Most spy shots of the upcoming mid-engined Corvette show a mesh cover over the center of the rear hatch. Now, a recently uncovered might explain why. Titled “Venting Module for Vehicle Compartment Cover Assembly,” it shows a center piece for the rear hatch of a vehicle that is described as “vented engine hood assemblies for motor vehicles with a rear-engine or a mid-engine layout.“
The hatch cover is described as a glass module surrounded by a carrier frame that is perforated to allow the engine to vent. This would explain why the prototypes we’ve seen have had a mesh cover over that area or even left it completely open: so the engine wouldn't overheat.
The application explains that that this hatch cover–described as an engine hood–can combine a back glass panel with a supportive frame that can enable improved radiative and convective cooling of the engine bay. It states that in some configurations, the venting assembly could be composed of magnesium mesh. The current generation Corvette employs magnesium for strength and weight savings, so it's not surprising that Chevy would use it on the next generation car.
According to the operational description of the hatch, the design described in the patent can provide more than a 200 percent increase in venting over some traditional designs. It also states that there are other advantages to it, such as the ability to eliminate the bridge structure used in other glass rear hatches which reduces weight and aids in manufacturing.
Included drawings and diagrams show a mid-engined vehicle but it is only used to show the location of the hatch for the purpose of this patent application. The drawing of the actual hatch itself is likely similar to what we could see in a production version of the car.
A gap exists at the top of the hatch in the drawing, but if we look at the spy shots, we can see that this is the spot where what appears to be a camera module is mounted. A similar gap exists at the bottom and the triangular shape might point to the location where a Corvette badge might be placed.
It now seems less and less like a question of 'if' we'll get a mid-engine Corvette, but when we'll see the mid-engine Corvette.