Mid-Engine Corvette C8 Testing With Flat-Top Steering Wheel23
Those spy shots of the mid-engine Corvette C8 taken in Colorado in March show one peculiar feature that’s not been noticed: a flat-top steering wheel.
With a flat top typically comes a flat bottom, so we can relatively safely assume that the future Corvette will offer a flat-top and bottom steering wheel.
The C7 Corvette launched with a regular/round steering wheel for the 2014 and 2015 model years, but introduced a flat-bottom wheel for the 2016 model year. The argument for a flat-bottom wheel isn’t associated entirely with function. The primary reason for such a wheel, in fact, is its more sporty appearance.
On race cars, however, a flat-bottom steering wheel has a smaller diameter, thereby creating space that enables the driver to tilt it lower for a more ergonomic driving position. In limited cases, a flat-bottom wheel creates more room for the driver to perform heel-toe maneuvers. So what’s the point of a flat-top wheel, then?
As it turns out, a flat-top wheel can potentially complement a flat-bottom wheel in two ways:
- A flat-top wheel has an even smaller diameter than a wheel with a round top, which results in a smaller surface area for the driver to turn in order to make a steering input/adjustment, thereby resulting in (a fraction) less effort when steering.
- A flat-top wheel can theoretically result in a better view of the gauge cluster in cases when both elements were engineered to look and work in harmony.
A third benefit of a flat-top wheel isn’t necessarily associated with the shape of the wheel itself, but rather to the more comprehensive topic of the vehicle’s controls. For instance, the Corvette C7.R uses a steering wheel that has most of the vehicle’s controls (such as engine start, gear selection, and turn signals) positioned on the wheel itself, thereby eliminating the effort and time associated with reaching for a control elsewhere in the car, such as the turn signal stem on the steering column.
But ultimately, a flat-top and flat-bottom wheel might find its way to the future Corvette not because of any functional reasons, but simply because the upcoming mid-engine Vette has all the makings of a supercar with a unique drivetrain configuration that lend themselves to exotic design proportions – and such a model simply must have a proper race car steering wheel. As our own Manoli Katakis put it, “because racecar”.
About Mid-Engine Corvette
Rumored for the past several years, the mid-engine Corvette has been spotted with increasing frequency undergoing testing with a heavy amount of camouflage. At the beginning of April, an attendee of the 2018 Chevrolet national dealer meeting was cited as saying that executives showed images of the future Corvette mid-engine sports car (aka Corvette C8), confirming the vehicle’s existence in future Chevy product pipeline.
The mid-engine Corvette C8 is expected to launch for the 2020 model year sometime in the 2019 calendar year. Stay tuned to GM Authority more Corvette news and Corvette C8 news coverage.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
Doesn’t look flat to me
Hah, i bet you think the earth is round too don’t you? ???
Perhaps for an indicator and camera for SuperCruise? Wouldn’t surprise me if this car gets that option, IMHO…
Kinda looks like the front seat is just folded forward?
Maybe it was just installed upside down.
Prototypes are rolling experiments meaning the cars we’re seeing is a good approximation of what the production C8 Corvette may look like; but having these prototypes afford the engineers an opportunity to test components for possible future application because the flat top steering wheel and extra wide rear tires could be part of the C8 Corvette Z06 or ZR1.
My goodness, how much testing does a car need?
This thing has been in spy shot marketing mode for what seems like an eternity.
No it is just been hunted down much more than a Sonic or Impala.
The new Vette has always been the unicorn. It is th3 story every media outlet wants to break the latest news on.
They show endless artist drawing most of which are wrong and now with the web they will report on any nugget like it has 4 tires and two head lamps.
The Corvette team knows this and will even play with the media too.
Anyone remember the Malibu with the Mid Engine set up with the C7 crossed flags and wheels. Also they stuck on Ferrari tail lamp.
Be ready as if the car is not shown till Detroit we will have 7 more months of this.
Now there will be many more sighting as they will be doing hot weather testing and high altitude this summer.
The Vette team tried to do all the testing on the C4 at the test tracks and found the real world roads much rougher. It made the Z51 suspension much too harsh. Since then we see them testing often on the roads.
Would you prefer the car breaks down on you? Better that they extensively test the car and understand any potential failure mode than putting a problematic car on the market.
They could do like Tesla and rush a half baked car to market…
Lol to me that looks like the front seat back is flipped forward
From a true GM enthusiast, all I can say is that GM better hit a homerun with this thing or else there will probably be a horde of several thousand people with pitchforks and torches on their doorstep.
This is bold beyond bold. Taking an American icon and completely changing everything about the platform that has made it America’s sports car for the better part of 65 years.
In this hyper competitive world market, you either move boldly forward or you die. And this is a world car intended for world appeal by those who can afford it. The designer is Australian and has been worked on by designers all over the world including China.
Die? I never thought the Corvette was on the verge of getting the axe.
The Vette has been around for over 6 decades and has always been a super competitive sports car that can hang with or even edge other cars in its class that cost nearly twice as much. The new Grand Sport has laid waste to several cars that cost ~$40-50k more. Same with the Z06, and I can’t wait to see when magazines start pitting the ’19 ZR1 against some cars in its class. A $130k ZR1 besting some of the very best $250-300k Italian exotics. Keep in mind, the ZR1 bested the $400k+ Ford GT at VIR and actually set the lap record. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Sure, prior to the C7, the fit and finish wasn’t up to some people’s standards. Maybe the interior was boring/bland, but you’re buying performance at a fraction of the competitors’ prices.
Now, I could see if the Vette was a turd that is lagging in sales and performance, but for a fraction of the price, it can hold its own…and some.
Again, I hope GM nails it with this new take on an American classic.
In 2008-2010, the volume fell very low and was a pubic hair away from getting axed. Tadge and the clan have now a world class car but they still need volumes over 25K to be profitable. Maybe more now with the expansion. Having different models (including an SUV tsk, tsk) would be a good strategy IMO.
Wonder if they will sell both mid and front engines for awhile?
I’m hearing minimum 2 years.
Does Ferrari? Of course they will…and don’t be surprised to see the Corvette split off into it’s own brand with multiple models, both front and mid engine design, and quit being just a chevy.
They just have to follow what Porsche has done. The real challenge now is a true performance SUV. To give it real cred, make it lightweight (compared to others) and include a manual trans with RWD and AWD as an option. I would take it RWD only.
Sure they need to do what Porsche has but don’t forget the Corvette base of front engined RWD. Mid-engined RWD/AWD should supplement what exists and not replace it. A SUV/CUV vehicle is a no brainer as well as a hybrid on all platforms.
Maybe it’s so you can see the HUD more easily or maybe they want to increase the amount of information on the HUD but need more clearance for visibility.
It is not a sport “feature” and small steering wheels on race cars save weight.
The new mid engine Vette uses the new design DOHC 6.2 engine with 4 valves per cylinder. It runs very hot because it’s putting out significant power to compete against the European ultra high performance cars. The same new design engine with a smaller version of 5.5 liters, in the Cadillac DPi prototype race car, ran in both this year’s 24 Hours Of Daytona and also at the 12 Hours Of Sebring races. The engine ran too hot and created overheating problems because it was a non turbo engine. If the new engine overheats on a race track, it will overheat in a much heavier production car in stop and go driving in Los Angeles or New York city rush hour traffic. Remember that the smaller radiator in a production Vette is a huge problem for cooling when it is expected to produce about 800 to 875 HP with twin turbos.