When the C8 Corvette came out in 2019, we were very impressed with how well it performed. When the base model Stingray could reach 60 mph at the same time as the previous generation ZR1, we could only imagine what future models could do. The new Z06 is the next step in the C8’s mid-engine journey. It’s not a step, though. It’s an insanely huge jump.
The LT6: No Turbos, No Problem
How else would you describe a car with 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) at 8,400 rpm? Chevrolet says that the LT6 V8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine that has ever been put in a production car. This 5.5-litre DOHC V8 engine is made of aluminum and has a dry sump, a flat-plane crankshaft, and an official redline of 8,600 revs, which is just 200 rpm past peak power. Even the maximum torque of 623 Newton-meters (460 pound-feet) peaks at a high 6,300 rpm. This engine loves to rev more than any other Corvette engine, except for the C8.R race car from which it comes. And it takes the Z06 just 2.6 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
As you might expect, when you add that much power, you need more air to keep it cool. The Chevrolet Z06 teaser photo didn’t show any big differences between it and the Stingray, but it does have a different front fascia that directs air to the center heat exchanger, which is one of five on the Z06. Its stance is 3.6 inches wider, which gives it better balance and handling and also lets more air into the side vents. At the back, there is a new fascia that holds the Z06’s four floating exhaust outlets. This wasn’t an afterthought, either. Engineers worked on the pipes for two years to make sure it sounded different from any other ‘Vette ever made.
Suspension And Aero Upgrades
Everyone will be talking about this crazy new engine, but like previous Z06 models, it’s only part of what makes the car fast. Because of that wider stance, Chevrolet engineers were able to put the largest wheels ever used on a production Corvette on the new Z06. The front wheels are 20 inches and have 275/30-series tyres. The back wheels are 21 inches and have 345/25-series tyres made for steamrollers. Chevrolet has seven different wheel packages to choose from if you don’t like the standard “spider” wheels.
The Z06’s suspension is tuned differently than the Stingray’s, but drivers will still find a wide range of settings for both hard track driving and casual touring. The front brakes are now Brembos with six pistons that clamp down on 14.6-inch rotors. The rotors on the back brakes are 15 inches in diameter, while the front brakes are 15.7 inches and the back brakes are 15.4 inches. It is also a very stiff car. It is so stiff that Chevrolet can make a hardtop convertible version of the Z06 without adding extra support.
In terms of aerodynamics, the standard Z06 has a front splitter and a small rear spoiler with a wickerbill, which Chevrolet describes as a small tab at the edge of the spoiler. It can increase downforce, but we think people who want more downforce will choose the carbon fibre aero package that makes the Z06 look like its racecar sibling. It has a bigger front splitter, dive planes on the front corners, underbody strakes, and the big wing that we’ve seen on a lot of prototypes that were covered up.
Or, you could just check the box for the Z07 Performance Package and get all of the above upgrades plus a few more. The familiar package comes with the FE7 suspension and more Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 settings. You also get Michelin Sport Cup 2 R ZP tyres that are very sticky and were made just for the Z06. They can be put on different wheels, such as carbon-fibre wheels, which cut the Z06’s unsprung weight by 41 pounds.
Chevrolet says that the latest ‘Vette can get 1.22 g on a 300-foot skidpad and 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph if it is set up this way. Yes, there are a few extra touches in the cockpit, mostly carbon-fibre trim packages and a new Adrenaline Red interior trim option.
Performance And Price
Chevrolet isn’t too open with this kind of information right now, which is too bad. The Z06 has an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with a shorter final drive. It can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds, but we don’t know what its top speed is. With almost 700 horsepower, you should be able to reach 200 mph.
Z06 production will start in the summer of 2022, unless there are chip shortages, COVID, or some other unforeseeable end of the world. Price information will be released closer to the date it goes on sale.
2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06