Move over supercars, the new Z06 is here.
The seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was highly anticipated and looked to finally turn a corner and put the American sports car back on top. It’s safe to say the General Motors hit a home run with the new Stingray as all of the problems and criticisms on the C6-generation model were addressed and the car evolved into an affordable performance car that could conquer its European rivals. Now, Chevrolet has introduced the Corvette Z06 and it has its sights set on the supercar marketplace.
The new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 takes the Stingray to a whole new level of performance. For the first time ever, the Z06 features a supercharger atop its LT4 V-8 engine, an optional eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and removable carbon fiber roof panel. Throw in the optional Z07 package, and you’re left with one of the quickest Corvettes ever, producing faster lap times than the mighty ZR1.
“The Corvette Z06 is a great example of the technology transfer between racing and production Corvettes,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “First, we took what we learned on the Corvette Racing C6.R and applied that to the all-new Corvette Stingray. Then, using the Stingray as a foundation, the Z06 and C7.R were developed to push the envelope of performance on the street and the track.”
What makes the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 so unbelievably fast is the new 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine. For the first time ever, the Z06 features a supercharger. The innovative supercharger system is the only one in the world to integrate cylinder deactivation technology to ensure maximum efficiency. Technologies such as direct injection, Active Fuel Management, and continuously variable valve timing all work together to stretch the performance and efficiency capabilities of the new LT4 engine. The compact 1.7-liter Eaton R1 740 TVS supercharger uses shorter rotors and spins at speeds of 20,000 RPM – 5,000 RPM faster than the LS9 in the ZR1, and produces boost quicker and more efficiently.
The new LT4 6.2-liter V-8 engine in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 also features power-producing goodies such as Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads, lightweight titanium intake valves, a high 10.0:1 compression ratio, forged aluminum pistons, stainless steel exhaust headers, and a dry-sump oil system. All of this equates to an estimated 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft. of torque output.
Sending all of that power to the rear wheels is a standard seven-speed manual transmission with rev-matching technology or an eight-speed automatic. The all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission provides the best of both worlds in terms of performance and efficiency. The transmission has four gearsets and five clutches packed in a compact size while being eight pounds lighter than the six-speed automatic and 5-percent more efficient. The 8L90 transmission may be a traditional automatic, but it is still just as – if not quicker – than comparable dual-clutch and semi-automatic transmissions, and even shifts eight-hundredths of a second quicker under wide-open throttle than the PDK in the Porsche 911.
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is designed for speed and handling from the chassis on up. The SLA-type front and rear suspension from the Stingray is retained but modified to push the sports car’s limits even further and reward the driver. The lightning-fast third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers come standard as does launch control, Active Handling (StabiliTrak), Traction Control, Performance Traction Management, and Electronic Limited Slip Differential to ensure maximum handling.
Chevrolet engineers and designers wanted to make the new Corvette Z06 stick to the asphalt and employed a few tricks up their sleeves to achieve greater grip. The fenders were extended by 2.2-inches (56 mm) at the front and 3.15-inches (80 mm) at the rear to accommodate the wider, lightweight, spin-cast aluminum wheels that measure 10.0 x 19 and 12.0 x 20. In order to hit the performance targets, engineers installed larger Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring P285/30ZR19 and 335/25ZR20 that are 1.5- and 2.0-inches wider, respectively than the Stingray. Corvette Z06 models equipped with the Z07 package wears even stickier Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires in the same size.
Behind those staggered aluminum wheels sit massive Brembo brakes that work to decelerate the sports car with ease. The standard Brembo brakes are six- and four-piston aluminum calipers biting down on 371 mm front and 365 mm rear two-piece steel rotors. After checking off on the Z07 package, carbon-ceramic matrix brake rotors measuring 394- and 388 mm for fade-free, relentless stopping power.
Playing an important role in ensuring that the Michelin tires and potent brakes can show their incredible capabilities are the new aerodynamics of the Corvette Z06. The Chevrolet team gave the performance variant a front splitter, front wheel spats, and vented carbon fiber hood along with a newly-designed grille. The new mesh grille is so good at channeling cool air into the engine bay that a greater volume of air is captured than if there was no grille at all. The air is sent into the engine bay and hot air is dissipated in the hood vents to create downforce instead of lift when the air escaped beneath the car.
“Practically every exterior change served a functional purpose, as this beast needed more of everything,” said Tom Peters, Corvette design director, “The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The larger vents provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes, transmission and differential for increased track capability. The more aggressive aerodynamic package generates true downforce for more cornering grip and high-speed stability.”
Cooling the brakes and other components are newly integrated fender vents and air blades at the rear fender inlets that send approximately 50-percent more air into the braking system, transmission, and differential coolers than the Stingray. The rear of the 2015 Corvette Z06 features taillights that were pushed approximately three inches apart to accommodate for the muscular width, while a new Z51 spoiler comes as standard. When equipped with the extra goodies in the Z07 package, the Corvette Z06 produces the most downforce of any production car from GM.
For the first time ever, the Corvette Z06 will feature a lightweight carbon fiber removable roof panel. The panel offers an open-air experience without sacrificing structural rigidity. In fact, the 2015 Corvette Z06 is 60-percent stiffer than the C6 Corvette Z06 with the roof panel installed and offers 20-percent more structural rigidity than the previous model’s fixed-roof design.
Inside, things are more focused on sport and engagement than the standard Stingray model. Two magnesium-framed seats are available with the ‘GT’ concentrating on comfort and the ‘Competition Sport’ offering greater support. The center console features a grab handle for the passenger to hold under high lateral-G forces and soft-touch materials to offer more comfort while bracing under spirited driving. As expected, every surface is covered in premium soft-touch materials including Nappa leather and micro-suede, while aluminum and carbon fiber are also available as trim options.
The new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will be available in early 2015 with performance specifications and pricing being made available closer to the release date. The sports car will be made available with a Z07 upgrade package that includes lightweight carbon fiber aerodynamics, suspension, brake, and other go-fast goodies.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Preliminary Specifications
Displacement: 6.2 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-8
Aspiration: 1.7-liter Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger
Maximum Horsepower: Approximately 625 / 466 kW
Maximum Torque: 635 lb-ft. / 861 Nm
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Gallery