2023 Corvette Z06 Continues Legend With Radical New Engine

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If General Motors’ switch to electric vehicles heralds the end of Chevrolet’s legendary small-block V8, the engine that powered many of its largest vehicles is extinguished with a roar and a record: the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 never designed. in a production car, the 2023 Corvette Z06.

The 670-horsepower 5.5L V8 came to life in GM’s high-security Design Dome last week, evoking the ghosts of eight decades of performance design and engineering.

The drastically reworked Z06 features a host of other changes, many of which, like the V-8, born out of the development of the Corvette C8.R racing car, which won a championship in its first year of competition and leads the second. .

“Racing is the reason the Z06 was developed in 1963,” said executive Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter. “We’ve tested the Z06 on the best tracks in the world, from the Circuit of the Americas here in the United States to the Nürburgring in Germany.”

The interior also received a number of upgrades including performance-oriented displays, carbon fiber trim with subtle red highlights, and a “dipped red” color scheme.

The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will go into production next summer in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It will be available both as a coupe and a convertible. Prices and fuel economy will be announced closer to the start of sales.

Corvette Z06 through the years

C2 (1963): 5.4L V8 engine, 360 horsepower, 4-speed manual transmission

C5 (2001-04): 5.7L V8, 385 hp (2001) and 405 hp (2002-04), 6-speed manual

C6: 7.0L V8, 505 hp, 6-speed manual

C7: 6.2L V8, 650 hp, 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic supercharged

C8: 5.5L V8, 670 hp, 8-speed dual-clutch automatic

When tenths of a second get hard to find

‘Visceral’, ‘urgent’ and ‘scalpel’ were the keywords when the ‘Vette team started working on the Z06 in 2019.

The body was widened to accommodate a wider 3.6-inch stance necessitated by massive 345-series rear tires and larger side air vents for cooling.

Four 5-foot-long “slices” on the underbody direct air under the car to reduce air pressure and increase handling.

“The management response is in a different universe” because of the big tires and light wheels, Juechter said. Engineers readjusted the Vette’s steering, suspension, and eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for more power and higher speeds, but the core components, including the MR adaptive suspension, are common to the Corvette. Stingray.

The breed characteristics available on the Z06 include:

• A stance 3.6 inches wider than the Corvette Stingray

• A whopping 734 pounds of downforce to keep the car planted on the track instead of risking taking off at top speed – 186 mph

• Standard 20-inch front and 21-inch rear aluminum wheels

• Optional carbon fiber wheels reduce weight by 41 pounds

• Optional carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes with 15.7 / 15.4 inch diameter front and rear rotors, respectively

The Z06’s grille, front fenders and fairing are new to accommodate more airflow for cooling and aerodynamics. The rear fairing and corners are also new, including the repositioned taillights. The hood and headlights are shared with the Stingray.

The engine, however, is new from scratch. In development for more than five years, it has 32 valves and a double overhead camshaft, plus the first small block. The high-pressure directional injection system is exactly the same used in Corvette C8.R race cars on the tracks from Daytona to LeMans. Engineers also borrowed a few tricks from Chevrolet’s Indy Car engine, including moving the fuel rails to the exhaust side to make room for larger intake valves.

The resulting improved airflow helped the absurdly powerful engine meet emissions standards.

Top speed is 186 mph. The 0-60 mph time dropped to 2.6 seconds, about 0.2-0.3 seconds faster than the Stingray.

It was unexpected, Juechter said. “Tenths of a second get pretty hard to come by when you only have a few. “

The goal of all of the upgrades was to allow the Z06 to perform its best lap times all day, with less heat loss and other factors than previous models.

Z06: Zora’s secret project

The Corvette Z06 dates back to the early days of the sports car, when legendary chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov wanted a ‘Vette with which he could race and win on the track. The name dates from the special feature set created for it in 1963: Zora Option 6 or Zora 06. The Z06 (pronounced “Zee Oh Six”, but spelled with a zero, not an O) was born.

The model name was not even in the order book. It was a secret set of features cobbled together by Zora, a passionate and accomplished runner.

Savvy buyers might ask for it to get a track ready “Vette”. Chevrolet has not officially acknowledged the existence of the Z06, possibly because GM briefly gave up motorsport in 1963.

The original 1963 Z06 packaging included:

• More rigid suspension

• Robust brakes

• Thicker front stabilizer bar

• 36 gallon fuel tank to reduce the number of pit stops in longer races

• A 5.4 liter (327 cubic inch) V8 engine with fuel injection

• A close-ratio four-speed manual transmission was required with the package.

The 5.5L V8 – the first small block with a flat crankshaft – has the distinctive fast-revving exhaust note that was once the home of exotic cars like McLaren and Ferrari. Without getting too deep into the weeds, a flat crankshaft reduces engine weight and improves airflow. This leads to more power. The design also results in more engine vibration than engines with conventional counterbalanced crankshafts, and a distinctive exhaust note, very different from traditional Detroit V8s. It hits the 8600 RPM red line quickly like a hiccup.

There will be Z06s as long as there are Corvettes, that is, as long as there are Chevrolets. Someday they’ll have electricity, and probably 0-60 times even faster than 2023, but they may never exceed the visceral appeal of the small 5.5L flat block.

The new 2023 Corvette Z06 with the Z07 Performance Package was on display at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, October 22, 2021. The bold exclusive color is called Amplify Orange. This version also has a retractable retractable roof.


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