This game-changing supercar is hungry
The room pulsed with the revved-up engine roar of the new C8 Corvette carefully driven onto the stage. What a fierce beast. Amid of cloud of theatrical smoke, Vlad Kapitonov, Lead Exterior Designer and Tristan Murphy, Lead Interior Designer climbed out to address the crowd of industry leaders gathered for the Car Design News LA Forum 2019 recently held during the press days at the LA Autoshow.
Kapitonov explained the inspiration for the design was not only to pay homage to the styling of the Corvette badge, but he was also inspired by animals – the aggressive, predatory kind. “I like to put headphones on, turn on some loud music and let it flow,” he said while showing some of his early sketches. He envisioned the taillights with a strong wide signature, as if peering out of the darkness with malice, or considering his inspiration, hunger.
This first-ever production mid-engine C8 Corvette Stingray was released last July and has earned the coveted Motortrend Car of the Year 2020 award. The magazine describes the supercar as, “a game changer, an inflection point, and a reminder that when Americans truly set our minds to a task, look out. For soon you’ll be standing on the moon – or driving the sports car equivalent thereof,” writes Jonny Lieberman. A fitting analogy considering the convertible model was launched at the Kennedy Space Station last October.
“The engine is the jewel and the car is the setting,” explained Kapitonov who said the team took a wholistic approach to ensure the exposed mechanicals that can be seen through the window aligned with the overall aesthetic of the vehicle.
With the mid-engine placement, the instrument panel can be much lower for greater visibility and was designed with an extremely sculpted approach. “The scooped front window allows the interior to be seen from all angles – you can see the IP’s wings, we wanted to capture the undercuts and shadows,” explained Murphy. The shape of the steering wheel also allows for a better view of the road, with a square top and race grips at 3 and 9. The fighter-pilot cockpit design wraps around the driver and for the first time ever, it will be available in a right-hand drive option as General Motors targets new markets for this supercar.
Murphy explained that the design was so carefully considered that even the pull cups on the doors were meticulously integrated. “You will touch that every time you enter the car, it has to be right,” he said.
It truly is all about the details and catering to the individual consumer said Kapitov, “There are so many combinations of options available on this car, I want to tell the consumer how unique their car really is – they could end up with, maybe not a one-of-a-kind, but maybe a three-of-a-kind based on what they select.”
A proud partner with General Motors, Standex Engraving Mold-Tech was involved with all the lighting tools for this vehicle – including those menacing taillights – and the texturing of various interior components. Functional textures were also engineered for the substrate tools to provide better adhesion for the leather onto the substrates.