We caught up with Josh Holder, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8’s Program Engineering Manager, at the car’s launch party last night to ask the questions a lot of you have had: why did Chevy move the engine behind the driver, and what made engineers finally swap the car’s signature rear leaf springs for coilover suspension?

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As you’ve probably heard, somewhere in the tidal wave of Corvette news that’s come out in the last 24 hours, Chevrolet has been wanting to do a mid-engined Corvette for years. And years.

The company got close in 2007, but then it went bankrupt and had to back off on moonshot engineering products. But according to Mr. Holder, about five years ago, GM committed to this new design in hopes that it could elevate the Corvette’s performance to a new stratosphere.

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Conceptually, they could be right–a mid-engined layout affords a car an optimal weight balance, putting the car’s bulk and ergo traction on the drive wheels, and not for nothing, makes it a little easier for a car to look like a badass exotic. It also brought some new challenges, including management of acoustics, that Holder and his team had to deal with for the first time.

Interestingly, Holder mentioned off-camera that the car was largely designed around being able to carry its removable roof piece behind the engine. And indeed, all C8 Corvettes are going to come with a targa-style roof section you can remove and stow easily in the car’s rear luggage section.

As for a few more high-level specifics on the drivetrain layout choice and new suspension situation, don’t take my word for it, watch the dang video already!

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

is350
RENNtech E63

It will be interesting to see how much this move actually improves performance. I don’t know if there has ever been a move like this where we could actually compare the results.

Any other cars switch from FR to MR in just one year?  

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