The base-model C8 Corvette is no slouch. With 495 horsepower and a zero to 60 time under three seconds, it’s got more performance than any of us will likely ever use on the way to work. What about those track rats, though, the ones who bring their ‘Vettes out for weekends of hot laps? Well, they’ve been waiting for this: the track-pack Z06.
The Z06 package started as an option on the 1963 Corvette but came into its own with its revival on the fifth-generation car. Since then, every generation of Corvette has had a Z06 package with more power, better handling, and revised bodywork. The C8, different though its engine placement may be, is no longer an exception.
So what’s different about the Z06? Well, for starters, the Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8 is out, replaced with a 5.5-liter flat-plane V8 making 670 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Torque may be down from the base model’s 470, but the increased horsepower leads Chevrolet to claim the new LT6 is the most powerful naturally-aspirated production V8 — with the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series taking a distant second place with 622, they seem to be right.
Those 670 horses make their way to the wheels through the same eight-speed dual clutch transmission as the Stingray, but the final drive ratio has been upped from 4.9 to 5.86 for better acceleration. The result is a zero to 60 sprint of 2.6 seconds, a number formerly attainable only by all-wheel-drive supercars.
The Vette may only drive its rear wheels, but it’s not wanting for grip — the new Z06 comes with enormous carbon fiber wheels wrapped in track-ready rubber. The front gets 275-section tires on 20" wheels, while the rear gets a staggering (and staggered) 345-section tire wrapped around 21" wheels. The entire car is 3.6 inches wider than the Stingray, to house both the wide wheels and wider rear air intakes to feed (and cool) the engine.
Behind those wheels lie upsized brakes and optional carbon ceramics with the Z07 package. That package also includes Michelin Cup 2 R tires and a full-car aero package — front lip, ground effects, canards, and an enormous rear wing. All in, the Z07 makes 734 lbs of downforce at 186 mph and can pull an astonishing 1.22 lateral Gs.
Inside the car, not much is different from the existing Stingray coupe and convertible (yes, the Z06 is available in both). The biggest thing most drivers will notice is the tachometer’s new 8600-rpm redline — and the new banshee wail coming from behind their heads.
Chevrolet hasn’t revealed pricing for the new Z06 yet, but estimates based on the previous generation’s pricing point to a starting price around the mid-$80,000 mark. Availability was also not announced, but given production woes, it may be a minute before you can pick up your new track-day toy.