Chevy kicked off the week with an early gift: our first official look at the upcoming 2023 Corvette Z06.
The Bow Tie brand teased out the up rated mid-engined supercar on Instagram early Monday, but only a single image.
Even so, the reveal gives us a clear look at where the Z06 will distinguish itself from the existing Stingray. The front bumper is more aggressive, with larger openings to gulp down more cooling air. New multi-spoke fill out the wheel arches, too.
Itís hard to tell from this elevated angle, but the whole car seems to ride a little closer to terra firma, as well. A new wishbone-shaped garnish lines the side air intake, and thatís about all we can see from here. We expect other changes we canít see, like a revised rear bumper and diffuser setup
What exactly powers the new Z06 remains to be seen. A summer teaser made it all but official that the big Z will be packing a flat-plane crank, dual-overhead-cam V8. The current C8.R uses just such an engine, displacing 5.5 liters. While the last Z06 used a supercharged engine, we expect the new model to forego forced induction.
That suggests the 2023 model may not make the same 650 horsepower, however.
Itís not long before we know for sure. The full reveal, which should put all the drivetrain rumors to bed, is set to take place October 26. Stay tuned.
The new Z06 will be powered by a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 that should rev to between 8500 and 9000 rpm, make over 600 horsepower, and use an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Spy photographers spotted Chevy testing the car alongside a Ferrari 458 Italia, which also uses a high-revving flat-plane V-8, so it's obvious what Chevy is going for with this new Corvette variant.
This photo is a standard Z06, which will have less aggressive aerodynamic elements than the available track-focused Z07 Performance package. The Z07 Performance package should include things such as a more aggressive front splitter, larger wing, stiffer suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and carbon-fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires.
The first takeaway, for me and almost anyone who's seen photos of the Z06 testing before, is the rear wing.
In the stationary photo, it's more subtle and subdued than the car that's racing around COTA.
It's likely that the 'Vette will be offered in two trims with differing aero kits, like we've seen before with the Z07 package.
Regardless, that'll be the quickest way to tell a Z06 from a standard C8.
Then there's the side air intake, which is more pronounced and probably a lot better at feeding the howling V8.
That engine will likely be a naturally aspirated, 5.5-liter unit like we've seen in the C8.R race car, so it'll take all the air it can get without the help of a supercharger or a turbo.
The chiseled front splitter rounds it all out as it looks ready to eat up miles and miles of track days, or back roads, or cars and coffee parking lots.
No matter how each one is actually used, we know they'll all be capable of attacking a circuit with even more poise than the already-capable base C8.
From one Ex GMíer :
So, taking into consideration several things:
The first and foremost new tires, I know that Lee Willard is a tire design genius. Whatever cup tires are on the C8 Z06, comparing them to the Cup 2 tires that were designed and developed by Lee and myself in 2013, seven years of tire design and advanced technology should result in an incredible tire for the C8 Z06.
I would venture to estimate a lap time improvement of 8 to 10 seconds just based on tires.
The second would be the DCT. More available gears to keep the horsepower and torque in the peak power band throughout the lap and lightning quick shifts. Better and more advanced performance traction algorithms.
I did not use performance traction for every fast lap I did through the C7 Z06.
I did embrace it on the C7 ZR1, having to do it over, I mightíve run the ZR1 the same way I ran everything else.
I donít know the horsepower of the new Z06 but keeping up with the horsepower gain throughout the generations, I see no reason to C8 Corvette Z06 would be any different.
And of course, the driver. I do not know if they are going to have Oliver Gavin drive again. But now there is an engineer on the Corvette I feel would be just as fast, if not faster. His name is Bill Wise, he drove the 7:16 Camaro ZL1 1LE a few years ago.
Summing it all up, based on my armchair analysis, which actually has been pretty good in the past, I see no reason the car shouldnít be 12 to 14 seconds faster than the 7:10 I ran in the C7 Z06.
The opportunity to have the Corvette be the first American car under seven minutes would be a significant achievement. I know, Iíve been there
The 2023 Corvette Z06 is expected to have the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever found in a production car, topping at over 600 horsepower.
That said, scorekeepers will not doubt point to the fact that the C7 Z06 had a staggering 650 hp, when it was running right.
But with a mid-engine application, better tires, and more aggressive aerodynamics by comparison, the C8 Corvette Z06 is bound to make far better use of its power than the C7 ever could.
At the moment, it feels like the 2023 Corvette Z06 is aiming straight at the 992 Porsche 911 GT3, which just came out for the 2022 model year and starts at $161,100 USD. Last September, Porsche sent one around the track with a finishing time of 6:55.34.
Yet itís got nothing on the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which was priced from $293,000 USD.
This 700 hp German missile lapped the ĎRing in a record 6:38; the fastest so far of any production vehicle.
We expect the new Z06 to land somewhere in between the two Porsche supercars with its lap time, while coming in way, way under on the MSRP. Because only Porsche can get away with selling six-cylinder cars for that kind of money. Because Porsche buyers are suckers.