After years of speculation, the Chevrolet Corvette is going mid-engined

America’s original sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette, is about to undergo its biggest change in its 65-year history as it reaches its eighth generation next year. Since its inception in 1953, the combination of a front-mounted V8 engine, compact two-seater cabin and rear-wheel drive have remained essential parts of the Corvette’s recipe. But that’s now set to change, as after years of speculation, these spy images reveal that the next Corvette will move its V8 engine behind the driver, creating a new all-American mid-engined supercar.

The new Corvette’s short bonnet, low scuttle and long tail are all clear indications of the engine’s relocation, not to mention the massive side intakes that will feed the V8 engine. Chevrolet has remained typically tight-lipped about its performance flagship, but as proven with these body-on prototypes, the wait for some extra clarity shouldn’t be too far away.

There is also new speculation as to what will power the new Corvette. GM’s luxury brand Cadillac has launched its own, all-new 4.2 twin turbocharged V8 engine that produces nearly 410kW when fitted to the large CT6 V-Sport sedan. Will this new engine finally call an end to the Corvette’s traditional small-block pushrod V8 tradition?

As with prior generations, Chevrolet has also been developing a racing version of the Corvette alongside the production car, likely to be entered into the American Le Mans and endurance racing series’ to battle the Ford GT and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

The current Corvette has been on sale since 2014, and with each successive model year has grown in power and capability, culminating with the flagship ZR1, which produces 554kW from its supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine. Although its capability, speed and handling have been praised, the inherent limitations of its front-engined, rear-drive layout has been a factor in how far Chevrolet has been able to push the Corvette, something that should change with this new generation.

As Porsche continually pushes the boundaries of sports car capability with the 911, and with McLaren’s increasing presence in the junior supercar space with its Sports Series, it’s not surprising that Chevrolet has decided to start with a blank sheet of paper with its all-new supercar.