Spied: Next-gen Z06 dons skin-tight camo
We’ve finally caught a test mule of what appears to be the C8 Z06, or at the very least one of the first Corvette development cars that isn’t wearing a mattress’ worth of body cladding. Chevrolet is expected to reveal the first hi-po variant of the mid-engine Vette later this year, powered by a version of the C8.R’s flat-plane-crank LT6.
Our spy photographers snagged this prototype testing on track, after it ditched the cumbersome camo to, presumably, test its new aero kit in something resembling real conditions.
Changes to the front appear minimal at first glance, but the harder you look, the more the Z06 reveals its true, track-side purpose. The horizontal upper strakes in the C8’s cheeks extend toward the centerline before plunging down to accentuate the car’s beak. These planes emphasize the wide stance of this performance-oriented model, whose body gains wider shoulder and haunches per Z06 tradition. The brake cooling ducts remain, with two gaping nostrils positioned toward the center. A third slatted vent resides in the middle, right above a splitter deep enough for canned goods and flanked on each front fender by winglets.
Freed for the first time from disguising discs, the matte-black five-spoke wheels are simple yet mean-looking. Will Chevy roll out an exotic carbon-fiber option? For the ZR-1 or Zora, potentially; the mid-wick Z06 may not boast such niceties. We hugely approve of the look, though we can’t squint hard enough to make out the stampings on the rubber. (Chevy could have scrubbed them off, anyway.) The Z51-pack “regular” C8 wears a staggered set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Ss, 245/35ZR19 up front and 305/30ZR20 in back. Expect width to increase for the Z06. If the C8 follows the pattern of C7, the Z06 will come with Michelin Super Sports and offer Super Sport Cup 2s as part of the Z07 package.
Behind those handsome rims lurks stopping hardware that means business—appropriate for a vehicle that could make north of 600 horsepower. Might this be the 850 hp ZR1? In short, there’s no way of knowing for certain, but since the Z06 is due so much sooner than the big-dog ZR1, we’re hazarding an educated guess that this is the former. If audio were available, we’d have a better clue, since the ZR1 will almost certainly sport forced induction in the form of twin turbos. Maybe Chevrolet will kindly inform us, to clarify the situation … but we aren’t holding our breath.
The most exciting feature here is, of course, affixed to the Vette’s rear deck. That wing flies high and proud, reminiscent of the C7 ZR1’s unit (yes, a potential breadcrumb, but we stand by our hypothesis.) Extra vents pock the mule’s rear, complemented by what appears to be an air tray beneath.
Have a peek. Does this bewinged, widebody creation live up to your expectations of the forthcoming C8 Corvette Z06?