The next-generation Corvette launched Thursday as a mid-engine Stingray.

The launch of any generation Corvette is usually a huge deal. Not many automotive marques can claim the heritage of the iconic ‘Vette, which has been in continuous production since 1953. To many people, the Corvette is indeed “America’s Sports Car,” a rolling tribute to American exceptionalism.

That all being said, Thursday’s launch was no “ordinary” debut. To say the eighth-generation C8 Corvette was “highly-anticipated” is the understatement of the decade. The internet was on fire with spy shots, renderings, and rumors.

Why all the hype? This is the first-ever mid-engined Corvette.  To a non-car-lover that probably doesn’t answer anything. But to car fans, that’s like saying Ford is going to make a Mustang-inspired SUV. Or that Ferrari is going to really embrace hybrid technology. In other words, it’s a really big departure from history — and it’s really happening.

According to Chevrolet, the late Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Chevrolet Corvette, had a vision for a mid-engine Corvette. The mid-engine layout is inherently balanced which is why many supercars (think NSX, R8, and countless Ferraris) are configured as such. Arkus-Duntov’s vision is now real and it’s been spotted in Times Square and other places, whipping fans into a veritable frenzy.

Chevrolet announces the next generation Corvette will debut 07.18.19. A camouflaged next generation Corvette travels down 7th Avenue near Times Square Thursday, April 11, 2019 in New York, New York. (Photo by Jennifer Altman for Chevrolet)

The geniuses at GM slowly teased details about the C8, which formally debuted in Orange County. They recently announced the Corvette would come to market under the venerable Stingray name, which was on hiatus between 1976 and 2014. We also got a glimpse of the steering wheel, leaving us hungry for more.

We’re excited to be among the lucky few to see this historic event in person. Chevrolet will livestream the reveal globally Thursday starting at 7:30PM PST.

Following the reveal, the Stingray will go on tour and hit more than 125 dealerships across the nation. Tour dates for the East and West Coast tours will be announced.

Hold on to your horses Corvette fans, it’s about to get very, very real (in a super well-balanced way, and yes that was a nerdy reference to the mid-engine layout).