Chevrolet today unveiled the brand new Corvette Z06. The first high-performance variant of the eighth-generation Corvette, the supercar will be the first mid-engined Z06 in the history of the marque.
Unveiled in a livestream hosted at the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Z06 that is available as both coupe and convertible, brings high-performance aero features and a naturally aspirated flat-plane crank 5.5-liter V8. The latter has an 8,600 rpm redline that churns out 670 hp (679 PS/500 kW) and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque at 6,300 RPM.
“The new Corvette Z06 defines the American supercar,” said General Motors President Mark Reuss. “It builds on the distinctive design and groundbreaking dynamics introduced with the mid-engine Corvette and elevates them to deliver refined but uncompromising track capability with world-class performance.”
The New Kid On The Engine Block Sounds Amazing
The engine, known internally as the LT6, is a double-overhead-cam V8 from which responsiveness and trackability were the top priorities. That’s why Chevrolet chose not to slow response with forced induction and opted for the lightweight crankshaft design and relatively short stroke.
To make it track-ready, it also gets a racing-style dry-sump oiling system. To make it race-ready, the engine has been tested on the racetracks of the world through the C8.R racing program that captured six victories along with the manufacturer’s title in IMSA’s 2020 season.
The engine is made entirely of aluminum, though it does still get the Chevy small block family’s signature 4.4-inch (111.76 mm) bore spacing. The new dual overhead camshaft heads have been designed with fully CNC-machined combustion chambers and intake ports, supporting a mechanical “finger follower” drivetrain. The camshaft covers, meanwhile, are painted Edge Red to make them more distinctive.
It also gets forged aluminum pistons and forged titanium connecting rods, for lower mass and greater strength. An active split intake manifold has twin 87 mm (3.4-inch) throttle bodies, while exhaust gases pass through four-into-two-into-one stainless steel exhaust headers through sodium-filled exhaust valves.
Chassis Tuned For Performance
Visually, the new Corvette Z06 differentiates itself from the standard model thanks to wider fenders and new fascias. These are all wider to accommodate the 3.6-inch (9.4 cm) wider stance that is achieved thanks to bigger tires.
The wheels are 20 x 10-inch (50.8 x 25.4 cm) at the front and they are wrapped with 275/30ZR20 tires. At the back, 21 x 13-inch (53.3 x 33 cm) rear wheels are used with 345/25ZR21 tires. Rubber is provided by Michelin. As standard, the car is offered with Pilot Sport 4S Zp tires, but the Z07 package adds Sport Cup 2 R ZP tires, instead.
With the extra width and the new C8.R-inspired front fascia, the Z06 is able to draw more clean air into a center heat exchanger to provide more cooling for the high-revving engine, the brakes, and the transaxle, to make it all perform better for longer.
As standard, the Z06 comes with a new front splitter and a rear spoiler that includes an installable fixed wickerbill. All in, it offers 365 pounds (165.6 kg) of downforce at 186 mph (299.3 km/h).
The available carbon fiber package, though, adds a larger front splitter, front-corner canards, a pedestal-mounted rear wing, and underbody aero strakes for maximum downforce and maneuverability.
The basic suspension from the Corvette Stingray remains for the Z06, but the SLA-type front and rear suspension have been tuned for higher-performance capabilities. Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0 comes standard, though, and can be adjusted to be stiff for track work, or supple for tooting around town.
The Z06 also comes with launch control, for optimal off-the-line acceleration, active handling, traction control, Performance Traction management (which offers torque reduction and brake intervention on track), as well as an electronic limited-slip differential to help launch you out of the corners.
Larger brakes are also offered, as you might expect. It comes with Brembo rotors that are 14.6-inches (370 mm) in diameter at the front, and 15-inches (380 mm) at the rear. The calipers have six pistons up front and four in the back.
To keep weight down, Chevrolet is also offering optional carbon fiber wheels that reduce unsprung mass by a total of 41 lbs (18.6 kg). Thanks to all its performance improvements, it’s capable of pulling 1.22 g laterally through corners, says Chevrolet.
The Inside Counts, Too
In the world of supercars, performance isn’t the only thing that matters. To keep up with the competition, Chevrolet has endeavored to fill the Z06 with lightweight, but luxurious premium materials.
“To match its performance, the Z06 is an elevated execution of the eighth-generation design,” said Phil Zak, executive design director, Chevrolet. “From its wide planted stance with sculpted surfaces to its premium and carbon fiber materials, the Z06 instills an aura of raw power and performance with bespoke craftsmanship.”
The Z06 is offered with a carbon fiber-wrapped steering wheel, shift paddles, and a new carbon-fiber interior trim package level 2 adds more of the material to the trim for a proper racecar aesthetic. If you prefer old-school luxury, more leather can be had in the new optional Adrenaline Red color.
One of seven colors available inside, Chevrolet has tried to up the ante with options. The brake calipers are available in six colors, seven wheel packages are offered, three seat choices, six seatbelts, two carbon-fiber trim packages, and one aluminum package will help you keep your Z06 unique.
Production Starts Summer 2022
Production of the 2023 Corvette Z06 is expected to begin at the home of Corvettes, the Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant. Chevrolet says that customers the world over will be able to experience its charms, since it plans to make both left- and right-hand drive models.
Prices have not yet been revealed yet, but expect a hefty bump over the standard Stingray’s $60,900 starting price. If we’d have to guess, given that the previous Z06 package on the C7 cost around $25,000 over the standard car, it’s possible that the new model will carry an MSRP of around $85,000 to $95,000.