2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Elevates The American Supercar
The next chapter in the mid-engine Corvette journey begins with the introduction of the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, a new American supercar that puts the world on notice. Arriving two years after the first production mid-engine Corvette Stingray debuted and captivated a worldwide audience, the Z06 is designed and engineered to act as a precision tool for the track.
The Z06’s striking appearance, sound and tactile feel are the result of intense focus. With new, wider sculpted front and rear fascia designs that define a confident stance and exotic proportions and a luxuriously-appointed interior, the Z06 is the ultimate supercar experience.
“Corvette has always brought a discerning customer to the Chevy family,” said Steve Hill, vice president of Chevrolet. “This new Z06 was designed and engineered to set a higher bar with increased levels of craftsmanship, personalization and performance so customers can truly have their own bespoke performance car.”
While the Z06 was created to dominate on the track when it debuted in 1963, the Z06 nameplate has also come to symbolize the perfect combination of track beast and supercar.
“The new Corvette Z06 defines the American supercar,” said General Motors President Mark Reuss. “It builds on the distinctive design and groundbreaking dynamics introduced with the mid-engine Corvette and elevates them to deliver refined but uncompromising track capability with world-class performance.”
The Z06 is set apart by its beating heart – the all-new 5.5L LT6, the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated V-8 to hit the market in any production car, ever.
An all-new flat-plane crankshaft design entices drivers to push the tachometer to a lofty 8,600 rpm, creating 670 hp. Engineers spent two years crafting a distinctive, rich exhaust tone unlike anything ever heard from a Corvette.
Racing at its core
The sound and appearance of the Z06 take direction from Corvette Racing. The direct knowledge transfer from the track to the street has never been more evident. The Z06 chassis has underpinned Corvette Racing’s C8.R since it began competing in 2020. Thanks to a shared chassis, similar engine architecture and exterior proportions, the C8.R has been referred to internally as the Z06 hiding in plain sight.
“Racing was the reason the Z06 was developed in 1963, and it continues to support development of the road models that make them better on the street and the track,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer, Corvette. “It also means we’ve tested the Z06 on the best tracks around the world, from Circuit of the Americas here in the United States, to the Nürburgring in Germany.”
The Corvette C8.R shined during IMSA’s 2020 sports car championship series, capturing six victories and seven pole positions, and setting the fastest class race laps in six events. During the 2020 series, Chevrolet won the GT Manufacturers title – its 13th since 2001. Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia and the No. 3 Corvette C8.R crew won the GTLM Drivers and Team championships.
The performance envelope of Z06 builds on the foundation laid by Stingray, as does Z06’s design language and attention to detail. Expanded material offerings, new interior packages and features unique to Z06 enable owners to create their own bespoke American supercar.
Additional highlights of the 2023 Corvette Z06 include:
- A stance 3.6 inches (9.4 cm) wider than the Stingray, accommodating massive 345-series rear tires and more airflow through side air vents
- Unique front and rear fascias, a first for Z06. The front fascia is designed to optimize the Z06’s cooling needs, including channeling air to a center heat exchanger, which is one of five for maximum cooling performance
- A unique, standard reconfigurable rear spoiler with adjustable wickerbill elements designed to improve high-speed stability and cornering capability on a racetrack
- Standard 20-inch front and 21-inch rear forged aluminum “spider” wheels (with five available finishes) — the largest wheels ever available on a production Corvette
- Available lightweight and rigid carbon fiber wheels that deliver a 41-pound (18.6-kg) reduction in unsprung mass, which contributes to more agile and responsive handling
- Specific suspension tuning, including Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, and larger brakes (six-piston front) than the Stingray, contribute to making the 2023 Corvette Z06 the most track-capable Corvette ever
- Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with a specific, “shorter” 5.56 final drive ratio compared to the Corvette Stingray, which enhances acceleration capability
- Elevated cockpit surrounding the driver, with rich materials and textures, including more carbon fiber trim and new options
- Available Z07 performance package that offers the greatest track capability and provides 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph, more than any Corvette ever. It includes a carbon fiber high rear wing and ground effects, specific chassis tuning, specific Magnetic Ride Control calibration and unique Michelin® Cup 2 R ZP tires, along with Brembo® carbon ceramic brakes and optional carbon fiber wheels
“Virtually every component that distinguishes the Z06 was developed to support or enhance its capability,” said Juechter. “By leveraging the mid-engine architecture’s inherent advantages, we are able to achieve six per cent more downforce than a seventh-gen ZR1 at eight per cent lower drag.”
The 2023 Corvette Z06 debuts an all-new 5.5L DOHC V-8 engine that marks a return to natural aspiration for the track-capable performance model.
Engine responsiveness and trackability, two characteristics of naturally aspirated motors, were the top priorities for providing an engaging driving experience for purists. As a result, it was determined that a clean sheet naturally aspirated powerplant was needed, with the goal of exceeding the power of any naturally aspirated production V-8 engine ever made. A lightweight, flat-plane crank design enables the engine to rev to the high rpms needed to create significant power.
More than horsepower, the new LT6 is designed to complement all aspects of the Z06’s track-focused performance experience. From its 8,600-rpm redline and full racing-style dry-sump oiling system to meticulously tuned induction and exhaust systems, this engine exudes an entirely new and emotional character.
The key to the LT6’s performance capability is a lightweight, low-inertia rotating assembly rooted in an all-new flat-plane crankshaft that, along with a comparatively short stroke (the distance each piston/connecting rod assembly travels with each rotation of the crankshaft), allows the engine to rev to its maximum range.
A version of the LT6 has powered the C8.R race cars since 2019, and the rigors of endurance road racing helped engineers refine the engine’s performance and durability.
Additional highlights include:
- All-new aluminum cylinder block casting with the Small Block engine family’s signature 4.4-inch (111.76 mm) bore spacing
- All-new dual-overhead-camshaft cylinder head design with fully CNC-machined combustion chambers and intake ports, supporting a mechanical “finger follower” valvetrain
- Dual-coil valve springs to support titanium intake and sodium filled exhaust valves
- Forged aluminum pistons and forged titanium connecting rods for low mass and high strength
- Distinctive Edge Red camshaft covers
- All-new active split intake manifold with twin 87 mm throttle bodies
- All-new six-stage dry-sump oiling system with individual crank bay scavenging
- Four-into-two-into-one stainless steel exhaust headers
- 670 hp at 8,400 rpm (GM tested per SAE J1349)
- 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque @ 6300 rpm (GM tested per SAE J1349)
The LT6 is hand assembled by master engine builders at the Performance Build Center within the Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Builders use precision tooling and hand fit pieces of the engine to meet Chevrolet’s exact specifications. Each engine features a plaque on the intake manifold with the signature of the technician who crafted it from start to finish.
Designed to perform
Almost every exterior detail unique to the Z06 serves a purpose for aerodynamics, handling or cooling, with styling cues that accentuate the car’s sense of motion.
The wider fenders, for example, accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. Larger vents — including a new front fascia that, like the C8.R race car, draws clean air into a center heat exchanger — provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes and transaxle for increased track capability. Additionally, a more aggressive aerodynamic package is designed to enhance cornering grip and high-speed stability.
The wider wheels and tires include 20 x 10-inch (50.8 x 25.4 cm) front wheels wrapped with 275/30ZR20 tires and 21 x 13-inch (53.3 x 33 cm) rear wheels, used with 345/25ZR21 tires. Michelin® Pilot Sport 4S ZP tires are standard, with Sport Cup 2 R ZP tires included with the available Z07 package.
Designers pulled out the fenders in the front and rear to cover the wider tire tread, which are 30 mm front and 40 mm rear wider than the Corvette Stingray. These extensions give the Corvette Z06 a wider, lower appearance further emphasized by a unique rear fascia that also features centered floating exhaust bezels. This floating design was key to the precise tuning in the exhaust note. The wider rear fender also allows for the larger air intakes required for the car’s cooling.
Additionally, the new Z06 will offer three increasing levels of aerodynamic support:
- The standard Z06 features a front splitter and a unique rear spoiler, which includes an installable fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce, providing 365 pounds (165.6 kg) more at 186 mph (299.3 km/h).
- The available carbon fiber aero package adds a larger front splitter, front-corner canards (dive planes), a pedestal-mounted rear wing and underbody aero strakes for the maximum track-capable downforce and maneuverability.
Track-proven performance technologies
The 2023 Corvette Z06 leverages the technologies introduced on the mid-engine Corvette Stingray, including the strategic use of lightweight materials and advanced driver technologies, with unique features and calibrations tailored for its capabilities.
The new Z06 retains the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray, but uniquely calibrated for its higher performance capabilities. Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0 is standard and can be adjusted for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector.
Like the Stingray, the Driver Mode Selector tailors more than a dozen features of the Z06 to suit the driver’s environment, including:
- Launch control: Available in Track mode for maximum off-the-line acceleration
- Active handling (StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control): Z06 has performance traction management standard
- Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
- Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
- Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages to balance between steering response and stability in different driving conditions
The Z06’s greater track performance capability is also matched with greater braking capability, with larger 14.6-inch-diameter (370 mm) front and 15-inch-diameter (380 mm) rear Brembo® rotors, compared with the Stingray. Z06 has six-piston front calipers compared to four-piston calipers on Stingray.
Even larger, carbon ceramic rotors are available and also included with the Z07 package, which takes the Corvette Z06’s performance to its zenith.
Z07 Performance Package additional features include:
- Carbon fiber aero package with larger front splitter, front-corner dive planes, a rear wing and underbody strakes that enhance downforce
- Unique FE7 suspension with specific Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 calibrations
- Michelin Sport Cup 2 R ZP tires developed specifically for the Z06
- Available carbon fiber wheels that deliver a 41-pound (18.6 kg) reduction in unsprung mass
- Brembo® carbon ceramic brake system featuring larger, 15.7-inch-diameter (398 mm) front rotors and 15.4-inch-diameter (391 mm) rear rotors
When equipped with the Z07 performance package in the track prepared configuration on a 300-foot diameter circle, the car is capable of 1.22 g of road-hugging grip.
The Z06 is based on the same robust architecture as the Stingray — a rigid structure that enabled engineers to fine-tune the car’s chassis and suspension components with exceptional precision. The Z06 is so stiff that the track-capable Z06 is offered in a hardtop convertible model, and there is no variance in the suspension calibrations between it and the coupe.
Bespoke attention to detail
In the driver-focused cockpit, premium materials continue to elevate the luxurious look and feel introduced with the Stingray. They’re complemented with available carbon fiber trim that expresses the car’s lightweight, track-focused mantra.
“To match its performance, the Z06 is an elevated execution of the eighth-generation design,” said Phil Zak, executive design director, Chevrolet. “From its wide planted stance with sculpted surfaces to its premium and carbon fiber materials, the Z06 instills an aura of raw power and performance with bespoke craftsmanship.”
Unique features include an available carbon fiber-wrapped steering wheel, shift paddles and new carbon fiber interior trim package level 2. The Z06 also features hand-wrapped leather interior options, including the all-new, available fully trimmed interior in Adrenaline Red.
Additional new wheel, color and trim options offer Z06 customers the most personalization choices in the Corvette lineup, including:
- Twelve available exterior colors
- Seven available wheel packages, including five finishes on the standard forged aluminum wheels and available carbon fiber wheels
- Seven interior colors with the opportunity to expand it to thousands of combinations
- Three seat choices and six seatbelt options
- Two interior carbon fiber trim packages, plus Stealth Aluminum trim option
- Six available brake caliper colors
The 2023 Corvette Z06 will be seen, heard and experienced around the globe when production begins in summer 2022. It will be built from Bowling Green Assembly in left- and right-hand drive.
FAST FACT: The Corvette Z06 was born in 1963, as an optional Special Equipment Package intended for racers. It included a stiffer suspension, heavy duty brakes, a thicker front stabilizer bar, and a large, 36 gallon fuel tank that reduced the number of necessary pit stops in longer races. A fuel-injected 5.4-liter engine (327 cubic inches) and a close-ratio four-speed manual transmission were required with the package.
CORVETTE Z06 GENERATIONS
|C2 (1963)||L84 5.4L OHV V-8||360||4-speed manual|
|C5 (2001-04)||LS6 5.7L OHV V-8||385 (2001); 405 (2002-04)||6-speed manual|
|C6 (2006-13)||LS7 7.0L OHV V-8||505||6-speed manual|
|C7 (2015-19)||LT4 6.2L OHV V-8 supercharged||650||7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic|
|C8 (2023)||LT6 5.5L DOHC V-8||670||8-speed DCT|