If the name Zora means anything to you, you're probably a fan of the Chevrolet Corvette. Zora Arkus-Duntov (shown below) was the guy who helped put a V-8 in the original 'Vette, turning it from a boulevard cruiser into something approximating a proper sports car—and making him the honorary father of the Corvette in the process.
Arkus-Duntov was also huge fan of motorsport, and worked his magic on the Grand Sport program that took the Corvette C2 racing. It's here where he saw the need for a mid-engine layout, which led to him convincing General Motors to build mid-engine concepts for testing purposes, the first being the CERV (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) concept rolled out in 1960.
Sadly, GM never merged Arkus-Duntov's love of the mid-engine layout with the Corvette while he was still alive. But we know a mid-engine Corvette is coming next year for the eighth-generation redesign, and Arkus-Duntov could be honored with one of the variants being named after him.
Trademark protection for the Zora name was filed by GM with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in 2014. The folks at the Mid-Engine Corvette Forum have since discovered that GM has filed similar trademarks for the name all over the globe. They were discovered in intellectual property registries in the European Union, Australia, China, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom.
Companies often do such things to protect parts of their history, but GM using the Zora name on a variant of the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, ideally a range-topping variant, would be pretty darn cool.
What would also be cool is GM finally selling the Corvette in markets all over the globe. Even if the car may not be a volume seller, it's the perfect halo for the Chevrolet brand which has struggled in key markets outside of North America.
The mid-engine Corvette is expected to bow early next year, arriving initially with an upgraded version of the current Corvette Stingray's 6.2-liter V-8 delivering about 500 horsepower. Later, a 5.5-liter V-8 with a flat-plane crank and DOHC design is expected to be dropped in, complete with about 600 hp. Then a twin-turbocharging option for this engine could surface, seeing output rise to 800 hp.
But wait, there's more. At the top of the heap is expected to sit a hybrid—yes, a hybrid Corvette—powertrain adding an electric motor to the front axle and utilizing the twin-turbo V-8 for the rear axle to generate a hypercar-rivaling 1,000 hp. Hopefully this is the car that dons the Zora name.