Return of the Stingray
Chevrolet is redefining modern performance with today’s debut of the all-new Corvette Stingray. And only a Corvette with the perfect balance of technology, design and performance can wear the iconic Stingray designation.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with an estimated 450 horsepower (335 kW) and 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm). It is also the most capable standard model ever, able to accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip. It is expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg of the current model.
The all-new Corvette Stingray shares only two parts with the previous generation Corvette. It incorporates an all-new frame structure and chassis, a new powertrain and supporting technologies, as well as completely new exterior and interior designs. Highlights include:
- An interior that includes real carbon fiber, aluminum and hand-wrapped leather materials, two new seat choices – each featuring a lightweight magnesium frame for exceptional support – and dual eight-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens
- Advanced driver technologies, including a five-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors 12 vehicle attributes to the fit the driver’s environment and a new seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for perfect shifts every time
- An all-new 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel
- Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel; composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; carbon-nano composite underbody panels and a new aluminum frame help shift weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio
- A sculptured exterior features advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability
- Track-capable Z51 Performance Package including: an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability.
The new Corvette Stingray will be built at GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant, which underwent a $131-million upgrade, including approximately $52 million for a new body shop to manufacture the aluminum frame in-house for the first time.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe goes on sale in the third quarter of 2013.
Handcrafted, high-tech interior
- Premium materials including genuine aluminum and available carbon fiber trim
- More connected driving experience through the smaller-diameter steering wheel and two new seat choices
- Advanced technologies including standard dual, high-resolution information screens and available color head-up display.
The new Corvette Stingray interior blends fine materials and craftsmanship with advanced technologies that contribute to a more connected and more engaging driving experience, said Helen Emsley, interior design director.
The smaller, 14.1-inch-diameter (360 mm) steering wheel fosters a more direct, immediate feel to directional inputs. The attention to the driver extends to the smallest details, including the flat, precise stitching on the steering wheel designed to provide a smooth, consistent feel.
Precise and elegant stitching also is seen in the available Napa leather trim of the all-new seats.
Two seating choices will be offered: a GT seat for all-around comfort and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering which provides greater support on the track.
The frame structure for both seats is made of magnesium for greater strength and less weight than comparable steel frames. They’re also more rigid, contributing to the enhanced feeling of support during performance driving.
Additional performance-enhancing details of the interior resulted from designers’ “field trips” to GM’s Proving Ground in Milford, Mich., where high-performance driving experiences spurred the design and implementation of several features, including a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering.
High-performance driving also influenced elements of the configurable display screens and available head-up display, which vary depending on the driving mode, including the Track display inspired by the C6.R.
The performance-supporting elements inside the new Corvette Stingray are complemented by unprecedented attention to detail and build quality, including the sweeping arch motif over the driver cockpit trim and the seamless transition of the line from the instrument panel to the door.
All models feature a fully-wrapped interior, where every surface is covered with premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.
A blend of hand craftsmanship and machined precision is intended to ensure the fit, finish and ambiance of the cabin is first-rate. The leather-wrapped instrument panel, for example, features hand-selected and hand-stretched materials for better grain matching with stitching performed by robots that deliver perfect seams.
There’s even a micro-LED screen for the passenger’s climate control placed below the vent on the on the dash away from the performance features on the instrument panel.
Click a photo below to enlarge and view the gallery
- Driver Mode Selector optimizes 12 vehicle attributes
- Configurable screens and head-up display can be tailored to the driver’s preference
- Central touch screen uses gesture-recognition technology.
At the core of the Corvette Stingray’s driver-focused technologies is the cockpit-mounted Driver Mode Selector, which allows drivers to optimize the car for their driving preference and road conditions via five settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track.
The Driver Mode Selector is easy to use via a rotary knob near the shifter. The Tour mode is the default setting for everyday driving; Weather mode is designed primarily for added confidence while driving in rain and snow; Eco mode is for achieving optimal fuel economy; Sport mode is for spirited road driving and Track mode is for track use.
Twelve performance parameters are adjusted with the selection of each mode, including:
- Gauge cluster configuration: The Tour, Eco and Weather modes feature displays for trip data, audio and navigation; Sport mode shows classic, easy-to-read sports car gauges; and Track mode’s configuration shows a gauge design based on the Corvette Racing C6.R race car display with lap timer
- ETC (Electronic Throttle Control): Adjusts the throttle input curve for the selected mode for improved responsiveness
- Paddle-shift automatic transmission: Adjusts shift comfort and shift points
- Active Fuel Management: in normal mode, the LT1 engine uses V-8 power during acceleration and V-4 power when coasting; in Eco mode the engine remains in V-4 mode to improve fuel economy until aggressive acceleration is needed
- Exhaust (active exhaust system): The system adjusts the timing of the electronically controlled exhaust valves to enhance audible feedback from the V-8 depending on the drive mode
- Electronic limited-slip differential (Z51): Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, to balance between steering response and stability in different driving conditions; more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes
- Steering: Assist effort is adjusted in the modes to provide the driver with the correct steering feel for the driving condition
- Magnetic Ride Control: Adjusts shock damping based on road conditions, from optimized comfort to performance driving
- Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
- Active handling (StabiliTrak stability control): A “competitive” setting is available in Sport and Track modes and is more suited for on-track conditions. It can also be disabled, giving the driver complete control
- Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
- Performance Traction Management: Available in the Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving.
Three configurable displays, including a pair of eight-inch screens and color head-up display, deliver personalized information and convey the different performance parameters of each drive mode.
The two eight-inch screens offer excellent visibility in direct sunlight, with 650 cd/m2 of brightness for the one integrated into the instrument cluster and 1,000 cd/m2 of brightness for the one in the center stack, making it among the brightest screens in the industry. The screen in the center stack also features touch-screen control with gesture recognition and can be lowered to reveal a hidden storage that includes a USB input for device charging or uploads.
The Corvette Stingray delivers an advanced infotainment system, featuring Chevrolet MyLink and high-definition radio, as well as enhanced OnStar with 3D navigation maps. An additional USB port in the center console, a stand-alone audio input jack and an SD card slot provide seamless connectivity.
An available premium 10-speaker audio system includes a bass box and two subwoofers – and speakers with rare-earth magnets that deliver greater sound quality with reduced weight and size.
Every line counts on Corvette Stingray’s functionally elegant exterior
- Aerodynamic design integrates strategies from Corvette racing
- Signature lighting includes distinctive frosted light-emitting diode daytime driving lights, high-intensity discharge headlamps and indirect-LED taillamps
- Carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel enhance front/rear weight balance
While no single detail is repeated from previous generations, the new Corvette Stingray include the distinctive profile defined by a long dash-to-axle ratio and the greenhouse evoking the canopy of a fighter jet with dual-element tail lamps. To this foundation, designers built a form vocabulary from two very different sources: aerospace and nature.
Lighting is a signature element of the Corvette Stingray’s design and reinforces its high-tech aesthetic. At the front, indirect white LED lamps form a distinctive daytime styling cue. They are set in a black-chrome lamp housing with standard HID projector headlamps. The turn signals feature edge-lit amber LED lighting.
All-new, dual-element taillamps represent the greatest departure from tradition and are among the car’s most dramatic elements. The three-dimensional, sculpted lenses house innovative indirect LED lighting. The state-of-the-art lighting uses hidden LED lamps that cast their light up from the bottom of the housing into a reverse reflector, creating an even glow. LED lamps are also used for the white backup lamps. The taillamps integrate functional aircraft-style air outlets for the available differential and transmission coolers.
When it comes to aerodynamics, the new Stingray is in a league of its own. Advanced computer-aided modeling programs were employed to predict and track airflow over, under and through the new Corvette’s body. Engineers and designers also relied on data gleaned from the Corvette Racing program – the most successful program ever in the American Le Mans Series and the 2012 GT class champion – to help balance front and rear grip for high-speed stability.
Many hours were spent in the wind tunnel hand-sculpting surfaces for aesthetics and performance. Functional exterior elements include:
- All models have a new grille/radiator arrangement and hood vents. Venting air out of the hood reduces total front-end lift for improved steering response at high speeds
- The front fender side coves also help vent underhood air pressure to reduce aerodynamic drag
- Models with the automatic transmission or Z51 Performance Package feature a functional vent on driver’s left side directing air over a heat exchanger for the transmission fluid and a similar arrangement on the passenger side that directs air
- over a heat exchanger for the electronic limited slip differential
- Airflow through the differential and transmission heat exchangers exit through the aircraft-inspired taillamp vents and lower-rear fascia air outlets
- The Z51 Performance Package also includes brake-cooling ducts, a unique rear spoiler and additional air deflectors for enhanced track capability.
Engineered to race, built for the road
- New aluminum frame structure is 57-percent stiffer and 99 pounds (45 kg) lighter than the current steel frame
- Innovative use of composite materials, including carbon fiber the hood and roof panels, lightweight Sheet Molded Compound for the fenders, doors and rear quarter panels, and carbon-nano composite for the underbody panels help reduce the weight of the body by a 37 pounds (17 kg)
- New LT1 V-8 uses advanced technologies to produce more power with less fuel and is paired with an industry-exclusive seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching for more precise up and down shifts.
The new Corvette Stingray takes advantage of lightweight materials, advanced manufacturing techniques and technology transfer from the Corvette Racing program to produce an ideal 50/50 weight balance and to deliver a world-class power-to-weight ratio.
The technologically advanced foundation is an all-new aluminum frame structure that is 57 percent stiffer and 99 pounds (45 kg) lighter. The greater torsional rigidity reduces unwanted noise and improves ride and handling.
Compared to the previous generation, which used continuous hydroformed main frame rails with a constant 2mm wall thickness, the new Corvette’s frame features main rails composed of five customized aluminum segments, including aluminum extrusions at each end, a center main rail section and hollow-cast nodes at the suspension interface points. Each segment is tuned – varying in thickness from 2mm to 11mm – tailoring the gauge, shape and strength properties to optimize the requirements for each frame section with minimal weight.
The frame is assembled at an all-new welding shop at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant using a unique laser welding process in which a computer-controlled beam of high energy joins the components with exceptional precision and tolerances of about 0.001-inch.
Supporting the frame’s greater strength and lower weight are complementing chassis elements, including hollow-cast aluminum front and rear cradles that are approximately 25-percent lighter and 20-percent stiffer than the solid cradles used on the previous structure.
The innovative use of materials includes a standard carbon fiber hood and roof panel, as well as underbody panels created with carbon-nano composite technology, an advanced blend of traditional composite material and carbon fiber, which allows lighter underbody panels without a loss of strength or stiffness. Fenders, doors, rear quarter panels and the rear hatch panel are made with lighter-density Sheet Molded Compound than the previous generation. Combined, these materials save approximately 37 pounds (17 kg) versus the previous body structure.
The lightweight elements of the Stingray contribute to the ideal 50/50 weight balance. Combined with its estimated 450 horsepower (335 kW), the new Corvette delivers a better power-to-weight ratio than the Porsche 911 Carrera or Audi R8.
Those 450 horses are generated by an all-new LT1 6.2L Small Block V-8 engine, which produces an estimated 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm). More importantly, it generates 50 lb.-ft. more low-end torque than the previous 6.2L engine, matching the 7.0L LS7 engine from the 2013 Corvette Z06 from 1,000 to 4,000 rpm.
The engine’s performance comes from combining advanced technologies like direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing with an advanced combustion system. More than 10 million hours of computational analysis went into the new Small Block’s design, including more than 6 million hours alone on the combustion system.
The LT1 is backed by a choice of active exhaust systems that are less restrictive than the previous generation, due in part to an increase in diameter from 2.5 inches to 2.75 inches. The standard system offers a 13-percent improvement in airflow and features a pair of butterfly valves that contribute to greater refinement at cruising speeds when the engine is operating in fuel-saving V-4 mode.
An available dual-mode active exhaust system offers a 27-percent improvement in airflow. It features two additional valves that open to a lower-restriction path through the mufflers. When open, these valves increase engine performance and produce a more powerful exhaust note.
The LT1 is mated to either a six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission or an industry-exclusive TREMEC TR6070 seven-speed manual with Active Rev Matching. The Corvette retains its distinctive rear transaxle layout for optimal weight balance.
The seven-speed manual incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts. This driver-selectable feature can be easily engaged or disengaged via paddles on the steering wheel. The seven-speed is used with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch, which deliver greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia. The transmission with the Z51 Performance Package includes specific close-ratio gearing for more aggressive driving.
A six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 paddle-shift automatic is also available. It is optimized for use with Active Fuel Management and features a lower-inertia torque converter for improved shift quality and shift speeds. In addition, shift feel and shift points can be adjusted through the Driver Mode Selector.
More direct, more connected driving feel
- Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control for greater comfort and control
- Electric power steering system tailors steering response and feel
- Electronic limited-slip differential delivers optimal traction
The new Corvette Stingray’s chassis and suspension are designed to take advantage of the lighter, stiffer structure. The reduced structural flex allowed engineers to more precisely tune the suspension and steering for a more nimble and responsive driving experience.
While the Corvette Stingray retains the racing-proven short/long-arm suspension design, front and rear, the components are all-new. Improvements to the suspension include hollow lower control arms which save approximately nine pounds (4 kg) per vehicle and new aluminum rear toe links which save 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg) over previous steel links.
The Corvette Stingray rides on new 18 x 8.5-inch front and 19 x 10-inch rear wheels, while models with the Z51 Performance Package roll on 19 x 8.5-inch front and 20 x 10-inch rear forged aluminum wheels. New Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat tires developed specifically for the seventh-generation Corvette deliver comparable levels of grip than the wider tires of previous models.
As a result, the track-oriented Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package is capable of 1g in cornering acceleration – comparable to the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport. Significantly, that is achieved with narrower and lighter wheels and tires. The reduced “footprint” reduces rolling resistance, steering effort and road noise, contributing to a more nimble feel, more immediate steering response and greater touring comfort and efficiency.
Dimensionally, the new Corvette’s wheelbase is approximately an inch longer than the previous generation, with front and rear tracks that are almost an inch wider. Those changes provide a more stable feel, particularly at high speeds, while the turning radius is decreased by approximately two feet for greater maneuverability in tight turns.
The Corvette Stingray features standard 35mm-piston Bilstein monotube shocks that connect to dual-path aluminum shock mounts that separate the shock rod and shock body load paths. The Z51 Performance Package comes with 45mm-piston Bilstein dampers for more aggressive body control and track capability. Z51 is available with the third-generation Magnetic Ride Control, which features a new twin-wire/dual-coil damper system that reacts 40 percent faster, enabling improved ride comfort and body control.
The new electric power steering system offers variable ratios and variable effort to tailor responsiveness and feel for each driving situation. It also delivers more precise control and feedback to the driver, along with greater variability of effort for high-performance driving and greater on-center sensitivity and linearity. Steering feel was further improved by increasing steering column stiffness by 150 percent, increasing intermediate shaft torsional stiffness by 600 percent, and mounting the steering gear to the front cradle structure. As a result the steering system is five times stiffer than the previous generation.
A smart electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) is included in the Z51 Performance Package and continuously makes the most of the torque split between the rear wheels. The system features a hydraulically actuated clutch that can infinitely vary clutch engagement and can respond from open to full engagement in tenths of a second. It shifts torque based on a unique algorithm which factors in vehicle speed, steering input and throttle position to improve steering feel, handling balance and traction.
The eLSD is fully integrated with StabiliTrak and Performance Traction Management systems. Its calibrations vary among three modes, based on the Drive Mode Selector setting:
- Mode 1 is the default setting for normal driving and emphasizes vehicle stability
- Mode 2 is engaged when electronic stability control is turned off in the Sport or Track Driver Modes. This calibration enables more nimble turn-in and traction while accelerating out of a corner
- Mode 3 is automatically selected when Performance Traction Management is engaged. This calibration has the same function as Mode 2, but is fine-tuned to work with Performance Traction Management.
Standard Brembo brakes, with four-piston fixed calipers derived from racing, deliver exceptional stopping power on the street or track. System highlights include:
- 12.6-inch (320 mm) front rotors and 13.3-inch (338 mm) rear rotors are standard and have 35 percent more swept area than previous-generation brakes. Consequently stopping distance is improved 9 percent
- Dual-cast, slotted 13.6-inch (345 mm) front rotors and 13.3-inch (338 mm) slotted rear rotors are included with Z51 Performance Package. They have 6percent more swept area than the previous-generation Grand Sport and are cooled front and rear for improved track capability. Consequently stopping distance is improved 5 percent
- All brake packages have fixed front and rear calipers are stiffer for more even pad wear, reduced drag and improved modulation.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Preliminary Specifications
|Model:||2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray|
|Body styles / driveline:||2-door hatchback coupe with removable roof panel; rear-wheel drive|
|Construction:||composite and carbon-fiber body panels, hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components|
|Manufacturing location:||Bowling Green, Ky.|
|LT1 6.2L V-8|
|Displacement (cu in / cc):||376 / 6162|
|Bore & stroke (in / mm):||4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92|
|Block material:||cast aluminum|
|Cylinder head material:||cast aluminum|
|Valvetrain:||overhead valve, two valves per cylinder|
|Fuel delivery:||direct injection|
|Horsepower / kW:||450 / 335 (est.)|
|Torque (lb-ft / Nm):||450 / 610 (est.)|
|Type:||seven-speed manual with Active Rev Match||six-speed paddle-shift automatic|
Chassis / Suspension
|Front:||short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber|
|Rear:||short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber|
|Active handling:||Magnetic Selective Ride Control (avail. with Z51)|
|Traction control:||StabiliTrak, electronic stability control|
|Type:||front and rear power-assisted discs with four-piston fixed front and rear calipers (slotted rotors with Z51)|
|Rotor diameter (in / mm):||front: 12.6 / 320 (13.6 / 345 with Z51)
rear: 13.3 / 338
Wheels / Tires
|Wheel size:||front: 18-inch x 8.5-inch (Stingray)
front: 19-inch x 8.5-inch (with Z51)
rear: 19-inch x 10-inch (Stingray)
rear: 20-inch x 10-inch (with Z51)
|Tires:||Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat
front: P245/40R18 (Stingray)
front: P245/35R19(with Z51)
rear: P285/35R19 (Stingray)
rear: P285/30R20(with Z51)
|Wheelbase (in / mm):||106.7 / 2710|
|Overall length (in / mm):||177 / 4495|
|Overall width (in / mm):||73.9 / 1877|
|Overall height (in / mm):||48.6 / 1235|
|Weight distribution (% front / rear):||50 / 50|
2014 C7 Corvette
Return of the Stingray
Missed the reveal? No worries – watch it here!
All-New 2014 Corvette LT1 V-8 a Technological Powerhouse
- Advanced technologies including direct injection, active fuel management, continuously variable valve timing support advanced combustion system
- Preliminary output of 450 horsepower (335 kW) and 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm)
- Helps deliver estimated 0-60 performance in less than four seconds and best-ever fuel economy in the Corvette
When the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette arrives late next year, it will be powered by a technologically advanced, racing-proven 6.2L V-8 delivering an estimated 450 horsepower and helping produce 0-60 times in four seconds flat.
The new Corvette LT1 engine, the first of the Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, combines several advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing to support an advanced combustion system.
“Our objective for the development of the all-new LT1 was to raise the bar for performance car engines,” said Mary Barra, senior vice president, global product development. “We feel that we have achieved that by delivering a true technological masterpiece that seamlessly integrates a suite of advanced technologies that can only be found on a handful of engines in the world.
“What makes this engine truly special is the advanced combustion system that extracts the full potential of these technologies. The art and science behind that combustion system make the Corvette LT1 one of the most advanced V-8 engines in the world,” said Barra.
Output, performance, and fuel economy numbers will not be finalized until early next year, but the new LT1 engine is expected to deliver:
- The most powerful standard Corvette ever, with preliminary output of 450 horsepower (335 kW) and 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm)
- The quickest standard Corvette ever, with estimated 0-60 performance of four seconds
- The most fuel-efficient Corvette ever, exceeding the 2013 EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
“The Holy Grail for developing a performance car is delivering greater performance and more power with greater fuel economy and that’s what we’ve achieved,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “By leveraging technology, we are able to get more out of every drop of gasoline and because of that we expect the new Corvette will be the most fuel-efficient 450 horsepower car on the market.”
Advanced combustion system optimized with 6 million hours of analysis
“The Corvette LT1 represents the most significant redesign in the Small Block’s nearly 60-year history – building on its legacy to make one of the world’s best engines even better,” said Sam Winegarden, vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. “More than just great horsepower, the LT1 has been optimized to produce a broader power band. Below 4,000 rpm, the torque of the Corvette LT1 is comparable to that of the legendary, 7.0L LS7 out of the current Corvette Z06. The LT1 is a sweetheart of a power plant and drivers will feel its tremendous torque and power at every notch on the tachometer.”
Increased power and efficiency were made possible by an unprecedented level of analysis, including computational fluid dynamics, to optimize the combustion system, the direct injection fuel system, active fuel management and variable valve timing systems that support it. More than 10 million hours of computational analysis were conducted on the engine program, including 6 million hours (CPU time) dedicated to the advanced combustion system.
Direct injection is all-new to the engine architecture and is a primary contributor to its greater combustion efficiency by ensuring a more complete burn of the fuel in the air-fuel mixture. This is achieved by precisely controlling the mixture motion and fuel injection spray pattern. Direct injection also keeps the combustion chamber cooler, which allows for a higher compression ratio. Emissions are also reduced, particularly cold-start hydrocarbon emissions, which are cut by about 25 percent.
Active Fuel Management (AFM) – a first-ever application on Corvette – helps save fuel by imperceptibly shutting down half of the engine’s cylinders in light-load driving.
Continuously variable valve timing, which GM pioneered for overhead-valve engines, is refined to support the LT1 AFM and direct injection systems to further optimize performance, efficiency and emissions.
These technologies support the all-new, advanced combustion system, which incorporates a new cylinder-head design and a new, sculpted piston design that is an integral contributor to the high-compression, mixture motion parameters enabled by direct injection.
The LT1 head features smaller combustion chambers designed to complement the volume of the unique topography of the pistons’ heads. The smaller chamber size and sculpted pistons produce an 11.5:1 compression ratio, while the head features large, straight and rectangular intake ports with a slight twist to enhance mixture motion. This is complemented by a reversal of the intake and exhaust valve positions, as compared to the previous engine design. Also, the spark plug angle and depth have been revised to protrude farther into the chamber, placing the electrode closer to the center of the combustion to support optimal combustion.
The pistons feature unique sculpted topography that was optimized via extensive analysis to precisely direct the fuel spray for a more complete combustion. The contours of the piston heads are machined to ensure dimensional accuracy – essential for precise control of mixture motion and the compression ratio.
Race-proven legacy, state-of-the-art performance
The first Small Block V-8 debuted in the Corvette in 1955. It displaced 4.3L (265 cubic inches) and was rated at 195 horsepower, drawing air and fuel through a four-barrel carburetor. Five years later, V-8 power helped Corvette secure its first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2012, the Small Block-powered Corvette Racing C6.R beat Ferrari, BMW and Porsche to sweep the drivers’, team, and manufacturer championships in production-based American Le Mans Series GT class. These championships make Corvette Racing the most successful team in ALMS history, with a total of 77 class wins, eight drivers’ championships, and nine manufacturer and team championships since 2001.
“The engine requirements for a production car and a race car are remarkably similar,” said Jordan Lee, Small Block chief engineer and program manager. “In both cases, you want an engine that is powerful and efficient, compact and lightweight, and durable. That combination is what made the original Small Block so successful. Today, the introduction of state-of-the-art technologies and engineering makes one of the best performance car engines in the world even better.”
As an example, the new LT1 engine is 40 pounds lighter than a competitor’s twin-turbo 4.4L, DOHC V-8 with similar output. That weight savings not only improves the Corvette’s power-to-weight ratio, but also contributes to a near-perfect 50/50 weight balance for enhanced steering response and handling.
The new LT1 is also four inches shorter in overall height than the competitive DOHC V-8. That also improves handling by lowering the center of gravity while enabling a low hood line – contributing to the Corvette’s iconic profile, as well as ensuring exceptional driver visibility.
The new LT1 is the third engine in the Corvette’s history to be so-named, with previous versions introduced in 1970 (Gen 1) and 1992 (Gen 2). All iterations of the LT1 – and all Small Block engines – have shared a compact design philosophy that fosters greater packaging flexibility in sleek vehicles such as the Corvette.
“The power and efficiency of the Small Block V-8 are hallmarks of Corvette performance,” said Lee. “But, the compact size and great power-to-weight are just as important for the overall driving experience. The all-new LT1 will play a huge role in making the all-new Corvette a world-class sports car, in terms of technology, performance, and refinement.”
Engine features and highlights
All-aluminum block and oil pan: The Gen 5 block was developed with math-based tools and data acquired in GM’s racing programs, providing a light, rigid foundation for an impressively smooth engine. Its deep-skirt design helps maximize strength and minimize vibration. As with the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Small Blocks, the bulkheads accommodate six-bolt, cross-bolted main-bearing caps that limit crank flex and stiffen the engine’s structure. A structural aluminum oil pan further stiffens the powertrain.
The block features nodular iron main bearing caps, which represent a significant upgrade over more conventional powdered metal bearing caps. They are stronger and can better absorb vibrations and other harmonics to help produce smoother, quieter performance.
Compared to the Gen 4 engine, the Gen 5’s cylinder block casting is all-new, but based on the same basic architecture. It was refined and modified to accommodate the mounting of the engine-driven direct injection high-pressure fuel pump. It also incorporates new engine mount attachments, new knock sensor locations, improved sealing and oil-spray piston cooling.
Advanced oiling system, with available dry-sump system: The LT1 oiling system – including oil-spray piston cooling – was also optimized for improved performance. It is driven by a new, variable-displacement oil pump that enables more efficient oil delivery, per the engine’s operating conditions. Its dual-pressure control enables operation at a very efficient oil pressure at lower rpm coordinated with AFM and delivers higher pressure at higher engine speeds to provide a more robust lube system for aggressive engine operation.
Standard oil-spray piston cooling sprays the underside of each piston and the surrounding cylinder wall with an extra layer of cooling oil, via small jets located at the bottom of the cylinders. For optimal efficiency, the oil jets are used only when they are needed the most: at start-up, giving the cylinders extra lubrication that reduces noise, and at higher engine speeds, when the engine load demands, for extra cooling and greater durability.
An available dry-sump oiling system promotes exceptional lubrication system performance during aggressive driving maneuvers and high cornering loads. It includes two stages: a pressure stage and a scavenge stage. The pressure stage includes the new, dual-pressure-control and variable-displacement vane pump.
Dexos semi-synthetic motor oil, with a 5W30 specification, helps reduce friction to further enhance the LT1’s efficiency.
New, tri-lobe camshaft: Compared to the Gen 4 Small Block, the camshaft remains in the same position relative to the crankshaft and is used with a new rear cam bearing, but it features an all-new “tri-lobe” designed lobe which exclusively drives the engine-mounted direct injection high-pressure fuel pump, which powers the direct-injection combustion system. The cam’s specifications include 14mm/13.3mm (0.551/0.524-inch) intake/exhaust lift, 200/207-crank angle degrees intake/exhaust duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift and a 116.5-degree cam angle lobe separation.
New, cam-driven fuel pump: The direct injection system features a very-high-pressure fuel pump, which delivers up to 15Mpa (150 bar). The high-pressure, engine-driven fuel pump is fed by a conventional fuel-tank-mounted pump. The direct injection pump is mounted in the “valley” between cylinder heads – beneath the intake manifold – and is driven by the camshaft at the rear of the engine. This location ensures any noise generated by the pump is muffled by the intake manifold and other insulation in the valley.
PCV-integrated rocker covers: One of the most distinctive features of the new engine is its domed rocker covers, which house the, patent-pending, integrated positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system that enhances oil economy and oil life, while reducing oil consumption and contributing to low emissions. The rocker covers also hold the direct-mount ignition coils for the coil-near-plug ignition system. Between the individual coil packs, the domed sections of the covers contain baffles that separate oil and air from the crankcase gases – about three times the oil/air separation capability of previous engines.
Intake manifold and throttle body assembly: The LT1’s intake manifold features a “runners in a box” design, wherein individual runners inside the manifold feed a plenum box that allows for excellent, high-efficiency airflow packaged beneath the car’s low hood line.
Acoustic foam is sandwiched between the outside top of the intake manifold and an additional acoustic shell to reduce radiated engine noise, as well as fuel pump noise.
The manifold is paired with an electronically controlled throttle, featuring an 87mm bore diameter and a “contactless” throttle position sensor design that is more durable and enables greater control.
Four-into-one exhaust manifolds: The LT-1 uses a cast version of the “four-into-one” short-header exhaust manifold design used on the Gen 4 LS7 engine. The cast header passages enable consistent exhaust flow into the “wide mouth” collector at the converter.
Cooling system, humidity sensor and more: Additional features and technologies of the Gen 5 Small Block include:
- A revised cooling system with an offset water pump and thermostat for more efficient performance
- Air induction humidity sensor ensures optimal combustion efficiency, regardless of the surrounding air’s humidity
- 58X ignition system with individual ignition coil modules and iridium-tip spark plugs
- All-new “E92” engine controller.
General Motors’ investment in the Gen 5 Small Block will create or retain more than 1,600 jobs in five North American plants, including Tonawanda, New York, which recently received upgrades to support its production.