The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 gets 670 horsepower with no turbos.
A Z07 package is once again available for track domination.
The Z06 will go on sale in the summer of 2022.
The Long-awaited 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 finally debuted this week as a higher-performance variant of the eight-generation Corvette, also known as the C8.
Several other C8 Corvette versions are planned over the next few years, including a hybrid-powered Corvette E-Ray, an ultra-powerful Corvette ZR1 and a range-topping Corvette Zora that could break the 1,000-horsepower mark. For now, let’s concentrate on the newest variation of America’s Sports Car.
What’s in the engine bay?
The mid-engine 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, available as a coupe or a convertible, is motivated by a very different powerplant than the base Corvette Stingray, which itself is no slouch with its 490-to-495-horsepower, naturally aspirated 6.2L LT2 V8.
Indeed, the Corvette Z06 gets a new 5.5L V8 engine called LT6, which features a flat-plane crankshaft, aluminum cylinder block casting, forged aluminum pistons and forged titanium connecting rods, double overhead cams, dry-sump lubrication and a few other trick goodies. According to GM, it produces 670 horsepower at 8,400 rpm, 460 pound-feet of torque at 6,300 rpm, and redlines at a sky-high 8,600 rpm. The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission found in the Stingray is carried over in the Z06.
Motorsports fans may be aware that the automaker participates in the ISMA race series with the Corvette C8.R, which uses a variation of the LT6 engine and rides on a similar chassis. In other words, the race car has been testing the Z06’s architecture for the last two years—and winning many races, too. It’s the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever put into a production car, says GM, and although we’re not done searching, we can’t challenge that claim yet.
What are the visual distinctions compared to the Stingray?
First and foremost, the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 wears larger Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires—275/30ZR20 up front, 345/25ZR21 out back—wrapped around a new alloy wheel design that will be available in six different finishes. The Stingray wears 245/35ZR19 gumballs up front and 305/30ZR20 at the rear. That means the Z06’s body was widened by 3.6 inches or 94 millimetres.
There’s also redesigned front and rear fasciae which, according to the automaker, is a first among all four generations of the Corvette Z06 to date. The wider bodywork allows bigger air intakes, providing better cooling for the engine. Instead of the boomerang-shaped trim on the Corvette Stingray’s flanks, the Z06 gets wishbone-shaped trim bits. And while the Stingray adorns dual exhaust tips on each side of its bumper, the Z06 has four centrally mounted pipes. An adjustable rear spoiler is also standard. Otherwise, the Stingray’s same 12 paint colours are offered on the Z06, as are painted brake callipers.
What if the Z06 doesn’t look mean enough?
In that case, buyers can once again opt for the Z07 Performance Package, which adds cosmetic touches as well as braking and suspension tweaks, further transforming the C8 Corvette into a veritable track beast.
The Z07 package rounds up carbon fibre aero add-ons such as a larger front splitter, dive planes, a rear wing and underbody strakes that enhance the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s look. Well, we can’t really see the underbody stuff, but you get our drift.
A Z07-equipped Corvette also benefits from a unique FE7 suspension configuration and specifically developed Magnetic Ride Control dampers, stickier (when it doesn’t rain) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires as well as Brembo carbon ceramic brakes with massive 398 mm front and 391 mm rear rotors. On the options list, the Z06’s wheels can be swapped out for carbon fibre wheels that reduce unsprung weight by 41 pounds or almost 19 kilograms.
Is the Corvette Z06’s cabin more luxurious than the Stingray’s?
Indeed. However, the same basic layout remains. The Z06 can be dressed up with optional carbon fibre trim on the steering wheel and the dash as well as carbon fibre paddle shifters, in addition to one of seven interior colours, six seat belt colours and a new Stealth Aluminum trim option. As with the Stingray, GT1, GT2 and Competition seats are offered, but a full Adrenaline Red interior—including the seats, console and dashboard—is a Z06 exclusivity for now.
When will the Z06 go on sale?
The Corvette Z06 will go on sale in the summer of 2022, so it’s still several months away. However, buyers should start nagging their local dealers sooner than later. Unfortunately, what we can’t answer right now is how much the car will sticker for before dealer markups. We’re thinking just under $100K for the U.S. market and in the vicinity of $120K in Canada, without options.