Former Corvette ride and handling engineer Jim Mero went on the Overcrest Podcast recently, where he talked about the upcoming new mid engine Corvette C8 and shared his thoughts on General Motors’ new mid-engine creation.
Mero caused a bit of a stir online when he said he worried about the mid engine Corvette C8, but he felt as though some of his statements were taken out of context, so he has now released a longer, written piece on the car to clarify what he said.
We will embed Mero’s full statement below, but he essentially sums up what he meant in this paragraph:
“When I said I was worried about the C8, every example I gave was for every mid-engine car I drove except the C8. I said I told my boss we would have to reinvent the wheel and do it better. I never alluded to the fact we didn’t,” Mero said.
Mero was basically saying that when work began on the mid engine Corvette C8, he and the rest of the mid-engine Corvette team knew they had a monumental task ahead of them. Not only would this new mid-engine product need to be better than the old C7, it would also have to be superior to mid- and rear-engine rivals like the Acura NSX and Porsche 911.
Mero also retired from GM while the car was still in development, so he hasn’t been able to see the nearly finished product his former peers are working with currently, giving him limited knowledge of the project and its progress.
One thing Mero knows for sure, though, is that the C8 will be better than the C7 – even if he believes the front-rear layout of the old car was still competitive performance-wise.
“In my mind, every generation of Corvette was better than the generation before, and the C8 will be no different,” he said.
Here’s the statement in full:
Originally, I was just going to keep my mouth shut relative to reports about my comments on the mid-engine platform in general and the challenges the C8 will need to overcome to be the best Vette yet.
I believe those who have listened to both podcasts realize that, in my mind, every generation of Corvette was better than the generation before, and the C8 will be no different.
On the Overcrest podcast, I will admit I could have used a better word than “worried”. But in an interview, you can’t cut and paste. Naturally, I listened to the podcast several times and until yesterday had no idea it would generate so much publicity. I’ll try to go through my thought process at the time of the Overcrest Podcast then forever hold my peace.
When I said I was worried about the C8, every example I gave was for every mid-engine car I drove except the C8. I said I told my boss we would have to reinvent the wheel and do it better. I never alluded to the fact we didn’t.
I also mentioned to Tadge when the conception of the C8 was in process, as far as I can recall, the C7 beat most if not all the mid-engine cars with comparable weight and HP it was pitted against. Again, the need to engineer the car better than its competitors, with no reference to the fact we didn’t.
During my 15 years on the Corvette, I’ve attended countless shootouts. One example was the 2017 Road and Track Performance Car of the Year with the C7 Grand Sport. The competition was stiff. It included:
- The Acura NSX
- Audi R8 V10 plus
- BMW M4 GTS
- Jaguar F-type SVR
- Lotus Evora 400
- Mercedes AMG C63 S
- Nissan GT-R Nismo
- Porsche 911 Turbo S
We were at the NCM racetrack. I can’t remember the drivers name, but he chose to drive the Grand Sport first. He did 2 or 3 laps, laid down a time and brought it in. Going first is an unfavorable position, because any driver will go faster the more laps he lays down. Nonetheless the Grand Sport beat every car except for the 911 Turbo S.
The 911 was the final car driven, let me tell you, I can’t remember how many laps he did, but 10 or 15 is not an exaggeration. He would run 1 or 2, then cool down and go back at it. Clearly, he felt the 911 Turbo S should theoretically beat the Grand Sport. Finally it did, by a few hundredths of a second.
I felt compelled to provide this example just to put into context my thought process leading to my opinion of having to engineer the C8 better than its competition. I will say again, never stating that it didn’t.
And…..Relative to the golf clubs, really, that’s just a personal preference for Jim Mero. It’s no different than saying I prefer a Silverado over a Colorado because it has better utility. It was not a dig on the C8, it was simply a statement of what I desire in a sports car for me. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’m not sure if this provided clarity for any of you. I would encourage you to listen to both podcasts, Overcrest episode 110 starting at about 53 minutes and Speed Secrets episode 123 starting at about 43 minutes. I hope then things will become clear.
I will reiterate one more time, each generation of the Corvette has been better than the generation before, and the C8 will be no different.
Thank you for your time,