Chevrolet Corvette C8 Z06
The Chevrolet Corvette C8 Z06 is expected to arrive for the 2022 model year with a high-revving V8 engine, aggressive looks, light weighting components and higher levels of performance aimed at all-out track capability.
While the “base” C8 Stingray is a very capable machine meant as an all-around performer, there is a lot more performance potential in the mid-engine Corvette platform. The Z06 will aim to realize that performance with an offering focused on dominant track capability.
To that end, the C8 Z06 will return to a naturally-aspirated engine – a major departure from the supercharged V8 Small Block used by the C7 Z06. The switch is meant to bring the Z06 model back to its roots as a track-focused offering, a direction perfectly embodied by the C6 Z06 and its 505-horsepower 7.0L V8 LS7 engine. By comparison, the C7 Z06 strayed from that formula by using a supercharger, which sometimes didn’t do it favors in repeat track runs.
GM Authority expects the Corvette C8 Z06 to be powered by the naturally-aspirated 5.5L V8 LT6 engine.
The motor will feature a Dual OverHead Cam (DOHC) configuration with 32 valves and is expected to feature a flat-plane crankshaft for quite the high redline, between 8,500 and 9,000 rpm. Power is expected to be 615 horses, while torque should land around the 490 pound-feet mark.
The engine was officially previewed by the C8.R, where it sounds absolutely vicious, delivering a yell that’s decidedly exotic, almost like a Ferrari.
In January 2020, a C8 Z06 prototype was caught undergoing testing in San Diego. The video shows the supercar delivering a raspy, high-strung roar as it makes its way around a curve.
In June 2020, we caught a C8 Z06 prototype accelerating through the gears, delivering a solid earful of the high-revving 5.5L LT6.
In May 2021, our spies caught a C8 Z06 prototype undergoing testing on the North-South straight of GM’s Milford Proving Grounds. Engineers were conducting repeated launches, giving us a better idea of how the 5.5L LT6 will sound.
Shifting duties in the C8 Z06 will be handled by the same eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission as in the C8 Stingray. A manual transmission will not be offered. Power will be sent to the rear wheels.
Co-developed with TREMEC, the dual-clutch automatic delivers lightning-fast shifts and incredible power transfer in the Stingray model, and we have no reason to believe that this will change for the Z06 C8 variant. The transmission was designed to provide drivers with the best of both worlds: the spirited feel and direct connection associated with a manual as well as the premium driving comfort of an automatic. The double-paddle de-clutch feature allows the driver to disconnect the clutch by holding both paddles for more manual control, in addition to choosing a specific gear. This enables the drive to perform a free-rev, if and when desired.
We expect the Z06 C8 to build on the already-capable chassis configuration in the C8 Stingray with an upgraded chassis. Magnetic Ride Control is expected to be standard, while DSSV dampers might be offered as an option for those looking for the most capable on-track performance.
Wider wheels and tires will deliver an even greater contact patch to the road. The front wheels will be 20 inches in diameter wrapped in 275/30R20 rubber, while the rear wheels will be 21 inches in diameter wrapped in 345/25R21 rubber. Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tires will be offered, though it’s possible that this will not be the standard tire. A set of carbon fiber wheels will also be offered, possibly as part of the optional Z07 package.
More capable brakes will bring the beast to a stop more effectively and more consistently, lap after lap. Carbon ceramic rotors could also show up as an option.
Specific performance figures for the Corvette C8 Z06 are not available, but we do expect it to best the performance of the C8 Corvette Stingray in every aspect, though especially at the track.
We expect a 0-60 mph time of around 2.7 seconds, though straight-line sprints will not be what this car is about. Instead, the C8 Z06 will aim for exceptional track performance, with the ability to deliver well over 1 lateral Gs on the skidpad as well as impressive stopping performance. More importantly, the vehicle should be able to deliver the increased levels of performance on the track, run after run after run.
To that end, the switch to a naturally-aspirated engine (from the supercharged LT4 V8 in the C7 Z06 Corvette) will aid in helping achieve consistent levels of high performance. The decision was particularly mindful, as the Corvette team is looking to bring the Z06 back to its roots as a track-focused machine.
Meanwhile, the superior balance of the mid-engine configuration will aid in achieving higher levels of performance, as the mid-engine layout maximizes traction and grip, allowing more power to be put to the pavement compared to a front-engine, rear-drive setup.
The exterior will feature a “wide body” design, with flared fenders front and back to accommodate larger wheels and tires, bigger brakes and more capable powertrain cooling.
Moreover, GM Authority was first to exclusively report that a relatively large, unique rear wing will part of an optional aero package.
Additionally, the C8 Z06 might feature three aerodynamics packages, as follows:
- The base aero package will be devoid of any noticeable splitters, wings, or spoilers.
- A more aggressive package, defined by a large rear wing (as seen in the photos above) and several other unique features.
- A full-on active aerodynamics package capable of deploying spoilers and skirts, as needed.
It’s also expected that the C8 Z06 will also employ various techniques that make the vehicle lighter than the C8 Stingray. These include lightweighting several body panels. Additionally, carbon fiber wheels will be offered as an option.
Additionally, it’s possible that the Z8 Z06 will feature quad exhaust tips from the center of the vehicle. Engineers are testing the center-exit configuration alongside the standard configuration – with the tips on the outer edge of the lower fascia, as seen on the C8 Stingray.
Like the C8 Stingray, the C8 Z06 will be available in two body styles:
- A two-door coupe with a removable hard top panel
- A two-door convertible with a retractable hardtop
Inside, don’t expect the Corvette C8 Z06 to stray too far from the cabin of the C8 Stingray. The same general cockpit design is expected, with a few tasteful Z06 badges and unique accents finding their way into the cabin.
Additionally, Chevrolet might offer unique, track-focused seats for the Z06, with even more bolstering than provided by the GT2 / Competition buckets. Additionally, it’s possible that a factory racing harness system could be offered.
We initially expected the Corvette C8 Z06 to arrive in the second half of the 2021 calendar year as a 2022 model year vehicle. However, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed that timeline back by a few months, and the launch might now slip to late 2021 or early 2022.
Additionally, the Z06 will be the first Corvette C8 variant to arrive after the “base” Stingray.
Like all other Corvette models, the C8 Z06 will be assembled at the GM Bowling Green plant in Kentucky – home of the Corvette.
We expect the LT6 motor to be assembled at the adjacent Performance Build Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The C8 Z06 will be underpinned by the GM Y2 platform – the new mid-engine vehicle architecture that underpins all variants of the Corvette C8.
GM Global B will serve as the vehicle’s electrical system.
Pricing for the C8 Z06 is currently unknown. However, GM Authority expects the MSRP for a base model to start around $90,000.
C8 Z06 specifications currently not available. We will update this section once we have them.
Other Corvette C8 Variants
The Corvette C8 E-Ray will be one of many model variants in the C8 range, which will consist of:
- C8 Stingray – the base Corvette that a great all-round performer
- C8 Z06 – a track-focused, all-motor missile
- C8 E-Ray – a new model that hybridizes the Stingray, gives it a wide body treatment and takes the place of the Grand Sport
- C8 Grand Sport – a lightweight model that uses the Z06 body with the motor from the Stingray
- Model will not come to market, and will be indirectly represented by Corvette E-Ray
- C8 ZR1 – the range-topping, non-hybrid flagship slotting beneath the Zora focused on touring and cruising
- C8 Zora – the undisputed range-topping flagship with close to 1,000 horsepower and AWD capability
Discuss the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Z06 in our Chevrolet forum.
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