A low nose cuts through the air; huge side intakes feed the engine; a massive wing holds the tails down.
A new batch of spy photos provides our very first glimpse at the next-generation, mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette in racing trim, and it looks amazing. Photographers snapped shots of this camouflaged creation while it was testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, following the recent IMSA race there.
Unlike prototypes for the road-going Corvette that have had vinyl fabric concealing the body, this race car only wore a camouflaged wrap, which provided a significantly better look at the styling. While the racer likely tweaks some of the styling elements for competition purposes, the street-legal version should bear a close resemblance to this machine.
The styling doesn't immediately evoke a Corvette to our eyes. By shifting the engine behind the driver, the design no longer needs the classic long bonnet and short rear deck proportions. Instead, the nose is low, and there are small front overhangs. A large central intake dominates the fascia, and ducts in the bonnet would direct airflow to other vital areas.
In profile, the huge, pointed intakes immediately catch the eye. They look capable of sending plenty of cool air to the mid-mounted engine. Compared to the road car's test mules, the pieces on the racer appear significantly larger.
The large wing that perches on the tail is the most distinct element at the back. There's also a big rear diffuser for cleaning up the underbody airflow and improving performance at the track.
The powertrain for the road-going C8 Corvette remains a mystery, which leaves the engine motivating the race car a conundrum, too. The existing C7.R packs a 5.5-litre V8. Rumours the street-legal version could be available with as many as three engines: a 460-bhp 6.2-litre V8, 650-bhp 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8, and a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 with as much as 850 bhp.
Speculation indicates the production-spec C8 Corvette could debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2019. If this happens, then the racer could hit the track in anger as soon as the end of that month at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.