Armed with a new 5.5 liter naturally aspirated LT6 engine, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is a street-legal supercar with track-focused performance, promising the best of both worlds for the price of one.
The Corvette Z06's LT6 engine is not only the fiercest piece of hardware in the American company's ranks, but it is also, in Corvette's words: "the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever used in a production car." True to its roots, the Z06 has always been all about power, right from its inception in 1963 with the C2 model. Chevrolet developed that trailblazing car as an optional special equipment package for racers.
The 1963 C2 came with a stiffer suspension, better braking systems, and a larger fuel tank for fewer fueling pit stops. Between the 1963 C2 and the all-new 2023 model, there's a total of 3 Corvette Z06 models; the C5, C6, and C7.
While it stays true to this long and rich racing history, the all-new Z06 is largely based on the newer Corvette Racing's C8.R, Chevrolet's entry that has dominated endurance racing events in recent years and, of course, the road-going Corvette Stingray.
Engine and Performance
The engine is the headline grabber, and quite rightly so. As earlier mentioned, Corvette claims it's the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine meant for a production car. Bold claims, but here's the proof.
For starters, the rpm redline of 8,600 is easily one of the highest revving naturally aspirated V8 engines ever. When coupled with a hefty 684hp and 460lb-ft of torque, the engine leaves no doubt about the engineering abilities of the Detroit-based manufacturer.
Corvette attributes the high revs to the engine's lightweight build, low inertia, flat-pane crankshaft, and a "comparatively short stroke." The rev-happy engine works in conjunction with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This gearbox, the company says, features shorter gearing ratios than their hugely popular Stingray model.
Design and Interior
While it looks awfully like the Stingray, the Z06's design mainly focuses on three things in particular; aerodynamics, handling, and cooling. At the front, a new front fascia accommodates huge vents that draw more cooling air to the car's engine, while wider fenders allow for wider wheels and tires for improved grip.
The story is pretty similar at the back, where a wider fender accommodates sizeable air intakes for better engine cooling. It's back here where owners will find a quartet of centered exhaust pipes perfectly tuned for an even better sound than its predecessors.
Buyers of the Z06 will have three aerodynamics packages to choose from: standard, carbon fiber, and the all-out Z07 performance package. These add different features and styling cues that range from a larger front splitter, more carbon fiber components, a better suspension system, improved braking, and a more enhanced interior.
Speaking of the interior, the all-new Z06 ports over the Stingray's driver-focused cockpit. This borrowing comes with a range of premium materials like hand-wrapped leather and a host of carbon fiber fittings. Buyers will have plenty of material and color choices to opt for. These options include twelve exterior colors, seven wheel packages, three seat choices, and two interior carbon-fiber trim packages.
Chevrolet isn't producing any 2023 Corvette Z06's until summer 2022 and they will be built at Corvette Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky. The car will be offered in both hardtop convertible and coupe versions and will come in both right and left-hand drive.