power upgrade to the C8 will occur in January 2019, attributable to a new four-cam, 32-valve V-8 set to be presented at NAIAS. That C8 surely will top $100,000. To continue building momentum, Chevy hopes to show, in 2020, a hybrid E-Ray Corvette—a term GM has trademarked—with electric front-wheel propulsion. C8 Corvettes may wear ZORA identification of some sort (such as ZoRa1) to pay homage to Zora Arkus-Duntov, the car’s spiritual godfather and mid-engine advocate from 1955 to 1975.
Experimental C8s currently reside in Building 54 (a.k.a. Area 54) at GM’s Milford, Michigan, proving ground. Since we nabbed aerial photos of one test mule two years ago, prototypes seldom leave the building during daylight hours. GM owns two Ferrari 458 Italias for benchmarking, and the company once had a McLaren in its benchmark fleet. Also owned by the General: a Nissan GT-R, two Porsche 911 Turbos, and a BMW i8, any of which may be being used to aid in C8 development. So focus your eye-in-the-sky cameras on coordinates 42° 35’ 11” N and 83° 41’ 10” W—in the event you hit pay dirt, remember Car and Driver is information central for all there is to know about the next-generation Corvette.