The idea of a mid-engined Corvette is nothing new. In fact, it seems that with each generation there’s always talk of the ‘next’ one adopting a mid-engine layout. It hasn’t helped that Chevrolet has revealed a number of Corvette concepts over the years featuring a mid-engine layout, the most recent being the CERV III unveiled at the 1990 Detroit Auto Show.
The latest rumor, courtesy of Motor Trend, suggests that the next ZR1 will be mid-engined. Citing a number of anonymous sources, the magazine also reports that Chevy will then adopt a mid-engine layout for the whole C8 Corvette range.
Why? Apparently because the Alpha-based 2016 Camaro may end up lighter than the current C7 Corvette, giving it the performance edge over its bigger brother. Thus, to help separate future Corvettes from the Camaro, including the next ZR1, a more exotic design will be required. This would also help the C8 Corvette become a semi-exotic halo model for Chevrolet worldwide, a bit like the NSX for Acura/Honda and the R8 for Audi.
Another apparent reason is that General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] recently applied for the "Zora" trademark, which is the first name of Corvette father Zora Arkus-Duntov and is currently thought to be going on the next ZR1. Arkus-Duntov was a strong proponent of the mid-engine layout, which led him to develop the CERV I and CERV II research vehicles. So what better way to honor the GM engineer than with a mid-engine Corvette named after him.
But the story doesn’t end there. Apparently Chevy had started work on a mid-engine design for the C7 Corvette during GM’s pre-bankruptcy days. However, the project was canned following the bankruptcy and the exit of Bob Lutz and former Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace.
While we’d love to see a mid-engine Corvette taking on the world’s top supercars, until GM states so, chalk this up as just another rumor in Corvette history.