Leaked: 850 HP Small-Cube DOHC V8 On The Way For C8 Corvette

ZR1 Corvette

We’ve been waiting on the ZR1’s debut for quite some time now. And though it seems like we would take a break from speculation now that a new Corvette has come into the light, we’re actually left with more questions than before—this time about the upcoming (likely) mid-engined C8 Corvette.

An interesting document surfaced this week over on Corvette Forum, but was soon taken down for “legal reasons” before we could snag a screen shot of it. To us, that means it was a smoking gun and likely very credible information as it was immediately taken down after threat of litigation. What was originally shown was a report from IHS Markit, a London-based business analysis company. And while the report is likely as boring as watching paint dry, it held some tasty bits of information this time around.

We last saw a DOHC V8 in a Corvette back in 1995 with the ZR-1.

First, it disclosed that the 6.2-liter LT5 will be built through the year 2021—likely meaning that the ZR1 will be in production for the next four years. It also means that we most likely won’t see the C8 Corvette reveal itself for at least another year, at the earliest. And while those alone would be bombshells in and of themselves, the report held an even juicer bit of information.

The report made mention of both a 4.2- and 5.5-liter dual overhead cam V8. Yes, that’s right. Two new twin-cam V8s could be on their way from the General and will likely motivate the next generation of America’s sports car. While normally we would take this information with a grain of salt, the swift reaction to the information’s revelation tells us that it was incredibly accurate.

It’s speculated that both V8s would use turbochargers to output as much, if not more than, the newly reveal LT5—though the report made no mention which form of aspiration either would employ. However, an additional thought could make this even more interesting. What if the upcoming mid-engine car is offered alongside the standard C7 and ZR1? This would allow Chevrolet to gauge the market for a mid-engined car without putting all of their eggs in one basket.

The mid-engined vehicle would then be offered with the two small-displacement engines. The 5.5-liter engine would likely be capable of producing 850 horsepower while the 4.2-liter mill would fall somewhere closer to the 650 horsepower mark. Though, either could be used in tandem with a hybrid system and easily turn those numbers out as well.

And while there is a lot of doom and gloom these days about the electrification of the car, this revelation shows that GM is ready to produce V8s well into the next decade, ensuring worshipers at the alter of internal combustion will have something to turn to for the foreseeable future. It may be a drastic departure from the in-block-cam design we have all grown to love, but P. W. Botha said it best, “adapt or die.”

Though that leaves us with a rather large question. Could the mid-engine Corvette be a hybrid as well? With just about every supercar these days turning to the futuristic systems–typically paired with a small-displacement turbo V8–we can’t imagine that Corvette doesn’t have something up their sleeve to make use of the technology.

A strategy where both Corvettes are sold side-by-side seems like the logical plan but the only question there is will we see it happen in 2019 like so many have speculated, or will we be waiting until 2021 to see the next generation of Corvette and powerplant?

The smart money says we’ll see a mid-engine ‘Vette debut in 2019 and sell alongside the C7 until 2021. What happens after that is still too far down the road to forecast, but one thing is (almost) for sure, GM has two new dual overhead cam V8s on the way. As much as it pains us to say it, get ready to explain to your Ford friends why GM finally made the switch—though Corvette did DOHC before Mustang.

Image via Road & Track

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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