Corvette C8 Z06: America’s Answer To Maranello

Corvette C8

Where do we even begin here?

To say that the newly announced 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is a significant step forward for the iconic American sports car brand could be the understatement of the year. Not only has Chevrolet turned the already incredibly good C8 Stingray into a world-beating performance vehicle, but they’ve also effectively created General Motors’ first, true, supercar. 

If this all sounds like heady, car guy (or gal) type stuff, then you would absolutely be right. Let’s all be honest here though, you’re here because you love cars, and car culture and well, at Xtreme Xperience, we’re in the same tribe as you. We love this, live this and breathe this day in and day out and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 just happens to be one heck of a shot in the arm for the industry we love. 

So, let’s talk all about this incredible vehicle by starting with the origin story and then doing a deeper dive on all those go fast goodies that we’ve been hearing about all over social media. 

Ready? So are we. Let’s do this! 

The Unknown Option Code

Corvette C8


Part of what makes the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 so illustrious is it’s often complicated and unique history.

Way back in 1963, when the Corvette was known as the “split-window” by both Corvette-philes, the automotive media and internally at GM; the Corvette programs lead engineer Zora Arkus – Duntov created the very first ZO6 package. This was not heavily advertised by General Motors and was sort of a speakeasy version of a car option package. You simply had to be in the know.

Checking this option package added in a thicker 24 mm front stabilizer bar, larger diameter shock absorbers and stiffer springs that doubled the capacity of the standard springs. Also included in the Z06 option package were upgraded brake components, and a larger fuel tank. Power was provided by a fuel injected small block V8 engine with a 4 speed manual transmission all running through a positraction limited slip differential.

This Corvette model was ready to race right off the factory floor and it would take another 40 years for Chevrolet and Corvette to reintroduce the ZO6 back to the lineup. 

GM only built 199 Z06 models in 1963 making it one of the rarest Corvettes ever. 

Fifth to Seventh Generation: 2001 – 2015 

Corvette C8

The fifth generation Corvette saw the sports car manufacturer beginning to realize that they had a world beating platform on their hands, that properly massaged, would be a threat to super cars and would be sports cars around the world. Built from 2001 to 2004, the fifth generation Z06 made its reintroduction with a blast of LS6 powered noise. This lightweight, track oriented model utilized everything from a high revving V8 to performance optimized gearing that was specifically designed for the track. They even made the windows and the windshield lighter! 

Sixth generation Corvettes utilize their own unique aluminum frame that was 136 lb lighter than the standard frame on “normal” Corvettes. Power was delivered by a 7.0L LS7 V8 that included such racing bred technologies as titanium connecting rods and a dry sump oiling system that made sure this beast was lubricated even at high g loads. A unique ZO6 performance package (Z07) included carbon ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. This model ran the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 22 seconds, making it among some of the fastest vehicles of the day around the Green Hell.

Seventh generation Corvette Z06 Stingray models (from 2015 on) continue to build on the absolute insanity of previous models,  but this time, they derived their inspiration from the Corvette C7.R race car. Here, aerodynamic technology began to be a part of the Z06 package along with the requisite Michelin pilot sport cup tires and carbon ceramic brakes on the Z07 Performance Package. 

Mid Engined ‘Merica 

Corvette C8

When the current generation C8 debuted, the motoring world could not believe that Corvette had managed to create a world beating platform that utilized mid-engine architecture to such great effect. Gone are the days of the Corvette being a front engine rear wheel drive sports car, while the days of dreams of mid-engined supercars was just on the horizon. Sure the standard C8 model is a hoot to drive and one of the best performance cars in the world, but it still wasn’t quite up to supercar standards. 

Enter the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. 

Flat Plane Crank = Power and Noise 

Corvette C8

There’s been much discussion about the all new (production, anyways) dual overhead cam, flat plane V8 that’s located behind the driver in the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. But what exactly makes this motor so special requires a little bit of science and a little bit of engineering appreciation. 

If you’ve watched Chevrolet’s cinematic reveal of the Z06, you know that it sounds more like a Ferrari than any Corvette, or any V8 that’s come before it from America. The Corvette program chose to utilize a flat plane crank engine because of its ability to produce massive horsepower, without resorting to turbochargers or superchargers. Remember, Chevrolet has always kept the ZO6 a naturally aspirated machine, and left the forced induction stuff for the psycho ZR1. By reducing the internal reciprocating mass of the engine with extremely lightweight engine internals, coupled with the unique flat plant crank design, Chevrolet was able to squeeze out 670 horsepower from this motor. Not only that, but it spins to a staggering 8600 RPM to get the job done! 

The unique sound of a flat plane crank engine is due to how our ears perceive the noise from the engine. On a traditional V8, we’re used to hearing a burble and this burble is a result of the uneven firing order of the cylinders in a traditional V8. Sound is really just sound waves, and uneven firing order of those cylinder blasts leads to that burbling noise we hear come out of the exhaust pipes on our favorite muscle cars. On a flat plane crank engine, there is no uneven firing order and what you’re hearing is a consistent buzz of noise that only gets more intense as the RPMs increase! Check out this video from Engineering Explained for a great explanation.

Engineers at Chevrolet also designed the quad exhaust pipes with a trapezoid interior that is specifically designed to reflect the engine noise back into the cabin of the vehicle for the ultimate effect. From the videos that have been shown, this beautiful engine screams from both the inside and the outside with equal audible glory.  

It’s also important to note that this engine has been doing duty in the C8.R race car for the last year! In fact, the pair of C8.R race cars had their motor dumbed down to only 500 horsepower because it was so fast that the regulating bodies in their respective classes forced Chevrolet to dial back the power because the rest of the platform was so unbelievably competitive. 

Translation: it was putting the hurt on other competitors and it wasn’t even trying. 

A Complete Package

Corvette C8

A proper track car cannot just stop with an unbelievable engine and here the Corvette team delivered as well. Working off the already stout architecture of the C8, the Z06 comes standard with six piston front and four piston rear brakes, in addition to carbon ceramic brake as optional equipment. Complimenting this prodigious stopping power is Chevrolet’s own Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which adjusts the vehicle suspension every few milliseconds for optimal performance and ride control. 

The 8-speed dual clutch transmission from the Corvette C8 makes a return in the ZO6, albeit with beefed up internals and remapped shift points. For owners who are really looking to dial up the performance, Chevrolet is bringing back the legendary ZO7 Performance Package that adds in the aforementioned carbon ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and a unique set of carbon fiber wheels that saves 41 lb at the corners. 

To help control all of this power and handling prowess at speed, the 2023 Chevrolet Z06 also comes with an optional carbon fiber wing and carbon fiber ground effects that improve aerodynamic capacity at low speeds and at high speed as well. In fact, the entire front fascia of the Z06 is a staggering 3.6 in wider than the already massive Stingray for more aerodynamic capability and a substantially wider track. 

Inside Story 

Corvette C8

Beyond all of this performance insanity, Chevrolet has again delivered another cockpit that is at once staggeringly beautiful and staggeringly functional as well. Upper trims of the ZO6 include carbon fiber inlays throughout the interior, as well as an optional Adrenaline Red Dipped interior that pulls in all the great influences from the early 90s Corvettes and does them in a way that leaves you breathless. 

It’s hard to believe that the brand has come along so far in just a matter of a few years, and if you want to see the progress the team has made, this interior is exactly where you should look first. It leapfrogged the competition in one generation, leaving one of the most common complaints about previous Corvette models in the dust. 

Come Experience The Drive With Us 

We are so incredibly excited to see the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 make a proper return to the unbelievably good C8 platform. At Xtreme Xperience, we’ve had a C8 in our fleet for some time and it’s proved to be one of the most popular vehicles among not only drivers but also our instructors as well. This vehicle is incredibly balanced, incredibly comfortable and seems perfectly built for drivers of every skill level. 

2022 is going to be an incredible season for Xtreme Xperience! We’re hitting more tracks than ever, including some of the most famous tracks in the United States, in nearly every corner of this great country. If you feel like you’re up to the task and piloting one of our incredible supercars around a track at maximum velocity, check out our calendar for a date near you in the coming year. 

If you’re up for the challenge, so are we. See you next year!