Autoblog has a gallery of spy photos from the guys at KGP Photography that appear to show a camouflaged Corvette Z07 Convertible prototype undergoing testing at an unnamed facility. The Corvette is well covered with both the white/black swirls on the body and the blanket-covers that we remember well from the testing of the Corvette Stingray in 2012. However, there are some visual clues that do lead us to believe this is the high performance version of the C7 Corvette.
The biggest news from this picture is it looks like the next generation “high performance” Corvette will come in a topless version instead of just the fixed non-removable roof. Chevy would be able to offer the Z07 as a convertible due to the 60% more stiffness of the new aluminum frame vs the C6’s Z06/ZR1 aluminum frame. It also doesn’t hurt that customers bought 2,500 C6 427s in 2012-13, showing the automaker that was demand for a convertible version of the Z06.
If you look just in front of the rear wheels where the door seam is, you will see the body looks to flare out by an inch or two. What we believe to be covered is the rear brake cooling ducts that have been part of the Z06 model’s design since its debut as a C5 in 2001. Compare this area to the regular Corvette Stingray and you’ll see that from the door gap to the tire well is smooth and doesn’t jut out under the door like it does on this prototype.
The flared area around the tires would also mean that the Michelin rubber that will be on the Z07 will most likely be wider than those on the regular C7 Stingray.
Stopping power will come via the Brembo brakes that are now standard fare on the Corvette Stingray. These rotors look to be similar to the Stingrays roters. Many of the enthusiasts we’ve spoke with are hoping that the brakes are carbon ceramic like the Brembos on the C6 Z06/ZR1.
The design of the wheels are new, but we’ve seen actually seen them before. They were on a leaked CAD drawing that came out just before the Stingray was unveiled in Detroit earlier this year.
Although they are not on this prototype, we are expecting the C7 Corvette Z07 to come with carbon fiber side rocker panels and an aggressive front splitter. Look for those as we get closer to launch.
And speaking of launch, when will the Corvette Z07 become available? Some are saying that this will be a 2015 model year Corvette which will be shown at the 2014 NAIAS in Detroit in January while others are saying we’ll have to wait until 2016. Let’s hope its sooner rather than later.