The 2015 Corvette Z06 has finally been unveiled today on the first day of the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit – and it’s everything you hoped for and more….
As everyone predicted back in early December (see here) the new Z06 will be powered by the new “LT4” engine. It’s a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 that benefits from all of the advancements of GM’s latest iteration of the small block Chevy (direct injection, mainly). Oh, by the way, it makes a staggering 620 horsepower and 650 foot pounds of torque. That means this Z06 makes more torque than the outgoing ZR1.
The C7 Z06 is packed full of ‘firsts’ for the famous nameplate. For one, this Z06 is the first one that isn’t a fixed roof coupe. The 2015 z06 has a carbon fiber targa top like its standard Stingray siblings. With more aluminum used in the chassis, the C7Z is said to be 60% stiffer than the outgoing C6 car – which was already a pretty serious track machine.
Another ‘first’ for the 2015 Z06 is the availability of an automatic transmission. GM’s new 8 speed automatic will be optional on the C7Z. Previous models for the C5 and C6 generation were only available with 6-speed manual transmissions. While some enthusiasts will undoubtedly cry foul at the addition of the slushbox, I welcome its arrival. An optional automatic means a broader buying audience, should translate into more sales, and that means more money for GM – which of course means better cars. Bring on the flappy paddle gearbox.
Like the base Corvette Stingray, the 2015 Z06 is equipped with GM’s new electronic limited-slip differential, or eLSD. While rear differentials aren’t as important as the engine or transmission in a powertrain, GM’s eLSD is a modern marvel of technology (History Channel, please don’t sue me for that).
The eLSD is essentually a multiplate clutch pack differential with a virtually limitless amount of adustability. It can run from fully open all the way up to 1,475 foot pounds of resistance – and every point in between these two extremes. The eLSD in the Stingray and Z06 makes automatic adustments every 11 milliseconds based on feedback from the car’s onboard computer. Factors involved in the eLSD’s adjustments include steering input, stability control readings, the suspension angle, and an all-new patented tire temperature sensing system. The 2015 Z06 is the stuff of video games brought to a street, strip, or racing circuit near you.
Speaking of video games, the new Z06 will come with GM’s new Performance Data Recorder, or PDR for short. The PDR is basically a dash camera that you can use to become a better and more efficient driver on the track. More than just a heads-up-display (which the Corvette has had for years), the PDR records high definition video with telemetry overlays as you drive, and can store the content on a standard SD card. Then, a driver who is focused on lap times can sit down with their laptop, or on their home PC, and analyze their driving style. The footage can be reviewed to help correct mistakes, find better racing lines, and ultimately go faster. The 2015 Z06 is ALL about going faster.
The Z06 is the model that GM produces in order to remain eligible for a number of different racing championships around the world. This is called homogolization, and it brings a lot of race car tech to the street cars you and I drive today. The C7.R is the latest result of these efforts from GM and Corvette Racing, and it’s a beautiful machine. Chevrolet is the winningest name in motorsports, with over 100 years of proud vehicular heritage to draw on, and wins in NASCAR, IndyCar, LeMans, and countless other series. Take a look at this short video here to see a walkaround of the new 2014 C7.R that will be racing in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship season opener, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Here’s a quick walkaround video I did of the C7.R.
If you’re looking to buy your own 2015 Z06, you’ll have to wait. Deliveries won’t begin until early 2015 from the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette factory. Until then, feast your eyes on the new king of the hill Corvette… until the ZR1’s replacement shows up. While this was just the beginning of NAIAS 2014, the atmosphere surrounding the 2015 Z06 and C7.R felt as if more were left on the table. Something wicked this way comes… and it’s likely a faster Corvette than we’ve ever seen before.