2009 Corvette SS

Let's have a look at what the Corvette staff have been working up for the ultra-fast coupe class, the 2009 Corvette SS. At least SS is the name most used in referring to this 600-plus-hp, supercharged beauty. You might think it looks like today's Corvette, except for the tape over the fenders and the black covering on the hood. But you'd be wrong.

Let’s go through the subtle—but very important—changes needed to make this a 200-mph car for the track. We think the hood covering hides a new bulge there—a necessary tweak to make room for that supercharger nestled near the Corvette at the top of the 6.2-liter V8 engine.

There's also a solid possibility that the new hood on the new Corvette is made of carbon fiber instead of the traditional Corvette fiberglass. If so, that's a major move toward weight savings. Based on the black top we’ve seen on our spy shots of this puppy in blue and then again in red—though it’s new to the yellow, which we’ve also already seen—we feel even more strongly that the prototypes are already carrying carbon-fiber black roof panels.

You might check out the stingy aero lip atop the deck in the rear. That’s new to the Corvette line, and a necessary accessory when traveling at high speed: At speed, the lip catches the air stream and forces the stream upward, creating a down pressure on the rear wheels (always good to have ultimate traction when moving at this car's hyperspeeds).

That black lower rear fascia arrangement surrounding the exhaust tips also looks new to us.

The rear view also shows new, stingy "mud flaps" that extend the fenders to cover the width of the Michelin tires. We told you before that Michelin and Goodyear were bidding for the tire contract for this vehicle, and so far it’s looking good for Michelin to take Good years off the Corvette for the first time ever. The Michelin sidewall details include "light load" and "outside" designations, with separate designs for each wheel. Rear wheels probably have an aspect ratio of 35 on 20-in. rims. Another detail near the fender is hidden beneath the black tape—probably two separate slots for air evacuation.

Finally, we see the design of the wheels themselves once again. Behind the dual five-spoke design on the outside of the rims, there are 10 additional spokes set inboard. As with the carbon-fiber body parts, the wheel design offers ultra-light, unsprung weight to aid handling and ride and to cut down on the vehicle's overall weight. Boy, is this beauty gonna need it.
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