Chevrolet has unveiled the new C8 Corvette Z06, which is the high-performance version of its mid-engine sports car that made its debut two years ago. With plenty of mechanical, aero and styling enhancements, the Z06 is significantly more track-focused than the regular Stingray model, which wasn’t exactly a slouch.
At the heart of the Z06 is the LT6, which Chevrolet says is the most powerful, naturally-aspirated V8 engine fitted to any production car, ever. The 5.5 litre DOHC unit is derived from the Corvette C8.R racer and features an aluminium cylinder block, titanium and sodium filled valves, forged aluminium pistons and titanium connecting rods, a dry sump, flat-plane crankshaft, twin 87 mm throttle bodies and a four-into-two-into-one stainless steel exhaust headers.
Capable of an 8,600 rpm redline, the hand-assembled LT6 outputs 670 hp at 8,400 rpm and 623 Nm of torque at 6,300 rpm, all of which goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (with a shorter 5.56 final drive ratio) and an electronically controlled limited slip differential. For context, the regular Corvette’s LT2 V8 has a larger displacement of 6.2 litres, but is rated at 495 hp and 637 Nm.
Performance-wise, the Z06 will get from 0-96 km/h in just 2.7 seconds, or 2.6 seconds with the optional Z07 Performance Package (more on that later). A standard C8 with the Z51 Performance Package takes 2.9 seconds to complete the century sprint.
Besides the new motor, the Z06 also looks to the C8.R to improve its handling chops. First up, the Z06 is 9.4 cm wider than the Stingray to make room for the massive 345/25 profile Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rear tyres and allow for more airflow through the side air vents.
The front fascia is new too, and sports larger intakes to draw clean air into a centre heat exchanger as well as to better cool the brakes and transaxle. Engineers also changed the tuning of the steering and magnetorheological dampers (Magnetic Ride Control 4.0) to be specific to the Z06.
The Z06 also gets the largest wheels ever used on a production Corvette, with 20-inch units at the front (paired with 275/30 profile tyres), while 21-inchers occupy the rear. This is necessary to fit a larger Brembo braking system, which consists of front 370 mm rotors and six-piston calipers, with 380 mm rotors and four-piston calipers at the back.
Meanwhile, aero elements include a front splitter and a unique rear spoiler, the latter accompanied by a wickerbill that can be installed for an extra 165.6 kg of downforce at 299.3 km/h. Add on the carbon-fibre aero package and these parts will be made from the lightweight material, joined by additional front dive planes, a pedestal-mounted rear wing and underbody aero strakes.
The carbon-fibre aero package comes standard with the optional Z07 Performance Package, which also includes FE7 suspension with additional Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 calibrations, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres and carbon-ceramic brake rotors (398 mm front and 398 mm rear).
With this comprehensive package, the Z06 generates 333 kg of downforce at 299.3 km/h and will pull 1.22 g on a 91.4-metre skidpad. Chevrolet also offers carbon-fibre wheels that reduce unsprung mass by 18.6 kg, but only if the Z07 Performance Package is specified.
Other options include two carbon-fibre interior trim packages a leather interior package, a carbon-fibre steering wheel and shift paddles, twelve exterior colours, seven standard wheel designs, seven interior colours, three sear choices, six seatbelt options and six brake caliper colours. As with the Stingray, the Z06 can be had in coupe or hardtop convertible body styles, and will be built for left- and right-hand drive markets.
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