Exclusive: Just how fast is the Corvette E-Ray?
Throughout the generations, Chevy’s Corvette has built a name for itself punching well above its price tag to spoil the party for more exotic metal. The new mid-engine C8 Corvette is the best foil yet to the European performance party. The new Z06, with its flared body, sonorous flat-plane-crank V-8, and track-decimating performance, feels like the closest approximation of an American Ferrari yet. Meanwhile, the all-wheel-drive, hybrid Corvette E-Ray could, if you squint, come off as an American take on much of what Lamborghini stands for these days. But how closely does Chevy’s mid-engine monster hew to those Italian exotics, really?
You can probably guess where this is going; time to bust out the green flags and the stopwatches.
The latest episode of Jason Cammisa’s Ultimate Drag Race Replay features a world-first in-depth look at just how impressive the new Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is in a quarter-mile shootout. We’ll save the hard results for the video, but we had a chance to speak with Cammisa about some of the discoveries that surface while filming the episode.
Rather than focus on how the Corvettes stacked up against a Ferrari F8 Spyder and Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder (we’ll let the tape answer those questions), our discussion with Cammisa centered around how differently the two variations of the C8 Corvette go about their rapid antics.
A few quick stats to kick it off: The Corvette Z06 makes 670 horsepower from its 5.5-liter LT6 engine. That engine has to push 3670 pounds using just the rear wheels. The E-Ray, on the other hand, makes a combined 655 hp between the 495-hp LT2 pushrod V-8 from the regular C8 Stingray and a 160-hp electric motor placed on the front axle. The E-Ray tips the scales at 3924 pounds, but it employs all four wheels to get that mass moving.
Despite being nearly 250 pounds heavier and 15 ponies in the hole, can the E-Ray hold its own?
Cammisa touches on this a bit in the episode, but one of his biggest discoveries was just how different the E-Ray and the Z06 behave from the jump. “The Z06 is a bit of a handful off the line,” he admits. “To get an optimal launch in the Z06, you have to dial in launch RPM and tire slippage for whatever surface you’re on. The E-Ray, on the other hand, has virtually no variance between launches; it’s just dead-straight, wicked fast, and alarmingly consistent. Just put your foot on the brakes, hit launch control, and send it.”
On our first ride-along in the car earlier this year, we were stunned by how forceful the E-Ray accelerated. Still, some were disappointed when they learned that the electric motor up front was only good for 160 hp, figuring that more power would have resulted in an even quicker Vette. When we asked Cammisa about the output of the E-Ray’s electric motor, he had a different opinion:
“Trust me, 160 horsepower is all it needs here. When you launch the E-Ray, there’s so much weight transfer to the rear that you don’t have that much grip on the front tires. It’s already putting 495 horsepower to the rear tires, and even that 160 horsepower going to the front wheels is basically maxed out. You could put a 200-horse motor up there, or a 300-horse motor up there, but it wouldn’t really gain much from a 0–60 standpoint.”
It’s also worth remembering that there are gnarlier hybrid C8s in the pipeline. “Once we see a hybrid C8 with the Z06 motor in the rear, or even eventually a twin-turbo motor in the rear, we’ll likely see the output of that electric motor increase,” Cammisa says. “Or maybe we’ll even see two electric motors up front with torque vectoring. Putting the engine in the rear means that the sky’s the limit when it comes to packaging driveline components.”
We concluded our chat by asking Cammisa a simple question: “Who’s going to love the E-Ray?”
“You’ll love the E-Ray if you drive it around town,” he says. “To me, [the E-Ray] is a Stingray-plus-plus, without any minuses. It’s also incredibly consistent off the line, and I think drag racers will come to appreciate that part of it.”
Here’s another thing they’ll appreciate: During the filming of the show, the E-Ray was able to completely recharge its tiny 1.9-kWh battery using just the kinetic energy recovered from the end of a hard quarter-mile run and the added distance covered getting back to the start line. Sure, the E-Ray was placed in an ultra-aggressive, energy-recovery mode to achieve that, but imagine being able to unleash every last drop of that instantaneous electric torque each time you made a pass.
Be sure to watch the entire video to see just how impressive the new E-Ray is in a quarter-mile drag race.
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Here are the stats the article is sorely missing: c8 0-60: 2.9s
c8 z06 0-60: 2.6s
c8 eray 0-60: 2.5s
And most importantly, I watched (or skipped to the finish line) so you don’t have to: