Rick Corvette ContiRick Corvette ContiRick Corvette Conti

Corvette Here to stay!!!

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The Corvette in a high-mileage future / New fuel economy rules won’t kill the performance car, chief engineer says, but the ‘Vette will need to adapt. Tadge Juechter, General Motors’ chief engineer for the Chevrolet Corvette, wants to set one thing straight:
the Corvette is here to stay
.

Last month, Chevy introduced the Corvette ZR1, an ultra-high-performance Corvette with an expected power output of 620 horsepower. Juechter made statements that he said were taken out of context in some media reports. The news stories, he said, made it sound as if the Corvette itself might be forced to extinction by new fuel economy regulations.

“It’s my job to make sure that Corvettes do not go away,” he told CNNMoney.com in an interview recently.

New legislation requires a nationwide new car fuel economy average of 35 miles per gallon by 2010. That means the Corvette will have to change, Juechter said. It won’t have to get 35 miles per gallon, of course, but it will have to do its part to raise the average.

The challenge will be to make sure needed changes don’t damage the image of a car that’s important to its legions of fans and to GM’s corporate image.

Revealed: Corvette ZR1
The Corvette has been a performance flagship for GM (GM, Fortune 500) since its introduction in 1953. It’s also been a value flagship for the Chevrolet brand with performance that matches European sports cars costing twice as much.

Juechter’s task will be maintain both sides of the Corvette’s brand promise - high performance and low price - while also dealing with the increased fuel economy requirements.

It won’t be easy because the Corvette is already a closet fuel-efficiency freak. A high-performance sports car that puts out 430 horsepower from a 6.2 liter V8 engine, the ‘Vette’s estimated highway fuel economy of 26 mpg is actually better than some 4-cylinder sports cars including the Pontiac Solstice and Honda S2000.

Corvette engineers could simply cut back on all that engine power. Packing 430 horsepower - a number bumped up from 400 in just the last model year - the ‘Vette would seem to have some to spare. But a horsepower cutback would be an absolute last resort, Juechter said, something he would accept “kicking and screaming.”
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If power had to be cut back, engineers would find ways to lighten the car even more, he said, preserving the all-important power-to-weight ratio.

“We expect that we will be able to continue to improve performance,” Juechter said.

Reducing weight could mean increased use of lighter materials like aluminum, special alloys and composites and even carbon fiber, which has a large role in the ZR1 super ‘Vette.

Those materials are expensive, though, which threatens to undermine that other key Corvette appeal - its price.

“How do you do that at a reasonable cost that our customers will understand?” Juechter asked.

The new ZR1 also uses supercharging, a system that pumps air into the engine’s cylinders to create higher pressure. That will allow the it to get nearly 200 more horsepower out of the same-sized engine used in the base Corvette.

You might think a similar solution could be used on a smaller, more fuel efficient engine to match the, or even beat, the power output of the current base Corvette’s V8. Perhaps a future Corvette could pack a V6 under the hood.

Not so fast, said Juechter.

First of all, superchargers are heavy and use significant engine power to run. Turbochargers, which use turbines spun by exhaust gases, are lighter and sap less power, but they’re still complex and costly.

Plus, turbochargers take a moment to respond to a push on the gas pedal - a phenomenon known as “turbo lag” - and that’s not something drivers want on a race track, Juechter said, where many Corvette owners like to run their cars.
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Besides, the Corvette’s big V8 engine makes sense for cost reasons, according to Juechter, since its basic design is shared with many GM trucks. And Corvette owners simply expect a V8 so, while he won’t rule out eventually using a V6 engine, that decision would require some very serious economic and performance justification. It would not go down easily with the Corvette faithful.

In the end, the solution to the Corvette fuel economy puzzle may have to involve trade-offs between performance and price to meet the needs of greater efficiency. In the end, Corvette buyers may have to accept that a more fuel-efficient sports car will cost a little more.

One thing you probably won’t see for a long time, said Juechter, will be another beast as extreme as the ZR1. GM engineers will be occupied with more mundane tasks, like how to squeeze more mileage out of family cars and crossover SUVs.

“I doubt many manufacturers are scratching their heads trying to think up ways to do more 600 horsepower cars” he said.

In the meanwhile, Juechter says he’ll make sure the Corvette itself doesn’t become too tame

PLEASE READ - NEW YEAR 2008 MESSAGE
CLICK HERE-THANK-YOU!

2009 ZR1 DATA RELEASED - PICS & PRESS INFO;
CLICK HERE & DROOL!
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CORVETTES FUTURE, DUE TO NEW ENERGY BILL?!
CLICK HERE - GM OFFICIAL COMMENTS TOO!

1st ZR1 TO BE SOLD @ BARRETT JACKSON
CONFIRMED UPDATE HERE!

EVS ATTENDS 2008 INDY PACE CAR PRESS EVENT
CLICK FOR FEEDBACK,INFO & PICTURES!

MY NEW CORVETTE ASSISTANT!
CLICK FOR ANNOUNCEMENT!

GM RAISES PRICES- 3rd TIME FOR 2008 CORVETTE:
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

REMEMBER CLOTH SEATS IN THE 99 CORVETTE?!
CLICK & ENJOY THE READ!

IN CAR ZR1 TEST MULE VIDEO
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INDY 2008 & COOKSEY’S CORVETTE
CLICK HERE & READ

2008 DAYTONA PACE CAR SEEN-PRESS RELEASE & MORE
CLICK HERE!

DO A BURN OUT RIGHT!!
CLICK HERE!

ARIZONA STUDENTS DREAM CAR;
CLICK HERE!

———————
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For the EVS Corvette team;
Rick”Corvette“Conti
Your friend and fan……in Wisconsin!!!
National Corvette Director
EVS Chevrolet
W 4873 Hwy RR
Random Lake WI 53075
EMAIL RICK @ EVS CHEVROLET HERE
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Phone: (800) 657-0749
Fax: (920) 994-9374

6 Responses to “Corvette Here to stay!!!”

  1. Chevrolet » Corvette Here to stay!!! Says:

    […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by Rick Corvette Conti […]

  2. Rick Corvette Conti » Blog Archive » Corvette Plant is ROLLING! Says:

    […] « Corvette Here to stay!!! […]

  3. jhohlman Says:

    I like the way “GM’s Bowling Green plant General Manager” ‘Wil Cooksey’ thinks..I hoped that the recent comments and suggestions of tuff times ahead by “Tadge Juechter”_’General Motors Chief Engineer for the Chevrolet Corvette’, about ‘new fuel efficiency standards’_will rely more on new and more advanced “Twin-Turbo/Supercharger technologies” such as currently being used by several other OEM’s/and other more advanced mechanical/electronics technology applications_than simply shrinking engine sizes and power considerations..

    As for..”In the end, the solution to the Corvette fuel economy puzzle may have to involve trade-offs between performance and price to meet the needs of greater efficiency. In the end, Corvette buyers may have to accept that a more fuel-efficient sports car will cost a little more” by Juechter..I don’t agree with..Thanks!

  4. jhohlman Says:

    Rick..By the way_here is some interesting info on the LSA/LS9 motor and ‘transmission’ that is going into the 2009 CTS-V Caddy..Plus some nice pic’s for your readers..
    http://www.motorauthority.com/news/sedans/2009-cadillac-cts-v-embargo-blown-full-story-and-high-res-pics/

  5. Rick Corvette Conti Says:

    thanks….I knew there was a Caddy crossover. Everyone wants to be like Corvette. (wink)

  6. jhohlman Says:

    Rick_as you indicated in a previous posting_”NOR WAS I ABLE to see an Automatic Z06… Now don’t you performance guys get mad at me. I know in my heart, GM would sell tons in an auto Z06, I have been over this time and time again and the folks buying one would even sacrifice performance #’s just for the right to own one. GM I know you’re watching and I know either an auto Z or an auto ZR1 done and sitting at the tech center……LET ‘ER ROLL GUYS”!

    I believe that questioned has been answered now !

    “Two six-speed transmissions will be available, one manual, the other a ‘paddle-shifted Hydramatic automatic’ - a first for the CTS-V. The manual is a dual-disc clutch-equipped Tremec TR6060″.

    Just a matter of time now for a Z06/ZR1..’paddle-shifted Hydramatic automatic’..6 speed !

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