Sources have tipped to Automobile Magazine that General Motors is brewing up an immensely powerful mid-engined C8 Corvette Z06. Not that this wasn’t expected – the story of the C8 is just beginning, after all, and expectations are incredibly high for the new American supercar. However, further details indicated to us by our own sources paint a slightly different picture than that of the acclaimed magazine.
Automobile’s intel has gathered that the C8 Corvette Z06 will feature a twin-turbo V8 engine with a flat-plane crankshaft capable of producing as much as 800 horsepower. It would not only make it the most powerful Z06 ever, but it would be the most powerful production Corvette ever, period. Currently, that title is held by the hairy-chested C7 Corvette ZR1 and its 755 horsepower LT5 supercharged V8 engine. More than anything, the C7 ZR1 demonstrated why it was important for the Corvette to move its engine location, as evident from remarks coming from just about every auto critic that had the chance to pilot one. Speculation is that there may be a manual transmission in the pipeline, as well.
Here’s what is actually happening. The C8 Corvette is indeed getting a DOHC V8 engine with a set of turbochargers, and it will likely produce as much as 800 horsepower. Thing is, this variant won’t be the C8 Corvette Z06. What Automobile described in its report will actually be the C8 Corvette ZR1. We’re ruling the manual transmission out, based on remarks from GM executives. But what we won’t rule out is the possibility of a flat-plane crankshaft in this engine. If for nothing else other than the exotic soundtrack, and not the burbling small block V8 with a more conventional cross-plane crankshaft that’s been customary in American performance vehicles.
Before anybody gets confused, no, it’s not the 4.2L Blackwing TTV8 engine that is found in the Cadillac CT6-V. Displacement is unknown for this mill, but it could be larger than five liters. The eight-speed DCT is expected to stay for this application, as well, as the Corvette team couldn’t find an off-the shelf unit to handle all of the torque, based on what was said during the 2020 C8 Stingray reveal. As for the rumor of an all-wheel-drive hybrid Corvette with as much as 1,000 horsepower that was originally published by Car & Driver in 2018? We still believe them to be true. However, being that the 800 hp variant will be the C8 ZR1, this could mean that the hybrid hypercar could end up being called the Zora – a name that was trademarked as far back as 2014, and recently re-filed earlier this year with intention for automobile use. In other words, it would be GM’s volley towards hypercars such as the Porsche 918 or Ferrari SF90 Stradale, for a sliver of the price.
Back to the C8 Corvette Z06. You can bet your bottom dollar that one is coming. However, the engine is going to be more true-to-formula than before. Die-hard Corvette enthusiasts weren’t too thrilled with the C7 Z06 featured a supercharger, so for the next go-round, the Z06 will once again be naturally aspirated. Output will likely be around 600 horsepower, well below the C8 ZR1, and it will not have a manual transmission. But it will have a screamer of an engine, and that alone is worth rejoicing over.
It’s safe to assume that a target for the C8 Corvette Z06 engine output would be to one-up the Ferrari 458 Speciale engine, which is most powerful atmospheric V8 production engine the world has ever seen. That means out-matching 597 horsepower from a 4.5L V8, which delivers 132.67 hp/L. Or else, why bother?