Some spy photos of the C8 Corvette Z06 have depicted a camouflaged car with covered wheels. Early speculation is that they were hiding a unique lug pattern, or special brakes. More than likely, however, it was to hide a set of carbon fiber wheels. And now there’s evidence. Presenting Exhibit A: an eBay listing of C8 Corvette carbon fiber wheels from Australia’s Carbon Revolution, with GM-licensed branding, as well.
And no, these aren’t the stolen wheels from the unfortunate C8 wheel theft that happened in Detroit last month. But how these things surfaced for sale on the internet will be an unsolved mystery. They sold for $4,500.
This could all be an elaborate ruse, but there’s more evidence that GM is indeed developing a carbon fiber wheel for the C8 Corvette Z06, which is expected to debut as soon as next year. In 2016, the Detroit automaker held a media event that highlighted various engineering innovations focused on vehicle weight reduction that the company was working on. Some examples were how it figured out how weld together aluminum and steel from a secretive spot welding process, structural composite doors, inner decklid components made of blow-formed magnesium sheet, and carbon fiber wheels.
The prototype carbon fiber wheels at the time reduced 8.8 pounds (4 kilograms) off each wheel, compared to an aluminum set. Officials from GM at the time didn’t say what vehicle these wheels were bound for, but did claim they started the validation cycle for track use, with the hope to develop a wheel strong enough for the road. Naturally, the first vehicle that came to mind was the Corvette. At the time, the first spy shots of the mid-engine C8 Corvette were beginning to surface, starting with the “Blackjack” Holden Commodore Ute mule back in 2015. Regarding the potential uses for carbon fiber wheels, it didn’t take much to piece together what GM could be working on from there.
The C8 Corvette Z06 is expected to feature a flat-plane crankshaft DOHC V8 engine with a displacement of 5.5 liters, and a redline north of 7,000 RPM. The same eight-speed dual clutch transmission found in the 2020 Corvette Stingray will be the only way to change gears. Lastly, the bodywork is expected to feature aggressive aerodynamic improvements over the base Stingray that’s hitting dealerships right now.