2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – Putting the World on Notice | Chevrolet
The Z06 was a code for a track oriented performance option on the 1963 Corvette. The only way you would even know to order it was through people whispering in people's ears. If you want to go racing right in the box you want, and Z06 six option, and you'll get all this specialty hardware. It wasn't until the fifth generation that we brought it back and it's become a brand unto itself. You want it to go faster, stop faster, turn faster.
Basically it's the most track oriented Corvette that we'd do through the fifth, sixth, seventh, and now eighth generation car. We've moved the street car and the racer closer and closer together. The development both on the vehicle side and the engine side are tied together at the hip. It's a way to put the best of Corvette together and expand the performance bandwidth.
The mid engine architecture in the eighth generation Corvette allows us to do that even more. In my quest for performance. A Z06 was the car, just basically a race car for the street and we'll perform with the best of the best worldwide. It's the first time that I'd experienced a Corvette on the road that actually rode and felt like a race car. That precision. To me, that was everything.
This is the one that elevates the corevette brand. Saying that it felt like a super car. Doesn't do it. Justice. For hips. It keeps you locked in. I know we're having a conversation right now, but I'm still focused here. I'm still focusing on.
The other people that we're competing against that are in a price range that is unique to themselves. Aren't going to look back at this as the one that changes how they operate. The heart of the zero six as the engine, we had mid-engine architecture, which was a big step forward, but we also needed that power. There was a niche following that really pined for the media response, the lightweight visceral feel of a naturally aspirated engine that would exceed the horsepower of the prior generation supercharged Z06.
What kind of powertrain would we need to do that? The only way to achieve that is to do the highest horsepower naturally aspirated V8 that's ever done in automotive history. That's what had to happen. [Inaudible] this is cool. I got to look at the engine, Oh, this is the mag ride too. I just started.
Can I start it? An engine of this nature is truly playing in the exotic space. We had our hands really untied to buy the best aluminum forge pistons titanium, connecting rods to go to the true mechanical valve train. It is a low volume hand-built precision engine. The big advantages of moving to a flat plane crank is the mass in the engine. That's moving. The fastest is much lighter.
And in doing that allows the engine to accelerate and speed much more rapidly than any small block before it, and also achieve more than 650 horsepower making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine in a production car. We only do a mid engine car. Once we really looked at, um, how to, how to get the engine that we really all wanted to have, which was, um, a flat plane crank V8. That was what we really wanted to do. Oh my God. Oh my God. Still going,
having a seat, stay myself Z 51 package just to see the RPM go to 8.5k I think it's actually 8,600. Most of us are used to shifting a V8, you know, 65, 6600 at the, at the highest, the LT6 will rev 2 8600 RPM. From 7,000 to almost 9,000 was a whole different range that not many people get to experience. And it makes power the whole way up. So even when you're up in those higher RPM ranges, you could tell when we stepped into the gas more, you could still feel it pulling.
Yeah. Wow. It's just instant. And the thing keeps pulling and pulling and it's all the way to the red line all the way to the red line, each time you just feel the power building and building and building to me is what it's all about.
That speed enables the engine to pump more air process, more fuel and produce more power. But another part of it is generations of learning, how to balance the requirements, to make a car fast and comfortable on the track. And also comfortable as an everyday driver, The manufacturing tolerances in this engine, our race car tight, and that requires a skilled operator and custom shims to make the resulting engine essentially fit net, uh, no gaps anywhere. This engine runs to 8,600 RPM that's by far the quickest spinning engine we've ever done. And the only way you do that is to have extremely precise manufacturing.
You guys good? Harlan. Ready? All right, here we go. No, we're all used to Corvettes with thunder from the gods V8 sound. My dad has a 62 Corvette and every time I hear that thing, it's wonderful. Over the course of 70 years now, you know what you're going to get? And it's this visceral VA small block experience.
So for one on this car, we don't want to lose that. But for two on this car, we've got a completely different engine. We want it to keep the Corvette sound, but also let you know, you're in the flat plane crank, right? One of the first things we noticed with the C8 Z06, where the car sounds great outside, but I can't hear anything inside. There, but we can't really hear it in the cabin. And you gotta be able to hear some of that in the car. Wow. Right? It's a little, like, there's still a lot of improvements to do.
We have. This is a new chapter. We really needed to move the needle there. And it actually required us to completely rethink the exhaust system. And so we ended up actually tearing up a bunch of the back of a car, completely rearchitecting the exhaust, decoupling the tips from the end of the pipe.
And we shaped the tips like a reverse megaphone. So when the sound comes out and actually reflects off parabolic surfaces, and that projects sound forward to the driver's ear, it was a huge challenge. But we wanted that combination of sounds great on the outside and sounds great on the inside. And we wanted it to be real.
The big part of this ride is to confirm the sound quality and the sound, uh, presence, everything we've been striving for. We have plenty of engineering tools, but for this type of thing, there's a chest cavity pumping thing just hit you like a brick wall. When it drives by. When you get in the car or you stand outside the car and you hear it and it gives you goosebumps. That's what you know. And this car, this car did that for us.
Right there. Ma'am this gives me goosebumps every time. I think this is the perfect example of blending clinical perfection, and also the rawness of the flat plane crank. Flat plane crank. It was a symphony hearing. The mechanicals work it's music after so many years, I'm pretty caught up to actually, that was pretty awesome.
[inaudible] [inaudible]. I have a background in footwear and design before I came to GM there, you're designing around an athlete. Everything that we have here is designed around the mother.
We respect our past, but we are always moving forward. We really try to cause the design to look better in a way that the car works better. This new Z six has basically started with a clean sheet of paper.
I admire that because they just taken the most advanced design and updated it each time. It is so advanced and so edgy. Beautiful. It's a careful balance of beautiful sculpture and the performance metrics.
We try to make them transparent to the design itself. This time we're changing everything, but the doors, the roof and the hatch typically starts at the road, wider wheels and tires, packaging, larger diameter brakes, more traction, more stopping power, better cornering power. The front and rear facia is fenders in quarters. All the aerodynamic stuff is different. A big part of the Z06 mission is in its chassis. The architecture was designed to put power to the ground like no Z06, before.
20 Inch diameter wheels in the front. And for the first time 21 inch diameter wheels on the rear, we want to make sure we take full advantage of that weight on the backend, powering off the line to maximize the traction. The fact that we're winding the tires also enables us to create bodywork that feeds right into the engine need to breathe and be cool. We started putting the wider fenders and the wider quarters on it. Then it was like, okay, we got something here.
Like prior generations of CSX. We have an available Z07 package. That's for the truly committed track person. You checked the box for a zero seven. You're getting ceramic brakes, carbon fiber ground effects. You get a carbon fiber wing. An optional carbon fiber wheel that reduces unsprung mass by over 40 pounds.
Lighter wheels spin faster. Naturally when you hit a bump, you want the suspension to react instantly. The lighter, the tire and wheel assembly is the quicker it can do it. [Inaudible] package. We've seen a zero to 60 time of 2.6 seconds. We wanted to talk about how we can make this very performance driven exterior. And how do we take the engineer up to another level?
When you get into a manufacturing process, to some extent that comes very stiff and there's not a lot of, uh, emotion and art and feel to it. I don't even bring that human touch. Carbon fiber is beautiful because you have this man-made material that's incredibly strong, lightweight giving you that performance feeling. Then we bring the art into it by the forms. Then it happens and then hitting it with leather piece floating on top of it. Each one of them were like building a small sculpture and it just blends of two worlds of art and science and craft and quality.
And to get that understanding that you bought more than just something that's exhilarating and fun, but you also have a full crafted piece that surrounds you. If you take exterior color into your colors, seatbelts, calipers wheels, you could build well over 11,000 different combinations. You can truly build whatever you want and make it be spoke to you. Having something that brings the thrill of driving everybody in their own unique way is kind of really been the focus in Corvette. This is something I hear beautiful.
1975, all the Corvette, my grandfather used to work on it every day. Every time I go to his house, he'd be in the back. And that was my introduction to cars. The real, my dad's a collector now. And now I had the means to be able to collect. So as part of my family, it's a learning process for me every day. I'm with them, any conversation, I'm learning something new every time. Yeah. The way we kind of always looked at it as a hassle to look like it's moving fast. When it's sitting still, it's like traveling down the court, right.
It's keeping you in that sight line and moving forward. She locked in. I liked that. Yeah. Yeah. That's sick. It's your court vision, right? A hundred. Percent. Every detail matters. Goal is to still be able to capture that thrill of the drive.
It should be an experienced man getting out of a car, get out there and take a deep breath. Your heart is still pumping a little bit. Like you can't get it too many places in my life. Is that. Feeling a similar feeling when you're on the court? Yeah. I chased that feeling. My first few years you reading the list, oh, this person is better than that person. I know they say the same thing about cars.
And I finally got to a point where I'm just competing against myself. You know, I've seen my career and my performance take tremendous strides just by that Headspace alone. At the end of the day. It's how do you build upon yourself to make yourself better? We're nearing 70 years with this vehicle. You have that, that feeling of who you are and what your brand is, and also gives you that opportunity to challenge you.
That is to make it your own. But as you're doing that, you get to look backwards a little bit to make sure you're making the right decisions with very good. I mean, coming from a history of Booker blood that, that played a lot of basketball, starting with my grandfather, moving down a generation to my father. You know, now me, I just want to take it to a whole nother level, man. You know, it kept me going,
I definitely take this to a track and to a really nice dinner. And if I want to make some, some real noise pulling up, this is what I'm going to be in right here. Coming to the Nurburgring is the ultimate test. You get every single sort of turn, every high speed, low speed, high grip, low grip. It's a long flowing racetrack, but with many, many challenges and you really are pushing any road car to the absolute limit, every sort of load that you could possibly experience anywhere else in the world. You get it all here on one racetrack. It. Really is the benchmark for the world.
So much of the performance of the car started on the racetrack. That's where things are tried because they're stretching the limits and they bring that technology to the road. When you think about a super car, your thinking about speed, you think about horsepower. And without that, you're nowhere.
Good luck. Thank you, Ollie, appreciate that. [inaudible] [inaudible]. Scar goes so fast, so easily. And the ability to just kind of handle the car on this track is pretty unheard of.
It's fundamentally a race car that you can drive on the road ability to carve the corners, the ability to put that traction down. Cause all of those feelings that I had from the race car is right here in the zero six. General motors recognize this as an incredible place to come and develop vehicles and to compete with the Europeans BMW, the Mercedes, the Porsche's. And if we really want Corvette to compete on the world stage and race in a world stage, then we really have to begin selling cars with right-hand drive. We have to do it for Corvette for the future period.
It's unequivocally a supercar, the [inaudible] reward customers that choose to explore its performance limits. And there's nothing more important than that connection with the machine. When you're driving something with a performance capability of the Z06. European competitors have gotta be a little nervous. You guys really hit the nail on the head with this.
I've always been very proud of the fact that the Corvette is purely American effort, but I could never have guessed where we would be today. The new Z06 brings that track experience to the everyday enthusiast. If I look at 10 year old me and say, all right, we're going to build this exotic engine.
We're going to have the best tires in the world. Biggest breaks that we have ever put on a Corvette here, your dynamics that are better than anything we've done before. And you can be part of that. That is fulfilling. Every dream I would have as a young kid.
I represent one of hundreds that have put their blood and sweat into this engine truly does open the doors of what we can do with a small walk through. We're only just getting started. The project is like going to the moon. It's a product of a vision, but our team has never done Z06. It's just the next chapter in a very long book.