C8 Corvette Z06 Leads Way To E-Ray Corvette

Scuttlebutt about the C8 Corvette has been rampant ever since the C7 Corvette was introduced. The insatiable appetite enthusiasts have for the world’s first mid-engine Corvette has led to the car being the darling of sweepstakes winners, forum prognosticators, and dealer showrooms.

With the car’s introduction in mid-2019 nearly breaking the internet, there was no doubt that many eyes would then squint further into the future to cipher out what models would be working their way down the Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly line in years to come. The most recent sightings of camouflaged variants in the wild has stirred the pot once again. Let’s settle one thing right now – no, there will not be a gearshift lever! What it does appear will be coming was laid out by Don Sherman at SAE.org. Certain external cues have shown differences between several of the still-covered variants of Corvettes and Don’s story helps explain why some of those differences exist.

Wings, wider body panels, extra-large intakes on its flanks, and a wing a whale would be proud to own are some of the things in store for upcoming C8s. All images CorvetteForum.com

The focus of Don’s surmising is about electrification of Corvette, a topic that GM has already addressed by stating it plans on ceasing sales of gas & diesel vehicles by 2035. He also goes on to state why we may be seeing differences in several of the cars still wearing their GM-approved pajamas. Both model and powertrain differences dictate the need for new body panels and exhaust configurations, and help explain why some structural engineering is more forward-thinking than simply design cues.

One difference hinting toward different engines is the presence of centrally-located exhausts on some of the camo'd Corvettes. This could very well be the turbo variant Don says we'll be seeing soon.

GM’s stated goal is to launch 20 electric cars and trucks by 2025. Electrifying Corvette has been surmised for several years now and Don makes a case that the car was engineered with that in mind. To start, he focuses on the car’s backbone, which carries enough volume to house on of GM’s Ultium batteries. GM also trademarked “E-Ray,” which many surmised will dovetail nicely with the “Stingray” moniker that has graced Corvettes for decades.

Don goes on to say that we may see this electrified variant for the 2023 model year. Considering 2021 Corvette production is slated to finish the week of July 19th, it won’t be long before we find out for sure what the following year has in store. Don does say that the new plug-in performance hybrid will not wear the Grand Sport moniker, as it has been shelved to allow for the marketing of the “E” variant. Don reports that two, 50-plus hp AC electric motors will be butted together, but operated independently to boost the hybrid Corvette’s total output to more than 600 hp. They will be used in unison with the current LT2 6.2L V8.

GM’s Ultium batteries could easily pair with dual motors to drive the front wheels of Corvette, giving it E-capability, and a nice EPA-friendly check box.

For those internal-combustion faithful, ions are not the only way GM is looking to pump more power into their halo car. Another long-loved Corvette model, the Z06, is soon to reappear as a 2022 model according to Don. Always a high-performer, Don says the next Z-car will get a new engine designated the LT6 V8, which boosts output to 600 hp. According to Don, GM plans to drop two turbos under the bonnet and call it the LT7, with around 850 horsepower on tap.

Don peers further down in Corvette’s crystal ball and sees a 2025 variant honoring Corvette’s patron saint – Zora. Pulling out all the tools, it is reported that GM will be blessing this super-Corvette with turbos, a 5.5-liter V8, and hybrid capability to garner 1,000 horsepower.

In an attempt to cover all the Corvette-centric rumors, Don also hints a battery-electric SUV variant of Corvette is indeed just over the horizon. Known as Project R, the people-hauler is expected some time after 2025. Time will tell what is in store for America’s supercar, but one thing is certain, we’re closer to finding out than we’ve ever been before! And we can’t wait!

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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