A recent forum post from MidEngineCorvetteForum is setting the Chevrolet Performance community abuzz with anticipation, as it alleges that prototypes of the 2022 C8 Corvette Z06 will be assembled at the GM Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky for the first time next week.
These C8 Corvette Z06 prototypes, said to be codenamed “N50”, represent the next stage in the vehicle’s development timeline. Up to this point, “Alpha” Z06 prototypes and their components have been built by hand in GM’s preproduction operations (PPO) engineering facilities in Michigan. These “Beta” test mules will be used to validate the manufacturing process of the 2022 Corvette Z06, which is expected to be revealed as soon as July 2021.
Meanwhile, down in West Virginia, a fleet of C8 Corvette Z06 prototypes have been spotted by TFL on public roads, before pulling over to stop at a fast food restaurant. Part of the convoy was a pair of familiar supercars: a Ferrari 458 Italia, and the gray Porsche 911 GT2 RS that has been spotted lurking with the 2022 Corvette Z06 prototypes multiple times before.
This same fleet of IVER-stage vehicles were also spotted that same day in Ohio, where CorvetteBlogger was able to get a closer look at a more integrated center-exit exhaust system, which we here at MC&T originally reported would happen. The video below captures several 2022 Corvette Z06 prototypes starting up, idling, and briefly blipping their throttles. It’s hard to believe these exotic-sounding machines are coming from a car company that’s shaped much of its legacy around pushrod small block engines.
2022 Corvette Z06 Prototype Spy Video:
MC&T sources have revealed that GM has opted to benchmark the Ferrari 458 Italia – nearly $240,000 USD when new – against the C8 Corvette Z06 because of its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8. In doing so, engineers can evaluate traits such as its exhaust note and NVH relative to the LT6 flat-plane crank DOHC V8. This is the engine that will be found in behind the cabin of the upcoming Corvette variant. The LT6 is expected to be the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 ever made, with over 600 horsepower on tap. Meanwhile, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS – nearly $300,000 USD when new, before options – is serving as a benchmark for ride and handling, as well as chassis tuning.
Some theories floating around the internet have suggested that the German supercar is being used as a benchmark for the upcoming C8 Corvette ZR1, but that doesn’t appear the case at the moment. It’s more likely that vehicles such as the McLaren 720S will be the benchmark vehicle when the time comes, or another turbocharged V8 supercar of similar output and capabilities. However, the C8 Corvette ZR1 is expected to have far-and-away levels of class-leading output, with up to 800 horsepower being rumored. This super Chevy is expected to arrive around 2023, likely as a 2024 model year.