In an interview at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, GM Authority executive editor Alex Luft asked GM’s Director for the Performance and Racing Propulsion Team, Russ O’Blenes, if GM would eventually offer an LT6 crate engine. O’Blenes confirmed his team has considered offering the flat-plane crank V8 engine as a standalone product, but with demand of the 2023 Corvette Z06 already strong, the automaker will first focus on getting these engines into production vehicles.
“There’s obviously discussion,” O’Blenes said of the idea of an LT6 crate engine. “I think right now, the good news is we’re selling I think three years’ worth of sales already on the cars.”
“I’m sure it’s something that we’ll continue to investigate,” he added. “We’ve done a lot of development with it as we worked really closely with the production team, so we’ve got a really good feel for how to do it.”
Luft then asked O’Blenes if GM typically needs to see a surplus of engines over how many units it needs for production vehicles in order to begin a crate engine sales program. O’Blenes said GM does not need extra engines in order to give the green light to a crate engine program, but when demand for a particular vehicle is high, production vehicles will almost always get priority.
“No, not necessarily a surplus,” he said. “But our customers are the most important, building the cars that the customers ordered is the most important. The great news is that we’ve been selling tons and tons of cars because people want our product. So the surplus part is not like with the LT5, we just consciously buy more when they’re doing their build out. We buy them to make sure that we can provide them.”
As a reminder, the LT6 V8 is a naturally aspirated 5.5L V8 with dual overhead camshafts and a flat-plane crankshaft. Output is rated at 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever installed in a production vehicle. Paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, this engine will enable the C8 Corvette Z06 to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds.
Production of the 2023 Corvette Z06 will begin at the Bowling Green Assembly plant in the summer of 2022. The LT6 V8, meanwhile, will be hand-assembled by master engine builders at the Performance Build Center located within the Bowling Green plant.