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Car & Driver’s Annual Performance Vehicle Test Had The Super Chevy Shining

2023 C8 Corvette Z06 ordering orders
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Since the release of the C8 Corvette, fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Z06. Now that it’s finally here, it was only a matter of time before Car and Driver unleashed the supercar on one of the country’s most challenging and storied race tracks. The Lightning Lap 2023 and the Chevrolet Z06 did not disappoint with the new flat-plane mill behind the driver.

2023 C8 Corvette Z06 At Lightning Lap: Details

For Lightning Lap, Chevrolet sent a Rapid Blue 2023 C8 Corvette paired with the Z07 Performance package to C&D’s VIR meat grinder. The price as tested was $141,855 USD, about $35,000 above the base price. Not only did this American-made supercar impress, it darn near blew the doors off just about everything else, setting a record for the fastest naturally aspirated car to participate in Lightning Lap, the fastest American-made car to participate in Lightning Lap, and fastest sub-$200,000 car to do so, as well.

The best lap around VIR in the 2023 Corvette Z06 with the Z07 package stopped the clock in an extremely impressive 2:38.6.

2023 C8 Corvette Z06 Supercar Velocity Yellow
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Compared to previous Corvettes that have raced around LL, the new Z06 makes it to first place by .9 of a second, overtaking the C7 ZR1 ZTK that attacked VIR in 2:39.5 five years ago. What’s more, is that the LT6 monster is a full 10.4 seconds faster than the Stingray. It also managed to gap the 638 horsepower PDE-enhanced C6 ZR1 and the original ’11 Z07 LS7 legend by 12.1 and 14.9 seconds.

Okay, so what about the Ford GT? Well, the Multimatic-built, EcoBoost powered supercar that started at $400,000 USD sits in 13th place with a time of 2:43 seconds flat back in 2017. This shows how far trackable street cars have come over the past few years (tires, baby!) and further demonstrates how impressive the Z06 is for its price point.

What really sticks out to us is how the Corvette Z06 did against the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 this year. As tested, the Porsche was priced at $186,975 USD. And despite having a higher sticker price than the Z06, featured half the cylinders and finished with a fastest time of 2:40.5, or 1.9 seconds slower than the Chevy. Porsche customers are indeed suckers. The other comparison was against the Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica ($342,595 as tested), which maintains its naturally aspirated 8,500 RPM V10, while foregoing drag-inducing wings and canards that we see on the Porsche and Corvette, giving it the fastest trap speed of this year’s Lightning Lap with 165 mph along the VIR front straight, but could do no better than 2:43.9.

2023 C8 Corvette Z06 Z07 Package
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

On the topic of price, the other four cars on the list ahead of the 2023 Corvette Z06 are significantly more expensive, just looking at the vehicle that comes in first place, the 2019 McLaren Senna, which started at $1.05 million USD. An original owner of that exquisite car would have had to shell out over $190,000 for each second dropped around VIR (4.3 seconds) compared the Kentucky-built giant slayer. Second fastest C&D Lightning Lap participant of all time was the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series ($335,595+) in 2020- which remains the fastest front-engined car to participate. Third was the 991-generation Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach ($365,000+) in 2018, and fourth the McLaren 675LT ($429,190 as tested) in 2021.

Each of these four cars that have done better than the 2023 Corvette Z06 at Lightning Lap had to employ far more exotic engineering and a pair of turbos to make their power, which makes us wonder, how quick will the impending C8 Corvette ZR1 be around VIR. This upcoming apex predator will have a twin-turbo V8 engine pushing out somewhere around 850 hp. Only time will tell, but for now, we will admire the masterpiece that is the 2023 Z06.

Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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