GM has improved the performance and vehicle dynamics of the latest Chevrolet Corvette by making it lighter.
The 2014MY Corvette Stingray is the most powerful and fuel efficient version of the Corvette to date. An improved aluminium body structure and carbon fibre composite panels reduce weight and increase torsional stiffness.
Corvette executive chief engineer, Tadge Juechter, said: “We apply technologies and strategies developed for Corvette Racing directly to the production car. That influence can be seen in virtually every aspect of the new Corvette Stingray, from the aerodynamic design to the use of carbon fibre.”
The aluminium body is 45 lighter than before, and 57% stiffer. Whereas the previous generation Corvette used one piece, hydroformed longitudinal members of uniform wall thickness – 2mm – the new model features fabricated assemblies, increasing design freedom.
Each assembly comprises five sections, of optimised strength and stiffness, joined by laser welding. There are extrusions at each end, a profile in the middle and hollow castings at the suspension mounting points. The wall thickness of the assembly varies from 2-11mm.
Hollow cast aluminium subframes are used front and rear, reducing weight and increasing stiffness by 25% compared to the previous designs.
The hood and roof panels are made from carbon-fibre composites. So to are the underbody panels but these use nanotechnology to save even more weight. The rest of the body panels are made fromsheet moulding compound, as before, although these too are lighter than before