Mid-engine Corvette tires – our picks
BY: Discount Tire
Artist's original rendering of the C8 Corvette.
What does the Chevy Corvette represent?
Pedigree – America’s first mass-market sports car, in production since 1953.
Power – Displacement from 235 cubic inches on up to a massive 7.0 liters of engine and supercharger have provided the Corvette its heartbeat over seven generations.
Consistency – Its sloping design language has stayed constant over its many variants, with a big V8 up front under a long hood and its iconic four-porthole brake light array largely being the setup of record.
That is, until now.
The first two of these descriptors remain intact with the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, but the massive engine / rear wheel drive / convertible blueprint appears to be the first alteration to the Corvette formula over its almost 70-year history.
Moving the engine to the middle of the Corvette is a drastic departure from its design roots, but the performance difference (or increase) might not be greater from one generation to the next. The driving dynamics will be wildly different from the feeling of being behind the wheel of a Corvette, due in no small part to its shift in weight distribution.
It’s a bold step into an exotic design territory.
Other mid-engine competitors in the upcoming Corvette’s crosshairs would undoubtedly include the current Ford GT, as well as any number of Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Except that all of those vehicles start well above six-figure dollar amounts. The new Corvette should start around $60,000 in entry-level Stingray trim.
If the rumor mill is to be believed, it shouldn’t be losing any cylinders either. Allegedly shipping in its first variants with GM’s current 6.2-liter pushrod V8, if anything it’s actually speculated to be gaining an additional couple of turbos along its development cycle – and possibly an all-wheel drive hybrid option called the “Zora” that could touch 1000 horsepower.
But knowing how Corvette purists are, despite these positive-seeming changes there’ll still be plenty of griping about the sunsetting of its manual transmission. (Though you wouldn’t be able to shift quickly enough anyway.)
What tires are going to come on the new Corvette?
All speculation aside, we’re interested in the rubber C8 Corvette owners will be ripping massive burnouts on.
Test vehicles have been spied riding on the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – probably the ultimate max performance summer tire currently available. (It has since been confirmed that the ZR1 will be shod in the 4S straight from the factory.)
As of July 2019, it has since been confirmed that a new ultra high performance all-season run flat has been developed specifically for the new mid-engine C8 corvette by Michelin. Referred to as the "Michelin Pilot Sport ALS" in some industry publications, a Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 4 is also a new nameplate that has been developed in close synchrony with Chevy's R&D on the C8 Corvette.
Per Michelin, the reason behind the creation of these tires was to address the concerns and demand of prior generation Corvette drivers who were looking for a tire that would enable them to drive their Corvette year-round.
These tires should also have a reduction in rolling resistance by close to 25%, enabling a faster translation of the power of the mid-engine Corvette's 6.2L V8 to the road, which Michelin claims can help the Corvette generate over 1g of lateral acceleration.
The ratio on the mid-engine Corvette's staggered tire setup is also unreal: 245/35 ZR 19 in the front and 305/30 ZR 20 on the rear.
On top of that, the ratio on its staggered tire setup is unreal: 245/35 ZR 19 in the front and 305/30 ZR 20 on the rear.
For reference, this is double the normal 300-millimeter section width difference found on most staggered muscle cars.
While the C7 Corvette ZR1 came with 335 section width tires on the rear wheels, its fronts were only 50 millimeters narrower compared to the 60-millimeter difference on the mid-engine Corvette prototype.
This might not mean much, but it does speak to the radical implication the difference in weight distribution creates when switching from a front-engine layout to the upcoming mid-engine version.
But the biggest kicker of all could be that the prototypes seen testing and making appearances at media events are speculated to be the entry-level mid-engine Corvette; any Z06, Grand Sport or ZR1 trim levels are certain to come with exponentially wider original equipment tires, especially on the fronts.
Leaked order guides also indicate there will be another tire type available for the upcoming C8 Corvette – run-flats, all-season performance and even more quiet and comfortable performance tires are the topics of speculation on a number of Corvette forums.
In the meantime, we’re picking our top three mid-engine Corvette tires that we think could be a perfect replacement or upgrade for future owners.
2020 mid-engine Corvette tire picks
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus
One of the best things about owning a Corvette is that they make for totally viable daily-drivers. At cruising speed on the freeway, Corvettes of many generations routinely get over 30 mpg, and the platform in general carries a certain reverence for its capabilities as a definitive “grand tourer.”
But for those who are planning to daily-drive the C8 Corvette while commuting in temperatures below 45 degrees, the Pilot Sport 4 S is actually going to be unsafe.
Operating under the assumption that special fitments will be made for the new mid-engine Corvette, we’d recommend the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus as the direct high performance all season replacement.
(That there are existing sizes of the Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus available in 245/35 R19 and 305/35 R20 has us feeling even more secure in analyzing this pick for the mid-engine Corvette’s tires.)
It’s already a popular swap for Corvette owners who want improved grip in rain and cold weather, and will make all of your 500-or-so horses all-purpose while keeping your ‘Vette’s dialed-in handling in place.
However, it wouldn’t be a surprise for these to also be a dealer or trim-level option for the C8 Corvette in the future, especially in a run-flat format.
Toyo Proxes R888R
For the discerning Corvette enthusiast who uses their vehicle on a closed track, it’s hard to beat the Toyo Proxes R888R as a dedicated track-day tire.
Technically meeting DOT requirements, the R888R is a no-compromises competition tire that’s about as close to driving on a slick that’s still street-legal.
That being said, you’re going to need to get heat into these (like any other dedicated competition tire) in order for them to provide the race-level grip so sought after by Corvette drivers on the track.
But when they are warmed up, many on Corvette forums report that the Proxes R888R’s combination of grip and relative affordability makes it a tough competition tire to beat on any comparative level – similar to the what the mid-engine Corvette is shaping up to be.
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R
The Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R was purpose-built for the 650-horsepower, supercharged Camaro ZL1 1LE – the fastest and most powerful production Camaro of its time.
Other than an existing precedent within the highest reaches of GM’s performance lines, this Goodyear technically does come in the width, ratio and diameter fitments that the C8 Corvette has been seen wearing on its test and press vehicles.
It’s a super sticky ultra high performance summer tire with some tread and siping, clearly sculpted to put as much rubber on the road as possible. In fact, if there’s one thing these Goodyear Eagles are good at, it’s laying down planted grip from the enormous power of a rear wheel drive Chevy V8.
While we wait for the new mid-engine 2020 Corvette to hit dealership lots Discount Tire can get you the best prices on any existing Corvette tires. Find a location near you, browse our inventory and keep an eye on this post as we update it when more information is confirmed!
The selections in this post are speculative and may not reflect the correct or required load ranges or speed ratings for the vehicle in question. This information will be updated as more details are available.