C8 Corvette Z06 engineers bought engine from wrecked Ferrari to develop their own
The Corvette C8 Z06 is a vehicle that many enthusiasts are looking forward to. It’s the next step in performance for the already incredibly impressive C8 Corvette. While it’s certainly no secret, the C8 Z06 uses a flat V8 engine like most Ferrari models do. With that in mind, the mid-engined Vette with a flat-crank V8 already shares many similarities with one of Italy’s best. However, the similarities actually run much deeper than that, thanks to the fact that GM engineers purchased a Ferrari 458 engine from a wrecked car on eBay.
Starting with a blank slate, GM engineers needed a little guidance
GM and Chevrolet engineers are certainly not lacking in experience when it comes to assembling a V8 engine. However, since the last century, their V8 engines have only been available in standard cross-plane crankshaft configurations with old-school pushrod technology. It’s not something to discredit either. They work great, and they make great power. However, the benefits of the flatbed layout are clearly evident in the Corvette C8 Z06 and its low mid-engined chassis. So Chevrolet engineers turned to Ferrari. After all, they’ve been building flat V8 engines for decades. However, there is certainly no chance that Ferrari will hand over its valuable engine information. Ferrari isn’t even that nice to its customers. Can you imagine being a competitor and calling them out for a favor?
Instead, Chevrolet’s chief engineer on the Z06 engine project, Jordan Lee, turned to eBay to buy an engine from a wrecked Ferrari 458, reports The Drive.
“We were able to buy a wrecked car engine from Poland on eBay,” Lee explained. “We sent them a check for about $25,000, and we were all very happy and thrilled that the engine actually showed up.”
He did, however! The Drive reports that the motor appeared on a pallet like a clock.
After cracking open the Ferrari engine and digging to reveal its secrets, Chevrolet engineers set to work developing what would become the LT6 V8 engine that is available in the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. However, the use of the 458 and of its engine did not stop there. After completing the first Corvette Z06 C8 test mule, Chevrolet engineers used a 458 as the performance benchmark for the Z06.
What is the benefit of a flat plane crank?
Aside from the heavenly sound of the flat-plane LT6 engine found in the C8 Z06, there are a handful of advantages that come from using this layout over a cross-plane engine.
A flat-plane crankshaft attaches connecting rods every 180 degrees apart, while a cross-plane crankshaft has them every 90 degrees. So a flat-crank V8 runs more like a four-cylinder than a typical American-made V8. This means that pistons going up and down will always alternate from one side of the engine to the other. Essentially, all of this means that the crankshaft requires less counterweight and allows the engine to rev higher and reach higher rpms faster.
The use of a flat V8 engine in the Corvette C8 Z06 allows drivers to take full advantage of the handling characteristics of this fantastic car. Faster acceleration throughout the rev range and higher revs than a standard pushrod V8 engine means the Z06 is ready to dominate the race track. He has no problem following, say, a Ferrari 458. Weird coincidence, no?
Besides the fantastic engine, the C8 Z06 sees upgrades in body panels, brake size and materials, wheel size, suspension upgrades and much more over a standard C8 Corvette. Don’t make a mistake. The C8 Z06 is a legit supercar whether people like it or not.
It just goes to show that imitation really is the greatest form of flattery. Even if those you imitate don’t like it!
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