The world has been waiting for the next “Best Vette yet,” and today, Chevrolet revealed just how much better this next iteration of the C8 Corvette really is. We’ve seen teaser videos that highlight one of the key characteristics of premium performance Corvettes for generations – a wider body draped over tires designed to keep the communication between torque and tarmac. The 2023 Corvette Z06 takes the previous bar of performance and tosses it in the burning barrel, opting instead to create its own scale by which the world will be judged from now on.
Under those bulging wheelhouses, which provide a stance that is 3.6-inches wider than the Corvette Stingray, are a set of massive 345-series rear tires. The entire wheel and tire package includes 20 x10-inch front wheels wrapped with 275/30ZR20 tires and 21 x13-inch rear wheels, used with the aforementioned 345/25ZR21 tires. In addition, Michelin® Pilot Sport 4S ZP tires are standard, with Sport Cup 2 R ZP tires included with the available Z07 package. Lightweight and rigid carbon fiber wheels also deliver a 41-pound reduction in unsprung mass, which contributes to more agile and responsive handling.
The wider fenders also allow for larger air intakes required to keep the car cool under competition. And that is precisely where this car was designed to go. Per Chevrolet, “the Z06 is designed and engineered to act as a precision tool for the track.” But, of course, it does more than act. GM’s testing has shown the 2023 Z06 is capable of 0-60 times of 2.6 seconds! We’ve all heard the bellows of the all-new, flat-plane crank engine which powers this wide-track wonder. And now we know more than just a sound signature.
5.5 Liter (LT6)
The 2023 Corvette Z06’s all-new 5.5L DOHC V-8 engine is a naturally-aspirated marvel, kicking out 670 horsepower at 8,400 rpm with an astounding 8,600 rpm redline. Torque peaks at 460 lb-ft of torque at 6,300 rpm. As with other Z06 engines of late, the LT6 also utilizes a six-stage dry-sump oiling system with individual crank bay scavenging to help control oil under the heavy lateral-Gs this car can deliver.
Mated to that savory-sounding crankshaft is a lightweight, low-inertia rotating assembly featuring a comparatively short stroke that gives the 2023 Z06 a different voice from previous Corvettes. Pistons are still aligned with the small-block’s 4.4-inch bore spacing but are capped with an all-new dual overhead cammed head assembly with CNC machined combustion chambers and intake ports. Valves are titanium (intake), sodium-filled (exhaust), and rebound thanks to the dual coil valve spring. Forged aluminum pistons are also linked to titanium connecting rods for low mass and high strength.
Regulating the air to each of those heads is an all-new, active split intake that features twin 87mm throttle bodies and a plaque on the intake manifold bearing the signature of the technician who crafted the engine by hand from start to finish.
Sound And Slippery
At a time when noise abatement hangs over so many engineers’ heads, the 2023 Z06’s mid-engine platform allowed Chevrolet’s engineers to have a little fun. Initial testing revealed the car’s exhaust note was pleasing from the outside but didn’t manifest itself enough to be enjoyed by those with a performance palate. The entire rear portion of the vehicle was re-designed to afford the occupants a distinctive tone on par with the car’s performance, thanks to a centrally-mounted, floating design that is key to the precise tuning in the exhaust note.
Other body modifications were made to allow more performance to be utilized while at the same time limiting the power necessary to get the car through the atmosphere. The standard Z06 features a front splitter which helps direct clean air to a centrally-mounted heat exchanger. Z06 also features a unique rear spoiler, including an installable fixed wickerbill that provides 365 pounds more downforce at 186 mph.
The available carbon-fiber aero package adds a larger front splitter, front-corner canards, a pedestal-mounted rear wing, and underbody aero strakes for the maximum track-capable downforce and maneuverability. The Z07 performance package provides 734-pounds of downforce at 186 mph, more than any Corvette ever. 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.
There are twelve available exterior colors, along with seven available wheel packages to personalize your Z06. There are also seven interior colors with thousands of combinations available for choosing. In addition, two interior carbon-fiber trim options cater to your taste in the lightweight material, and a Stealth Aluminum trim option allows some variety beyond the woven variant.
Together, the additional wheel, color, and trim options offer Z06 customers the most personalization choices in the Corvette lineup. You can now go to the Chevrolet website and design your own Z06. Although, we will warn you, apparently half of the world that isn’t sleeping is spec’-ing out their Z06 as you read this. It may take a little time to load. You can also check out this gallery of Z06 images below to help you decide.