C8 mania continues with West Coast reveal of next-generation Corvette convertible, debut of C8.R race car
I didn’t realize that all these years I was a Corvette fanboy disguised as a JDM/Euro enthusiast. Now that the C8 is out it all makes sense who I’ve been all along. I’ve always like Hawaiian shirts, dad jokes, and… raw unadulterated power infused into sleek racecar packages (mid-engined of course), all for a fraction of the price of a super elite-ultra-leggera-rosso-aperta exotic. So hi, I’m Glenn and I’m a Corvette fanboy.
What I am not is a convertible fanboy. I do own one because like all non-California natives I always pictured myself cruising down PCH with the magenta and orange California sun kissing my bangs while I smiled and turned up Pet Shop Boys. Yes that was a real thing in my head at one point in my life before I realized that a) PCH may as well be in Denver with L.A. traffic, and b) Pet Shop Boys is best enjoyed with Bluetooth earbuds. Have you ever been caught singing “Opportunities” by your co-workers? I have. Pro-tip: make sure you’re properly synched before you bring back the 80s in an office setting.
Once in a blue moon I get to enjoy the convertible but generally speaking the top is up. And I don’t know about you, but for most cars I feel convertibles look like rolling compromises of their hotter coupe variants. Not so with the 2020 Corvette convertible. This baby looks just as good as the coupe, like they were designed at the same time. You actually can have it all, at least when we’re talking about ‘Vettes.
The first-ever hardtop convertible will have a reasonable MSRP of $67,495 for the entry-level 1LT trim. That’s a premium of $7,500 over the base coupe. The lightweight two-piece top activates at speeds up to 30mph and retracts in 16 seconds — which is and of itself pretty nifty. If you’ve ever blocked traffic at a stoplight trying to transform in your droptop like an old Optimus Prime (as I have) anything more than 20 seconds feels like an eternity.
The Corvette convertible and coupe share the same drag coefficient with the top up. Like the coupe, the convertible is powered by the next-generation LT2 small-block V8 with 495 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. Chevy’s engineers adjusted the springs and dampers to get the performance as close to the coupe as possible.
The reveal was hosted at an incredibly cool new space called The Motoring Club (think WeWork for gearheads) that happened to have a pair of vintage Corvette convertibles on hand as well as a duo of C7 convertibles which reminded attendees that Corvette has been America’s sportscar — and America’s convertible — for almost 70 years. The Corvette convertible will be available in late Q1 2020.
In case the C8 hype is losing its potency on the more jaded enthusiasts out there, Chevrolet also revealed its C8.R race car. So there you have it, coupe, convertible, race car — the sports-car trifecta is complete. The C8.R looks stunning and will no doubt clean up in IMSA’s GTLM class as its predecessors before it.