Touted as Chevrolet's "most track-capable Corvette ever", the new Z06 has been unveiled at today’s Detroit auto show with the news that it will not only feature a supercharged engine for the first time, but also a newly developed eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission and a removable carbonfibre roof panel.
On sale in the US from early 2015, the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will raise the performance bar above the 462kW/823Nm supercharged 6.2-litre LS9 V8-powered ZR1, with 466kW and a monstrous 861Nm coming from an all-new supercharged 6.2-litre LT4 V8 engine. Chevrolet has not announced performance claims for the Z06, though it's certain to better the 3.8-second 0-100km/h benchmark currently held by the enhanced Z51 variant.
Able to be matched to either a seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match or an all-new eight-speed automatic, the Z06 powerplant uniquely gains aluminium cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, machined connecting rods, forged aluminium pistons, stainless steel exhaust headers and an aluminium balancer. It also uses a dry-sump oiling system – with a larger capacity than the Z51 – and has a 10.0:1 compression ratio.
To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 unit borrows the standard Corvette Stingray’s direct injection, cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing technologies.
Sitting about 25mm taller than the Stingray's 339kW/624Nm LT1 engine, and requiring significantly more cooling and ventilation, the Z06’s engine is topped by a bespoke ventilated carbonfibre bonnet.
Also up front is a splitter, model-specific grille with dedicated brake-cooling intakes, larger front guard vents and black guard extensions. The rear uses the standard car’s tail-lights, albeit pushed out wider, and borrows its spoiler from the Corvette Stingray's Z51 Performance Package.
Accommodating wider 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels wrapped in Michelin tyres – 285mm front, 335mm rear – are 56mm-wider front and 80mm-wider rear guards. The Z06 comes standard with 371mm front and 365mm rear two-piece steel rotors clamped by six-piston front and four-piston rear aluminium calipers. An available Z07 performance pack upgrades these to Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix rotors measuring 394mm front and 388mm rear, and saves 10.4kg over the stock items.
The Z07 pack also includes stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tyres and additional aerodynamic components such as larger front splitter winglets and an adjustable rear spoiler centre section for track sessions.
For further customisation, Chevrolet offers a carbonfibre aero package that adds a carbonfibre front splitter, side skirts and a larger rear spoiler finished in either black or visible carbonfibre.
Optional on Z51 models, the Z06 also comes standard with adjustable Magnetic Ride Control dampers. Other tech includes an electronic limited-slip differential, five-mode performance traction management, active handling stability control and launch control – the latter designed to work with both manual and automatic transmissions.
Using the same aluminium frame as its seventh-generation Corvette Stingray base car, the US car maker says with its roof panel removed, the Z06 is 20 per cent stiffer than the previous fixed-roof model and 60 per cent stiffer with the panel in place.
Inside, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and unique colour schemes distinguish the Corvette Z06 from the standard Stingray, with Chevrolet’s new motorsport-inspired Performance Data Recorder also set to be included.
As well as unveiling the Corvette Z06, Chevrolet also used the Detroit show to take the covers off its Corvette C7.R race car – a project co-developed alongside the all-new Z06 road car.