Leaked Chevy Corvette Launch Timeline Reveals 1,000-HP Zora Halo and E-Ray Hybrid
Good news in 'Vette world today—but also some bad.
Take a seat, dear fans of the Chevrolet Corvette, because we have news both good and bad to share with you. Since we could all use a silver lining in these bizarre times, let's have the good news first: multiple sources claim to have obtained an outline of GM's plans for high-performance Corvette variants due in the next few years. Some of these claims differ in detail, but they corroborate just enough to believe that some of these Corvettes will actually launch as reported.
According to "insider sources" speaking to GM Authority and leaked documents interpreted by Hagerty, the first step in the C8's rollout will be the launch of export-model Stingrays in 2021. Save for optional right-hand drive, these are all but identical to the 2020 models slowly finding their way to American customers at this very moment, though they vary slightly in horsepower and torque outputs due to foreign markets' emissions requirements.
Come 2022, the long-awaited, supercar-slaying Z06 will reportedly debut with a wider body, fatter tires, bigger brakes, and a 5.5-liter, C8.R race car-derived V8 called the LT6. This engine will reportedly have twin-cam, 32-valve cylinder heads and a flat-plane crankshaft that—according to some rumors—will let it rev as high as 9,000 rpm. Power is disputed as being between 600 and 650 horses, and torque anywhere from 550 to 600 pound-feet via the same eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic used on the base, 6.2-liter Corvette.
Said to be following the Z06 will be the 2023 Grand Sport variant, which will reportedly utilize the 6.2-liter plant with a hotter tune to produce at least 510 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Hagerty insists that the Grand Sport will gain a hybrid system that'll boost output to 600 horse and 500 torque, while GM Authority says this tech won't be seen before the launch of a separate model called the E-Ray, said to produce 600 and 575 respectively. No launch window has been specified, though if it features an electric motor on the front axle as reported, it'll be the first production Corvette to offer all-wheel drive.
Coming in 2024 will be the model every supercar blogger is waiting for: the ZR1. It will reportedly use a 5.5-liter V8—this one called an LT7 and differentiated from the Z06's LT6 by twin turbochargers. It will reportedly pump up to 850 horsepower and either 750 or 825 pound-feet of torque. When paired with still-fancier suspension, active aerodynamics, and additional technological "surprises," it will be a true American supercar.
But wait, there's more! 2025 will allegedly see the launch of the ultimate C8: the Zora. Named for Zora Arkus-Duntov, who originally suggested the Corvette go mid-engined, the Zora will be a monument to the man who always wanted the most for the Corvette, and if its rumored performance specs are real, a damn fine tribute the Zora it will be. It will reportedly combine the ZR1's twin-turbo V8 with the Grand Sport's or E-Ray's hybrid system for 1,000 horsepower, up to 1,000 pound-feet of torque, and all-wheel drive.
The bad news: the same source Hagerty cites as the origin of its C8 rollout info alleges that GM's Executive Director of Program Management, Michelle Braun, has ordered that all product development at GM—the Corvette included—be frozen while the company searches for the brightest outcome to the pandemic-driven economic downturn. GM's Senior Manager for Product and Brand Communications Kevin M. Kelly confirmed the developmental pause to The Drive, though he emphasized that no products—Corvette or otherwise—have been canned.
"As you would expect under these unprecedented circumstances, all of our development teams around the world are looking for opportunities to conserve resources by adjusting program timing and deferring spending," Kelly told us. "We are not cancelling any programs, but we are making some adjustments. Importantly, near-term programs like our full-size SUVs, and our EV portfolio including the new Chevrolet Bolt EUV, GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Cruise Origin and the Ultium battery program will see little or no impact. Once the business returns to normal, we will reevaluate programs as appropriate."
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