We’re only a few weeks away from the dawn of a new age for the Chevrolet Corvette. The mid-engine C8 Corvette will debut on July 18th and usher in a radical redesign for America’s time-tested sports car. While fans are eager, one notable individual is a little worried.
Jim Mero, a Corvette ride and handling engineer of 34 years, now retired, spoke on the Overcrest podcast in a new episode. There, he uttered some pretty dramatic words: “I worry about the mid-engine (Corvette).”
What has Mero somewhat doubting the move to the mid-engine layout is the current car’s performance capabilities. Mero, the same engineer who lapped both the C7 Corvette Z06 and Corvette ZR1 around the Nürburgring Nordschleife for unofficial lap times, confessed he was part of the mid-engine C8 Corvette development team before his retirement.
Thus, he was there when executives signed off on the move to a mid-engine layout. He recalled the engineering team rented what was considered the best mid-engine and rear-engine sports cars at the time. The benchmarking group included an Acura NSX, Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8, and a few Porsche 911s.
In benchmarking tests, Mero said the current Corvette Z06 “smoked them.” It gave the team pause, per Mero’s comments, to perhaps reflect on the switch to a mid-engine layout.
Executives disagreed, per the retired engineer. They liked the feel of driving the mid-engine Corvette at speeds well below the car’s limit and noted the view from the driver’s seat was better than that of the front-engine C7 Corvette. However, Mero said he countered the points saying the mid-engine car offered far less utility. The C8 Corvette will still fit a golf bag, but perhaps not much else in its “frunk.”
Mero hasn’t been a part of the team for years now, but he said the C8 engineers will need to “reinvent the wheel” to try and perfect the car’s formula. He noted the mid-engine car will not offer a perfect weight distribution (50/50) and understeer will be a big problem to overcome. This is a fan who’s completed 15,000 laps in Corvettes, so he knows a thing or two about how they behave.
In the conversation, Mero argued the mid-engine car likely wasn’t necessary to achieve the team’s performance goals, but he reckons it will still be “crazy popular.” We’ll soon find out if a mid-engine layout was the right move.
Source: Overcrest Podcast