The current Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is a 650 horsepower supercharged monster. There’s just been one huge problem: it has a well-documented inability to keep its cool in high-performance track environments. You know, the kind of environments the Z06 was built for. Now a fix is apparently coming.
Automotive news site Motor1 reports that for the 2017 model year, the Z06 will have some improvements to help keep the blown 6.2-liter V8 cooler on track. From their story:
Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer, says that a small number of customers reported heatsoak or overheating issues when running their Z06s hard on track. The exact number might have been less than five percent of all buyers, Juechter said, but those drivers complained loudly about the issues. As part of his engineering team’s emphasis on “continual improvement,” updates are coming this fall.
The 2017 Z06 will receive a new hood with improved cooling vents and some other changes “for additional cooling on the track.” Chevrolet says more precise details on the tweaks will come later this year.
Some early Z06s had total engine failure at the hands of journalists (and not for the usual reasons, like crashing) and Z06 owners took loudly to their forums to complain about their problems. Here’s what a Fox News reporter who encountered an engine failure wrote last year:
Less than 1 percent of the more than 9,000 Z06s sold since last fall (about a third of all Corvettes delivered since then) have had engine failures, and a Chevy spokesman says that they’ve all been covered under warranty.
And at Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car test at Laguna Seca last year, the magazine’s Z06 tester recorded a DNF result after a tremendous power loss out on the track. Juechter blamed that on the car’s intercooler not being hooked up properly after a repair, but it was one more black eye for the reputation of a car that was supposed to be General Motors’ top performance machine. Even if it’s a small number of failures, they’ve been happening on track, where the car is meant to be.
Motor1 reports production of the Z06 is currently on hiatus so that GM’s Kentucky plant can ramp up production of the naturally aspirated new Corvette Grand Sport. (Jalopnik correspondent and Hooniverse editor Jeff Glucker is currently testing that car for us, so check back soon to read his first drive review.)
We’ll have to see if these tweaks can restore the Z06's somewhat damaged reputation.