A center-exit exhaust might make the to-do list as well
According to a recently leaked GM document, the C8 Chevy Corvette Z06 is next in the hopper. The rumors we've heard so far make us suspect the race-focused daily driver will be as big a leap over the previous Z06 incarnations as the mid-engined Stingray is over the front-engined Corvette. The heart of the matter is said to be a atmospheric 5.5-liter DOHC V8 derived from the engine in the C8.R, the race car needing at least 300 homologated retail examples to satisfy IMSA authorities. The latest hearsay pegs an output of 650 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, which means losing 50 lb-ft to the previous car's supercharged 6.2-liter V8, but gaining the natural aspiration that Z06 owners covet. Muscle Cars & Trucks has apparently heard from a "network of well-placed sources" about how the coming Z06 will make more efficient use of its power.
It starts where the rubber plantation meets the road — the mooted specs are 20-inch wheels in front wearing 275/30 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, and 21-inchers in back dressed in 345/25 hoops. The wheels are an inch larger in front and back than those on the C7 Z06 and ZR1, both C7 models fitted with the same wheel and tire package. The rumored C8 Z06 tires might be best known from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and GT2 RS, Michelin tabbing its motorsport division for a road-legal version of its Le Mans-winning racing rubber. With a hardcore focus on dry performance, Michelin says a set of Sport Cup 2 Rs are good for a half-second advantage per kilometer on a dry track compared to the Pilot Sport Cup 2 ZP (for "Zero Pressure" run-flats), the stock tire on the C7 Z06 and ZR1.
To put some context to the tire sizes, the fronts are 10 millimeters narrower than those on the C7 Z06 and ZR1, while the rears are 10 mm wider, but with the same aspect ratio fore and aft. The front tires are 30 mm wider than those on the base C8 Stingray, the rears 40 mm wider than the entry-level car. The Drive wrote that the extra meat compelled "GM to widen the Z06's fenders considerably." if true, the C8 Z06's expected wider track played a part as well; on the C7, the Z06 featured an extra half-inch of track width compared to the Stingray.
It's not clear if the Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs would be the standard or optional tires. The Z06 typically offers a Z07 Performance Package that upgrades bits like the suspension, brakes, tires, and aero. On the C7 Z06, upgrading to Z07 spec meant getting a set of Pilot Super Sport Cup 2s.
Certain to go heavy on carbon fiber throughout, the Z06 is predicted to offer a set of carbon fiber wheels like the quartet that sold on eBay earlier this year for $4,500. At that price, the wheels were only slightly more expensive than a new set of Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs.
Some of the active aerodynamic features GM has applied to patent might be lumped into the aforementioned Z07 kit. MCT's says this could mean "adjustable wings, splitters, and even side flaps," all of which have appeared in patent submissions covering standard and hybrid powertrains. There's a bit of controversy out back, however: GM Authority previously reported from its sources that the Z06 would boast a "massive" fixed rear wing that "will differ in appearance and functionality from the wing on the race-going C8.R," and resemble the mongo spoiler in back of the Agera RS. MCT's source claims that's not happening.
Engineers are thought to be pushing for a center-exit exhaust system, but need to convince the higher-ups to give the green light and approve funding. The tweak wouldn't only be cosmetic, with center pipes alleged to "improve the pitch" of the flat-plane crank V8, lending an even more exotic note than we heard from the camouflaged prototype blasting up a mountain road in January.
We're not sure how the coronavirus shutdown affected the Z06 program, but a Chevrolet spokesperson has said "Our global product development teams have begun to resume normal operations after the COVID-19 shutdown." The new beastie could come as early as the 2022 model year, if not 2023.