A new era of Corvette performance was introduced this morning at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. The 2015 Corvette Z06 finally broke cover and made its public debut in front of eager automotive journalists while thousands of Corvette enthusiasts watched the unveiling live online.
This isn’t just another Corvette from Chevrolet. This is a world-class supercar with a race proven aerodynamic design and advanced technologies that makes it the most track-capable Corvette in history.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 builds not only on the strengths of the 2014 Corvette Stingray which debuted exactly one year earlier, but also through its racing experience and technology transfer with the C6.R race car along with Chevrolet’s experience in delivering mind-numbing performance throughout the later half of the C6 era with the Corvette ZR1.
In fact, the Corvette Z06 is better than the previous King of the Hill in a number of ways, not just measured by performance, but by the driving experience that it offers.
It’s the first Corvette Z06 to offer a supercharged engine. It’s the first Corvette Z06 to offer an automatic transmission. And thanks to its stronger aluminum frame, its the first Corvette Z06 to have a removable roof panel.
The 6.2L LT4 delivers over 625 horsepower and an estimated 635+ lb-ft of torque. Slightly different numbers than those that were leaked last week. Customers can choose either a seven-speed manual transmission with active rev match technology or the all new high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual control.
“The new Z06 delivers levels of performance, technology and design that rival the most exotic supercars in the world,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “And the Z06 leverages the engineering expertise of GM, offering the choice of two world-class transmissions, supercar performance without supercar fuel consumption, and technologies that make it easier to fully enjoy the incredible experience of driving it.”
Carried over and enhanced from the C6 program is the optional track-focused Z07 Performance Package which adds Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport Cup Tires for enhanced grip, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes for stopping power and unique aerodynamic components that create massive downforce to keep those tires on the road.
In a private briefing on the car, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter said that on its first shakedown run at the Milford Proving Grounds, the all new Corvette Z06 set the fastest lap ever and took the course record from the mighty C6 Corvette ZR1. ON A SHAKEDOWN RUN! Just wait until the car is fully dialed in!
“The Corvette Z06 is a great example of the technology transfer between racing and production Corvettes,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “First, we took what we learned on the Corvette Racing C6.R and applied that to the all-new Corvette Stingray. Then, using the Stingray as a foundation, the Z06 and C7.R were developed to push the envelope of performance on the street and the track.”
Like the powerful and fuel-efficient 6.2L LT1 V8 in the 2014 Corvette Stingray, the supercharged 6.2L LT4 offers the greatest balance of performance and fuel efficiency ever in a Corvette. Direct injection, active fuel management and continuously variable valve timing are all features that can be found on the new Corvette Z06’s engine. To reach its optimal performance targets, the supercharger designed for the LT4 is more efficient and compact than the one found on the Corvette ZR1’s LS9.
The new Eaton TVS Supercharger spins up to 20,000 RPMs – 5,000 RPMs more than the ZR1. The rotors are shorter too which enables them to get up to speed quicker and that gives the driver more torque earlier in the RPM band.
Long on the wish list of Corvette enthusiasts for the high performance cars is an optional automatic transmission and once again Chevrolet listens and delivers.
The new eight-speed transmission is built in-house by Chevrolet at its transmissions plant in Toledo, Ohio. Tuned for world-class shift response times, the new automatic has smaller steps between the gears to keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, optimizing the output of the supercharged engine for performance and efficiency.
And for those drivers that like the flexibility of going manual by utilizing the paddle shifts, the new transmission has unique algorithms to deliver shifts that rival the dual-clutch/semi-automatics that are found in many of the supercar competitors – but with the smoothness and refinement that comes from a conventional automatic fitted with a torque converter.
Chevrolet says that the 8L90 transmission’s controller analyzes and executes commands 160 times per second and wide-open throttle upshifts are executed up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than the dual-clutch transmission offered in the Porsche 911.
“Unlike most ultra-performance cars, the Corvette Z06 offers customers the choice between two transmissions to suit their driving styles,” said Juechter. “The seven-speed gives the driver the control of a true three-pedal manual transmission with perfect shifts enabled by Active Rev Matching. The new eight-speed automatic offers drivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and manual control for track driving.”
Aerodynamics play a huge role in the Corvette Z06’s development and design and this new Corvette delivers more downforce that any car ever tested in GM’s wind tunnel.
“Virtually every exterior change served a functional purpose, as this beast needed more of everything,” said Tom Peters, Corvette design director, “The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The larger vents provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes, transmission and differential for increased track capability. The more aggressive aerodynamic package generates true downforce for more cornering grip and high-speed stability.”
Chevrolet says those design changes started with the tires first, instead of widening the car and then matching the size of tires to fit. To make sure they had the right tire combination, they worked with Michelin for two years to get the levels of tire grip needed to reach the Z06’s performance targets.
The new Corvette Z06 is fitted with Michelin’s Pilot Sport tires or for the customers that opt for the Z07 Performance Package, new Pilot Sport Cup tires. The P285/30ZR19 front tires are 1.5 inches wider than the tires on the Stingray, while the 335/25ZR20 rear tires are two inches wider.
To accommodate the wider tires, the fenders of the Corvette Z06 are extended by 2.2 inches in the front and 3.15 inches in the rear. The tires are mounted on lightweight cast aluminum wheels that are also wider than the Stingrays wheels and the open design really showcases the massive Brembo brakes.
The wider Corvette Z06 is accentuated by a rear fascia that gives the Z06 its own unique look. The same rear taillights are incorporated, but they are pushed three inches further apart than the Stingrays LED taillamps, toward the edges of the body.
The Z06 will offer three different levels of aerodynamic downforce from the base Z06 to one equipped with the Z07 Performance Package:
- The standard Z06 features a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and the rear spoiler from the Corvette Stingray’s Z51 Performance Package
- An available carbon-fiber aero package (in either black or a visible carbon-fiber finish) adds a carbon fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce
- The optional Z07 package adds a larger winglets to the front splitter, along with an adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler for track use; with this package, the Corvette Z06 delivers the most amount of aerodynamic downforce of any production car that GM has tested.
The cooling vents on the exterior are similar to those found on the Corvette Stingray, but have been enhanced for the increased performance requires of the Z06.
The front grille’s mesh pattern was painstakingly designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharged LT4 engine. You’ll also see dedicated brake-cooling intakes integrated into the bottom outside corners of the grille. The vent on the hood is larger to accommodate the greater airflow through the grille, expelling the hot air over the top of the car instead of underneath it.
The rear vents feature a scooped design and unique air blades which directs 50% more air into the transmission and differential coolers than those vents found on the C7 Stingray.
Finally, the Z06’s signature rear brake cooling vents found low in front the rear tires are back as well and are part of the functional design.
As far as the interior goes, the all new Corvette Z06 features the two different seating options: the standard GT seats for everyday driving and the optional Competition Sport seats which provide greater support for track events. A unique flat-bottomed steering wheel with a Z06 logo and unique color schemes including an optional blue interior similar to that found on the 2013’s 60th Anniversary edition provide emphasis for the driver-focused cockpit.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 leverages the technologies introduced last year on the 2014 Corvette Stingray, with unique features and calibrations tailored for its capabilities.
“Our mission with the seventh-generation Corvette was to make the performance levels more accessible, enabling drivers exploit every pound-foot of torque, every “g” of grip and every pound of downforce,” said Juechter. “It’s a philosophy we introduced with the 460-horsepower Corvette Stingray – and one that’s even more relevant with an estimated 625 horsepower at your beck and call.”
Like the Corvette Stingray, the aluminum frame for the Corvette Z06 is built in the body shop at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. The stiffer frame design allows the Corvette Z06 to be offered with a removable roof panel for the first time. In fact, with the lightweight, carbon fiber roof panel removed, the new Corvette Z06 offers 20 percent more structural rigidity than the previous model’s fixed-roof design – and a 60-percent increase in stiffness with the roof panel installed.
Like the Stingray, the Corvette Z06 features the Driver Mode Selector which allows the driver to select up to a dozen features to the driving environment including:
- Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
- Active handling (StabiliTrak stability control): 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 inclement 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; more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.
The electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) is standard on the Corvette Z06 to make the most of the torque split between the rear wheels and is fully integrated with Electronic Stability Control and the Performance Traction Management Systems.
The new Corvette Z06 will be available in early 2015. Performance data and pricing will be announced prior to the start of production.
Click here to read the official press release about the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
[VIDEO] Watch the Live Reveal of the 2015 Corvette Z06 and the C7.R Racecar
[PIC] 2015 Corvette Z06 Prepares for Unveiling at NAIAS
LEAKED: 2015 Corvette Z06 to have 620 Horsepower, 650 lb-ft of Torque