It’s no secret that hotter, sharper versions of the C8 Chevrolet Corvette are in the works. And one of the most anticipated is the track-focused Corvette Z06. But with the COVID-19 pandemic throwing wrenches in the works, no one was sure when the Z06 would show up. That is, up until Chevy released its new teaser video.
The C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is coming in loud for 2023
Ever since it debuted on the 2001 C5 Corvette, the Z06 trim has been the ‘Vette to get for track-day enthusiasts. And starting with the last-gen C7 model, the street-going car has been developed alongside the race car, further strengthening the track connections. Combine that with the C8 Chevrolet Corvette’s mid-engine layout, and you have a recipe for a sharp supercar. Not to mention plenty of hype.
The hype arguably dimmed slightly in recent months, though, owing to the relative lack of new C8 Corvette Z06 developments. While rumors of its release have circled for months, ‘regular’ C8 demand and pandemic-related supply issues seemingly delayed it. But in a recent teaser video, shown below, Chevrolet revealed that the wait is almost over.
As it’s a teaser, the video doesn’t explicitly reveal any technical details about the C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. But it does deliver a dose of what the Z06’s exhaust sounds like, interspersed amongst visuals of racetracks and tree-lined streets. And it confirms that the C8 Z06 is coming for the 2023 model year.
Will the 2023 C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 use the rumored flat-plane-crank V8?
So, we know the C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is happening and it’s on the way. But although the teaser doesn’t show the car at all, it might reveal a key detail about its engine.
To be sure, the 2023 Z06 won’t deviate from the C8 Chevrolet Corvette’s rear-wheel-drive mid-engine layout. And it’s safe to assume its powerplant will be a V8. However, it might not be the same 6.2-liter V8 found in the regular C8. That’s because the engine in the teaser video doesn’t sound like a pushrod-actuated V8, MotorTrend says. Nor does it sound like the supercharged V8 the C7 Z06 used. Instead, it sounds like a naturally-aspirated flat-plane-crank V8, like the one in the C8.R race car.
Flat-plane-crank V8s are a rarity amongst American cars, which is why the recently-deceased Shelby GT350 was so unique. But while they vibrate more than ‘conventional’ cross-plane crank V8s, they’re also lighter, more compact, and rev both faster and higher, MotorTrend explains. Plus, flat-plane engines don’t suffer from the same exhaust-gas scavenging issues as cross-plane engines, so they tend to be more powerful. That’s why Ferrari supercars and high-end sports cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series use them.
It’s worth noting that Chevrolet hasn’t confirmed that the C8 Corvette Z06 uses a flat-plane-crank V8. However, MotorTrend claims that an anonymous GM insider confirmed this detail. Furthermore, MotorTrend says the 5.5-liter V8 will make 615-625 hp and roughly 480 lb-ft of torque. If that’s true, that would make the C8 Z06 more powerful than the C8.R.
When will we learn more about it?
Given that it’s designed around track driving, the 2023 C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will likely offer extra aero features, bigger brakes, and wider, grippier tires, Road & Track muses. Though as of this writing, Chevrolet has neither confirmed nor denied this.
But Chevrolet did confirm when it would release more information about the mid-engine super sports car. The automaker plans to announce 2023 Z06 availability in fall 2021. So, mark your calendars and prepare your ears.
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