The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was just revealed in a blimp hangar in Tustin, California. This is the first production mid-engined Corvette, following prototypes conceived by Zora Arkus-Duntov 60 years ago. The Stingray name itself is a legacy, dating back to the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. The new car rolled out on stage clad in brilliant red paint, with GM president Mark Reuss behind the wheel.

Chevrolet timed this event to coincide with the first moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the lunar surface the next day. Astronauts Mae Jemison and Scott Kelly gave a history of the landing before the introduction of the eighth-generation Corvette.

“Astronauts and Corvettes have long been linked,” Kelly said. He himself has owned two generations of Corvette. Alan Shepard and other noteworthy astronauts also embraced the tradition.

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Finding a middle ground

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 reveal“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM,” Reuss said. “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

The new Corvette owes its mid-engined layout to the CERV I–III prototypes, which were halo vehicles for Corvette engineers. The Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle program was conceived by Chevrolet engineer and “Father of the Corvette” Zora Arkus-Duntov in 1959.

“Mid-engine has historically posed a challenge to this mission,” Reuss said. “Not so anymore.”

Reuss went on to say that the car will make believers out of anyone, even the hardcore Corvette enthusiasts who may not be happy about the new vehicle dynamics.

The most potent Stingray

The base engine for the new Chevrolet Corvette, dubbed the LT2, is a 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the optional exhaust or Z51 performance package. This is the most powerful entry-level Corvette ever produced. All that grunt is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The DCT is the only available transmission. Chevrolet cites zero to 60 times under three seconds when equipped with the Z51 package.

The revealed Z51 Corvette has an aggressive front splitter and and rear spoiler. Performance tires and exhaust, electronic limited-slip differential, magnetic ride control, and additional cooling are also part of the track-focused variant.

Corvette creature comforts

The cowl and instrument panel are lower thanks to the C8’s mid-engine layout, improving outward visibility. The driver compartment is also larger, with an extra inch of seat travel. A new squared-off two-spoke steering wheel gives a better view of the instrument panel. There are three seat options: GT1, GT2, and Competition Sport, each with varying degrees of comfort and performance enhancement.

This is the most powerful entry-level Corvette ever produced

The seats are in line with the car’s center, so the car “literally rotates around you.” There are storage compartments in the front and rear. The removable roof panel or requisite pair of golf bags fit in the rear compartment.

Tech on deck

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The C8 will be the first production mid-engined production Corvette

An available front-lift system lifts the nose up to two inches. When you activate this feature, the GPS asks you if you’d like to store it in the memory. You can do so a thousand times and the nose will lift automatically every time you get to those saved spots.

An eight-inch color touchscreen uses Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 system, and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 12-inch digital driver display is reconfigurable. A performance data recorder doubles as a dash cam and valet nanny.

The four current driver modes return: weather, tour, sport, and track. The addition of My Mode and Z-Mode let you further personalize your ride and save your settings.

The C8 Corvette has just a single part “carried over from the last generation,” according to the official website. The body structure is 10 percent stiffer as well.

Online shopping

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette goes into production at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly in late 2019 and you can reserve one online right now. You may want to take your time, as you have a choice of 12 exterior colors, six interior themes, six seat belt colors, and two optional stitch packages.

When Reuss said that the new Corvette will start at a price less than $60,000, he was greeted with roars of approval. No further details were announced, but expect a bump in the 2019 Corvette’s base price of $55,900.

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