Chevrolet has built Grand Sport versions of the C2, C4, C6, and C7 Corvette. Those last two ‘Vette generations have used the engine from the base model, albeit fitted with a dry-sump oiling system and squeezed inside the wider bodywork of the Z06. It’s a great combination that adds road-holding grip and great looks with more than enough power for most enthusiasts to handle. However, if you were holding out on ordering a C8 Corvette until the Grand Sport debuts, you may be out of luck. According to GM Authority, the Grand Sport isn’t happening and a hybrid “E-Ray” Corvette will take its place.
It has long been speculated that Corvette would offer at least one variant that ditches its frunk to add an electric motor to drive its front wheels, and we’ve known about the E-Ray moniker for years. The C8’s large center tunnel, which helps with chassis rigidity, turns out to be a good place for batteries.
The performance-focused E-Ray could add another 100 or so horsepower to the already stout output of the 6.2-liter LT2 V-8, which cranks out 495 hp when equipped with the dual-mode exhaust. An even more powerful variant, “Zora”, would combine the higher-output Z06 powerplant with a hybrid drivetrain to make the ultimate C8.
We’re not sure when the E-Ray would hit the market. If it can be seen as a mid-level performance package like the Grand Sport, we would expect it to follow the Z06. The Grand Sport, as great a package as it has been, lately served to keep up interest in the Corvette as the generation aged. Chevrolet is going to build 2020 Stingrays into December to keep up with orders for the initial year of C8s, in part due to shutdowns related to COVID-19. In fact, Corvette’s Bowling Green assembly plant is shutting down the week of October 12 due to a supply-related issue that sprang up because of the pandemic.
Despite the setbacks, it seems as though Team Corvette is not slowing down when it comes to developing even more impressive C8 variants.