As the official debut of the mid-engine Corvette draws ever nearer, Chevrolet wants to remind everyone just how long they have been thinking about making this change with a new teaser video. In fact, to trace the idea of a mid-engine Corvette’s beginnings, you have to go all the back to the 12 Hours of Sebring race in 1957. It was here that Chevrolet and Zora Arkus Duntov, the father of the Chevrolet Corvette, would face an embarrassing DNF after a mere 23 laps in the Corvette SS. Duntov can be seen in this car at the 15 second mark of the teaser. Considering the highly decorated Corvette Racing program these days – things have come a long way.
It was this race failure that drove Duntov to believe that the engine, an inescapable source of heat, needed to be placed behind the driver. It is Duntov’s voice that is heard at the beginning of the teaser, as he would spend the rest of his tenure at General Motors pushing for production of a mid-engine Corvette. Alas, he never got it in his lifetime.
And it is actually Duntov behind the wheel of the single seat racer that can be seen around the 12 second mark in the clip. This vehicle is known as the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, or CERV I, and it was Duntov’s first experiment with a mid-engine chassis for General Motors in 1969.
A second later we are treated to a view of a 1953 Corvette getting sideways on dirt, before getting a peak at CERV II, the 1963 follow up to CERV I. While CERV I was an open wheeled experient, CERV II was an open top sports racer with some crazy numbers behind it. 0-60 mph was dispatched in under three seconds due to an all-wheel drive system not unlike the one found on modern Ferrari’s, and the top speed was estimated to be over 200 mph.
A splash of red and blue could easily be missed in the teaser as well, but those are the CERV III cars developed by General Motors. The red car is the 1986 Corvette Indy, which debuted as a prototype Indy car at the Detroit Auto show that year. By the time the blue car arrived, the 1990 CERV III concept, the car had a 5.7-liter LT5 engine with 32 valves, as well as twin turbos. That engine was able to produce 650 hp and 655 lb-ft, helping the CERV III reach a top speed of an incredible 225 mph. No stock Corvette has touched this number.
Features included all-wheel drive, an active suspension system, ABS traction control, four-wheel steering, and a carbon fiber and fibreglass construction. All of this was responsible for the $400,000 price tag that General Motors said the vehicle would cost, if put in production. This could perhaps be yet another hint that the C8 Corvette will not be astronomically expensive.
Which brings us to the part of the trailer where the all new mid-engine Corvette is mobbing around the Nordschleife, hinting that General Motors will go after an official lap time around the ring in this eight generation car, something they refrained from doing with the C7.
You can watch the teaser for yourself above, and watch as the mid-engine Corvette debuts tonight.