Craig Lowndes samples the C8 Corvette at The Bend

The C8 Chevrolet Corvette makes its first public appearance Down Under at The Bend Motorsport Park

Photographers: Dave Carey

Key points

  • C8 Corvette makes brief public appearance
  • First shipment to arrive Down Under in Q4
  • Demo example still in left-hand-drive form

THE 2022 C8 Chevrolet Corvette made a fleeting appearance on Australian soil today, at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Punters at the OTR Supersprint Supercars event were the first members of the public in Australia to be allowed a glimpse of the new mid-engined Vette and amongst them was Street Machine scribe Dave Carey. Behind the wheel of the left-hand-drive C8 was General Motors Speciality Vehicles (GMSV) boss, Joanne Stogiannis.

“It was very much a blink and you’d miss it situation,” said Dave. “The car wasn’t on public display or anything like that. The GMSV folks idled the car through the pits and then took it for one gentle lap. I was hoping they’d give it a bit of a rev so we could hear what it sounds like on the noise, but sadly no.”

After the Corvette finished its lap, a group of classic Holdens from FX to VF took their own lap of honour.

Shortly afterwards, GMSV dropped a video starring the C8 and Craig Lowndes that was shot at The Bend the previous afternoon, after the track was closed to the public.

“I know that what I did was a “demonstration run”, but I gave it a workout. I think it was a bit over 240km/h into turn one, and coupled with the paddle shift, the car all works extremely smoothly,” says Lowndes. You can check out more of his commentary in the video, above.

So what did the punters think? “The reaction from people I spoke to was overwhelmingly positive,” said Dave.

“Everyone was impressed by the styling, though some thought it sat a bit high in the front. I suspect that may have been a suspension setting. Some did question if they could afford to buy one, but you’re always going to get that!

“The fact that this car was left-hand-drive had some of them thinking that the Aussie-delivered C8s would be converted in Australia like the Camaro, but I told them that the cars will be built RHD in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“For mine, $144,990 sounds like good value for a mid-engine V8 sports car that is fairly exotic, chassis-wise. Visually, I thought it looked amazing. What is wild to me, is that the car is immediately identifiable as a Corvette. That’s pretty impressive, when you consider what a jump in evolution it represents. I can’t wait until Q4 for it to go on sale.”

“What really excites me about the C8 is that it is the culmination of six decades of effort by people inside GM to build a mid-engine Corvette,” said Dave.

“Right back to Zora Arkus-Duntov. He joined GM in 1953 and hated how crude the first Corvette was underneath. He built the CERV I and CERV II (Chevrolet Engineering Reasearch Vehicle) to push the cause and they were followed by a stack more mid-engined prototypes during the 1970s and 1980s.

“They were all stunning and some were even rotary-powered! So as an automotive history geek, it is cool to see that vision finally realised.”