The 2015 Corvette Z06 is making huge waves at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, promising to take the nameplate to new heights in terms of power, performance, technology and looks. And the Chevrolet faithful recognize the Z06 name as more than just a badge; it’s more of a legend. But where did the name stem form? Let’s have a look.
Originally, the Z06 name was offered as an RPO option package in 1963 on the C2 model for those who wanted to drive it on a track. It offered enhanced braking, handling, and steering with a larger fuel tank to reduce the amount of times the vehicle needed to be filled up on a race track. A V8 engine and four-speed transmission were the hallmarks of the car, of which only 199 were built, making them highly, highly collectible.
Since then, the Z06 has been offered in four of the seven production models of the Corvette, each improving the vehicle’s capability to drive on a road course. Following the C2, the Z06 name didn’t reappear until the fifth-generation model in 2001. Featuring a lower curb weight and more horsepower than the base C5, this C5 Z06 was one of the fastest cars on a race track at that time, running around the Nürburgring in under 8 minutes. Thinner glass and a titanium exhaust also helped in cutting weight.
In 2006, the C6 Z06 was released. This generation of the Corvette came with a bespoke aluminum frame that made it 136 pounds lighter than standard C6 Vettes, which utilized a steel frame. But the pride and joy of the C6 Z06 was its 505 horsepower LS7 V8. Aided by Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and carbon ceramic matrix brakes, the Z06 ran the Nurburgring in 7:22:68.
And today, we witnessed the unveiling of the C7 Z06, which is set for a Q1 2015 release. Its targets? Anything and everything that lays claim to being a performance car. Will it open a can on the competition? We’ll have to wait a while to see. But something tells us that it will.