The 2015 Corvette Z06 has moved the yardsticks for high-performance production sports cars further down the field. Once again, the Corvette design team has produced a tour de force, with features such as a high-tech 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine, an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, and a host of aerodynamic innovations to keep the Corvette Z06 at the front of the pack. But, being a performance leader is part of the Z06’s family tradition. From the first Z06 in 1963 through the C5 and C6 generations, it has continually surprised the skeptics and the newest member carries on the family tradition.
Z06 – a family history of high performance
In Corvette lore, the name Z06 is synonymous with high performance. In fact, the name began as a Regular Production Option (RPO) for the 1963 Sting Ray coupe. A dedicated racer could run down to the neighborhood Chevrolet dealer, order a Corvette coupe and by checking off RPO Z06, his car would be delivered with the fuel-injected engine, upgraded brakes, suspension, an oversize fuel tank, and other racing goodies—just about everything needed to make the Sting Ray into a full fledged racecar.
Among the racing cognoscenti, those cars were referred to as Z06s and the name stuck. GM made the name official in 2001 when the C5 Z06 was introduced as a separate Corvette model. The Z06 carried on through the 5th and 6th Corvette generations, each one assuming the Corvette’s horsepower mantle and upping the power output from the previous generation. Horsepower went from 385 in the 2001 C5, to 405 in later C5 Z06s, and then to 505 in the 7-liter engine of the C6 Z06.
Passing the performance baton to the new generation
Is the new 2015 Corvette Z06 ready to take the baton and run with it? The performance figures are not yet final, but Tadge Juechter, the Executive Chief Engineer for Corvette, assures us that the new LT4 engine will have at least 625 horsepower, more than enough to get you to the convenience store for more chips and dip without missing any of the game.
Not only does the C7 Z06 have the performance tools to uphold the family traditions, it boldly goes where no Z06 had gone before. Thanks to a remarkably rigid new frame design, it is now available as a convertible or a coupe with a removable roof panel. The interior has a new design with upgraded materials, a choice of seats, and new colors. The new guy in the Z06 family certainly knows how to move out rapidly in comfort and style. If cars could smile, the whole Z06 family would be grinning from fender to fender.
The new Z06 is scheduled to be in your local Chevrolet dealer’s showroom by early 2015. Final performance data and pricing will be announced later this year closer to the start of production.
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