With the C8 Chevrolet Corvette range being more diverse than ever, it’s understandable if you’re not quite sure what the best model is. And while that depends on your needs and, alas, your budget, there’s something you should know. The Corvette’s Chief Engineer, Tadge Juechter, recently bought the base C8 Stingray when choosing a personal car.
No, that “base” particle doesn’t exactly mean Juechter skipped options like the Z51 Performance Package (he didn’t mention the exact spec, but I just can’t imagine him doing that). Instead, it refers to Juechter steering clear of the track special that is the C8 Z06 and the C8 E-Ray AWD hybrid, buying for the entry-level C8 Corvette Stingray instead.
He broke the news to Jay Leno while being the latter’s passenger in the C8 E-Ray for the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. This news comes as Chevrolet is preparing to introduce the C8 Corvette ZR1—set to debut next year as a 2025 model, the mid-engined ZR1 will add a pair of turbos to the Z06’s flat-plane crankshaft V8 for a massive 850 hp. And, with the C8 ZR1 prototype proving too loud for the Nurburgring’s 130 dB sound limit, it seems those turbos haven’t quite silenced its LT7 powerplant.
After that, the mid-engined Corvette is getting the Zora version, which should mix the twin-turbo LT7 V8 of the ZR1 with electric assistance and become the big, loony brother of the E-Ray. Plus, GM has already confirmed an all-electric Corvette built on GM’s Ultium platform.
With at least 53,000 C8 Corvettes built in 2023, this is the highest-volume one in the 70-year history of the sports car
While talking to Jay Leno, Tadge Juechter revealed some impressive production numbers for the C8 generation, among others. So, according to the Corvette Chief Engineer, four years after the unveiling of the mid-engined Corvette (production kicked off in February 2020), the model has sold over 120,000 units—to put that into perspective, the entire production run of the C7 Corvette hit 190,000 units, a mark the C8 will surpass in 2024.
The 2023 model year, which was an extended one, is the highest-volume one in the 70-year history of the Corvette, with over 53,000 units produced. For the record, 1979 used to be the Corvette’s best year, with 53,807 units built.
“This 2023 model year is a longer model, we’re changing over in the fall [the episode was obviously filmed earlier in the year] and it will be—we think—the highest production volume Corvette model year ever (in 70 years): 53,000 units and that’s that’s a long model year. We could probably build over 40k in a calendar year now,” Juechter said.
For the record, previous C8 production numbers are as follows: 20,368 units for the 2020MY, 26,216 cars for the 2021MY and 25,831 vehicles for the 2022MY.
The engineer added that, currently, Chevrolet is building about 1,000 units of the C8 Corvette Z06 per month.
It’s worth noting that we are now in the 2024 model year for the Corvette, with production having started on September 11, 2023. And here’s the cheapest 2024 Corvette you can buy.
C8 Corvette vs. Porsche 911 and 718
It’s no secret that, with the mid-engined switch of the C8 generation, the Corvette went after Porsche sportscars—the 911 in particular, but also the 718—harder than ever before.
And with the upcoming 992.2 911 facelift—debuting in the next six months—confirmed to introduce at least one hybrid 911, the competition between the German and the American sportscars is only getting fiercer.
Now, this is the point where some people will point out that the ‘Vette and the 911/718 each have their loyal customers. And while that is entirely accurate, there will always be buyers who prefer a more mathematical comparison. So perhaps by buying a C8 Stingray and not, say, the race-bread Z06, Juechter is inviting them to look at the best bang for the buck and bet on one particular horse in this race.
As for the video below, Tadge Juechter talks about buying a C8 Stingray at the 26:55 mark. And seeing Jay listening to him and briefly interrupting by flooring the C8 E-Ray at times has to be the best part of the the clip.