If you know your Corvettes, you know Callaway Cars. Made famous by the legendary Sledgehammer in 1988, this C4 Corvette was powered by a twin-turbo Chevy 350 V8 that produced an absolutely absurd 898 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the Ferrari F40 produced just above half of that amount. What truly cemented its place in history, however, was its top speed record: 254.76 miles per hour. The F40? A measly 201. By all accounts, the Callaway Sledgehammer lived up to its name. And now, there’s a Callaway C8 Corvette coming.
Right away, no, the Connecticut-based performance company isn’t announcing a new project to eclipse the Sledgehammer. Nor does it seem to want to take part of the buzzy antics of affixing turbochargers on the C8’s LT2 V8 engine without tuning it and calling it a day. Nevertheless, when Callaway Cars does something, the rest of the aftermarket performance industry takes note. With the debut of the “First Phase” Callaway C8 Corvette, the first thing that everybody will notice is a unique, “Double D” center mounted exhaust surrounded by a carbon fiber body panel. So, if you weren’t a fan of the Corvette’s going to the outsides (but you’re cool with it going mid/rear-engined), there you go.
This signature “Double D” exhaust system features a new iteration of Callaway’s Single-Acoustic Chamber (SAC) originally developed for the Callaway C12 and later C7 Corvettes. Along with a promise of a unique exhaust note, the system features multiple baffled chambers inside a single canister which are tuned to offer improved flow characteristics and frequency cancellation to eliminate in-cabin NVH, while offering a refined exhaust note. The surrounding carbon fiber panel is also meant to improve airflow around the muffler, which apparently has a harder time cooling during a mid-engine configuration. Callaway says that the system is still in the prototype and development phase.
Also of note in the teaser image is a new fully-forged 9-spoke wheel produced in collaboration with O.Z. Racing. The same O.Z. Racing that supplies Formula 1, World Rally, and your local Volkswagen and Subaru enthusiast clubs. But this isn’t the first time Callaway and O.Z. have worked together. Far from, in fact. The two have co-developed road car and motorsport applications for 30 years, including the championship-winning Callaway C7 Corvette GT3-R race car. Like the exhuast, these wheels are still in development. When they’re ready, the wheels will be offered in a variety of finishes, are expected to be “considerably lighter” than the OEM wheels (likely save for those carbon fiber ones GM is working on), and will be mounted with a slightly reduced offset for a more flush appearance and increased track width, which should help in the handling department. While they will be slightly wider than factory spec, Callaway will still utilize the phenomenal Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (ZP) original fitments and compounds developed for the C8.
Finally, Callaway hints at aerodynamic and styling upgrades to be announced in the upcoming months, as well as track-day specific upgrades. Engineers are working on developing powertrain offerings for the Callaway C8 Corvette as well, but chances are we’re going to be waiting a while for those.