First Look: 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

10 min read

First Look: 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

10 min read

After years of rumors, spy photos, and feverish anticipation, Chevrolet has finally taken the wraps off of the next Corvette Z06. Z06 models have become expected entries in the Corvette roster ever since Chevrolet revived the C2-era moniker for the fifth generation car, and over the years we’ve come to understand what the badge signifies in modern parlance: more power, more grip, and a more aggressive look. The latest Z06 certainly comes packing all of these things, but there’s a lot more going on here that just an extra dose of grunt, stickier tires, and angry-looking aero.

As the first mid-engined Corvette to receive the Z06 treatment, we knew this one would be special, but Chevrolet engineers appear to have outdone themselves this time. While the headline attraction is undoubtedly the 5.5-liter naturally aspirated flat plane crank LT6 V8 – an all-new, dual overhead cam engine design that makes 670 horsepower revs to a stratospheric 8600 RPM – the 2023 Corvette Z06 also stuns in a variety of other ways.

2023 Corvette Z06 Overview

The Z06 sports bodywork that’s 3.6 inches wider than the Stingray’s in order to accommodate larger side intakes and bigger wheels and tires. It also scores unique front and rear facias that optimize airflow in order to better manage the heat generated during extended lapping sessions. As with the C8 Stingray, all Z06 coupes have a removable targa top, but those who want a more open-air driving experience can opt for the Z06 convertible.

As with past iterations, the latest Z06 serves as the road-going homologation car for Corvette Racing’s IMSA efforts with the C8.R, and as such, it benefits from a lot of the development and engineering that’s gone into that GTLM championship-winning race car.

In another first for a Z06, the 2023 model scores unique front and rear facias that give the car a truly distinctive look while also optimizing airflow. Like the C8.R, the Z06’s new front fascia is designed to channel clean air into a large central heat exchanger that provides cooling for the engine, brakes, and transaxle in order to ensure that the car can handle extended lapping sessions at the track.

2023 Corvette Z06 Z07 Wing

Along with its mechanical upgrades, the Z07 package adds an array of carbon fiber aero pieces that ratchet up the visual aggression.

The Z06 is 3.6 inches wider than a standard C8 in order to accommodate bigger side intakes as well as larger wheels and tires. The standard forged aluminum wheels measure 20 x 10-inches up front and 21 x 13-inches at the rear, but in yet another first for a Corvette, a carbon fiber wheel produced by Carbon Revolution (who previously developed wheels for the Ford Mustang GT350R, GT500, and the GT supercar, among others) will also be available. These trick five-spokes are said to shave 41 pounds of unsprung weight versus the alloy rollers.

The standard tire is a Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP, but a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R ZP developed specifically for the Z06 is available as part of the track-focused Z07 package. Both the 4S and Cup 2 R tires measure 275/30ZR20 and 345/25ZR21 at the front and back of the car, respectively. Standard Z06 stopping power is provided by six-piston Brembo calipers that clamp down on 14.6-inch rotors up front and 15-inch rotors at the rear. Larger, carbon ceramic rotors come as part of the Z07 package and measure 15.7-inches at the nose of the car and 15.4-inches out back.

2023 Corvette Z06 wheel

A carbon fiber wheel graces the options sheet for the first time in Corvette history. Produced by Carbon Revolution – a firm which previously worked with Porsche to develop one of the world’s first carbon fiber wheels for the 997-generation 911 GT3 before teaming up with Ford to make carbon wheels for the Mustang GT350R, GT500, and the GT supercar – these are said to save 41 pounds of unsprung weight versus the Z06’s standard forged aluminum wheels.

The Z06 will offer three different aerodynamic configurations. The standard Z06 features a front splitter and a unique rear spoiler. This package supports a fixed wickerbill that can be installed to provide an additional 365 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. The Z07 package brings its own unique carbon fiber aero setup to the party: A larger front splitter, dive planes, a pedestal-mounted rear wing, and underbody aero strakes that further enhance downforce and stability at speed are all part of the mix.

As with the C8 Stingray, the Z06 utilizes an SLA-type front and rear suspension design, but here it’s been uniquely calibrated to match the performance capability of the rest of the car. Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0 provides adaptive damping on all Z06 models, while cars equipped with the Z07 package get a uniquely tuned FE7 suspension setup with a bespoke damper calibration.

2023 Corvette Z06 interior

Although the Z06’s cabin isn’t a huge departure from the standard C8, the newly available carbon fiber-wrapped steering wheel, carbon shift paddles and a new carbon fiber interior trim package do add a sense of occasion to the proceedings. The Z06 also features hand-wrapped leather options that include a new, fully trimmed interior decked out in Adrenaline Red.

In the Z06’s most aggressive configuration, these chassis and suspension enhancements are said to deliver a face-contorting 1.22 G of lateral grip on a 300-foot skidpad – numbers that track-tuned machines like the Porsche 911 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracán Performante cannot match.

While the eight-speed dual clutch gets a new, shorter 5.56 final drive ratio to improve the Z06’s acceleration, the big news is what it’s hooked up to. The heart of the next top-dog sports car from Chevrolet is an all-new, dual overhead cam 5.5-liter LT6 small-block, and it’s a very, very different animal than the pushrod V8s that we’ve long associated with the Corvette.

Developing 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, this hand-built engine is the most powerful mass-produced naturally aspirated V8 in history, and it revs to a searing 8600 RPM. Thanks to the firing order facilitated by its flat-plane crankshaft as well as its new four-into-two-into-one stainless steel headers, it also sounds more like an Italian exotic than a hopped up muscle car. A version of this engine has been providing motivation for the C8.R race car since the 2019 season, but the mill in the Z06 actually makes even more power.

The aluminum block features GM’s signature 4.4-inch bore spacing along with forged aluminum pistons and forged titanium connecting rods, while the new cylinder heads boast fully CNC-machined combustion chambers and intake ports. An all-new, six-stage dry sump oiling system is also on board to make sure the engine stays properly lubricated during the high-G maneuvers that the Z06 is capable of.

2023 Corvette Z06 exhaust

Chevy says that this floating bezel design helped achieve the exhaust note that they sought for the Z06.

As you’d expect, there’s also a full suite of performance technologies that have been dialed in specifically for Z06. The launch control system provides 0-60 MPH sprints in as little as 2.6 seconds with the Z07 package, and Performance Traction Management comes standard on all Z06s. PTM provides five additional settings within the Track drive mode to further adjust torque reduction and brake intervention in order to best suit individual preference and driving style while out on a road course.

Pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06 hasn’t been announced yet, but most estimates peg the base MSRP at about $90,000. Expect the Z07 package to command a sizable premium over that due its array of performance upgrades and those fancy carbon ceramic rotors, and put a little extra in the piggy bank if you’re eyeing those carbon fiber wheels, too. Production of the new Z06 will start in the summer of 2022 at Chevrolet’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky.


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