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A Chevrolet and General Motors teases the new E-Ray Corvette we have new spy photos of a widebody C8 Corvette prototype undergoing testing. The question is, is it an E-Ray or a ZR1 prototype?
Here's what we can see from the spy photos:
It has a new Camouflage design:
This C8 prototype shows signs that its'a newly built prototype with a new version of the C8 camouflage. This camo has see-through mesh panels aft of the doors, making the side-mounted air ducts visible through the camo for the first time. All the earlier prototypes were fully covered in heavy vinyl with no visibility of the ducts or fenders.
Center-Exit Quad Exhaust Is On Display
The C8 prototype in the photos is equipped with the central exhaust set-up that is new for the Z06. During the Z06 development, a switch was made from the Stingray-style exhaust to this new format, leading to some confusion—especially when the E-Ray hybrid prototypes entered the fray. Did widebody C8 prototypes represent the Z06 or the hybrid E-Ray? Unless the Z06’s distinctive flat-plane-crank V8 made its voice heard, the two prototypes were largely visually indistinguishable. What makes things more confusing is whether or not this exhaust setup will be available on the E-Ray or if it will stick with the Stingray’s outboard exhaust.
The prototype AWD hybrid Corvette shown in GM’s teaser video is equipped the outboard exhaust set-up, and not the Z06’s central exhaust. The video subjects (there are two separate cars in the video, based on the wheels) may not represent the E-Ray’s final production design. But if this is a production-spec shown E-Ray in the video, then the vinyl-clad widebody C8 photographed here would represent a new, previously unseen C8 variant
Is this a C8 Corvette ZR1?
If this C8 prototype isn't an E-Ray then it could be the ZR1. It's expected to be the next in line for GM's performance division. The latest intel suggests that the ZR1 will add twin turbos to the Z06’s 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8, possibly yielding as much 850 horsepower. If the appearance of this newly-camouflaged, widebody ‘Vette truly represents our first whiff of the 2024 Corvette ZR1, it’s encouraging to see the C8 continue its march toward the ranks of super car/hyper car territory.
This C8 widebody prototype shows new wheel design and separation from Z06 and prior E-Ray prototypes
This new prototype boasts a new wheel design visible behind the rear wheel's camouflage discs. Visible details don’t match either the open-spoke Z06 wheels, or the five-spoke carbon fiber wheels, which are found on the Chevrolet’s official Corvette Z06 Visualizer. Nor do the wheels match anything we’ve seen either in the teaser video, or in confirmed E-Ray prototypes caught in spy photos. An analysis of the prototype’s wheel design suggests five thin spindles emanating from between the wheel lugs, while additional design elements appear to have alignment with the lugs themselves.
If this is a production-intent Corvette E-Ray prototype captured in these photos, then it tells us that the AWD hybrid C8 in GM’s teaser video does not depict the final production design. It would also confirm that the E-Ray will be getting the Z06’s central-exit exhaust set-up, and what looks to be a striking new wheel design. If this is something else, then it would be our first real-world evidence that the C8’s march toward the ranks of super car/hyper car territory continues uninterrupted. Next stop, ZR1.