The long-rumored Corvette Zora, it turns out, is very much part of the plan at General Motors, its existence revealed, ironically, by the coronavirus pandemic.
Named for Zora Arkus-Duntov, the legendary General Motors engineer widely known as “the father of the Corvette,” it’s destined to be the “ultimate” version of the new C8 mid-engined ‘Vette. The Zora will rely on a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain that will punch out a full 1,000 horsepower through all four wheels.
The possibility of naming a range-topping model after Arkus-Duntov has long been discussed and rumors were renewed when GM confirmed that the C8, or eighth-generation, Corvette would adopt the mid-engine layout the long-time chief engineer had so desperately wanted to migrate to. The project has now been confirmed through an internal document ordering a temporary halt to numerous GM programs due to the pandemic.
(GM shuts down new orders for new Corvette.)
Among other things, the stop-work order confirmed that an assortment of other Corvette models are in the works, as was widely expected, including the traditional step-ladder upgrades, starting with the Z06 and then the ZR1.
The internal document, significantly, confirms what TheDetroitBureau.com has repeatedly reported: Chevrolet will be turning to electrification to punch up Corvette’s performance.
That includes a Corvette Grand Sport originally due out in 2023 that was to pair the current Stingray’s 6.2-liter V-8 with a hybrid-boost system to deliver about 600 hp, or more than 100 ponies beyond what the track-rated C8 can manage.
But things will be pushed to the extreme with the Zora that, insiders indicate, will pull together an assortment of bells and whistles to get up to a full 1,000 hp. That starts with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 and at least one, and possibly even more, electric motors.
(First Drive: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.)
The hybrid package will drive both axles to ensure that power gets to the pavement during aggressive launches. What’s unclear is the size of the battery pack and whether the Zora might even have some measurable all-electric driving range.
As in the past, Chevy plans to roll out one new Corvette variant at a time and, based on the document that was leaked, the strategy appeared to be for one new model roughly every year, starting with the next-generation Z06 in the 2022 model-year. That more track-focused package will use a naturally aspirated twin-cam 5.5-liter V-8 expected to make around 650 horsepower.
Next up, a twin-turbo version of that V-8 powering the C8 ZR1. Essentially, it gets the same internal combustion system as the Zora minus the hybrid boost, but still was expected to punch out something in the range of 850 hp, or about 100 more than the C7 version of the ZR1.
The Zora was planned for some time around the 2025 model-year. It seems likely that most, if not all the Corvette variants in development right now may wind up being pushed back. Significantly, GM has said it does not plan to cancel “any programs” due to the pandemic-related shutdown of its engineering and manufacturing operations, emphasizing “near-term programs like full-size SUVs, and our EV portfolio . . . will see little or no impact. ”
(First 2020 Corvette Stingray rolls off production line.)
That might surprise some observers as it has been widely speculated that the industry, in general, will see a significant number of products cut, as well as delayed, not only due to development delays but because of the huge financial hit manufacturers are taking. Ford earlier this week confirmed it is scrapping plans to develop an all-electric SUV as part of a joint venture with EV start-up Rivian.
5 responses to “Internal Document Confirms 1,000 HP Corvette C8 Zora”
Thanks for sharing the great news Paul! We cited your work at our C8 Blog and linked back to this article. That thing is going to be a beast!
Sign me up for the awd 1000hp hybrid Zora version. Do you want a deposit now? I have a deposit on a 2020C8 now and I will enjoy that one until 2023, 2025 or if possible, 2021 or 2022!
You can be sure that all the guys with small wieners will be suckers for GM and buy this.
I’ve now seen at least two versions of this “leaked” document and in some aspects I’m a little bit skeptical. I do not doubt that there will be a 5.5L Z06, or a 5.5TT ZR1, or a 1,000 hp Zora. What I do doubt is that GM would use a document detailing the nameplate, trim, engine detail, and power levels to communicate a delay order. It is infinitely more likely that a supplier would get a communication that their part # 12345678 pertinent to project Super Widget should delay shipping to GM plants until June pick-a-date.
The Corvette Team in particular is known for being super-secretive, even to the point of denying there was a mid-engine product even after multiple sightings of test mules. So now we should believe that a delay ship order spells out the entire lineup, down to horsepower detail and timing to suppliers that are being told not to ship door hinges? I call shenanigans.
Agree and disagree.
Since there are multiple leaks doc-wise, this could by the fishing line in the pond to try to bait FOMOCO / Shelby, and FCA.
Considering the chains I have to go through to get parts or asked to provide you’d be surprised how that stuff happens. Some places are better than others but most times a purchasing group works directly with the supplier when it comes to orders, not the engineer. Not saying your doubts are unfounded, but you’d be surprised how many times we either order things or get things asked by us with model year plans and details are included.
Don’t forget lead-times, costing, multiple changes and the like more so determines parts and supplier sourcing. Though there are NDAs in place, things leak. And GM isn’t the best at keeping secrets.
And considering a 1000hp Zora has been rumored FOREVER, and would most likely have a TT-SB, and now hybrid is really taking off, the news they’ve “leaked” isn’t much of a stretch.