Chevrolet today introduced the most track-capable Corvette in the brand’s history – the 2015 Corvette Z06. It elevates the performance envelope for Corvette with unprecedented levels of aerodynamic downforce, at least 625 horsepower from an all-new supercharged engine, and an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission – all building on the advanced driver technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray.
The 2015 model is the first Corvette Z06 to offer a supercharged engine, an automatic transmission and, thanks to a stronger aluminum frame, a removable roof panel. The new, supercharged 6.2L engine is expected to deliver at least 625 horsepower (466 kW), and can be matched with either a seven-speed manual or an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual control. The aluminum frame carries over from the Corvette Stingray and will also be used essentially unchanged for the Corvette Racing C7.R.
A track-focused Z07 Performance Package adds unique components for true aerodynamic downforce, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip, and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors that improve braking performance and contribute to greater handling through reduced unsprung weight. Although development testing is ongoing, the Z07 package has already recorded some of the fastest lap times ever for a Corvette, surpassing even the ZR1.
The heart of the 2015 Corvette Z06 is the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine, expected to deliver an estimated 625 horsepower (466 kW) and 635 lb.-ft. of torque (861 Nm). To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray: Direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing.
These technologies – combined with the fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions, aerodynamic design and lightweight construction – help make the new Z06 surprisingly fuel-efficient.
To maintain the Z06’s mass and performance targets, the LT4 engine was designed with a more-efficient, more-compact next-generation supercharger. Even with its integrated supercharger/intercooler assembly mounted in the valley between the cylinder heads, the engine is only about 1 inch (25 mm) taller than the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 engine – while delivering nearly 37 percent more horsepower and 40 percent more torque.
The new 1.7L Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger spins at up to 20,000 rpm – 5,000 rpm more than the supercharger on the Corvette ZR1’s LS9. The rotors are shorter in length, too, which contributes to their higher-rpm capability – and enables them to get up to speed quicker, producing power-enhancing boost earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently, thanks to a new, more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine.
The supercharged LT4 is offered with a standard seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match, or an all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission designed to enhance both performance and efficiency.
The seven-speed manual incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts. This driver-selectable feature can be easily engaged or disengaged via paddles on the steering wheel. The seven-speed is used with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch, which deliver greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia.
The eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times, and smaller steps between gears keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, optimizing the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.
For performance driving, the transmission offers full manual control via steering wheel paddles, and unique algorithms to deliver shift performance that rivals the dual-clutch/semi-automatic transmissions found in many supercars – but with the smoothness and refinement that comes with a conventional automatic fitted with a torque converter.
Featuring four gearsets and five clutches, creative packaging enables the GM-developed eight speed automatic to fit the same space as the six-speed automatic used in the Corvette Stingray. Extensive use of aluminum and even magnesium make it more than eight pounds (4 kg) lighter than the six-speed, as well. Along with design features that reduce friction, the 8L90 is expected to contribute up to five-percent greater efficiency, when compared with a six-speed automatic. The eight-speed automatic will be built at GM’s Toledo, Ohio, transmission facility.
The exterior design also reflects the increased cooling required for the new Corvette Z06. For example, the mesh pattern on the front fascia was painstakingly designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger’s intercooler heat exchanger. In fact, the mesh grill directs more air into the engine bay than with the grille completely removed.
The unique grille also features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serve as air diffusers. The grille is complemented with a larger hood vent, which not only vents hot air from the engine compartment, but contributes to downforce by allowing air driven through the grille to exit through the hood rather than being forced under the car, which could create lift.
Additional cooling elements include larger front fender vents and unique air blades over the inlets on the rear fenders, which force about 50 percent more air into the cooling ducts for the transmission and differential coolers than those on the Stingray. To cope with the additional airflow, the Z06 has also has larger rear-fascia openings than the Stingray.
Standard front and rear brake-cooling ducts, including Z06-signature rear ducts integrated in front of the rear fender openings, are also part of the functional design changes.
Inside, the Corvette Z06 is distinguished from the Corvette Stingray by unique color schemes that emphasize the driver-focused cockpit, and a unique, flat-bottomed steering wheel.
For the first time ever, the Corvette Z06’s aluminum frame will be produced in-house at the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant. It’s the same robust, lightweight frame used on the Corvette Stingray and it will also be used essentially unchanged for the C7.R racecars.
The stiffer design of the aluminum frame 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.
The new Z06 retains the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray, including, but uniquely calibrated for the higher performance threshold. The third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers are standard on Z06, and can be adjusted for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector.