You've heard it all before, but here it is again: there is talk of a mid-engine Corvette in the pipeline. Our colleagues at Motor Trend report that the next Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, possibly named after Corvette “father” and engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, will arrive with its own distinct platform that could birth a high-end line of mid-engine C8 Corvettes.
Ok, so it's true that wild theories of mid-engine Corvettes have swirled for decades. The word is that before General Motors went bankrupt, Bob Lutz and Tom Wallace, then chief engineer for the Corvette, were plotting a mid-engine layout for the C7 generation of the brand's iconic sports car before the plan was scrapped. Assuming General Motors dusted off those plans, things start to come into focus when you consider that Chevrolet just trademarked the name “Zora” for a potential future automobile. For some context, it was widely known that Zora was supportive of a mid-engine Corvette, and he helped create numerous concept vehicles which nearly came to fruition with the mid-engine V-8 Aerovette.
Motor Trend anticipates that the C7-generation, mid-engine Corvette ZR1 would arrive on its own platform, although it would be “doable...[but] freakishly expensive] to tool the current platform for mid-engine duty.” With two distinct platforms, the next step would be to create two separate lines of Corvette vehicles for the C8 generation—a base range with the current front-engine C7 Stingray platform at its core, and a high-end range populated by the mid-engine, Zora-badged Corvette ZR1.
The thinking is that the lower range of front-engine Corvettes would remain as a popular lower-priced American alternative to the Porsche 911, freeing up the mid-engine Zora Corvette ZR1 to tackle the Ferrari 458, Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracan, and McLaren 650S. Sound crazy? That's only the tip of the iceberg. Motor Trend also speculates that General Motors could spin-off a Zora Corvette ZR1 supercar into a more luxurious Cadillac supercar, reminiscent of the poor-selling Cadillac XLR which was based on the C5 Corvette (albeit in a much, much higher price bracket).
If you'd like to feast on some figures, rumors suggest that the Zora Corvette ZR1 would be endowed with an 800-hp+ version of the Z06's 650-hp supercharged LT4 V-8 engine. Expectedly, the range-topping Corvette wouldn't be for the faint-of-wallet—about $150,000-$200,000 for the mid-engine ZR1 and $50,000 more for the Cadillac variant.
Check back for more rumors on the upcoming Corvette ZR1, or for more real-time Corvette fodder, keep up with our Four Seasons 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51.