After years of rumors, spy photos and revealing patent and trademark filings, Chevrolet has finally confirmed that the next Corvette will be switching to a mid-engine layout.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra made the announcement on Thursday night in New York, after arriving at a charity gala in a camouflaged prototype of the car that was driven by its chief engineer, Tadge Juechter, and emblazoned with the date it will officially debut: 07/18/2019.
Technical details were not announced, but the teaser website for the new car says that "The Next Generation Corvette is the most anticipated Corvette ever. It’s the sum of each generation before it, but will stand alone as the new standard of performance."
Chevrolet has been toying with the idea of a mid-engine Corvette since the 1960s, but has stuck to the front-engine layout since the first one went on sale in 1953, despite the limitations of the design. Putting the motor in the middle unlocks a level of performance that Chevrolet is hoping will allow the Corvette to compete even better with exotic sports cars like the Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan and Ford GT.
The general consensus of speculation surrounding the car has been that the base Corvette will be powered by a naturally aspirated V8 with around 500 hp and not cost much more than the current $56,990 Stingray, while higher performance models could feature turbocharged or supercharged engines and possibly an all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain offering as much as 1,000 hp.
As for the current Corvette, Barra said the last one built, a black Z06, will be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson event in Connecticut on June 28, wth all proceeds going to The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports injured first responders and members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, along with other causes.