If you’re not excited about the arrival of the eight-generation Corvette and it now finally adopting a mid-engine layout, well, you might want to check your pulse—or maybe your prejudices. Even though the standard Stingray version won’t hit the streets for another few months, we’re already looking ahead to the even-hotter Z06 variant. What we don’t know about the car could fill a book, but there are a few items and rumors that are likely to come true.
First on that list is a twin-turbo V-8 engine based on the Cadillac CT6-V’s Blackwing, though almost definitely not wearing the Blackwing name. Instead, it’s likely to get an LT designation, probably LT7. While that specific isn’t likely to spike your adrenaline, the horsepower output will: Expect the Z06 to pump out 800 horses and a monstrous amount of torque, perhaps approaching—or even surpassing—700 lb-ft. (The current front-engine Z06 is rated for 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft from its supercharged LT4 small-block V-8.)
One big unknown on the Z06’s spec sheet is the transmission. While it’s most likely that Chevy will keep the seven-speed dual clutch found in the Stingray, whispers suggest a 10-speed dual-clutch may be offered. Even more tantalizingly, we’ve heard that the Stingray’s missing manual-transmission option may turn up on the Z06’s option sheet. But while that’s a nice dream—and makes a certain sort of sense, since the Z06 is the enthusiast’s pick—we’re not holding our collective breath.
Otherwise, the Z06 is expected to pack a host of active and passive handling and performance upgrades, like a harder-core tune for the magnetorheological dampers; carbon-fiber body panels and exterior accessories; and, as pictured in these renderings, a huge wing and diffuser package, front splitter, and underbody aero. It will also get wider fenders to make room for fatter wheels and wider, stickier tires. It will undoubtedly all add up to a lighter, more rigid, better-handling, quicker, and faster car than the regular C8.
We don’t expect to see the Z06 version of the C8 Corvette until late 2021 as a 2022 model, though, so it will be some time before anything gets confirmed. And this isn’t the end of the C8 Corvette progression, either; we expect a ZR1 (possibly called “Zora” instead) to come a year or two after the Z06, potentially packing a hybrid drivetrain, all-wheel drive, and more than 1,000 horsepower. In the meantime, we’ll keep our ears to the ground for more rumblings and rumors on the C8 Corvette Z06.
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Illustrations by Andrei Avarvarii.