The Daytona 500 Z06 Pace Car. These images were released today from GM. Click the image to view larger photo.
A specially outfitted 2006 Corvette Z06 will serve as the official pace car of the 48th running of the Daytona 500, on Feb. 19. “Tonight Show” host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno will drive the pace car. The Daytona 500 is NASCARâ€™s premier race and traditionally kicks off the Nextel Cup racing season. Selection of the Z06 model marks the second consecutive year that a Corvette has been selected as the Daytona 500 pace car. The Corvette Z06 that will serve as the Daytona 500 pace car is mechanically identical to those available at Chevrolet dealerships. It is the fastest vehicle ever offered by Chevrolet and General Motors. With 505 horsepower (377 kw) and 470 lb.-ft. of torque (637 Nm) from its 7.0L all-aluminum, racing-inspired engine, the Corvette Z06 leaps from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph. It also differs from other production Corvette models with extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon-fiber front fenders and a chassis comprised of aluminum and magnesium. A racing-ready suspension and large, 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels help keep it glued to the tarmac, so it requires no drivetrain modifications to satisfy its role in front of the racing pack. In its official capacity, however, the pace car is outfitted with a variety of safety equipment and highly visible strobe lights. Interestingly, the Corvette Z06â€™s 505-horsepower (377 kw) output is actually more than the power produced by the race cars that will compete in the Daytona 500 â€“ a first for a pace car. This is because of the unique “restrictor plate” rule established for the Daytona and Talladega , Ala. racetracks. On these 2.5-mile-long super speedways, the restrictor plate reduces airflow into the engine to limit horsepower and keep race car speeds below 200 mph. With a restrictor plate, racing engine power is reduced from about 750 horsepower to about 450 horsepower. Race cars can still average more than 190 mph on Daytonaâ€™s long straights. The Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 wears a unique paint scheme, inspired by the hot-to-cool color transition of a space capsule entering Earthâ€™s atmosphere at a high rate of speed. The paint scheme is carried out with an elaborate, interlocking scallops design â€“ a twist on hot rod-style flames â€“ that blends “hot” Lemon Drop yellow at the nose of the Corvette with Lemon Glow, Amber Ecstasy, Blazing Copper and Hot Poppy. The colors culminate with a cool Sapphire Trance blue color at the rear of the vehicle. DuPont, the sponsor of Jeff Gordonâ€™s No. 24 Monte Carlo, supplied the colors, which are from the companyâ€™s “Hot Hues” line of automotive paint. “As if the Corvette Z06 needed help in looking fast, the intricate paintwork of the pace car gives it the appearance of tremendous speed,” said Peper. “It is one of the most elaborate and stunning vehicle designs weâ€™ve created.” Leno behind the wheel Jay Leno, host of the “Tonight Show” and an unabashed auto enthusiast, will drive the Corvette Z06 during opening ceremonies and the pace laps that start the race. Leno, who has a large collection of vintage automobiles and motorcycles, has previous experience as a pace car driver.Chevrolet returns to the Daytona 500 with 18 victories â€“ the most of any manufacturer â€“ including last yearâ€™s champion Jeff Gordon. Chevrolet also returns as the defending manufacturerâ€™s cup champion, an award that has been bestowed 29 times. Also, defending Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart drives the No. 20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Joe Gibbs Racing. “The Corvette Z06 already is a performance legend and the fans will enjoy seeing it lead their favorite drivers around Daytonaâ€™s famous tri-oval,” said Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway. “It promises to be a great race, and kicking it off with a Corvette at the head of the pack is the best way to start.” The Daytona 500 is one of the largest events in motorsports, drawing more than 168,000 fans to the track and attracting nearly 11 million American television viewers. It also is broadcast around the world. Credit: National Corvette Museum
You either loved or hated the Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic exterior paint that was on 2005 and 2006 Corvettes. CorvetteConti.com has reported on his site that GM will be replacing the Daytona Sunset with Atomic Orange (Code 83U).
While never being a real big fan of Orange Corvettes (or brown for that matter) the change is one that I guess we will have to wait and see if it is indeed an improvement over the Daytona Sunset. According to Rick Conti, the new color will be available for all models.
The colors for 2007 Corvettes:
10U – Artic White
19U – LeMans Blue
41U – Black
45U – Velocity Yellow
67U – Machine Silver
74U – Victory Red
80U – Monterey Red
83U – Atomic Orange Credits: CorvetteConti.com
GM has alerted dealers that production of its wheel supply has experienced significant disruptions. This is probably due to the bankruptcy filing in early December of Amcast Industrial Corp, which is one of the largest suppliers of wheels for the Corvette. Court documents from the bankruptcy filing show that while Amcast is still shipping Corvette wheels to GM, the automaker is looking to end the relationship. Here is the letter that was sent to a GM dealer as it was posted on DigitalCorvettes.com:
To: All Corvette DealersCredits: CovetteConti.com, DigitalCorvettes.com
Date: December 15, 2005 Subject: Corvette Production Disruptions Coupe & Convertible Production
The wheel supply for Corvette has experienced significant disruption. Unfortunately, this situation has caused GM to make several adjustments affecting wheel options, production volumes and production schedules. Many orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. Since timing is critical, and current wheel supply is uncertain, Order Fulfillment / Distribution is unable to follow the normal process of returning orders to dealers for necessary changes. Regrettably, polished wheels will not be available from our new supplier. This will force us to change all orders scheduled to be built after 1/3/06 to Silver Painted wheels. The much anticipated Chrome wheel option will be postponed until late spring production. Any substitution of a lower cost wheel will be reflected in a reduced MSRP and invoice. Additionally, overall wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Z06 Production
The impact to Z06 production is still undetermined as is the future availability of the polished wheel option. Some orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. As is the case with Coupe & Convertible, wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Dealers will be advised of their future Z06 allocation outlook as soon as production schedules can be solidified. Summary
As orders are changed, Order Fulfillment will notify affected dealers via GM Messenger. Order Guides, GM AutoBook and Order Workbench will be changed as soon as practical to reflect the change in wheel options. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and disappointments this situation may cause you and your customer(s).
A specially prepared Corvette Z06 will serve as the Official Pace Car of the 48th annual Daytona 500, on February 19th. It wears a unique paint scheme, including Daytona 500 logos, as well as mandated safety equipment and strobe lights. No mechanical modifications or enhancements were needed to prepare the Corvette Z06 for its on-track duty. The car will make its debut at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in January before heading to Florida for the race.
CorvetteBlogger.com, the Sales, News and Lifestyle blog has named the 2006 Corvette Z06 its Car of the Year. This marks the first time this award has been handed out since the founding of the blog in August 2005. “We considered several cars for this award and actually narrowed our search to three vehicles,” said Keith Cornett, Senior Editor of CorvetteBlogger.com. “The Corvette Coupe and the Corvette Convertible models were considered, But the Z06, with its heart-thumping 505 horsepower and relatively low super car price of $65,800 made the decision easy.” The Corvette Z06 marks the latest evolution of the Corvette icon. Rebuilt from the ground up, the latest Z06 features a 505 hp 7.0 liter LS7 aluminum block with an innovative Dry-Sump oil system. Massive six-piston front and four piston rear brakes can stop this beast 60 mph to 0 in 109 feet. The Corvette also features a strong, yet lightweight aluminum frame combined with a magnesium engine cradle allowing superior power-to-weight ratios. All these features add up to an unheard of MSRP of $65,800. There were only two considerations that the editors took into account during the selection process. First, the car must be manufactured by Chevrolet and second, it must be a Corvette. “Few autos have generated more excitement from enthusiasts and the automotive media than the Corvette Z06. We feel the selection of the Corvette Z06 as our 2005 Car of the Year ads another dimension to the American Icon,” said Cornett.
Our friends over at DigitalCorvettes.com have now dedicated an entire category to the rumors swirling around a brand new Corvette model. The new model, referred to as the Corvette Super Sport, will sport an LS9 supercharged small block that will output around 600 hp. GM of course is denying the SS story the same as they did the Blue Devil rumors a few months ago. If you recall, the Blue Devil stories also featured a supercharged small block. Up until this weekend, the rumors were just that. But recently a DC forum member posted documents (with CIA like blackouts) that give credence to the LS9 Super Sport Story. These documents, which may be coming from a supplier, shows a proposed timeline of the LS9′s development as well as the replacement of the Z06′s LS7 7.0L 505 hp engine to the LS8′s 480-500 hp engine. Yes, these are rumors and like most can usually be dispelled quickly. But DigitalCorvettes.com and its members have broken the GM Shroud of Secrecy before and past rumors have come to fruition so stay tuned.
Canadian automotive journalists have been raving about the new Corvette Z06 so much that when it came to handing out their annual end of the year awards, they gave the new Chevy super car it’s own category. The Automobile Journalists of Canada (AJAC) announced creation of a new award to recognize a “truly exceptional vehicle that sets new standards” and presented the inaugural “AJAC Most Coveted Vehicle” award to General Motors of Canada. Richard Russell, President of AJAC, said “Every once in a long while, a vehicle comes along that stirs the hearts and minds of automobile enthusiasts. Often, it stands apart from the pack and in some cases has no competition at all, let alone in a category created for the annual AJAC award”. While this is a new award, it is one that would be handed out only on rare occasions where cars like the Z06 truly separate themselves from their competition. Hattip: The Auto Channel.
Think the Z06 Corvette is the fastest American-produced automobile? At a top speed of 198 mph, the Z06 is certain to be the fastest American car to be produced in mass quantity, but in terms of pure speed, there are 4 other American sportscars whose top speed ranks before it. Forbes.com has compiled a listing of the fastest American cars using the top-speed data listed by the manufacturer. The list only allows room for one nameplate so the Z06 makes list but the coupe and convertible models, which both boast a top speed of 186 mph do not make the list. Cars that make up the 10 Fastest List in order are: No. 1 SSC Ultimate Aero. Base Price: $654,500 Top Speed: 260 to 273 mph No. 2 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Base Price: $555,000. Top Speed: 240 to 260 mph (estimated) No. 3 Evans 387 and 487 (tie) Base Prices: $175,000 (387); $170,000 (487) No. 4 Ford GT No. 4 Ford GT. Base Price: $141,245 Top Speed: 205 mph No. 5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Base Price: $65,800 Top Speed: 198 mph No. 6 Dodge Viper SRT-10. Base Price: $85,745. Top Speed: 190 mph (estimated) No. 7 Mullen M-11 with V-8. Base Price: $69,950 Top Speed: 180+ mph No. 8 Panoz Esperante GTLM. Base Price: $121,325 Top Speed: 180 mph No. 9 Chrysler 300C SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Dodge Magnum SRT8 (tie) Base Prices: $42,695 (300C), $38,095 Charger) and $37,995 (Magnum) Top Speed: 165 to 170 mph (estimated) No. 10 Cadillac CTS-V. Base Price: $51,395 Top Speed: 163 mph What Forbes.com says about the Corvette Z06:
The newest Corvette is also the fastest Corvette ever. Recently released, the Z06 has about as low a sticker price as a car with 505 hp can have. The Z06 performs like a race car or supercar, but is also a perfectly acceptable “daily driver.” Consider its fuel economy: 16/26 city/highway mpg–hardly typical for a race car.
Reporter Paula Simons from the Edmonton Journal details the unfortunate death of a pedestrian killed by the irresponsible actions of someone driving a Corvette. While the death is unfortunate and justice awaits for the driver, Paula takes the argument farther:
“But the crime Ricky Richardson committed didn’t begin that terrible August night when he punched the accelerator. The chain of events that led to Irene Nicholson’s death began when Richardson decided to buy a Corvette with a special super-charger that gave the already-powerful car a 500-horsepower engine.”In the reporter’s perfect world, we would all be driving small cars with the horsepower of a lawnmower. She does concede that the pedestrian could have died had the out of control driver been in a “nice little Smart Car or Prius”. However she continues with how no one “needs” a Corvette or a Hummer or Escalade (Is she anti GM?), fashion choices to parade your wealth and power…making the driver to feel more viral and fleet and powerful. Her article finally comes back to reality as she weighs in how the Corvette driver made a bad choice and must deal with the consequences. With power comes responsibility, and that should be the lesson of this story.