Even with the engine mounted behind the cabin and head-spinning levels of performance on tap, the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 is still comfortable and easy to drive, fulfilling Chevy’s promise as “a true supercar for every day.” Now, the main brain behind the machine, Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, has provided insight into what makes the new mid-engine Corvette both a terror on the track, and pleasant on the road.
Juechter recently paid a visit to Autoline After Hours, where he provided a plethora of information on the latest eighth-generation Vette.
“I grew up in a Porsche family. My dad was a fighter pilot, he used to wring Porsches out at the limit. I was deathly afraid of trailing throttle oversteer,” Juechter admits during the interview. “And so all the way through the program, everything we could think of that might have anything to do to make the car handle benignly, we did.”
This included a variety of things, including suspension geometry, tire construction, and more. The result, according to Juechter, is how planted and stable the new Chevrolet Corvette C8’s rear end feels on the track, with neutral handling when properly configured.
Indeed, as Juechter confirms, Porsche and Ferrari provided the benchmarks for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette in terms of fundamentals. But beyond the obvious performance levels, Juechter was also concerned with providing the right noises in the cabin, and added thicker rear glass, similar to Ferrari.
Juechter also said he wasn’t a fan of “unround” steering wheels, but the “squircle” wheel in the Chevrolet Corvette C8 still provides a better view of the instrument panel. Juechter also explained how Chevy considered ease of ingress and egress as priority, with the C8 utilizing the same sill height as the Chevrolet Corvette C7, albeit a little wider.
Juechter said the Corvette team made several considerations for taller, larger individuals as well. “We’ve actually had some seven-footers sit in the car,” Juechter said, acknowledging that folks who are six-foot five-inches, six-foot six-inches tall should pretty easily fit. Seat travel rearward was extended by a full inch, while seat recline angle was increased by nine degrees, both of which help in that regard.
Technology is obviously a big factor here as well. For example, the suspension will automatically raise the nose when a speed bump is identified, as Juechter explains. There’s other components here too, including a Bose audio system specifically designed to meet the needs of the new mid-engine Corvette. “Bose has been a partner with us since C4,” Juechter said, “and they were on board early to try to figure this out.”
Finally, Juechter touches on luggage space. “We pushed the heat exchangers way to the outside, and our target was we wanted a standard airline roll aboard to fit [in the frunk],” the Chief Engineer said. “It’s broken up differently, but the volume is essentially a carryover [from the C7],” Juechter said with regard to cargo space.