Chevrolet unveils 2023 Corvette Z06 and its all-new V8 powerhouse
When the eighth-generation Corvette debuted as a mid-engined supercar-like design, it got a lot of attention. Our test drive proved the hype to be warranted. Now, Chevy has an all-new "American supercar" version of the ‘Vette in its storied Z06 track-tuned edition.
At the heart of the Corvette Z06 is an all-new 5.5-liter V8 engine, the LT6. This naturally-aspirated gasoline burner has a flat-plane crankshaft design allowing it to turn at up to 8,600 rpm while producing 670 horsepower (500 kW). Taking direction from Corvette Racing, the design team not only worked on the unique engine and exhaust, but utilized the chassis of the C8.R race car that began competition in 2020. Engineers have joked that the C8.R was "the Z06 hiding in plain sight."
The LT6 is hand-assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at Chevrolet’s Performance Build Center. Its all-aluminum cylinder block casting has the Small Black engine’s signature 4.4-inch (112-mm) bore spacing. The dual overhead camshaft cylinder head design is all-new, with CNC-machined combustion chambers and intake ports, along with a mechanical "finger follower" valvetrian. Dual-coil valve springs support titanium intake and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Pistons are forged aluminum, while connecting rods are forged titanium for lower mass and high strength.
The 5.5L’s active split intake manifold is also new, and sports twin 87-mm throttle bodies. The six-stage dry-sump oiling system is likewise new, and utilizes individual crank bay scavenging. Exhaust headers are four-into-two-into-one and made of stainless steel.
Engine output specifications for the new LT6 are per J1349 standards, producing 670 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 460 pound-feet (623 Nm) of torque at 6,300 rpm.
Hoping that the six victories, seven pole positions, and 2020 GT Manufacturers title translate to a road-legal version of the new Corvette, the Corvette Racing team and Chevrolet’s engineers tuned the suspension with updated Magnetic Ride Control. The changes to the Z06 made it wider than the Stingray (3.6 inches or 9.4 cm) to accommodate massive 345-series rear tires and larger side air vents for better airflow for the engine. The wider stance comes with 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inch wheels in the rear.
The new Z06 has unique front and rear fascias (a first for Z06 models), the front made to optimize cooling needs and the rear for better airflow management and to accommodate a standard, reconfigurable spoiler with adjustable wickerbill elements. Lightweight and rigid carbon fiber wheels are available for the Z06, reducing weight by about 41 lb (18.6 kg).
Brakes are upgraded to six-pistons up front for better braking control and cooling. The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission has a shorter 5.56 final drive ratio for better acceleration.
Available for the Z06 is a Z07 performance package, which adds 734 lb (333 kg) of downforce at 186 mph (299 km/h) for greater track capability. That's more than any Corvette ... ever. The package includes a carbon fiber high rear wing and ground effects, along with specific chassis tuning and calibration of the Magnetic Ride Control for the unique Michelin Cup 2 R ZP tires fitted on the Z07 upgrade. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes are also a standard part of the upgrade, while carbon fiber wheels remain optional.
The new Z06 also includes driver-controlled launch control, active handling, traction control, performance traction management, and electronic limited-slip differential settings through the Drive Mode Selector.
Production of the 2023 Corvette Z06 begins mid-year in 2022 and will include both left- and right-hand-drive units. Chevrolet promises more production specifications, pricing, and other details closer to launch in late 2022. There's more information in the video below.