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Mid-Engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Races to Production

History Consumer Reports

A true, all-new Chevrolet Corvette is a rare occurrence. Throughout the brand's history, Corvettes typically have gone many years between dramatic overhauls, punctuated by a mid-cycle update that..
'Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site. Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site. A true, all-new Chevrolet Corvette is a rare occurrence. Throughout the brand's history , Corvettes typically have gone many years between dramatic overhauls, punctuated by a mid-cycle update that freshens the exterior and interior while continuing to use the core mechanical bones. The unveiling of the 2020 Corvette Stingray marks a bold, new chapter, with the iconic sports car moving from a front-engine design for the first time in its long, storied history. That is: The first time in production. Experimental race cars and concept cars wearing the Corvette moniker have tried placing the engine behind the driver many times, dating back to the 1960s. Now, Chevrolet has done it, shifting its traditional sports car into the realm of exotic supercars. “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” GM President Mark Reuss explained in a statement. This means a completely fresh look, with a design more akin to a Ford GT or even a Ferrari than anything in Chevrolet’s production history. A large V8 engine has been placed behind the driver. And there is no more manual transmission. My, how things have changed. Production for the eighth-generation Corvette (aka C8) will begin at the Bowling Green, Ky., factory in late 2019. Here’s what we know so far:  Outside This is a radical new look for Corvette, and historic design cues are quite limited. The Stingray badge and Corvette logo are evolutionary. The windshield, roof, and door glass shapes look familiar. But that’s about it. Instead, we have a car with clear mid-engine proportions. The short, sloped hood looks more Acura NSX than traditional ‘Vette. There is deep sculpting on the doors. Perhaps that’s a reminder of the coves on late 1950s and early 1960s Corvettes, but that’s a stretch. Now, that sculpting is functional, pushing air to the rear engine compartment and brakes where it’s needed to help cool things down. The cabin is positioned forward and it looks to be tight, with much of the car’s visual weight taken by the large rear section where the eight-cylinder engine resides. The high, crisp edge to the rear fenders is evocative of the current car. Ultimately, these proportions clearly signal a dramatic change in the car. The dimensions have also changed a bit, with the C8 stretching 5.4 inches longer than the outgoing C7 and 2.2 inches wider. It weighs about 70 lbs. more, as well. Where the glass back hatch on past Corvettes revealed the large cargo space, the rear hatch on the new car showcases the engine. Again, there are four exhaust outlets, but they are no longer grouped in the center, under the license plate, as they are on the current car.   2020 Corvette C8 2019 Corvette C7 Length 182.3 176.9 Width 76.1 73.9 Height 48.6 48.8 Wheelbase 107.2 106.7 Weight 3,366 3,298 Inside The interior is intimate, with a large center console separating the driver and passenger. As in the current car, this creates a narrow space for each, evocative of a fighter plane cockpit. On the current car, the thick tunnel houses the driveshaft that connects the powertrain to the rear wheels. Now a tunnel serves as the car’s backbone, creating a stiff foundation. That increased rigidity is meant to help with the suspension tuning. This also enables the car to use narrower door sills than some rival supercars, making it easier to get in and out—a challenging feat with the current car. There are three seat options, ranging from leather-trimmed buckets with two-way lumbar adjustments up to track-focused, body-hugging seats with carbon-fiber trim. The C8 will have memory functions for both driver and passenger seat to save preferred settings. The steering wheel has a flat bottom—a squared-off design that is often used in race cars. A heated steering wheel will be offered. The instrument panel is a 12-inch customizable screen. The car has six driver-adjustable modes: Weather, Tour, Sport, Track, MyMode (customizable), and Z Mode (further customizable, with a name that draws from famed past performance packages). Center stage is Chevrolet’s next-generation infotainment system with a higher-resolution display. Among its tricks is natural voice recognition with the ability to learn. Two Bose audio systems will be offered. A Performance Data Recorder can capture track performance and film highlights. Further, it can be used like a dash cam that records video whenever the car is running, and there is a mode to record what’s going on when the car is in Valet mode, just in case. The Corvette has been known since its 1997 C5 version for its unusually large cargo storage for a sports car. But now, due to its design change, the C8 does not have one large compartment. Instead, there is storage up front and in the rear. Chevrolet claims that the C8 holds 12.6 cubic feet of cargo combined, and that it can transport two sets of golf clubs—that’s long been a distinguishing Corvette feature. What Drives It With this redesign, it would be natural to expect Chevrolet would replace the tried-and-true V8 with a turbocharged engine or even one with a hybrid assist. But this is one place that the C8 remains true to its Corvette core and heritage. Under the rear glass hatch is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 495 horsepower, up 35 from the 2019 model, and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. This is the most power for a base Corvette engine in history. And it is likely just the start, as higher-performance versions are inevitable. The transmission is an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. There is no manual transmission. This transmission is set up for quick gear shifts, with an aggressive first gear and tall seventh and eighth gears to help improve fuel economy. The powertrain enables the quickest 0-60-mph time for any base Corvette; Chevrolet claims the sprint can be made in under 3 seconds with the Z51 performance package. The Z51 also brings a sportier suspension setup, enhanced engine cooling, more aggressive axle ratio, and upgraded exhaust. (For comparison, Chevrolet claims the current car races 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds when equipped with the Z51 package.) For the record, we got 4.3 with our 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51.   CR’s Take Times change and eventually, so does even the Corvette. This is a complete reimagining of an iconic sports car. Frankly, it was needed. The current Corvette is very impressive. It is a high-tech sports car, with quick reflexes, sure-footed ability to take sharp corners, and prodigious power. Plus, it’s livable, with decent ride comfort for the class, impressive fuel economy, and weekend-ready cargo space. But the 2019 model is truly just an evolution of the 1997 C5. Even by Corvette standards, that is a long time without a proper redo. This ground-up redesign promises to take the Corvette to new performance heights. We hope that the new car remains as livable as the current model, and that the price doesn’t make the car too elite. Our final wish is for improved reliability, something that has been a historical weakness for Corvette for decades.  Chevrolet Corvette Indy mid-engine concept 1954 Chevrolet Corvette 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 1972 Chevrolet Corvette 1987 Chevrolet Corvette 2001 Chevrolet Corvette 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2019, Consumer Reports, Inc.'

The WHO Finally Sounds Its Loudest Alarm Over Ebola in the Congo

History theatlantic.com

The ongoing outbreak is the second worst in history and has proven to be unusually difficult to contain.
'Almost a year after the second worst Ebola outbreak in history began in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization finally declared the crisis a “ public health emergency of international concern ” (or PHEIC for short)—a label that it has only used four times before. The decision was made at an emergency meeting on Wednesday, on the recommendations of a panel of independent experts. Over 2,500 people have become infected since the outbreak was officially declared on August 1, 2018. Almost 1,700 of those have died, while more than 700 have been cured. A few hundred cases are still being investigated, and new ones arise on an almost daily basis. These numbers make the outbreak worse than all of the DRC’s nine past encounters with Ebola put together, although they are still well below the scale of the West African epidemic of 2014 to 2016, which infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000. Ebola was first discovered within the DRC borders in 1976 by Jean-Jacques Muyembe—then the country’s only virologist and now the director-general of its National Institute for Biomedical Research. The disease has reared its head repeatedly and increasingly so in recent years. But the DRC is arguably the most experienced nation in the world at dealing with Ebola. The eighth outbreak in 2017 was contained in just 42 days . The ninth was over in three months (almost exactly as Muyembe predicted at the time). But the 10th and current outbreak is different. While the previous ones took place in the DRC’s northern and western regions, this one had the grave misfortune to spark up in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. These regions abut Rwanda and Uganda, and are active war zones full of displaced refugees. To control Ebola, health workers need to find infected cases, track whomever they had contact with, deploy vaccines, and convince people to forgo deeply held burial practices that put them in touch with the virus-ridden bodily fluids of their dead loved ones. All of that becomes infinitely harder in regions plagued by armed conflict, where people are distrustful of health workers . Those workers have come under attack themselves . Hospitals, treatment centers, and operational facilities have been pelted with stones, set on fire, and stormed by armed assailants. Volunteers have been attacked while trying to bury Ebola victims . Two Ebola workers were murdered in their homes. Small wonder that the outbreak has proven unusually hard to contain. [ Read: The next plague is coming. Is America ready? ] The WHO hopes that the PHEIC declaration would act as a rallying cry. “I urge the international community to step up and put its full support behind the Ebola response,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, on Twitter . The PHEIC declaration is “an opportunity to ensure the international community does not turn its gaze, but rallies to support DRC and Africa in the fight to end the Ebola outbreak.” But for many parties involved in the outbreak response, the PHEIC decision came bafflingly late. “Finally, after 1600 deaths?” Marc Yambayamba from the Kinshasa School of Public Health said on Twitter . “Almost all international legal and policy experts agree that the conditions for declaring a public health emergency of international concern were met long ago,” added Rebecca Katz, who directs Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, in a statement. The PHEIC label was created in 2009, as part of international regulations to which the WHO’s member states must adhere. It’s an alarm bell, to be rung when the world must collectively mobilize against “an extraordinary event” that involves “the international spread of disease” and “may require immediate international action.” Until now, only four events have met that criteria: the swine flu pandemic of 2009, the resurgence of polio in 2014, the West African Ebola outbreak, and the Zika epidemic of 2016. The WHO had previously convened three emergency meetings to discuss if the current Congolese outbreak also warranted PHEIC status. Thrice, the committee said that it didn’t, arguing that a declaration would do little to improve matters. For example, a PHEIC allows the WHO to compel the affected countries to disclose information that would be relevant to responders—but the DRC has been very transparent. A declaration also carries risks, as other countries might react by imposing trade and travel bans that would paradoxically staunch the flow of support and make the outbreak even harder to stop. The calculus shifted slightly in June, when two children and their grandmother carried the virus into Uganda. All three died, but fortunately, the virus didn’t spread any further. Once again, the WHO ruled against a PHEIC. (Uganda also has a strong track record of controlling Ebola; its robust surveillance network means that most of the outbreaks that have been detected in the last decade have never gone above a handful of cases.) Then, on July 14, a pastor brought Ebola to Goma, a big city that directly borders Rwanda and has an international airport. (Depending on the source, Goma is home to either one or two million people.) That event finally swayed the WHO’s emergency committee, although chairman Robert Steffen emphasized that states should not use the PHEIC “as an an excuse to impose trade or travel restrictions, which would have a negative impact on the response and on the lives and livelihoods of people in the region.” [ Read: Vaccines alone won’t beat Ebola ] The DRC’s Ministry of Health accepted the WHO’s decision, but released a somewhat barbed statement in their daily update. “The Ministry hopes that this decision is not the result of many pressures from different stakeholder groups who wanted to use this statement as an opportunity to raise funds for humanitarian actors despite the potentially harmful and unintended consequences for the affected communities dependent significant cross-border trade for survival,” the ministry said. “While the Government continues to openly share with partners and donors how it uses the funds received, we hope there will be greater transparency and accountability of humanitarian actors in relation to their use of funds to meet this Ebola outbreak.” “A public health emergency of international concern is not for fundraising, it’s for preventing the spread of disease,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, on Twitter. “The WHO is not aware of any donor that has withheld funding because the emergency had not been declared. But if that was the excuse, it can no longer be used.”'