This past Sunday, GM product chief Mark Reuss, unfortunately, lost control of the 2019 C7 Corvette ZR1 pace car ahead of the Detroit Grand Prix. The executive spun and bounced off of a concrete wall at turn two. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Reuss isn’t a newcomer behind the wheel of high-performance vehicles, though, and professionally drivers regularly find themselves in trouble at Belle Isle—a tight circuit and turn two is notoriously blind. It’s all the more reason General Motors and Chevrolet will introduce a mid-engine Corvette.
The Detroit News reported on Monday that Reuss’ wreck only furthers the case for a mid-engine Corvette with an all-wheel-drive system. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive Corvette has reached its limit. With more power added to the V8 engine up front, it only makes it more difficult to find traction at the rear wheels.
A mid-engine car will be inherently more steady, and that’s before the thought of sending power to all four wheels.
“Sunday’s incident would have been less likely to happen from a fundamentals perspective if he had been driving a mid-engine car,” said retired GM engineer Tom Wallace, who ran the Corvette program from 2006-08. “A mid-engine would allow more tolerance so it’s easier to put the traction down, while a front-engine car is going to shift to oversteer sooner.”
And oversteer is exactly what doomed Reuss behind the wheel.
If the latest intelligence proves true, the C8 Corvette will indeed include an all-wheel-drive setup, but only for a rumored hybrid variant with an alleged 1,000 horsepower. Still, other trims with less power and with power routed to just the rear wheels will exhibit more poise through corners.