In May of 2016, General Motors filed patent applications for an active aerodynamic system. The patent papers featured drawings of a C7 Chevrolet Corvette, and described aero aids that the system could operate on, including a front splitter, air dam, grille shutters, and rear diffuser. That patent was published nearly a year later, in March 2017. Last month, GM had another three patents published for specific active aero mechanisms: active side skirts, active spoilers, and downforce-generating ducts. The application again used C7 Corvette drawings, leading people to believe that the C8 is in line for the aero gadgets.
The previous patent described the use of a sensor to measure body height, and a controller used to adjust various aero surfaces to maintain the ideal height relative relative to a reference plane. One special feature of that system was that it accounted for suspension action and tire deflection.
The latest patent app goes into the features such a system might control. The active side skirts would be able to extend toward the road in order to contain airflow under the car and streamline airflow around the rear wheels. The active spoiler could raise and lower the entire structure by moving stanchions within rails set into the fenders, as well as pivot just the wing portion. And get this, one image in the patent app shows a movable spoiler on the roof. The downforce-generating ducts, potentially placed on the roof and the lower portion of the vehicle, would hasten airflow past the car, and could otherwise be used to produce a venturi effect. Should the mid-engined Corvette wear such appurtenances, America’s sports car would get more ammo to join a tech conversation dominated by European marques.
After pulling a no-show at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, rumors say we’ll see the C8 in Detroit next year. Or who knows, we might be seeing three – a standard flavor with an evolution of the current 6.2-liter V8, one with the new 5.5-liter flat-plane-crank V8, and a twin-turbo version of that V8 with about 800 horsepower. Best to wait and see, though; looks like whatever we’re getting, and whenever we get it, it’ll be pretty good.