Will the Mid-Engine Corvette Use Twin-Turbo V8 Cadillac Power?

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Corvette Forum - C8 Zora ZR1 Mid-Engine Corvette Rendering

The mid-engine C8 Zora Corvette is coming, it’s only a matter of time.

Bob Dylan famously sang that “The times, they are a-changin’.” That song was written in 1963. If only he knew how prophetic those words would truly be.

1963 also saw the introduction of the C2 Corvette. The C2 was, likewise, a sign of change for Chevrolet. The new generation of Corvette brought with it many updates and changes. A coupe model was offered for the first time, as was a Big Block Chevy V8. Oh, and a guy named Zora Arkus-Duntov was pushing the limits of the Corvette. His tinkering brought many developments to Chevrolet and the Corvette, such as disc brakes, fuel injection, and widespread use of the V8 engine. However, arguably his biggest developmental experiment was one that never made it to production: Duntov wanted a mid-engined Corvette.

Now, Duntov is finally getting his wish, it just took a little longer than anticipated.

Corvetteforum.com C8 Corvette Zora mid engine twin turbo V8

We have covered the C8 Corvette before. The nickname “Zora” has become synonymous with the mid-engined prototypes we’ve seen running around. Now, however, we have some very interesting news, albeit, from an unusual source.

Cadillac has developed a new engine

Cadillac has today announced an all-new engine. It’s a (relatively) low displacement V8, but you know what makes a good replacement for cubic-inches? Boost. The brand’s new 4.2-liter V8 features twin-turbocharging, kind of like other hot Cadillac models. There’s something else that makes this new V8 engine similar to other boosted mills in the Cadillac line up, and this is going to scare some mega fans out there, so we hope you’re sitting down.

Codenamed GF18, this new V8 engine features 4-valve-per-cylinder heads and a dual-overhead cam design. It also has the heads flipped around to form a “Hot V” configuration. This idea puts the intake valves on the outside of the heads and the exhaust valves on the “inside” of the V. This allows the turbo manifolds and turbochargers to be placed within the cylinder heads. This design allows for superior exhaust scavenging, improving turbo lag and engine response. With “up to 20 pounds of boost (1.38 bar)” available, this engine produces 550 horsepower at 5,700 RPM and 627 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 RPM in the new Cadillac CT6 V-Sport. In the standard CT6, the same engine will produce 500 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of twist.

“But that engine cover says ‘Cadillac’ on it, not Corvette.”

That is true, for now. However, news that the upcoming mid-engine C8 Zora will use a turbocharged, reduced-displacement mill have been making the rounds since the first leaks were publicized. Initially, most of us had it pegged that a 5.5-liter DOHC variant of this engine would be specced for Corvette duty. However, Cadillac announcing the 4.2-liter GF18 today does confirm our previous information. The fact that this new Cadillac engine will be built at General Motors’ Performance Build Center at the Chevrolet Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky makes it even easier to connect the dots to the Chevrolet halo car. It is entirely possible that the architecture for the GF18 engine was designed to be very modular, like the Small Block V8, so changes in displacement and power outputs could be accommodated. With a world class projected power level in excess of 800 horsepower, the bump in displacement makes sense. After all, the C8 Zora needs to out-do the 2019 ZR1.

Everything seems to be shaping up as we predicted. However, with an expected arrival date of 2020 for the mid-engine C8 Zora, we don’t expect to see the real deal unveiled until the end of this year, or, perhaps, at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. That said, as always, we will keep you up to date on developments as they occur.

Want to sound off on thew new DOHC twin-turbo V8 and what this means for the mid-engine C8 Corvette Zora? Hop on over to the forums where the subject is blowing up as people sound off on it.


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Jake Stumph is the Content Editor who runs Corvette Forum, and several other Internet Brands Automotive websites. He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right.

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