We knew great things were in store when Chevy finally gave in and transitioned the Corvette from its conventional front-engine construction to a mid-engine format, the result of which is the all-new C8 Corvette Stingray. And unbeknownst to many, the new Corvette Z06 – mainly its naturally-aspirated, flat-plane crank V8 engine – has been right under our noses the entire time, in the form of the Chevy C8.R racing car unveiled in 2020.
Now that the curtains have lifted on the 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06, purists will appreciate the main reason they relocated the engine. “Virtually every component that distinguishes the Z06 was developed to support or enhance its capability,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer, Corvette. “Racing was the reason the Z06 was conceptualized in 1963, and it continues to support the development of roadgoing models that make them better on the street and the track.”
Chevrolet created the first Corvette Z06 in 1963 to dominate the racetrack. But as time went on, the Z06 has exemplified the symbiosis of a track-ready supercar. “The new Corvette Z06 defines the American supercar,” said General Motors President Mark Reuss. “It builds on the distinctive design and groundbreaking dynamics introduced with the mid-engine Corvette and elevates them to deliver refined but uncompromising track capability with world-class performance.”
2023 Chevy Corvette Z06: All About The Motor
The 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 has an all-new 5.5-liter naturally aspirated LT6 V8 engine pumping out 670 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque. You can’t have a manual, but Chevy gave the standard eight-speed dual-clutch transmission a shorter 5.56:1 final drive ratio for even faster acceleration.
With those numbers, the LT6 has the highest horsepower output of any naturally-aspirated V8 engine in production. More importantly, the engine churns out peak horsepower at a stratospheric 8,400 rpm (only 200 revolutions below the 8,400 rpm fuel cut redline) and peak torque at 6,300 rpm.
Instead of installing a supercharger on top of a pushrod valvetrain, GM insists that a flat-plane crankshaft with titanium connecting rods and intake valves will quell the reciprocating mass or “shakiness” inherent in overbored, flat-plane V8 engines. In addition, all 32 valves get two springs to prevent valve float at higher engine speeds, while direct-acting “finger followers” require no lash adjustments throughout the motor’s lifespan.
And since the new LT6 engine revs close to 9,000 rpm, it produces an intoxicating sound similar to the C8.R racing car. Chevrolet has released a feature film, Putting the World On Notice, to commemorate the Corvette Z06’s debut, where you can hear the LT6 screaming at the top of its lungs.
Performance At Its Core
The 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 is essentially the Corvette C8.R underneath, and that’s a good thing. The Z06 rides on the same chassis and has similar exterior proportions as the Corvette C8.R. However, it does get a 3.6-inch wider body with bespoke front and rear fascias to improve cooling and aerodynamics. It also has a reconfigurable rear wing with adjustable trailing edges (or wicker bills) to maximize grip and downforce.
“By leveraging the mid-engine architecture’s inherent advantages, we achieved six percent more downforce than a seventh-gen ZR1 at eight percent lower drag,” Juechter added.
The Z06 also comes with standard 20-inch front and 21-inch rear forged alloy rims available in five distinct finishes, each wrapped in bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP tires. If you want a more hardcore vibe, there’s an optional carbon-fiber wheelset that reduces unsprung mass by up to 41 pounds (18.6 kg).
Z06 Performance Package
Choosing the Z06 Performance Package adds Michelin Sport Cup 2 ZR P racing tires (explicitly developed for the Corvette Z06), Brembo six-piston front brakes (15.7-inch front and 15.4-inch rear discs), a Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension, and a carbon fiber aero package including a carbon front splitter, underbody strakes, front-corner dive planes, and a carbon rear wing.
Bespoke Interior Craftsmanship
Previous Corvettes were not exactly renowned for having premium interior appointments, but the C8 Corvette has changed all that. Gone are the dreary plastics in place of soft-touch and premium materials that you would typically find in a German or Italian supercar.
“From its wide planted stance with sculpted surfaces to its premium and carbon fiber materials, the Z06 instills an aura of raw power and performance with bespoke craftsmanship,” said Phil Zak, executive design director at Chevrolet.
Buyers can choose from seven interior colors (expandable to thousands of color combinations), three seat choices, six seatbelt options, and two available interior carbon trim options. The available carbon fiber interior package adds a carbon steering wheel, carbon shift paddles, and carbon trimmings. The Z06 is also available in up to twelve exterior colors, seven wheel packages, and six brake caliper colors to ensure no two Corvette Z06 models are alike.
2023 Chevy Corvette Z06: Pricing & Availability
Pricing for the 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 remains forthcoming, but we expect the bill to ring up around $92,000 for the starting MSRP. Production begins in summer 2022 at the Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky. The new Corvette Z06 is available in coupe and convertible (with a hardtop roof) in both left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive configurations.
We trust Rydeshopper in helping find the best deals on any new Chevrolet vehicle. Rydeshopper is a neutral third-party search site* that lets you see dealer inventory and pricing for the new Chevy Corvette Z06 when it arrives at dealerships next summer.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos & Source: Chevrolet.
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