Barely two months after confirming plans to launch the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for 2023, the bowtie brand is giving us a first official look at the high(er)-performance model without the camouflage.
And, during the past few weeks, sources inside Chevy have loosened their tongues, as well. While formal details won’t be released for a while, details have begun leaking out. For one thing, rumors of a possible hybrid powertrain for the 2023 Corvette Z06 have been put to rest, the automaker instead opting for a a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 expected to make at least 600 horsepower.
Expect to hear the full, formal details Oct. 26, when Chevrolet officially reveals the 2023 Z06.
Taking on the exotics
Chevrolet has made no bones about its plans to take on the best in the sports cars world, and it will step things up big time with the next-generation Z06, which will use the same, basic powertrain configuration as the Ferrari 458 Italia.
As we reported back in August, Chevy offered up a teaser that pretty much confirmed the powertrain choice, with the distinctive rev of a flat-plane V-8. It will replace the 6.2-liter pushrod V-8 found in the current Corvette Stingray.
And it will mark just the second time the ‘Vette has been equipped with a DOHC engine. The last time was 26 years ago with the Corvette C4, or fourth-generation model. The new engine has some key similarities to the powertrain found in the C8.R race car — but it won’t face the 500-hp limit.
Expectations are that the Z06’s V-8 will be able to spin up to some pretty exotic speeds, anywhere from 8,000 to 9,000 rpm.
The official Z06 image released today appears to be that of a base model, but you can spot some key upgrades from the Stingray, starting with the larger side air intakes needed to let the 5.5-liter V-8 breathe deeply. There’s also a more distinctive front splitter. The single shot provides little insight into what’s done to the back end, but an updated diffusor and revised tailpipes are pretty much a given.
As TheDetroitBureau.com previously noted, there’ll be a Z06 Performance Package that, among other things, will offer a large rear wing meant to pin the tail end of the mid-engine sports car to the pavement at extreme speeds. It will also include a more aggressive front splitter. Some of these features appear to be hidden beneath the camo that remains in the second shot Chevy released.
The Performance Package won’t stop with exterior upgrades. It’s expected to include carbon ceramic brakes, an upgraded, track-ready suspension and carbon-fiber wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires.
Like the Stingray, the Z06 will feature a “Z” button on its steering wheel that a motorist may press to instantly activate track-oriented settings. These include throttle and transmission settings, the Corvette’s suspension and its steering boost, among other things.
Oh, and that transmission will be a tuned version of the 8-speed dual-clutch package currently found in the Corvette Stingray.
The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is expected to start at around $85,000, but could nudge six figures when fully configured.
The question all this triggers is what comes next in the Corvette line-up. Traditionally, the automaker has employed a carefully staggered cadence that eventually works all the way up to the ZR1. But there’s more uncertainty than there has been in years about what Chevy has in mind.
The automaker pushed back the launch of the Z06 due to the constraints of the COVID pandemic. But there was also a lengthy strike crippling parent General Motors after the July 2019 debut of the sports car. And, now, shortages of microchips have further delayed production of the base model.
As a result of the chip shortage, orders for the Stingray are lined up well into next year.
We’ll be on hand, of course, when Chevy formally unveils the 2023 Corvette Z06.