Virtual And Reality Meet At Corvettes At Carlisle

Nature is full of annual migrations by air, sea, or land, and this year thousands of Corvette enthusiasts flocked to Carlisle Pennsylvania’s Corvettes At Carlisle event, much like they had done for decades. The old Chinese proverb that states, “May you live in interesting times” must have had the year 2020 in mind. Many folks are finding new ways to enjoy the things they hold dear, and sometimes, they need a little help from the internet to make it happen.

Such is the case with the Corvette supernova known as Corvettes At Carlisle, held at the Carlisle, Pennsylvania fairgrounds each August. Attendees of the event know the Carlisle Events team puts together an extraordinary array of new and old, pristine, and project Corvettes, interspersed with enough vintage and aftermarket products to make any car run—better. The Carlisle Events team was also hard at work, making sure those in attendance were safe and had a great time. For those who couldn’t be there personally, the team made great strides to include them as well.

The winner of the People's Choice- Best In Show Contest, Johnny McLean, came to Corvettes at Carlisle with the COOLEST trunk display. This ingenious enthusiast blended the virtual and reality in the rear hatch of his C6! Clever!

Bowling Green has built over 8,000 Corvettes this year which have been flowing into customers’ garages for some time. They also just started shipping convertible C8s. Attending shows such as Corvettes at Carlisle give the entire Corvette team opportunity to speak with owners of these cars about concerns and praises, which could then be used to improve future models.

Chevrolet has always had an impressive display of the newest Corvettes on-hand at Carlisle, but due to the current situation, opted not to display this year. Instead, Chief Executive Engineer, Tadge Juechter and Harlan Charles, Corvette Product Manager, (BOTH men are some of Corvette’s biggest fans and have supported Corvettes at Carlisle for years) opted to sit down wih the Carlisle Events Co-owner Lance Miller to do a virtual live stream during the event.

Kerbeck Chevrolet brought a truckload of C8s to the event.

Whereas the Corvette Team would typically attend and spend the weekend doing seminars and exchanging information with Corvette faithful, Lance put together an opportunity for Tadge and Harlan to share a little about the current and next year’s Corvette production. There was also an opportunity for viewers to chime in with their pressing questions, so long as they didn’t center on future products.

Both men are always excellent interviews and their in-depth knowledge of all things Corvette gives them a solid platform of reference. The conversation addressed some of the changes for the 2021 Corvette, as well as some additional information on the current model. There were even a few tidbits of things rolling around at GM. Here are a few that caught our ear, but feel free to watch the video for the whole story.

The 2020 Corvette has been the darling of the media lately and even with production hindered, Corvette still rules the luxury sports car market, showing that it is a hit with buyers as well!

Powering Up Team Corvette

Tadge begins by addressing some recent (this week) changes within the halls of GM. He states that the entire Corvette Team has been moved into a new part of the corporation under the Battery Electric Vehicles Division. For those who might be wondering why GM’s halo vehicle, which has made a good living consuming hydrocarbons, might become part of such a group, you only need to heed Tadge’s words to see why.

He states that GM’s goal is to be a zero-emissions corporation, and while this is a long-term goal, it all begins with a first step. There has been talk of a hybrid Corvette that uses battery-power to augment the car’s already-amazing performance. The fact that a tick shy of 500 horsepower is par for the base model only assures us that a higher-variant is already in the books, even if they aren’t the history books—yet!

As part of GM’s BEV Division, could a hybrid be in Corvette’s future?

Tadge goes on to say that this in no way compromises the Corvette Team, but in fact, it actually adds to the team members’ capability. He goes on to state this in no way changes the C8 portfolio. To which we wonder if that chapter may have already been written into Corvette’s playbook from the beginning, but what do we know? Tadge admits there are some benefits to electrification (we really dig the 100-percent torque at zero RPM), but also some pitfalls. Many times, charge rates, aerodynamics, and other “green” concepts dictate a car which is devoid of character and spirit. If there’s one thing Corvette does have, it’s character and spirit, and if there ever was a team who could successfully meld the two ideas, I’d say the current team has as good a shot as any of them, both past or present.

New For 2021

Harlan and Tadge then focused the conversation on next year’s production. Items such as color choices and interior as well as exterior options consumed much of the conversation. Additional suspension options included non-Z51 Mag Ride availability, to which Tadge pointed out will also feature adjustable spring seats to easily set ride adjustments. Wireless phone connectivity will mean fewer cables within the cabin for 2021, and additional settings in “Z-Mode” will help enthusiastic drivers tweak the cars to their liking.

Tadge and Harlan illustrated some new options to help personalize the look and feel of driving your C8 for 2021.

Other big news for 2021 is the availability of a right-hand drive C8. While this was anticipated since the car was introduced, Tadge and Harlan speak freely about driving some of the test vehicles currently undergoing testing and validation. Tadge states that the first production cars are slated for Japan, where they sold out almost instantly. Apparently, Corvette looks rather tasty as an import! For those right-hand-required drivers, Corvette’s Chief Engineer assures them that even the mirrored interior will be as driver-focused as the U.S. version, not a watered-down variant.

No better example of “dead air” could be had than when the discussion came around to the highly-anticipated Z06 variant of the C8, Of course, “won’t discuss future product” was as much as the duo would offer, but of course, the internet is under no such limitation.

A well-rounded palette of new color options is afforded the Corvette C8’s buyer for next year.

Altogether, the virtual seminar was full of all the information these men could offer in person, but it still cannot replace the personal interaction, as well as the sweet-smelling leather while sitting in one of the new C8s under GM’s usual tent. I guess now we know what the Chinese proverb actually meant, and sometimes, I don’t think they meant it as a compliment! That said, we’re ALL looking forward to next year’s event when hopefully, things will not be so “interesting.” For that, we only need to wait one year, when the next Corvettes at Carlisle happens on August 26-28 (Thursday-Saturday), 2021.  Learn more at www.CarlisleEvents.com.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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