The Z06 is a Corvette like no other. With its racing-inspired powertrain and suspension features, along with an aluminium frame and carbon fibre fenders and floor panels, it delivers exceptional levels of capability and technology. And with a curb weight of only 3,175 pounds (1440 kg), it’s the lightest, best-balanced Corvette model and one of the most svelte supercars on the market.
Indeed, racing is in the Corvette Z06’s DNA and many owners’ cars see double duty as daily drivers and weekend road course warriors. It’s what the car was designed for and, compared to other sports cars that cost up to double – or more – the Z06 offers competitive levels of performance at a lower price.
Chevrolet brings significant updates to the Z06 for 2011, with special packages and new options that enhance performance and styling, while also offering greater personalisation choices. They include:
- New standard Goodyear F1 Supercar Gen 2 tyres and exhaust system tuning
- New Z07 Performance Package
- New CFZ Carbon Fibre Package
- Z06 Carbon limited-edition model - Click here for details >
- Two new exterior colours: Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue, bringing the total to 10 exterior colour choices for all models
- Available contrasting-colour headlamps, in Cyber Gray, Black or Blade Silver
- New interior custom colour stitching option, in red, blue or yellow
- USB port and input jack included with the navigation radio.
- The Z07 Performance Package brings greater handling and braking capability to the Z06, with:
- Brembo ceramic brakes, with gray metallic calipers, similar to those offered on the Corvette ZR1
- Magnetic Ride Control
- Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres
- Twenty-spoke wheels in competition gray (19 x 10-inch front, 20 x 12-inch rear).
The CFZ Carbon Fibre Package gives the Z06 lightweight aero enhancements similar to those found on the ZR1. Included in the optional package is a black-painted carbon fibre front splitter, rockers, roof panel and a body-colour full-width rear spoiler.
The Z06 has an unmistakable and aggressive appearance, with design cues that include:
- A wide front fascia with a large, forward-facing grille opening, a splitter along the bottom and wheel opening extensions along the sides to provide aerodynamic downforce
- A cold-air scoop in front of the hood that integrates an air inlet system for the engine
- The trailing edge of the front wheel opening is radiused to achieve improved drag, but protects the body finish with a tough moulding, and a large air extractor is located behind the wheel
- A fixed-roof body style optimises body rigidity and mass
- Wider rear fenders with flares cover the massive rear tires and a brake cooling scoop in front of the wheels visually balances the fender extractor
- A tall rear spoiler houses the CHMSL on the top of the rear fascia
- 10-spoke spider-design wheels (18-inch, front; 19-inch, rear)
- Four large stainless steel exhaust outlets
- Z06 badging on the carbon fibre front fenders
The aerodynamics of the Z06’s exterior were shaped by the experiences of the Corvette racing program, where high-speed stability and cornering capability are paramount. And while the race cars use large rear wings, the Z06’s elevated spoiler provides sufficient downforce to balance the road-worthy front splitter without adversely affecting aerodynamic drag. The Z06’s Cd is 0.34.
For all its race-inspired functionality, the Z06 is designed to be a daily-driveable high-performance vehicle. To that end, comfort and convenience are held to a very high standard. High-Intensity Discharge lighting, fog lamps, leather seating, dual-zone air conditioning, cabin air filtration and head-up display (HUD) with track mode and g-meter are standard.
The Z06 gauge cluster displays the Z06 logo on the 7000-redline tachometer and has a readout on the oil pressure gauge to reflect the higher standard pressure of the dry-sump oiling system. The seats feature two-tone leather surfaces, with Z06-logo embroidery and contrasting stitching. Z06 options include a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer, Competition Gray or chrome wheels, a telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, side-impact air bags, a navigation system with GPS and universal home remote.
The Z06’s LS7 7.0L engine delivers 505 horsepower (377 kW) in a 3,180-pound (1,442 kg) package – a combination that delivers 0-60 performance of 3.7 seconds in first gear, quarter-mile times of 11.7 seconds at 125 mph and a top speed of 198 mph (as recorded on Germany’s Autobahn). It also provides maximum lateral acceleration of 1.04 g and 60-0 braking in 111.3 feet; it also circuited Germany’s famed Nurburgring in a time of 7:43 from a standing start.
The LS7 reintroduced the 427-cubic-inch engine to the Corvette lineup. It is easily identified under the hood by red engine covers with black lettering. The LS7 shares the same basic Gen IV V-8 architecture as the Corvette’s 6.2-litre LS3, but it uses a different cylinder block casting with pressed-in steel cylinder liners to accommodate the engine’s larger diameter, 4.125-inch (104.8 mm) cylinder bores.
Internally, the LS7’s reciprocating components make use of racing-derived lightweight technology, including titanium connecting rods and intake valves, to help boost horsepower and rpm capability. The rpm fuel shut-off limit is 7,100 rpm. The LS7’s details include:
- Dry-sump oiling system
- Unique cylinder block casting with large, 104.8-mm bores and pressed-in cylinder liners
- Forged steel main bearing caps
- Forged steel crankshaft
- Titanium connecting rods with 101.6-mm stroke
- Cast aluminium flat-top pistons
- 11.0:1 compression
- High-lift camshaft
- Racing-derived CNC-ported aluminium cylinder heads with titanium intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves
- Low-restriction air intake system
- Hydroformed exhaust headers with unique “quad flow” collector flanges.
One of the clearest examples of the LS7’s race-bred technology is its use of titanium connecting rods. They weigh just 464 grams apiece and besides being lightweight, which enhances high-rpm performance and rpm range, titanium makes the rods extremely durable.
The LS7’s CNC-ported aluminium cylinder heads are designed to meet the high airflow demands of the engine’s 7.0-litre displacement. A hydraulic roller camshaft with 0.588/0.593-inch valve lift is used to allow plenty of air to circulate in and out of the engine. To ensure optimal, uninterrupted airflow, the LS7’s heads have straight, tunnel-like intake runners. Very large by production-vehicle standards – even racing standards – they are designed to maintain fast airflow velocity, providing excellent torque at low rpm and exhilarating horsepower at high rpm. The heads feature 70-cc combustion chambers that are fed by huge, 56-mm-diameter titanium intake valves. They are complemented by 41-mm sodium-filled exhaust valves.
To accommodate the large valve face diameters, the heads’ valve seats are siamesed; and, taken from experience with the engines of C6.R race cars, the LS7’s valve angles are held at 12 degrees – vs. 15 degrees for the LS2 – to enhance airflow through the ports.
The LS7 has a dry-sump oiling system designed to keep the engine fully lubricated during the high cornering loads the Corvette Z06 is capable of producing. An engine compartment-mounted 10.5-quart (9.9 litres) reservoir delivers oil at a constant pressure to a conventional-style oil pump pick-up at the bottom of the engine. The pressurised oil feed keeps the oil pick-up continually immersed in oil at cornering loads exceeding 1 g.
Oil circulates through the engine and down to the oil pan, where it is sent back to the reservoir via a scavenge pump. The large-capacity reservoir, combined with a high efficiency air-to-oil cooler, provides necessary engine oil cooling under the demands of the engine’s power output. With the dry-sump system, oil is added to the engine via the reservoir tank – which includes the oil level dipstick.
The Corvette Z06’s powertrain and drivetrain systems are matched to the LS7’s performance capability. The light, four-into-one headers discharge into close-coupled catalytic converters and through two-mode mufflers. The mufflers each feature a vacuum-actuated outlet valve, which controls exhaust noise during low-load operation but opens for maximum power.
At the rear of the LS7 engine, a single-mass flywheel and lightweight, high-capacity clutch channel torque to the rear transaxle. The six-speed manual transmission has been strengthened to handle the LS7’s increased torque load. The transmission includes a pump that sends transmission fluid to the front radiator for cooling. Upon its return, the fluid removes additional heat from the differential lube before returning to the transmission. The six-speed transmission connects to a limited-slip differential, with enlarged ring and pinion gears. Stronger axle half-shafts with tougher universal joints transmit power to the rear wheels.
The Z06 has a unique aluminium body structure for optimum stiffness and light weight for the fixed-roof body style. Perimeter rails are one-piece hydroformed aluminium members featuring cast suspension nodes, which replace many welded steel components on other Corvette models. Other castings, stampings and extrusions are combined into the innovative structure with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.
Advanced structural composites featuring carbon-fibre are bonded to the aluminium structure. The wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carbon composites and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fibre skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.
The Z06 has a new magnesium cradle that serves as the attachment point for the engine and some front suspension components. Magnesium is lighter than aluminium yet incredibly strong. The magnesium cradle helps improve the front-to-rear weight distribution, as do carbon-fibre front fenders and wheelhouses. Engineers also moved the battery from underbonnet to a position in the rear cargo area, behind one of the rear wheels.
The mass reductions are offset by some added performance enablers, including dry-sump lubrication, exhaust system with outlet valves, larger wheels and tires, larger brakes and larger roll stabilisers.
Suspension and brakes
The Z06 retains the 105.7-inch (2686-mm) wheelbase of other Corvette models, as well as the short-long arm suspension and transverse spring design, but it rides on all-new wheels, tires and brakes, as well as its own rear spring and roll stabiliser.
The firmer suspension works harmoniously with large 18 x 9.5-inch cast-spun aluminium wheels and 275/35ZR18 tires in the front, and 19 x 12-inch cast-spun aluminium wheels with 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear. The tires use the latest extended-mobility technology from Goodyear to provide a satisfactory ride, but still allow the vehicle to achieve lateral acceleration of more than 1 g. The extended-mobility tires eliminate the need – and weight – for a spare tire and jack or inflator kit, while also reducing the chance of a sudden loss of handling capability.
Complementing the suspension system and large rolling stock is an equally capable four-wheel disc brake system, consisting of 14-inch (355 mm) vented and cross-drilled front rotors and 13.4-inch (340 mm) vented and cross-drilled rear rotors.
The front rotors are acted upon by large, red-painted six-piston calipers that use six individual brake pads. Individual brake pads are used because they deliver more equalised wear compared to what would otherwise be a pair of very long single-piece pads. For the rear brakes, four-piston calipers with four individual brake pads are used. A four-channel ABS system is standard, as is a very competent active handling system – complete with a Competitive Driving mode.
Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior Package
Available on coupe, convertible, Z06 and ZR1 models is the custom leather-wrapped interior package. It offers a stylish, two-tone leather-appointed cabin with details that enhance the feeling of Corvette's craftsmanship. Details include:
- Leather-wrapped upper and lower instrument panel, door pads and seats
- Choice of new, exclusive colours: Dark Titanium, Ebony, Linen or Sienna, with unique colour breakup
- Padded door panel armrests
- 'Corvette' embroidered on passenger-side dash pad
- Embroidered crossed flags logo on headrests
- Unique centre trim plate with Bias pattern
2011 CORVETTE SPECIFICATIONS
325kw (436hp) @ 5900rpm (opt. exhaust)
580nm (428lb-ft) @ 4600rpm (opt. exhaust)
(Coupe, Convertible, Grand Sport, Z06)
(with optional Z51 Performance Package)
(Coupe, Convertible, Grand Sport)
(Coupe, Convertible, Grand Sport)
Front: 325mm (12.8") x 32mm (1.26")
Rear: 305mm (12.0") x 26mm (1.0")
Z51 Performance Package:
Front: 340mm (13.4") x 32mm (1.26")
Rear: 330mm (13.0") x 26mm (1.0")
Rear: 340mm (13.4") x 26mm (1.0")
Rear: 19" x 10"
Front: 18" x 9.5"
Rear: 19" x 12"
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar
Rear: 19" x 12"
Convertible: 1451kg (3199lb)