For years, the Corvette Z06 has been a more aggressive, track focused version of the standard Corvette. Although the typical power increases and handling improvements are extensive, it’s always been an uprated version of the standard car, and usually with a loose connection to the Corvette Racing cars. With the eighth-generation Corvette, however, we’ve known the Z06 variant will kick things up a notch from previous versions, with the key modification being a flat plane crank V8 related to what’s powering the IMSA-championship-winning C8.R race car. But the latest episode of The Smoking Tire podcast gives us a brief description of what the 2022 C8 Corvette Z06 will be like, in relation to the racecar. And it’s very exciting.
The episode, which is linked at the bottom of the post, features Matt Farah talking to Alexander Rossi, a young IndyCar driver that’s won seven races so far in his career. His first win was in 2016, when he was still a rookie. Their discussion is interesting and worth watching in its entirety, but the section 49:00 into the podcast is what really caught our attention, as it spills some tea about the C8 Corvette Z06.
Farah asked Rossi if any road cars actually excite him, and if being a race car driver ruins his ability to enjoy them, and he says the Acura NSX really impressed him. He’s also shocked that we live in a world that fairly average people can go down to their local Dodge dealership and buy a 700 hp Hellcat product. Then, Rossi – who is currently getting working towards his pilot’s license – gets to the juicy part.
“A buddy of mine drives for Corvette in GTLM,” said Rossi, boosting credibility of his next statement. “He’s like, the C8 Corvette Z06 that’s going to come out is legitimately the C8 racecar with stickers removed.”
Will the C8 Corvette Z06 be a homologation special? Probably not, but we may see a vehicle that follows in the same path of the Ford GT, being a road version of a highly successful racer. This lines up with all of the rumors we already know, too. The C8 Z06 will get a high revving flat plane crank V8, only now it appears it could be more closely related to the racer than we expected. Just with the volume turned down a bit, as the C8.R absolutely screams. The chassis, suspension and aero could also be at least inspired by the C8.R, and possibly be taken straight from it. Styling could also be more like the racecar than we see in the prototypes that have been testing frequently.
In the past, especially with the C2 Corvette, General Motors wasn’t afraid to sell a Corvette specifically designed to go racing, but it just so happened to wear a license plate. We haven’t seen anything that serious in decades, but it looks like that’s about to change with the C8 Corvette Z06. We can’t wait to see it this summer.
When the 2022 Corvette Z06 does debut, expect it to come equipped with massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, a uniquely shaped rear wing, a center-exit exhaust, and of course, a flat-plane LT6 DOHC naturally aspirated V8 engine spinning north of 8,000 RPM.
To get a sonic sense of what the engine will sound with, check out this podcast with nothing but Corvette C8.R audio for 45 straight minutes. To listen to Rossi banter with Matt Farah, check out the video below.