Chevy Saving Turbos For More Powerful C8 Corvettes Beyond Z06

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The frustrating part when writing one of our “What We Know” stories is that the info in it becomes obsolete the moment we know more. Take the upcoming C8 version of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Thanks to a source at GM, we now know a lot more about the racier model.

Are you ready? The next Corvette Z06 will have a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter flat-plane twin-cam V-8 that spins to 9,000 rpm. Again, naturally aspirated and redlines at nine grand. Can we get a hallelujah? If we may, a Lamborghini Huracan Evo‘s 10-cylinder engine spins to 8,500 rpm, while the Lambo Aventador SVJ‘s V-12 only hits 8,700 rpm. The Ferrari 812 Superfast? It says 9,000 rpm on the tach, but everyone knows (wink) that its superlative V-12 is only good until 8,900 revs. No, only the discontinued Porsche 911 GT3/GT3 RS/Speedster’s 4.0-liter chunk of rear-mounted perfection spins all the way up to 9,000 rpm. Well, the upcoming 992 GT3’s engine (probably) will, too. As will the new C8 Z06.

How Much Horsepower?

We’re guessing that this, for now, unnamed engine’s output will come in at right around 625 hp, with well over 400 lb-ft of torque (figure 485 lb-ft). Not quite as much as the old Z06’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4—650 hp/650 lb-ft of torque—but who cares? To use Porsche as an example for a moment, the 911 Turbo makes more power than the 911 GT3. Yet, every car geek wants the GT3. Back to that power for a moment, over 600 naturally aspirated ponies from only 5.5-liters is impressive. Assuming we’re right about the 625 hp number, that means the Z06 will pack 99 horses more than the world’s next most powerful naturally aspirated V-8: the 526-hp Voodoo V-8 found in the Shelby GT350/GT350R. To put this possible 625 hp in perspective, the sadly deceased Dodge Viper cranked out 645 hp from a massive 8.4-liter V-10 engine. To quote our source, the Z06’s engine is, “going to be a screamer.”

Back to the Shelby GT350’s flat-plane Voodoo V-8 (526 hp, 429 lb-ft of torque, redline at 8,250 rpm) for a moment; its 5.2-liter displacement is going to be the closest to the Z06’s. That’s oversized for a flat-plane engine, and Ford deals with this by placing a large, rubber dampener on the non-transmission side of the crankshaft to eat unwanted vibrations. We’re not sure how Chevy is dealing with the unscrew-the-head bolts third-order vibrations inherent to flat-plane V-8s (vibrations that grow more violent as displacement grows), but the bowtie brand has been racing with (essentially) this same, albeit detuned engine (500 hp, 480 lb-ft of torque) in the C8.R, so some sort of solution must exist. Chevrolet had to buy back an awful lot of heat-soaked C7 Z06s thanks to a class-action lawsuit, which led the company to enact much more stringent testing procedures. We bet the big-displacement vibration issue is a non-issue.

Turbo Time?

What about those two turbochargers we thought we knew about? Well, turns out we were right, just about the wrong car. Like Chevy has done for the past two generations, there will be a high-horsepower ZR1 version of the C8. That car will get two turbochargers piped into its 5.5-liter engine (along with all the accompanying cooling hardware). We think 800 hp seems about right from this variant of the twin-cam engine.

There will also be a gasoline-electric hybrid variant that uses the twin-turbo V-8 and at least one electric motor to produce a total system output of 1,000 hp (or more). Expect it to bear the name Zora, after the father of the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov. One sad bit of news (so we hear) is that there will not be a C8 Grand Sport. Why not? We do not know. We’re just hearing it’s not in the cards—don’t shoot the messenger. However, there will be an all-electric Corvette. Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about that model…for now.



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