Chevrolet has once again raised the bar in the performance car world with the debut of the 2015 Corvette Z06. Not to be confused with the 2015 Corvette Stingray, the Z06 is an entirely different animal. To set the record straight, the correct nomenclature is “Corvette Z06”. The term “Stingray” is for the standard C7 Corvette.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 pushes the performance envelope with supercar levels of aerodynamic down force, 625+ of supercharged horsepower, and an all-new 8-speed high performance automatic transmission.
At the very heart of the Z06 is the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V8 direct injected engine. Initial reports indicated it will produce 625 horsepower/634 lb-ft of torque. GM has hinted this past week more power may be on the table. Lucky us! Setting the LT4 apart from its LT1 counterpart, is the 1.7L Eaton R1740 TVS Supercharger. It is capable of spinning over 20,000 rpm. That is 5,000 more than the Corvette ZR1’s LS9. The rotors are shorter in length which enables its higher RPM capability and gets the engine producing power quicker and earlier in the RPM band. The design of the discharge port has been redesigned for increased efficiency. This has netted less turbulence, lower discharged heat and increased airflow into the engine.
- There are many other high performance components that were needed to support the increased power output of the LT4.
- Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads. These heads are stronger and can handle heat better compared to conventional cylinder heads.
- Intake valves and connecting rods are made from light-weight Titanium.
- 10.0:1 compression ratio, high for a forced induction engine, capable by unique cylinder head design, pistons and direct fuel injection.
- Forged aluminum pistons designed to withstand the high cylinder pressures.
- Stainless steel exhaust headers and an aluminum harmonic balancer.
- Dry sump oil system fed by a dual pressure control oil pump.
The Corvette Z06 is offered with a standard seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match, or an all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. The 8L90 has been designed for all out performance and efficiency. The seven-speed is mated to the LT4 with an all new dual-mass flywheel and dual disc-clutch. The clutch will deliver better shift quality and pedal feel through lower inertia. Gear ratios in both the manual and automatic have been designed to maximize the power band of the LT4.
The exterior changes between the Corvette Stingray and Corvette Z06 are quite dramatic. Nearly every change serves a functional purpose. In order to achieve the targeted performance levels, some serious grip and traction would be needed. The Z06 is fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Up front is a pair of P285/30/ZR19’s and in the rear, an ultra-wide P335/25/ZR20! To cover the wider tires, the fenders of the Z06 were extended by 2.2 inches in the front, and 3.15 inches at the rear, making it the widest production Corvette ever. The tires are mounted to light weight aluminum wheels that provide the ventilation needed for the massive Brembo Brakes. The Z06 features two-piece steel rotors, measuring 14.6 x 1.3-inch up front and 14.4 x 1-inch in the rear. Clamping down on these rotors are aluminum six-piston and four-piston fixed calipers, respectively.
Besides accommodating the larger tires needed for the Z06, body modifications were made to increase cooling and down force. The front facia was designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger’s intercooler heat exchanger. The grill is so efficient it delivers more air than if it was removed. The front grill also feeds the brake ducts and directs air the diffusers. The rear fenders feature air inlets that feed the transmission and differential coolers.
The frame for previous generations of Corvettes was made at another facility then shipped to Bowling Green, KY. For the first time the Corvette Z06’s aluminum frame will be made in house at the Bowling Green assembly plant. The stiffer design of the aluminum frame allows the Corvette Z06 to be offered with a removable roof panel for the first time. With the carbon fiber roof panel removed, the Corvette Z06 offers 20 percent more structural rigidity than the previous model’s fixed-roof design.
The Corvette Z06 will be fitted with Third Generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers. They are adjustable for comfort or all out track performance. The Driver Mode Selector is used to select the desired driving settings:
- Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration.
- Active handling: A “competitive” setting is available in Track mode and is more suited for on-track conditions. It can also be disabled, giving the driver complete control.
- Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in various weather conditions.
- Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving.
- Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, to balance between steering response and stability in different driving conditions with more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 will be the quickest, most powerful Corvette ever produced. It is a triumph of design and engineering, incorporating super car technologies and built with world-class materials. Coming soon to a road near you!