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These Are Likely Z06 Prototypes

2022 2023 C8 Corvette E-Ray Z06 widebody spy photo video exhaust wheels tires camo aero wing spoiler

The 2022 Corvette Z06 is the next big performance vehicle debut coming from Chevrolet, and its development is currently continuing out west. Recently spotted in rural California mountain roads, a group of C8 Corvette widebody prototypes were caught in their familiar black camo cladding, albeit there’s something peculiar about them. Accompanying them is a lone C8 Stingray, which is visibly narrower in the rear. We here at MC&T first brought news that the C8 Corvette Z06 would feature a center-exit exhaust. This was further corroborated by C8 Z06 prototypes being spied testing with exactly that. However, these Corvette prototypes in the video below are absent of the feature.

Spotted by a CorvetteForum user, these C8 Corvette widebody prototypes are otherwise identical to what we’ve seen with earlier 2022 Z06 mules: a thicker, more planted stance; plating covering both the brakes and wheel design; black cladding over the engine bay; and big Michelin steamrollers that can legally be described as tires.

Sources tell MC&T that early C8 Corvette Z06 prototype builds were all assembled with the same exhaust setup as the Stingray and are kept that way, as a result of the difficulties associated with retrofitting them with a center-exit exhaust.

But while these could very well be a convoy of Z06 prototypes, they could also be the upcoming Corvette E-Ray.

It’s anticipated that the C8 Corvette E-Ray hybrid will arrive after the launch of the Z06, and we can’t rule out the possibility of these vehicles being early examples of the upcoming electrified supercar. After all, spy photos of IVER C8 prototypes hit the internet a full two calendar years before the 2019 debut of the 2020 Corvette Stingray, so the possibility of these mules being 2023 Corvette E-Ray variants checks out with the typical timeline.

Corvette C8.R
Image via Chevrolet

The second possibility is that the C8 Corvette Z06 won’t offer a standard center-exit exhaust. Rather, it could be part of what’s likely to be the Z07 performance package. The center-exit exhaust will likely come with a uniquely shaped high-wing spoiler, carbon fiber wheels, and even more aggressive Michelin tires than standard, to round out the package. Electronically adjustable aerodynamics will eventually be offered, as well.

The 2022 Corvette Z06 will be powered by a unique DOHC flat-plane crank naturally aspirated V8 engine. This engine’s codename is LT6, and is expected to push out around 600 horsepower. The 2023 Corvette E-Ray will utilize the same widebody design of the Z06, but will instead feature the Stingray’s small block LT2 V8 powering the rear wheels, with Ultium batteries and electric motors powering the front wheels. Yes, an all-wheel drive hybrid Corvette is soon upon us. As is an 8,000+ RPM V8 screamer that will be the Z06. Stay tuned for more.

2022 C8 Corvette Z06 Interior Photo
Image via Chevrolet

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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