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      09-17-2019, 02:14 PM   #853
The HACK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
Why would they make the change to mid engine unless it was to move things further along? And why would they lie about easily verifiable parameters that are going to be poured over endlessly very soon?
This one is simple to explain. Jim Mero, the Corvette test engineer mostly responsible for the chassis tuning of the C5-C7 generation, sums it up succinctly.

I'm paraphrasing here, but in an interview on a podcast he said "we benched marked the C7 against all the best mid and rear engine cars available on the market, and the C7 beat every single one of them. Why would you need to move the engine behind the driver if the front engine layout is already BETTER?"

He later followed up with some clarifications, as he's no longer involved in the C8 development, by saying that he's got 100% faith that the Corvette engineering team will get the C8 right.

Now for my opinion and interpretation. We all know Corvette as a brand may be destined to end up like Harley Davidson. Another iconic brand with decades of "perfecting" a specific formula for their success. Selling to an aging, predominately male population well past the prime of their earning age, but having disposable income because they're old enough not to have to deal with sending kids to college as a way to recapture their youth. White this may not be the primary buying demographic of Corvettes like the C2-C4, this has CERTAINLY become the primary buying demographic of the C5, C6, and C7 and it's gotten progressively OLDER. And they can see the end result unfolding in front of them in Harley Davidson sales, as the age gets older and older, without younger buyers to supplement, it's not sustainable. HD sales has tanked and will continue to tank as the brand is now basically associated with old white male well past their earning prime that needs something more powerful between their legs than what god gave them.

And they see what Porsche is doing (rumor has it multiple 911s and Cayman models were bought as benchmarks), as 911 owner demographic is about 12 years younger than Corvette owner demographic, and Cayman/Boxster demographic is nearly 2 decades younger than your average Corvette buyers. That means, most people who bought the last generation Corvette, the C7, the percentage of the same buyers buying 1 or 2 more generation of Corvette in the next 12-15 years is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than your average Porsche and BMW buyers.

The move to mid engine wasn't driven by performance, but primarily by the need to attract younger, and significantly YOUNGER buyers. At $60K it's only marginally more expensive than the Zupra, and slots in between say, an M2 and a well equipped Cayman S in terms of pricing. And all three of the cars listed are likely to attract a much, MUCH younger demographic than had Corvette basically followed recipe and came out with a C8 that is but an evolutionary change from the C7, since the C7 average buying age has actually gotten OLDER than the C6. They're but doom to repeat the Harley Davidson experience.


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Notice GM released the 0-60 time but not a slew of other critical performance information? Like Nurburgring time (they have it as the mule has been testing there for MONTHS), 0-100, 1/4mile, 60-0, lateral G...etc? They have all these info, but chose not to release them because they're probably not as impressive as the gain in 0-60 time compared to the previous generations of Corvettes, that what they hope the general public perceives as a paradigm shift, that perception will continue to generate buzz because as soon as they make it official, that the lap times, the lateral Gs, the stopping distances...etc that you can measure against are only marginally better, or even slightly WORSE (as the speculation on the 115ft braking distance compared to the 90 of previous generation has shown), then you lose the buzz that will attract the younger buyers as they're not nearly as loyal as the owners of other Corvettes to blindly buy the new Corvette because it's the new Corvette.

This, of course, is all pure speculation. But the buzz and excitement is what's going to get younger buyers to consider the C8. If you tell me, that yes the C8 is nearly .7 second faster to 60, but is only, hypothetically speaking, 0.5 seconds faster to 1/4 mile, trap 5 mph faster, and less than 5 seconds faster on the Nurburgring? All of a sudden the air is let out of the bubble wrt to the switch to mid engine because you lose all the benefits of the front engine, RWD layout and the TRADITION for marginal gains.

And here in lies the dilemma. The paradigm shift of the C8 isn't going to impact the automotive industry nor the sports car market in general. The paradigm shift is going to impact CORVETTE sales and shift the demographic, because without it, Corvette is in danger of becoming the next Hardly Ableson. But again, the problem is, if you compare the C8 to the C7, if the C7 is already beating all of its rivals on lap time around VIR for 2/3rd the price, how much BETTER does the C8 have to be to justify the move to mid engine? That's what everyone is speculating on, and based on my own experience, and some basic logic, IF C8 is all it's cracked up to be, like how everyone thinks that it's going to be putting prior generation Corvette to shame...then by transitive property, the base C8 would be putting up equivalent numbers to cars like the Porsche GT3 RS and McLaren P1.

And I just don't see that.

So back to Jim Mero's paraphrased quote. Guy's been a straight shooter, has 40+ years of chassis development history and experience, and he doesn't work for GM anymore. I think his sentiment, and I'm putting words in his mouth here, is that the Corvette front engine, rear drive chassis is already a world class chassis. Moving the engine rear-ward behind the driver isn't a guarantee that it'll be SIGNIFICANTLY better.

In fact, my speculation is, with the 200+ lbs weight gain, it's going to struggle matching or beating C7 numbers, and part of that IS because I have a C7, but logic and physics simply dictate so. 200 lbs is a lot of mass for engineering to overcome, while it may be beneficial to acceleration if the weight is placed correctly AND with right gearing, you can't hide that mass in corners nor under braking.
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Last edited by The HACK; 09-17-2019 at 02:24 PM..
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