C8 Corvette conga line spied in Ohio, ZR1 and Z06 likely

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C8 prototype ohio testingz06 zr1
Eric Cooper

Several months into its launch, the C8 Corvette Stingray remains a hot-ticket item. That these mid-engine marvels are, in many circumstances, still selling for way over sticker price suggests significant demand for what is inarguably a seismic shift in the story of America’s sports car. Still, there are plenty of Vette faithful looking ahead to the inevitable next chapters—the Z06 and the ZR1.

Though the wait for these high-performance variants is irksome, weapons-grade C8s are moving through the development pipeline. Led by Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, a fleet of camouflaged C8s was recently spotted testing in Marietta, Ohio. Along for the ride were several Stingrays and two benchmark models from lofty competitors: the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Ferrari 458 Italia.

We can’t make out much from the cellphone snapshot posted to an Ohio neighborhood Facebook group, but witnesses report that the parade of prototypes appeared to include multiple C8 variants. One included a similar split-exhaust setup, with twin ports at each corner of the bumper, an arrangement that’s rumored for the Z06. (We spied one such test mule back in October, complete with the same wheel covers—likely hiding carbon-fiber wheels—included on the fleet of C8s in Ohio.) Rumors suggest the Z06 will employ a shrieking, flat-plane-crank, DOHC V-8 displacing 5.5-liters and sharing its bones with the mill from the C8.R race car. The production version promises at least 600 hp.

Also appearing in the conga line of test vehicles were multiple C8s with a quad-tip center-exit exhaust, which suggests the hallowed ZR1. Last year, we laid out a likely roadmap for the C8 performance hierarchy that pegged the ZR1’s output at 850 hp and 825 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of a twin-turbo take of the Z06’s DOHC LT6 engine, dubbed LT7.

Model Year Engine Power (est.) Torque (est.) Likely Application
2021 LT2 6.2-liter 16-valve OHV 490-495 hp 465-470 lb-ft RHD Corvettes for export
2022 LT6 5.5-liter 32-valve DOHC 600 hp* 470 lb-ft* Corvette Z06
2023 LT2 6.2-liter 16-valve OHV hybrid 600 hp 500 lb-ft Corvette Grand Sport
2024 LT7 5.5-liter twin-turbo DOHC 850 hp 825 lb-ft Corvette ZR1
2025 LT7HP1 5.5-liter  twin-turbo DOHC hybrid 1000 hp 975 lb-ft Corvette ZORA

*Credible industry feedback suggested reduction in output compared to our original estimates

No doubt all will be revealed in due time, but for now it appears good things are in store for those who wait.

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