Now that 2020 is nearly over, we are almost through the first year of C8 Corvette production. In fact, we already know what the last car from this inaugural run is going to look like. As we move into 2021 however, Corvette fans and buyers alike are looking to what’s coming next. We know that the track-ready Z06 is due for the 2022 model year, but we’ve heard very little about the other upcoming C8 models, such as the upcoming E-Ray, ZR1 and Zora. General Motors also has the Corvette Mantra Ray name in the holster for use. Or rather, had the Manta Ray name. Based on recent USPTO trademark activity from GM, the automaker has since abandoned its intent to use the Manta Ray moniker on any vehicle, even as a concept. GM initially filed for the trademark back in 2015.
The Corvette Manta Ray name was first used inside GM as a nickname for the Mako Shark II prototype from 1965, a legendary early design mule for the C3 generation car.
Chevrolet Manta Ray Corvette Prototype. Image Via GM.
It is possible that part of this decision came down to the powertrain GM has planned for this mid-level Corvette. It is rumored that the Corvette E-Ray will arrive as the first of two hybrid-assisted C8 models, followed by the range-topping Zora farther down the timeline. It is expected that the Corvette E-Ray will utilize the same 6.2L LT2 V8 engine as the Stingray models, with an Ultium battery powered electric motor attached to the front axle. Total output is expected to be in the range of 600 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, which should prove plentiful through the car’s all-wheel drive system. The E-Ray is also slated to wear the same widebody treatment as the upcoming Z06, much like the previous Grand Sport. Think of it as an American take on the current-generation Acura NSX.
The E-Ray will replace the Corvette Grand Sport in the C8 hierarchy, slotting above the entry-level Stingray and below the track-ready Z06. It’s likely that there just isn’t enough room in the C8 family for a Corvette Manta Ray. Or a Grand Sport, for that matter.
While it is a shame that General Motors decided to step away from the historic Manta Ray nameplate, the Corvette E-Ray is still an interesting proposition. The previous generation Grand Sport wasn’t an overly complicated machine, and in turn it proved to be a sweet spot in the C6 and C7 lineup. That said, we imagine that GM’s chassis engineers are going to be able to utilize that electric-powered front axle to their liking. The car is expected to arrive in 2022 as a 2023 model year product, so official details will likely remain thin for a while longer.
Closer to us in the timeline, the world awaits the debut of the 2022 Corvette Z06. Expectations of this vehicle being one of the most capable naturally aspirated V8 supercars ever to exist are high. For example, GM has been using the $340,000+ Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach, and flat-plane crank V8-powered $250,000 Ferrari 458 Italia to benchmark this all-American mid-engine machine, which is expected to be priced around the $90,000-$100,000 range.