Chevrolet has revealed the range-topping Z06 variant of its new mid-engined C8 Corvette, which brings a bespoke, high-revving engine with improved performance, a unique styling package and a raft of dynamic enhancements.
The first mid-engined Z06 does away with the 6.2-litre V8 used by the standard car in favour of a new and bespoke 'LT6' 5.5-litre unit that, in a first for a Corvette, features dual overhead cams and a flat-plane crankshaft – but continues without a turbocharger.
Chevrolet's goal with the new engine – which is closely related to that used by the firm's C8.R racer – was to exceed "the power of any naturally aspirated production V8 ever made". It produces 670bhp and 460lb ft, with its flat-plane crank and short-stroke pistons bumping the redline up from 6500rpm to 8600rpm, meaning this V8 spins faster than the twin-turbo unit in the McLaren 570S.
Other differences compared to the existing 6.2-litre unit include a new aluminium cylinder-block casting, a four-into-two-into-one stainless steel exhaust manifold, dual-coil valve springs and forged titanium connecting rods.
Chevrolet has yet to offer performance details, but the Z06 will no doubt improve on the Corvette Stingray's 2.9sec 0-62mph time and 185mph top speed.
The engine upgrades come as part of the Z06's heightened focus on attaining quick lap times. Visibly, it's marked out from the standard car by way of a prominent aerodynamics package that includes wider fenders, larger air vents, a larger rear wing and race-inspired front splitter.
Chevrolet has also dramatically upgraded the Corvette's brakes, suspension, wheels and tyres with a view to improving its dynamic agility. The chassis, it says, is so stiff that the Z06 can be offered as a hardtop convertible with no alterations to the suspension set-up.
With the optional Z07 carbonfibre package and lightweight wheels specified, the Z06 tips the scales at 1561kg – around 100kg less than the standard Corvette 3LT we tested in Germany recently.
Chevrolet has confirmed that it will offer a right-hand-drive variant from launch, which paves the way for the UK's sole importer, Ian Allan Motors, to offer the Z06 alongside the standard car, which arrived in the UK recently.
Production will begin at Bowling Green, Kentucky, in summer 2022, and full pricing details will be given nearer the time. A substantial premium over the Corvette Stingray is to be expected.