One interesting factor in the C8.R’s aerodynamics and cooling design is that since the race car doesn’t need a front trunk, or frunk, the Corvette Racing team was able to stick a big ‘ole radiator where that used to be. According to the team, this gives them more freedom in aerodynamic design and a far larger surface area to help cool the high-strung engine. That said, the new mid-engine layout did present some interesting challenges.
The mid-engined layout also pushes the driver’s seat forward 16 inches, which allows the racing driver to seat closer to the front axle. According to Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner, this helps the driver feel the car rotate around them, and therefore diagnose understeer or oversteer faster and more accurately. This not only bridges the gap in terms of competitiveness with Corvette’s rivals, but it allows engineers to find an optimum setup for a particular track much faster. If a good setup can be found earlier in the day, it gives the team more time to improve the car during practice and qualifying rather than simply find a baseline setup.
“The main challenge with moving to mid-engine proportions for us was keeping the strong Corvette identity, while advancing the design from the previous generations of the car,” C8.R lead exterior engineer Vladimir Kapitonov exclusively told The Drive. “Several strong Corvette cues were employed to achieve this-athletic proportions—lean taught surfacing stretched between character lines, peaked fenders, with driver cockpit set in the middle.”
“The main horizontal crease line, piercing the whole body nose-to-tail, recalls significant Corvettes through history, but in a non-literal modern way. Several features make the exterior design uniquely mid-engine: jet-inspired forward-leaning side intake hides the door handle, visually cleaning up the bodyside, vented rear glass shows off the engine like a jewel in a setting. The C8.R racecar presented another challenge for Design. We had to work closely with the race team to retain the character and refinement of the production Corvette, without detriment to race car-specific aerodynamics and on-track performance. We achieved this through iterative surface and livery graphics design process with our partners at Corvette Racing, designers and sculptors working closely with race engineers to create the ultimate expression of a Corvette,” he added.