On Monday, Facebook user Jim Lill shared a video to the C8 Corvette Owners group of a heavily-camouflaged Corvette test mule that he spied cruising around the mountain roads east of San Diego. There’s nothing spine-tingling about the ’Vette’s heavy-duty camouflage—the sound, though, is another story.
Those familiar with GM’s LT2 V-8 will note that this sounds nothing like that as it rounds the bend and tears out of sight. In fact, if you’ve seen any fly-by footage of Corvette’s C8.R race car, you’ll note that this car has a very similar exhaust note.
Is this the flat-plane C8 Z06 we’ve been waiting for?
We’ve known for a while that the race-ready version of Chevrolet’s mid-engine C8 Corvette, the C8.R, will rock a 5.5-liter DOHC flat-plane crank V-8 in place of the production version’s iconic pushrod engine. With higher-performance variants of the mid-engine Corvette coming down the pipeline in the ensuing years, it’s no stretch—by our reckoning—to think that the same flat-plane howler could make its way into those higher-performance models.
In the race car, the yet-unnamed flat-plane engine makes roughly 500 horsepower. Given that the LT2 in the base C8 makes 490 hp and the previous-generation C7 Z06 made a hefty 650 hp from its supercharged LT4 engine, we can assume that the new C8 Z06 will aim for a similar output, perhaps via forced induction.
What’s unclear is whether the rumored hybrid Corvette will slot in as part of the Z06 package, or if we’ll wait even longer to see Zora’s legacy assisted by electrons. We thought we snagged pictures of a hybrid mule recently, but received word from Chevrolet denying that mule’s hybrid identity.
Regardless—the rumors, the camo’d mules, the weird noises, and the recent sale of VIN 001 all have us eagerly awaiting the mid-engine Corvette’s next move.
What do you think? Is the video above concrete evidence that America’s Sports Car is going flat-plane? Are we out over our skis? Let us know in the Hagerty forums below.