Ex-Corvette Engineer Isn’t Sold On The Idea Of A Mid-Engine ‘Vette

A former engineer responsible for the ride and handling of the Chevrolet Corvette lineup has expressed his concerns about the upcoming C8 mid-engine model in an Overcrest podcast.

Jim Mero worked for General Motors for no less than 34 years and joined the Corvette team in 2004. He was tasked with tuning the driving characteristics of the C6-generation Corvette Z06 and went on to play a pivotal role in the development of all future ‘Vettes from that moment onward.

During the interview, Mero said he was on the team tasked with defining the goals of the new C8 Corvette. He asserts that the team rented out a series of vehicles including an Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, Acura NSX, and a pair of Porsches to evaluate mid-engine supercars. The car manufacturer also brought along a C7 Z06 and a Z51 Stingray to see how they would shape up against the European and Japanese competition.

Mero states that the two ‘Vettes “smoked” the other cars brought to the test by the brand’s engineers and told others that the mid-engine supercars were nothing to “aspire” to and that the C7 was actually better. However, executives from GM were reportedly won over by how well the mid-engine alternatives drove at speeds below their performance limits while also preferring the driving position and the excellent visibility provided by such cars.

Despite all the positive points made, Mero said “I worry about the mid-engine.”

It’s no secret that the C7 Corvette represented a significant dynamic leap forward over the C6-generation model and Mero seems to have fears that the C8 likely won’t be much better than the C7. He cites the perfect 50/50 weight distribution of the C7 as one reason why it handles so well and says that the rear-biased weight distribution of the C8 will upset the vehicle’s balance and likely make it prone to understeer.

All shall be revealed soon

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  • DetrinKD

    The only sense I can make of them switching the Corvette over to mid-engine is to create a distinct difference and distance between it and the Camaro… but there’s news there may be no more Camaro. So… Why?

    • MayTheBestCarWin05

      No more Camaro? Where did you read this? Any links to share?

      • Zcat

        Gm Authority says GM is postponing the next generation. I’m not sure if that means discontinuing it for good? I hope not. They should focus on the things that need addressed, like outward visibility, an upgraded interior, and some weight loss. Although, it currently out handles cars costing twice as much. Plus, They need to offer an even more affordable version so more young people can join in the fun!

        I like the styling, even if it is a bit, “HOT WHEELS”. But, a fresh design is clearly needed as indicated by lack of sales.

        • MayTheBestCarWin05

          wow. that’s interesting.

          But i agree with you on most of what you said. They need to update for the interior on that car…but I’ve given up on GM’s ability to build an interior that is superior to its competitors. No matter the segment / price point their interiors are underwhelming.

          the styling is a bit Hot Wheels, but I think it fits the character of the car. The weight and visibility are neither here nor there for me.

          • Zcat

            “an interior that is superior to its competitors.” How about one that is at the very least on par?
            I’m with you on the fact that the beancounters won’t let that happen. I guess GM is ok with being Walmart instead of Neiman Marcus, or even Macy’s. They have the design and engineering talent. That truly is the sad part. They are okay with being mediocre in most of the cars they produce in the name of “profit today”. I would rather be proud and still make money, knowing I can sleep at night and the future will be brighter in the long run.

            It would be interesting to see GM give it their best shot at producing the best products they can. Now, the Koreans are putting out more effort and increasing market share while improving their reputation in the process. GM is so short sided.

            I actually don’t mind the HOT WHEELS look as well. Better than a bar of soap.
            They also look better in person, especially sitting next to a sea of SUV’s. But I think the
            refresh didn’t move the needle enough and looked too close to the last Gen. Sales are
            tanking for a reason, and it’s not the handling!

  • LJ

    I wouldn’t be shocked if the Vette reverted back to front-engine for the C9 or C10.

  • Enter Ranting

    Next up – The 911 shifts to a front engine layout.

    • Six_Tymes

      lol

  • carlbolt

    Rear end biased weight distribution will tend to oversteering not understeering.

    • Netsphere

      understeer flowing buy snap oversteer

  • Six_Tymes

    C7, the new collectors sports car, in the making.

  • Puddingpopper

    I just hope they keep the leaf springs

    • john1168

      LMAO 😀

  • CC

    I think some of you guys are looking through the wrong end of the telescope, as is this GM insider. The Corvette Z06 can currently beat the pants off of most supercars. But each new iteration of high-end sports car gets more and more powerful. 600 hp is the new 400 hp. No problem, right? I mean, GM can always make more power than the next guy, can’t they? Except that, as anyone who has ever driven a high horsepower Corvette can attest, making power isn’t the hard part, putting it to the ground is. That’s where the FR layout runs into trouble. That’s where a 50/50 weight distribution isn’t an asset. Meanwhile, any chump can hop in an Audi TTRS, press a few buttons, and run a low 11-second quarter mile. Worse still, any swinging ding dong can plop down in a Huracan and run a low 10-second quarter mile. Meanwhile, to run a low 11 in a C7 Z06, you’ve got to try pretty hard. Can some people run 10s? Sure. Can MOST people do it? Nope. Can even most decent drivers do it consistently? Nope. I have an 11-second Corvette… sometimes. Other times I have an accidental burnout machine. A MR layout has a significant advantage for purposes of getting off the line quickly (all things being equal).

    Moreover, the 50/50 weight distribution is good for PREDICTABLE handling. But as Jim Hall explained before I was even born, there is an inherent handling advantage in terms of total limits that is achieved with a rear-biased weight distribution.

    All that to say, if Chevy cares about magazine racing (which they clearly do), they can’t rely on the best drivers in the world to be necessary to keep their flagship relevant on paper. Ergo, it makes sense for them to make it easier to launch and they’ll probably also put a fancy robot transmission in it with whiz-bang launch sequences, too.

    I love my manual, FR, loud, nasty redneck mobile. It can handle with the best of them despite its age, precisely because it’s a simple, classic formula: relatively light weight, lots of torque, great suspension geometry, and a bunch of rubber. But just because I like the classical formula doesn’t mean that I don’t also welcome our new robot overlords.

    I will be incredibly surprised if the base model C8 isn’t running quarters with the same e.t. or better than the C7 Z06.

  • J-Triumf

    From a pure aesthetic styling perspective I’m glad the new Corvette is going rear-mid: the more forward cabin placement makes for much more balanced proportions, and combined with the general wedge shape and sharp, modern C7-like details this is going to be the most beautiful, best looking Corvette ever. (and it still hasn’t officially taken off the camouflage yet!)

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