It has been known since the Corvette C8’s launch in July 2019 that the work had not yet reached its full performance potential. Beyond its extreme stability conferred by its first rear-engine chassis, it is above all the illustrious line of high-performance versions of the American icon that allowed us to wish for variants that were even more evocative on the dynamic level. Last week, we saw how seriously General Motors took this project. Here is the 2023 Corvette Z06 that wants to do what Ferrari no longer does: a V8 without a turbocharger.
Excluding an option package offered in 1963, the Z06 alphanumeric combination was first used in 2001 as a full Corvette livery. At the time, the fifth generation of the sports car was based on an LS6-coded 5.7L rocker-arm V8 which was boosted to 385 hp, 40 hp more than the standard livery. A series of improvements intended to improve its handling made this version a tool of choice for having fun on the track.
An athlete’s heart
Twenty years later, this Z06 is coming back to us with significantly more resources. The core of this new opus is called LT6, the same name as an 85 hp 4.3L V6 diesel that had been used by Oldsmobile until the 1980s. But, it is this unique fact that s ‘stop the parallels. The 2021 version takes the form of a 5.5L V8 twin overhead camshaft, a technical rarity for the Corvette.
Very sophisticated, it receives pistons and connecting rods made of forged aluminum as well as two intake manifolds each with three butterflies. The main element remains, as expected, a crankshaft with flat crankpins, all this to ensure a maximum speed of… 8600 rpm. Maximum power is 670 hp, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated eight-cylinder ever in a production vehicle. The same eight-speed dual-clutch transmission of the Stingray supports the frantic pace of this hot-blooded mechanic whose vocals are not far from that of Ferrari’s atmospheric creations.
Cooling and stability
This Z06 receives the contribution of a redesigned body to better cool the mechanics, but also making more use of aerodynamic downforce. Thus, when it takes on the Z07 group which adds various aerodynamic appendages, 332 kg tackle the car to the ground when it is traveling at 300 km / h.
Carbon fiber rims are available as an option to reduce the weight of the vehicle’s “unsprung” components, as is a carbon-ceramic brake system.
The Corvette Z06 will be available from next summer in coupe and convertible versions. Prices have not yet been released.