What to expect from the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

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The Z06’s switch to a mid-engined layout to be made good use of to fight European supercar rivals, and we’ve now been given our first official teaser.

The Chevrolet Corvette’s switch to a new mid-engined chassis in its latest C8 generation is about to pay dividends for GM as it prepares the first of its high-performance variants to join the current Stingray. The reason for this is while the last-generation C7 Z06 and ZR1 models were hugely powerful, the inherent limitations of their front-engined chassis’ in terms of traction, drivability and cooling were proving to be too big a hurdle to jump for the engineering team to build on for another generation. The C8’s new mid-engined chassis aims to fix those issues, finally giving General Motors a real answer to European supercars like the Ferrari F8 Tributo and Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Though it’s been over a year since initial test mule sightings, Chevrolet has now released an official sound clip of the new Z06 ahead of its autumn reveal. The teaser as much as confirms the use of a high-revving flat-plane crank V8 – once a bastion of highly-strung engines found in Ferraris and McLarens.

From the heavily camouflaged prototype spotted last year, benchmarked by an accompanying Porsche 911 GT2 RS no less, the next Z06 is expected to be powered by a far more powerful iteration of V8 than the standard Stingray, likely utilising a completely different unit with a far higher power figure its 364kW. Final outputs are typically still under wraps, but it’s likely that the C8 Z06 will produce more power than the supercharged 6.2-litre LT4 from its predecessor – in its final form, that car made 478kW and a 881Nm of torque for a 3sec 0-100kph time and 298kph top speed.

Given the Z06’s connection to Chevrolet’s sports car racing activities, we suspect the new Z06 might use the mysterious new V8 being developed for the Corvette C8-R racer, one that differs aurally from the off-beat grumble of Chevrolet’s traditional small blocks with a high-pitched, almost European-sounding shriek typical of a flat-plane crank.

This new video also essentially confirms the the previous Z06’s supercharged LT1 V8 will not be used again, likewise GM’s controversial ‘Blackwing’ hot-V 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8 after management’s decision to ditch the engine only months after it was debuted in the Cadillac CT6.

Alongside the new powertrain, we also expect the chassis to be given a host of updates, while there should be wider bodywork, in conjunction with a larger footprint, increased cooling and modified aero.

A common complaint with the current C8 Stingray is the lack of wheel offset – that is the point at which the wheel is bolted to the wheel hub in relation to the body. This makes the standard car look somewhat shallow and awkward over both axles. It’s possible this has been a conscious decision to fit both Stingray and Z06 models with the same unit to save on the development costs of two rear axles, the Z06 theoretically now just needing to be fitted with wider wheels with some proper offset covered by those swollen wheel arches. Peek behind those wheel covers and you’ll notice there’s offset to spare.

As with the Stingray, the Z06 will only be available with a dual-clutch transmission, but at the sort of performance levels expected a six-speed manual transmission would likely have had a low take-up, as was the case with the previous-generation Z06.

Due to be revealed in Q3 2021 as an American 2023 model, the Z06 could finally become the European supercar killer it’s always threatened to be. With right-hand-drive production plausible, Australia might be able to experience Chevrolet’s more potent Corvette models with the steering wheel on the correct side.

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