2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at Lightning Lap 2023

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at Lightning Lap 2023

Even though it weighs 3646 pounds and has a 670-hp LT6 V-8 engine, the new Corvette Z06 is the fastest and most powerful Vette ever on a course. The best Corvette that can be driven on the street is this C8 Z06.

For the last few Corvettes, Chevrolet engineers set a bad time on the Grand Course. The Z06, on the other hand, had only done some development runs at VIR. Other tracks saw the Z06 run lap times about the same as the 755-hp C7 ZR1. We were thrilled to beat our old ZR1 time by almost a second, even though the ZR1 had 85 more horsepower and could go faster on the Front Straight. This is the best Lightning Lap time for a car with a naturally aspirated engine. The Z06’s time of 2:38.6 is the fifth fastest in class history. Down the straights, everything faster goes a lot faster and costs more than twice as much. Don’t think that the engine is a weak point—it’s almost perfect. When it’s out on the street, this Z06 is all motor. Its 8500 rpm screams, scaring people with its wail. On the street, though, there’s no safe way to push this body to its limits. It can handle 1.22 g’s in Turn 1 and goes up the Climbing Esses at an average speed of 133.4 mph. The more laps we took, the more we were sure that this Corvette was made for the track.

With optional carbon-fiber wheels that remove 41 pounds of spinning (and unsprung) mass, this fast car turns in like no other. There is almost no understeer at any speed, and the handling is so well balanced that applying brake pressure makes it easy to change how tight the nose grips the road. The car is so eager to turn in that we drove it with the steering set to its hardest. This wasn’t because it gave us better feel than the other modes, but because the extra weight on the center made it harder to dive into a corner.

It’s not as stable in corners with the optional competition sport seats than with Porsche’s version. The driver’s arms and legs have to fight huge g-forces because the seat doesn’t hold their body in place. It’s possible that the Z06 could lower its lap time if the GT4 RS’s bucket were put in it.

Along with speed and chassis balance, the Z06 story is also about temperature. The LT6’s oil temperature doesn’t change much after 10 laps of hard racing. As the engine team worked on the LT6, they found hot spots in the main bearings. They thought this was because the oil thinned out near redline, causing cavitation. Multiple heat exchangers in the Z06’s nose keep the oil temperature below 200 degrees to stop this. At the track, those coolers are what other cars see behind the Corvette Z06. However, it never stays there for long.

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