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SPOTTED: Five 2022 Widebody Z06 Test Mules

Five 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Test Mules Captured on Video

General Motors is currently testing five Z06 Wide Body Test Mule prototypes against other, equally exotic automobiles including a Porsche 911 GT2 RS and a Ferrari 458 Italia.  In a video shot by David Wesel (with Corvette Blogger), we get our first good-and-up-close look at the new mid-engine Z06 platform.  Although the cars are camouflaged, they are less covered-up than ever before.  David’s video is presented in its entirety below (special thanks to Corvette Blogger for its use.)

So why would General Motors bother benchmarking the Z06 Corvette against European supercars?   For starters, both the new Corvette and the Ferrari share similar flat-plane crankshafts.  In other words, they share similar engines, which allows Chevrolet to determine if the Z06 has the same performance prowess as the considerably more expensive 458 Italia.

A carefully camouflaged 2022 Corvette Z06 awaits its day of testing.
A carefully camouflaged 2022 Corvette Z06 awaits its day of testing.

Additionally, the Corvette Z06 and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS have been long-time rivals – both on and off the racetrack.  With the new mid-engine Z06 variant ready to go to market, there’s never been a better time to track the two cars and see how they stack up against one another.  On top of that, both cars are fitted with the same tires, making the comparison even more about what’s under the hood, and not what’s transferring power to the road.

Fitted with road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, a 911 GT2 RS can blitz the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 6:47.3 when being piloted by Porsche test driver Lars Kern.  For this test, the 911 GT2 RS real wheels are wrapped in 325/30 by 21 inch tires in the rear while the C8 Z06 is equipped with 345/25 by 21-inch tires of its own.

A couple of interesting moments are captured in the video:  GM engineers fire up the flat-plane crankshaft V8 engines at the 1:55 mark, revealing a higher-pitched idle than the Stingray’s classic pushrod, cross-plane crankshaft, DOHC V8 engine.  At the 1:57 and 2:47 marks, you can hear the 5.5-liter powerplant a little better.  Codenamed “LT6,” this engine is derived from the LT5 that Chevrolet utilizes in the C8.R IMSA and Le Mans race car – the same car that took the 2020 IMSA GTLM title.

The new Z06 engine is expected to produce 617 horsepower.  The new LT6 can allegedly be revved beyond 8,000 revs because of the flat-plane crankshaft and DOHC valvetrain. By comparison, the Ferrari 458 Italia boasts a 9,000 rpm top end.

Obviously wider than the mid-engine Stingray, the Z06 utilizes a similar transaxle as the Stingray.  The Tremec TR-9080 DCT dual-clutch transmission has a torque capacity of 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) and will readily dish out anything that the small-block V8-engined Corvette throws at it.  The only detail that GM needs to improve for the Z06 is the transmission’s maximum input speed of 7,500 revolutions.

A camouflaged 2022 Z06 Mid-Engine Corvette out in the wild.  We can't wait to see the beast fully unwrapped!
A camouflaged 2022 Z06 Mid-Engine Corvette out in the wild. We can’t wait to see the beast fully unwrapped!

If you’ve been waiting for a more powerful example of the Corvette to become available before taking the plunge and purchasing a mid-engine C8 Corvette, this may be the car you’ve been waiting for.  Anticipated figures put the 2022 Z06 Corvette at a retail price of about $25k more than the base model.  So, in theory, you could purchase a base model Z06 for around $85,000.  But once you’ve added all the desired options, expect to see these cars going for well over $100k each.  Still, compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia, you’ll be able to purchase a comparatively equipped super-car for a fraction of the cost of its Italian counterpart.