And we haven’t even reached the first sub-model yet, the highly anticipated and much-hyped C8 Z06. So, to sate a little of that hunger and hype, here’s what we know for sure (not a lot), what we think will happen (the biggest part of this article), and a couple of pickings from the rumor mills running rampant on all the Corvette forums, Facebook pages, and Reddit pages.
It is known for sure that the LT2 V8 in the current C8 will not be in the Z06. Instead of the cross-plane crank and the pushrod valves, the Z06 engine, coded for now as LT6, will feature dual overhead camshafts and a flat-plane crank.
It is extremely unlikely that the C8.R’s current 5.5-liter engine will make it to the Z06, mostly as a race car is designed for speed, not comfort, and the vibrations from a 5.5-liter flat-plane V8 would be massively uncomfortable on the road.
Much more likely, we think that a proven flat-plane crank, twin-turbo engine from another GM brand might be redesigned for the Z06. For example, something similar to the Cadillac Blackwing V8 from the Cadillac CT6-V, which makes 550 BHP and 640 lbs-ft from a 4.2-liter twin-turbo system.
With the Z06 confirmed to have 650 BHP, that extra push for 100 BHP could be as easy as reworking the pistons and heads to handle the extra compression and boost pressures. As well, the closest competing supercar from Italy, the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo, uses a flat-plane crank, twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8 that pumps out 710 BHP and 560 lbs-ft of torque at the crank, so “small” V8’s are very viable powerhouses!
As has happened in previous Z06 models, extensive body lightening is to be expected. The current 2020 C8 weighs in at a decent 3,670 lbs wet, and that’s with a Z51 package optioned on.
To make the most use of the smaller, turbocharged engine that the Z06 will most likely carry, it would not be beyond imagination to see sections of the car, or even most of the major panels, be made of carbon fiber. At the very least, the frunk and the trunk/engine cover will be carbon fiber.
While seeing most or all of the body panels replaced with carbon fiber could drive the cost up to somewhere in the $150,000 range or thereabouts, the resulting lightening could very well drop 300-600 lbs off the car. If it’s just a few panels and some bits of the interior, we still can’t see the car moving anywhere under $85,000 to $90,000 as a base price, at our guess, but it could easily shed 100 to 150 lbs that way.
As well, a more aggressive body design, maybe including a wing reminiscent of the C8.R’s GT wing, is par for the course of a Z06. With the C8 as it is already being an angular, angry car, we can’t wait to see what the actual Z06 will look like.
At the very least, we’d expect the magnetorheological adaptive suspension from the Z51 kit to become base-spec kit for the Z06. In addition, proper coil-over shocks derived from the C8.R would be a great sporty addition.
We expect that the exhaust for the Z06 will be much lighter than that of the regular C8. The current exhaust is a hefty 143 lbs due to sound-deadening materials, heat reflection materials, the use of steel, and control equipment for the active exhaust valves.
As well, moving the exhausts more inboard might be an option, to reflect the design language of the C8.R. As well, as the Z06 will most likely have wider rear tires than the current C8, that may also factor into exhaust routing.
The aftermarket has proven that you can get the entire C8 exhaust down to around 8 lbs through extensive use of titanium. It’s quite possible a third party supplier or design house could be drafted in to make the Z06’s exhaust and have it come out between 40 to 100 lbs.
For example, exhaust specialists Akrapovic have, over the past five years, become extremely active in the OEM and OEM option exhaust market. They have been drafted in by the likes of Audi (RS6 Avant C8 pack), BMW (M8 Competition as design input), and even a big three like Ford (2020 GT supercar as the OEM exhaust) to either design or provide input to designers on exhausts without losing functionality, decreasing weight, and getting great noise.
Being completely honest, with some spy shots and a lot of rumors, it is highly unlikely that the interior of the Z06 will deviate much from the current C8. The C8 cockpit is already pretty much perfect as is, with its driver-centric design, everything that could possibly be needed within easy reach, and a good driving position.
We could see a new GT2-option style class of seats being introduced as the baseline, with carbon fiber sports seats potentially offered as options. Special badging is almost guaranteed, and a new variation of sport and track modes from the driving style selector could potentially be on offer.
The biggest change we would venture to take a guess on would be carbon fiber being the predominant interior exposed material. Also, potentially like the steering wheel of the Ford GT supercar, having the wheel itself made of wrapped and bare carbon fiber could be an option.
We pretty much think that when the Z06 is fully revealed, it will be a “Shut up and take my money” meme-worthy moment. It will also enter the Corvette properly into the supercar segment, without having a fully supercar price.
For a fully expensive, proper monster supercar, then the hypercar-power levels, 1,000 BHP Corvette ZORA in 2026 is your most likely bet!